Saturday, March 9, 2013

Salesians Participate in U.N. Commission on Status of Women

Salesians Participate
in U.N. Commission
on Status of Women

The 57th Commission on the Status of Women takes place at U.N. Headquarters in New York, March 4-15, 2013. For two weeks the topic “Elimination and Prevention of All Forms of Violence against Women and Girls” is being discussed and debated by governments, civil society, U.N. agencies and other partners. The Salesians of Don Bosco, the Istituto Internazionale Maria Ausiliatrice, and lay collaborators are among the participants and contributors.
Fr. Brennan (left), Sr. Rita (3d from right), Fr. Pallithanam, and three other speakers
The Salesians, in collaboration with the Salesian Sisters (through IIMA) organized and held a parallel event on March 6 during the Commission: “Men and Women Partnering to End Violence against Women and Girls.” The speakers and topics addressed were:

  • “Motivating Men to Defend the Dignity of the Girl Child,” Sr. Jacintha Lobo, FMA, Auxilium Navajeevana, Chamarajpet, Bangalore, India;
  • “Community Action: Women and Men Collaborating to End Violence Against Women and Girls,” Rev. Thomas Pallithanam, SDB, People's Action for Rural Awakening, Andhra Pradesh, India;
  • “Voices of the Victims of Violence: Rural Women Speaking Out” (via video), Ms. Pothumudi Sesharatnam, Gender Desk Coordinator, People's Action for Rural Awakening, Andhra Pradesh, India;
  • “A Victim of Violence Challenges Society: A Personal Testimony,” Ms. Shanthi Ravikumar, Bangalore, India.
Fr. Thomas Brennan, SDB, and Sr. Glorina Rita, FMA, partnered to form the panel and moderated the event.

In addition to participating in some of the ongoing discussions for recommendations for agreed conclusions for the Commission, the Salesians, through their representative, Fr. Brennan, prepared and submitted written interventions in preparation for the Commission. These included:

  • E/CN.6/2013/NGO/43, on the links between violence against women and girls and HIV infection;
  • E/CN.6/2013/NGO/14, on the relationship of trafficking and violence against women and girls;
  • E/CN.6/2013/NGO/149, encouraging governments to honor their pledges to eliminate all forms of discrimination against girls, specifically addressing violence, education, economic exploitation, and harmful cultural attitudes and practices;
  • E/CN.6/2013/NGO/196, on the criminalization of those infected with the HIV virus, especially vulnerable women.
Fr. Brennan also served as a moderator of a “Conversation Circle” on the topics of migration and the trafficking of persons. The purpose of these groups is to spur “conversations” among groups around mutual interests, to network to plan for future collaboration, and to work collectively to implement the U.N. frameworks and agreements that aim to achieve gender equality.

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