Basic female rights, recognized for many years, remain a bone of contention among governments, religious institutions, and social movements.
The principal disagreement has to do with sexual and reproductive rights, involving such issues as means of contraception, abortion, and respect for homosexuals.
The discussion gains intensity as the date draws nearer to the upcoming United Nations meeting, in February, to evaluate how well countries have done in adopting the Beijing Action Platform, defined at the IV World Conference of Women, which was held in China in 1995.
The meeting Beijing+10 will be held between February 28 and March 11 in New York.
Ten years after Beijing, Brazilian women’s movements express concern over the move to revise the Platform to withdraw rights that have already been won.
According to the deputy secretary of the Articulation of Brazilian Women (AMB), Carla Batista, the American government has been the chief culprit behind this attempt.
“The United States has recently taken a quite conservative stance, especially when it comes to sexual and reproductive rights,” she says.
The situation in Brazil is one of consensus. Social organizations and the government concur that a retreat is inadmissible.
“What we have discussed as the government’s policy in Brazil is that there should be no falling back as far as the Beijing Action Platform is concerned,” says the subsecretary of Institutional and International Relations of the Special Secretariat for Women’s Policies (SPM), Sueli de Oliveira.
“This constitutes a firm decision on the part of the Brazilian government,” she emphasized.
An action strategy for the Beijing+10 meeting will be discussed at a meeting on January 28, at the World Social Forum (WSF) in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul.
The SPM will also hold a seminar prior to the UN meeting on Brazil’s progress and challenges in the implementation of the resolutions.
The seminar “National Dialogue Beijing +10: Advances and Challenges” will take place on February 17, in the Chamber of Deputies.
Translation: David Silberstein