Women’s rights and sustainable development –
Is this The Future We Want?
Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD)
Rio de Janeiro (18 June 2012): Women activists from Asia Pacific powerfully demonstrated their view of the reality of women’s human rights and sustainable development at Rio+20.
They stood with their mouths taped shut holding the message, “No undermining women’s human rights in the name of sustainable development” in front of the government negotiating venue on sustainable development.
The women activists are at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development as part of the seven-member delegation bringing Asia Pacific women’s voices to Rio+20, and represent Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development, the region’s leading feminist, membership driven network. They are focusing on four key areas for future development: access to resources, decent work and economic rights, peace, and voice.
“There should be always clear linkage between human rights and development processes. Women’s rights should never been undermined in the name of sustainable development”, said Wathshlah Naidu from the global women’s rights organisation International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific.
“Domestic work, performed mostly by women, has made significant contributions to economies across Asia Pacific and worldwide. But it has been exploited and is not recognised in the (Rio+20) negotiating text”, said Aliza Yuliana from Solidaritus Perempuan, an Indonesian women’s rights organisation.
APWLD delegate Azra Sayeed, co-chair of the international group, People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty, and executive director of Pakistan-based civil society organisation, Rights for Equity, spoke of the importance of access to resources for all. She noted, “The green economy is a façade for neoliberalism. Equitable land reform is key to eradicating poverty in Pakistan.”
Brazilian media covered the silent protest and interviewed some of the 15 activists claiming space for human rights. The protest was coordinated by APWLD, IBON International, an international civil society organisation based in the Philippines, and other human rights groups, who have banded together for “Rights for Sustainability”, an advocacy platform pushing for a rights-based approach to sustainable development.
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APWLD is Asia Pacific’s leading feminist, membership driven network. We hold consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. Our 180 members represent groups of diverse women from 25 countries in the region. For 25 years APWLD has been empowering women to use law as an instrument of change for equality, justice, peace and development. www.apwld.org / firstname.lastname@example.org