Karama partner Azza Kamel of ACT in Egypt was selected to present an oral statement pertaining to CSW53’s priority theme of equal sharing of responsibilities between men and women with particular regard to HIV/AIDS and childcare on behalf of the Western Asia Caucus. The statement that follows was delivered to governments present at the annual meeting of CSW and urged them to repeal discriminatory laws and address stigma directed toward HIV-positive women:
On behalf of the Western Asia Caucus, we commend and welcome the Commission’s call for the intensification of efforts by governments to fully implement the Beijing Platform for Action, CEDAW, and other international obligations to promote equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men, including caregiving in the context of HIV/AIDS. There remains a wide gap between the targets set out by relevant international agreements and the reality of women’s lives on the ground.
The Western Asia Caucus expresses its concern about:
- The deterioration of women’s economic conditions, especially under the international economic crisis, which has forced many women into prostitution and increases their risk of infection with HIV/AIDS;
- The absence of laws protecting women from violence, including rape and trafficking which increase their exposure and vulnerability to HIV/AIDS;
- Lack of resources allocated by governments on HIV/AIDS for prevention, education, treatment, care and support, and which take into account the responsibility of caregivers;
- The absence of precise statistics on HIV-infected women in many countries; and
- Lack of legislation to protect the rights, working conditions and representation of paid and unpaid caregivers.
The Western Asia Caucus urges governments in the region and the United Nations, to:
- Adopt national action plans, policies and mechanisms to promote gender equality and to protect women from violence;
- Repeal discriminatory laws that hinder equal sharing of responsibility, including caregiving in the context of HIV/AIDS;
- Ensure that HIV-positive women are treated with dignity and remove the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS;