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Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations

Philippine Statement

Marie Yvette Banzon
Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the United Nations

62 nd session of the General Assembly
Third Committee

Agenda item: Advancement of Women

15 October 2007

Mr. Chairman,

The Philippines aligns itself with the statement made by Pakistan on behalf of the G77 and China.

The developments in the world today – inexorable globalization marked by the mobility of capital, technology and communication, and people; new challenges to peace and democracy; and the haste to achieve economic goals --demand a heightened and sharper focus on their implications on the role of women in society.

Persistent stereotypical attitudes towards women and men remain a critical challenge to gender equality. However, what is even more disturbing is that around the world, many political, social and economic changes have reinforced stereotypical attitudes which have provided fertile ground for a perilous mixture of gender bias and other stereotypes and discrimination related to class, age, race and ethnicity and faith.

Violence against women migrant workers

Women who migrate are most vulnerable to this vicious discriminatory environment. Considering that women comprise almost half of the global labor migration population, the discrimination, violence and exploitation that women face becomes both a serious human rights and development issue. While there have been a number of calls by the international community to address the situation of women migrants, contained in no less than the Beijing Declaration and in numerous General Assembly resolutions, reports of continuing abuses and exploitation of women migrant workers prove that much-needed policy frameworks and implementation are still gravely wanting.

It is because of this situation that my delegation will once again introduce and facilitate discussions on an updated draft resolution dealing with violence against women migrant workers. The resolution will strengthen the call for human rights-based and gender-sensitive labor and migration policies on the part of governments and encourage enhanced cooperation involving all stakeholders. The resolution will also be responsive to the present realities facing women migrants, for example, the employment of many women in less formal work, the additional violence that women migrants face in the hands of authorities, and the lack of focus on preventive efforts. On a related note, the Philippines would like to recognize the INSTRAW’s work on the gender dimension of remittances and hopes that the outcomes of the research can be widely disseminated and used. At this point also, we would like to acknowledge the hard work of the Institute, guided by its Executive Board, towards ensuring the sustainability of resources of the Institute. As the Executive Director (Carmen Moreno) highlighted in her presentation this morning, for the first time in many years, the INSTRAW will not be drawing from subvention from the UN budget. We think that this is a significant development made possible by the commitment of all partners both from within and outside the UN system.

In 2008, the Philippines will hold an international event that will focus on women and human rights in the context of migration. The discussions during this event are hoped to infuse a strong gender perspective to the 2 nd Global Forum on Migration and Development which the Philippines will host in October of the same year. Aside from discussing the range of issues around protection of women migrant workers’ rights, the event will also try to seize opportunities of migration for women—highlighting good practices on reintegration, use of remittances, financial literacy training and the like. We invite governments and other international actors to participate actively and share their perspectives and experiences, and to use the meeting in the Philippines to build partnerships and networks for the cause of women migrants.

Empowerment of women for peace and democracy

Mr. Chairman,

The occurrence of conflict and other challenges to peace and democracy behooves us to assess the important role that women can play in peacemaking and reconciliation efforts. However, for women to be able to exercise this role, they need to live in an environment that allows and empowers them to fulfill these potentials. And here, we talk about ensuring the basics—like health and nutrition, and education for women and girls. We will need to ensure that women’s opinions and voices are heard and respected.

Experience also shows that there is a direct correlation between democracy and women’s empowerment. The more democratic a political system is the more institutionalized the venues and opportunities are for women participation in leadership, decision-making and nation-building. The fundamental ideals of democracy such as the upholding of human rights, primacy of the rule of law and the presence of constitutionally granted freedoms are contingent factors for strengthening gender equality and women empowerment. In countries where these are virtually not present or are weak, women’s participation is restrained.

A new gender architecture within the UN system

Mr. Chairman,

Before concluding, my delegation would like to share a few insights on the issue of the gender architecture in the UN. The Philippines supports restructuring aimed at enhancing the effectiveness and coherence of both the normative and operational aspects of the UN’s gender work. While we continue to study the Secretariat’s concept note, at this point, there are certain issues that we see should be given important consideration:

  • First, the work of the new entity should be genuinely demand-driven and based on an intersection of national priorities and international standards. Gender presence and work on the ground would therefore be critical for the necessary bottom-up feedback mechanism.
  • Second, the new gender entity must be given the necessary profile and stature to engage in important decision-making within the UN. While gender may be a cross-cutting issue, the stature is needed for ensuring responsibility and accountability.
  • Lastly, the new gender entity must be adequately funded and channeled to respond to the gender priorities identified by countries in need.

Thank you.

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