HAWCA's Rep. in the 55th Session of CSW and UN Women Launch in New York

Miss Selay Ghaffar, Executive Director of HAWCA, and a prominent committed Afghan woman rights activist once again became the voice of the most vulnerable afghan women and children on the occasion of 55th Session of Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York this year.

CSW is the primary global policy-making body of the UN that is entirely devoted to examining the state of progress for women. Thirty-six years ago, the International Movement for Women’s Rights was launched with World Conference in Mexico City, followed by Nairobi, Copenhagen and Beijing to advocate for women’s rights and to access the progress. The adoption of UN Security Council Resolutions 1325, 1880, 1888 on women, peace and security and human rights are testimony to the impact of NGOs advocacy as well as to the effectiveness of the partnership of NGOs, governments and the UN.

This year’s them of “access and participation of women and girls in education, training, science and technology, including for the promotion of women’s equal access to full employment and decent work” highlighted the necessity for women to be actively engaged in the process. During the first week of the 55th session of the CSW, member states negotiated agreed conclusions to accelerate the implementation of existing commitments, including those listed by the Beijing Platform for Action.

During her mission in CSW she attended the following events which were an opportunity to influence government delegates to the Commission and lobbying with NGOs delegates:

•    Education for Women and Girls-the key to a brighter futures;
•    Integrating VAW in HIV Responses;
•    Implementing UNSCR 1325 on women, peace and security: strengthening the CSW 55 Agenda;
•    Priorities for UN Women: country level work, presentation of global survey by Oxfam Novib;
•    Proposal for 5th UN NGO World Conference on Women;
•    Domestic Violence and the Criminal Justice System
•    Women’s Political Participation and Leadership: Challenging Fundamentalism;
•    Commercial Sexual Exploitation and the Girl Child: A Human Rights Approach;
•    GEAR UP: UN Women and Civil Society Moving Forward;
•    CEDAW After thirty years;
•    Women, Security and Just a Peace: Research and Action;
•    APWW;
•    Nepal 1325 NAP Launch
•    Formal Round Table in North Lawn Building: Panel 2: Key policy initiatives and capacity-building on gender mainstreaming: focus on education and training; Panel 3: Evaluation of progress in the implementation of the agreed conclusions on “The elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against the girl child”

Ms. Selay Ghaffar said: “The exciting part of my trip was that I became able to attend the meeting organized by UN NGO Committee with the new head of UN Women Ms Michelle Bachelet. The selected women from all regions attended and presented their regional concern to her. She responded to every single speech from the participants and was very well received. She said that UNW should focus on co-operation between the sexes, violence, women in peace and security, the economic empowerment of women, and that gender equity must be a national priority.”

Ms. Selay Ghaffar also attended the UN Women Launch on 24th Feb, 2011. The UN celebrated the historic launch of UN Women, with an evening including luminaries from the worlds of politics, entertainment, business, the media, music and film in the UN General Assembly Hall. It was opened up by the anchor from ABC News and then speeches from H.E. Mr. Joseph Desiss; H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-Moon who said: “With the birth of UN Women, we welcome a powerful new agent for progress on gender equality and women’s empowerment. The challenges are great, but I believe that with the new energy, the new momentum and the new authority that UN Women brings, these challenges will be met. True gender equality should be our shared legacy in the 21st Century”. Then followed by speech of Ms. Michelle Bachelet, Under-Seretray-General and Executive Director of UN Women, who said: “Historically, we are at a point of great potential and change for women. Now we must seize that opportunity.”

The other speakers were Ms. Banana Rana; H.E. Ms. U. Joy Ogwu; H.R.H. Princess Cristina of Spain; Mr. Ted Turner; special message from Ms. Victoria Justice; Ms. Geena Davis, special message from Shakira; Ms. Nicole Kidman and Ms. Rakhi Sahi.

The launch was ended up by a song “One Woman”, lyrics by Beth Blatt, music by Graham Lyle and Clay which was composed for UN Women and performed by Graham Lyle, Clay, Beth Blatt, Gemma Bulos, Tituss Burgess, Tracy McDowell, Country Reed and United Nations International School Choir.