Over 40 Asia-Pacific parliamentarians meeting in Manila, Philippines have committed to eliminate inequality and protect the rights of women through a strong assertion of human rights in every aspect of development.
A shared commitment of parliamentarians, Ministers and Speakers from 21 countries in the Asia-Pacific region to act on gender issues was the outcome of the 10th Women Ministers and Parliamentarians Conference on Progressing SRHR and gender equality into Beijing+20, hosted by the Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (AFPPD) assisted by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Japan Trust Fund.
“Despite the significant progress achieved in women and girls’ empowerment, there are still challenges and numerous critical issues that are yet to be fully addressed in Asia and the Pacific,” said Australian MP and conference chair Hon Dr Sharman Stone.
“For the past decade, we have been talking about gender issues that include sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) for women, violence against women, child marriage, and women’s participation in national and international decision-making. Now it’s time for action and measureable results,” said Dr Stone.
The parliamentarians agreed that a strong regional statement would amplify their position and commitment to put gender as a top priority in national and international development, beginning at November’s regional UN meeting on the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.
In the Statement of Commitment, the parliamentarians commit to eliminating inequality through implementation of national laws that adhere to international legal and human rights frameworks.
“While parliamentarians have played a leading role in advocacy to achieve significant rights-based outcomes in International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) regional fora, we note the need to further assert sexual and reproductive health and rights as basic human rights without discrimination throughout Asia and the Pacific,” said Dr Stone.
“We will also advocate for increased voice and participation of women in governance through effective and equitable quota allocations for parliamentary and local government seats for women.”
Parliamentarians also committed to action on address the rights and inequities of migrants, refugees, people with disabilities, child brides, adolescents, women and girls living with HIV/AIDS and other marginalised communities.
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