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UN protest betrays women at home and abroad.

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Senator Meg Lees Parliamentary Leader and Senator for South Australia Australian Democrats spokesperson for Status of Women

Press Release Dated: 29 Sep 2000 Press Release Number: 00/603 Portfolio: Status of Women Related: Human Rights (International)

UN protest betrays women at home and abroad The Democrats have called on Prime Minister John Howard to restore the Government’s support for the Optional Protocol to the United Nation’s Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

The Optional Protocol is designed to give women the right to appeal to the UN about discrimination once all avenues of redress in their own countries have been exhausted.

The UN has announced that the required ten countries have ratified the Optional Protocol, bringing it into law effective from 22 December 2000.

Democrats’ Leader and Women’s Spokesperson, Senator Meg Lees, said it was a source of shame that Australia was not one of the countries promoting equal rights for women.

“It’s a betrayal of women in Australia and around the world,” said Senator Lees.

“John Howard is giving support to countries which discriminate against women.”

Senator Lees said Australia had played a key role in drafting the Optional Protocol after two years of consultation with Australian women’s groups conducted by the Office for the Status of Women (OSW).

She said Austria, Bangladesh, Ireland, New Zealand, Denmark, France, Namibia, Senegal, Italy and Thailand were among the countries which had signed the protocol (see attached).

“The women of Australia are just starting to realise that they have been rolled by the boys in Cabinet,” said Senator Lees.

“There will undoubtedly be a backlash because signing up to the CEDAW protocol was something women of all political persuasions supported.”

Senator Lees said she understood a major campaign was being organised to pressure the Government to reconsider its position on the United Nations.

“This Government supports the international rules for trade and economic reform and it must support the international rules for human rights. You can't have it both ways,” Senator Lees concluded.


Top | Email Authorised by: Jim Downey, 10 Brisbane Avenue, Barton ACT 2604. Copyright © 2000 Australian Democrats Last modified: Thu, 18 May 2000 13:51:26 Today: Tue, 03 Oct 2000 07:50:36