The 57th Commission on the Status of Women took place from 4 to 15 March 2013 at United Nations Headquarters in New York. The session’s priority theme was “Elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls”, and representatives of the Association for Progressive Communications’ Women’s Rights Programme attended the meeting of this global policy-making body dedicated exclusively to gender equality and advancement of women and offered strategic inputs regarding violence against women and information and communications technologies.

The principal output of the CSW are the agreed conclusions on priority themes set for each year, which contain an assessment of progression, gaps and challenges, and a set of concrete recommendations for action by a diversity of stakeholders, to be implemented at all levels. The document contains 4 sections:

A. Strengthening implementation of legal and policy frameworks and accountability

B. Addressing structural and underlying causes and risk factors so as to prevent violence against women and girls

C. Strengthening multisectorial services, programmes and responses to violence against women and girls

D. Improving the evidence-base

Setting a milestone for internet and women’s rights, this year’s conclusions included a paragraph on violence against women related to information and communications technologies. The paragraph (ww) determines that “Support the development and use of ICT and social media as a resource for the empowerment of women and girls, including access to information on the prevention of and response to violence against women and girls; and develop mechanisms to combat the use of ICT and social media to perpetrate violence against women and girls, including the criminal misuse of ICT for sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, child pornography and trafficking in women and girls, and emerging forms of violence such as cyber stalking, cyber bullying and privacy violations that compromise women’s and girls’ safety”.

An outstanding number of women’s and feminist organisations pronounced a statement on the very alarming trends in the negotiations of outcome document of CSW 57th. But the agreed conclusions, even far from perfect, are part of an important moment as the planning of the post 2015 process is taking place. “The outcome document has to advance women’s human rights and not lower the bar for women’s human rights. Future international negotiations must move forward implementation of policies and programmes that secure the human rights of girls and women,” as put in the statement mentioned before.

Read the unedited version of the agreed conclusions

Read APC Women’s Rights Programme Statement to the CSW 57th Session. Violence against women and information and communications technology

Read about the End violence: Women’s rights and safety online project

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