86th Plenary Meeting of General Assembly: 50th Session - Part 1

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08-Dec-1995 00:58:02
General Assembly endorses the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action adopted by the Fourth World Conference on Women at 86th meeting.

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The General Assembly this afternoon endorsed the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action adopted by the Fourth World Conference on Women, which was held in China's capital city from 4 to 15 September 1995.

By means of a resolution adopted without a vote, the Assembly also called upon members of the international community to take action for the effective implementation of the Beijing agreements.

The Beijing Platform for Action establishes a basic group of priority actions to be carried out over the next five years in twelve critical areas of concern: poverty; education; health care; violence against women; armed conflict; economic inequality; power-sharing and decision-making; mechanisms to promote the advancement of women; human rights; stereotyping and communications; the environment; and the girl child.

Recommendations in the Platform for Action are addressed to various elements of the international community, particularly governments, international financial institutions, bilateral donors, the private sector, academic and research institutions, non-governmental organizations and the mass media. The text is comprised of six chapters, with the bulk of the recommendations concentrated in chapter IV, on the "critical areas of concern". Chapter V deals with institutional arrangements, while chapter VI addresses financial arrangements.

Speaking in the debate on the item, the representative of the United States said the universal Declaration was not a document of the East, West, North or South. It found its spiritual and moral roots in all cultures and at its heart was a fundamental distinction between coercion and freedom. "We must affirm that no mother should feel compelled to abandon her daughter because of a societal preference for males. No woman or girl should be forced to undergo genital mutilation, or to have abortion, or to engage in prostitution, or to enter into marriage or to have sex", she said. Every woman should be free to make her own decisions about health, including her own fertility.

The representative of China said his country had "not forgotten the understanding, cooperation and support rendered to us by an overwhelming majority of countries, the Group of 77 in particular, relevant international organizations, non-governmental organizations and the press in the course of our preparations". He urged the international community to adopt concrete measures to earnestly implement the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.

The representative of Tunisia said United Nations organs and bodies could provide useful support to the efforts individual States were making to improve conditions for women. He hoped that budgetary restrictions would not affect the social sectors of the United Nations, particularly those dedicated to women and children.

The representative of Pakistan introduced the draft resolution. Also speaking in the debate were representatives of Philippines, Spain (speaking on behalf of the European Union) and Japan. The representative of Saudi Arabia spoke in explanation of position following adoption of the text. The Observer for the Holy See made a statement concerning the World Summit for Social Development.

The General Assembly will meet again on Monday, 11 December, to take up the reports of its Sixth (Legal) Committee. It is also expected to take action on a draft resolution concerning the restitution of cultural property to the countries of origin.

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