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Joint statement by UN Experts on the occasion of International Women’s Day

8 March 2005

Following is a joint statement released on the occasion of International Women’s Day by Ms. Yakin Erturk, Ms. Sigma Huda and Mr. Miloon Kothari, Special Rapporteurs of the UN Commission on Human Rights on violence against women, on traffickin,g and on the right to adequate housing, respectively.

This year, International Women's Day takes on a particular meaning for us all, as we commemorate also the thirtieth anniversary of the First World Conference on Women (Mexico, 1975) and the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action at the Fourth World Conference.

International Women's Day serves as an important occasion to take stock of progress made in the promotion of the human rights of women as well as to reflect upon the challenges existing ahead of us. We are thinking in particular of issues of critical concern to women's advancement and rights, including poverty, education, health, violence against women, access to property, employment or productive resources and women's participation in political life. Sadly, as we look at the world today, women still represent a striking majority among those who are most exposed to inequality and injustice. The promotion of women's rights means the promotion of fundamental principles of human rights: universality, indivisibility and non-discrimination, as well as the promotion of freedom, justice and the peaceful resolution of disputes; of social progress and better standards of living; of equality, tolerance and dignity.

On this day, we call for women’s rights to housing, employment, freedom of movement, and protection from violence to be recognized and promoted everywhere. This is in keeping with the United Nations Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human rights and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, as well as other international human rights instruments.

Women's rights are the responsibility of all; combating all forms of violence against women is the duty of all; and the empowerment of women is the advancement of all. While recognizing that the road ahead will be full of challenges, it is our firm conviction that renewed commitment to the advancement of women will bring about significant improvement in the enjoyment of human rights, for women and for all.