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US, others say Muslim countries undermining women's rights

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  • Islamic News and Information Network
    Assalamu alaikum, US, others say Muslim countries undermining women s rights ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ By Ismail Royer
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 11, 2000

      US, others say Muslim countries undermining women's rights
      By Ismail Royer


      Delegates from the U.S. and other countries to this week's UN conference
      on women are concerned that Muslim countries and the Vatican are working
      to undermine efforts to promote birth control and legalized abortion.

      The delegates say the Vatican and Muslim countries like Algeria, Iran,
      Libya, Pakistan and Sudan are working together to block references in the
      conference's final document to so-called "reproductive and sexual rights
      for women," adolescent sex education, and "nontraditional families"-a code
      phrase for homosexuality.

      Muslim countries and the Vatican opposed similar initiatives at a 1995 UN
      conference on women in Beijing. The final document of that conference said
      that women have the right to decide freely on all matters related to their
      sexuality and childbearing.

      Naimah Al-Shaiji of Kuwait and Huda Badran of Egypt, regional coordinators
      for non-governmental women agencies in Arab countries, told Kuwait News
      Agency that all Arab and Muslim delegations taking part in the conference
      will strongly oppose any proposals which legitimize the idea of relations
      between men and women outside of marriage.

      Al-Shaiji said Kuwait's official position is to refuse any kind of
      international legislation that contradicts the principles of Islam. That
      position was reiterated by Abdullah Al-Obaid, Secretary General of the
      Muslim World League.

      Efforts to oppose universal acceptance of abortion and homosexuality were
      scorned by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson during the
      opening ceremony of a the conference on Monday. "The whole platform of
      action" arrived at in Beijing "must not only be maintained but must be
      reinvigorated and given practical impetus around the world," said

      Geraldine Fraser-Mileketi, South Africa's minister for public service,
      also criticized Islamic countries27 opposition.

      "Should the debate on sexual and reproductive rights not be approached
      from the point of view of choice, one that looks to protecting rights and
      providing services to all women and girls?" Fraser-Mileketi told the
      conference participants. "This requires us to have the courage to move
      beyond the narrow interpretation of sexual and reproductive rights, and
      even the family for that matter."

      Despite the opposition of some countries, conference participants adopted
      a declaration on Monday stating that there has been "insufficient
      recognition" of reproductive rights for women and girls since Beijing.

      The conference is the biggest global gathering of women representatives
      from 188 countries and 1,250 non-governmental organizations, since they
      met in Beijing five years ago. Some 10,000 delegates and grassroots
      activists are expected to attend the meeting compared to at least 40,000
      in Beijing.

      In other conference news, the Associated Press reported that seven women
      Iranian delegates complained Tuesday they were treated like criminals by
      U.S. immigration officials who demanded they be fingerprinted upon arrival
      in the country. The delegates chose to return to Iran rather than be

      "We had been invited by the United Nations, so U.S. immigration officials
      had no right to fingerprint us," Sediqeh Hejazi, a member of the Islamic
      Revolution Women's Association, told AP. "We were taken by cars used to
      transport convicts at the airport. We were treated as if we were
      criminals," she said.

      The Iranian Foreign Ministry said it would protest to the United Nations
      over the incident, the official Islamic Republic News Agency said.

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