The Jakarta Post
Vancouver | Sun, January 8, 2017 | 9:45am
As the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) moves into the final day of its annual meeting, the nature of their progress is being called into question.
Numerous delegates attending the conference, including those representing Guyana and Colombia, worry about a lack of consideration and prioritization of any issues considered sensitive by the commission.
They note that while the commission is making progress expanding on already-existing work from various bodies of the United Nations, it does not reflect anything completely new.
During a press conference yesterday, it was noted that topics such as contraceptives, sex work, and abortion have been brought up throughout commission discussions. However, the extent of these discussions has been called into question.
According to the Guyanese and Colombian delegates, issues including sex work and abortion have been discussed, but due to their divisive nature, there is no solution in sight and will not be included in the resolution reached this weekend. Discussions surrounding contraceptives, LGBT rights, and particularly transgender rights were shut down almost immediately.
As is the nature of discussions within various bodies of the United Nations, it all comes down to sovereignty. The main proponents for including the aforementioned issues within policy are Western liberal states, countered by states with more conservative cultures. Many of these actors view the imposition of Western ideologies as a form of neocolonialism, rather than a fight for improved human rights globally.
However, excluding the LGBT community from deliberations around healthcare and violence is negligent: persons of this community are the most likely to experience sexualized violence. In particular, transgender women are nearly twice as likely to experience sexual violence than other women.
Global challenges such as the Zika virus and spikes in levels of sexualized violence make abortion and contraception access more necessary than ever.
Due to the cultural differences of the powers at play within the CSW, many contentious topics are not being duly considered within discussions. While valuable progress is being made with regards to accessible healthcare, the commission is not likely to adequately consider these topics in the near future.