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Extra info for Progress of the World's Women 2000,pb,2000

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Beijing Declaration, September 1995 them and they are legally binding on all states parties. While states are responsible for the realization of, as well as for violations of, the human rights guaranteed by the treaties, the enforcement of human rights law depends on political pressure, both nationally and internationally. In common with other social movements, women’s movements worldwide have used the standards embodied in the treaties to hold their governments accountable for violations of women’s human rights, and to press for progress in the realization of all human rights, including women’s human rights.

Article 3 establishes states parties’ obligation to ensure women’s and men’s equal rights to the enjoyment of all other rights in the Covenant, including: • the right to life and liberty, freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention; • freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment; • freedom from slavery or servitude; • freedom of thought, conscience and religion; • freedom of expression; • freedom of assembly and association, including the right to join a union; • equality of rights to both parties within a marriage and upon its dissolution; • the right to equal protection of the law.

It is a groundbreaking document in that it “recognizes the inextricability of subordination and the economic and social structures that perpetuate it” and requires states to take steps to modify culturally based gender bias, however deeply entrenched (UN 1993a). “The existence of a positive legal framework for women’s rights does not automatically confer rights on women. However, it does legitimize women’s claims for rights and makes possible women’s transformation from passive beneficiaries to active claimants.

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