7. Rights of Women
The 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) specifically defines discrimination against women as: “any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of the marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field.” (Source: Article 1, CEDAW). The CEDAW further sets requisites for signatory states in promoting, respecting, fulfilling and protecting the rights of women. Burma became a signatory to the CEDAW in 1997. In 1995, the UN Commission on the Status of Women put forth the Beijing Declaration and developed a Platform for Action at the Fourth World Conference in Beijing, China. The Platform for Action is “an agenda for women's empowerment” by both supporting the CEDAW as well as furthering the Nairobi Forward – Looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women along with other related UN resolutions. The Platform for Action prescribes specific action to be taken by governments and civil society in “areas of critical concern,” which include poverty, health, education, violence against women, women in armed conflict, women and the economy, power and decision-making, institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women, human rights, media, the environment and the girl-child (source: Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, 1995). The military regime of Burma signed the Platform for Action. However, initially, the junta only acknowledged five of the twelve areas in developing a national plan for action while adding a sixth, culture, which was not included in the Platform for Action. The junta’s initial five areas of concern included economy, education,... [continues]
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