As this post is being written there are convening preparatory meetings by regional and country divisions of the United Nations Commission On The Status Of Women (UNCSW) and also women’s Non-Governmental Organizations. Such gatherings are planning for the sixty-first session of the Commission on the Status of Women will take place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 13 to 24 March 2017.
We have for some years now exposed and challenged the UNCSW and associated women’s NGOs for their refusal to oppose and condemn forced sterilizations, and in particular their silence on China’s coercive population control program. Anyone committed to the principle and enjoyment of human rights would be deeply concerned that a UN body and NGOs seemingly dedicated to defending and promoting women’s rights chooses to ignore these harrowing violations. Yet that’s precisely what is happening.
Something is very wrong indeed especially when their collective silence and evasion on this issue is in opposition to the findings and concerns of other divisions of the United Nations. Unlike the UNCSW (and UN Women) the UN’s Committee Against Torture (UNCAT) is sufficiently concerned about the plight of women suffering under the harrowing realities of China’s population policies to take action. It also is not inhibited to express its concerns:
“In November 2015, the UN Committee against Torture conducted its fifth periodic review of China’s compliance with the Convention.18 In its concluding observations, the Committee stated its concerns about China’s coercive implementation of the population policy, such as coerced sterilization and forced abortion, and the lack of information on investigations into such allegations” (Source: CECC Report 2016).
We would like to thank the UN Committee Against Torture for its concern on this most disturbing of human rights violations and welcome their decision to investigate and challenge the Chinese authorities on this matter. A few months earlier UNCAT had requested China’s regime provide information on ‘‘the total number of investigations or prosecutions launched against officials and other persons” with respect to coercion within China’s population program. Responding during October 2015 China’s government failed to furnish the Committee with the relevant data sought by UNCAT. No surprise there then!
This clear refusal to comply with a official UN inquiry into reports of violations imposed by China’s population control program provides further evidence (not that much more be needed) that women in China remain subject to a range of draconian measures that contravene a number of human rights principles and breach the United Nations’ Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, (adopted by the Fourth World Conference on
Women on 15 September 1995, endorsed by UN General Assembly resolution 50/203 of 22 December 1995) That document, to which China is a signatory, states that governments which participated in the Fourth World Conference on Women reaffirmed their commitment to ‘‘Ensure the full implementation of the human rights of women and of the girl child as an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of all human rights and fundamental freedoms; . . .’’ (para. 9) and ‘‘are convinced that . . . [t]he explicit recognition and reaffirmation of the right of all women to control all aspects of their health, in particular their own fertility, is basic to their empowerment; . . .’’ (para. 17).
The UNCSW and its associated NGOs may be seen across social media and the internet as being deeply motivated to ensure that women are empowered in all sorts of areas, education, employment, social mobility and human rights. However their take on empowerment does not extend to a woman having a right not be forcibly sterilized, they do not advocate what any right-thinking person would consider as constituting a fundamental freedom. Even when their prestigious UN colleagues in the Committee Against Torture document their concerns on the subject and expose the Chinese authorities blatant refusal to cooperate, they remain mute!
When she presides over the 2017 Commission On The Status of Women assembly Ms Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director UN Women will no doubt be reunited with an old friend of the UNCSW, Ms. Meng Xiaosi. A member of China’s communist party, Minister and Vice-Chairperson of National Committee on Women and Children under the State Council China. She’s also vice president of the All China Women’s Federation (ACWF), a national organization that assists in the enforcement of China’s notorious population control policies upon women in China, and occupied Tibet and East Turkestan.
A closing note that just about says it all on the issue, on March 14th 2016 she was warmly applauded by UNCSW delegates as she presented a speech (image above) on equality for women!