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Violence against Women Migrant Workers
UNESCO’s contribution to the report of the United Nations Secretary General on UN efforts to implement GA Resolution 58/143 on “Violence against women migrant workers” to be presented at the sixtieth session of the General Assembly 2005.
Framework of UNESCO’s work in favour of women and gender equality

UNESCO’s mission during the medium-term period 2002-2007 is to contribute to peace and human development in an era of globalization through education, the sciences, culture and communication. Its programme activities are targeted at the urgent needs of disadvantaged and excluded groups. The needs of women are being mainstreamed throughout all programmes and their priorities and visions of development goals and approaches are being addressed and promoted through their greater participation at all levels and in all areas of UNESCO’s action. A gender perspective is being integrated in policy planning, programming, implementation and evaluation activities in all areas of UNESCO’s competence with a view to promoting empowerment and achieving gender equality. Region specific programmes that benefit girls and women are focusing on networking, exchange of information, sharing of knowledge and building alliances across borders.

UNESCO’s work against violence against women

As part of its mandate to carry out policy-oriented research on violence against women and the ways and means of ending it, UNESCO’s Sector for Social and Human Sciences produced several studies, which were shared with all its partners and posted on-line (Two externally-commissioned research papers on family laws – one on the Middle East and the other on North Africa; Two background studies – prepared by interns under the supervision of the GED section chief – of armed conflict and violence against women in Iraq and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; An internally-produced research paper on conflict and violence against women in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Palestine, and the importance of fully implementing Security Council Resolution 1325.)
As part of its activity on and for women in Central Africa, the Sector for Social and Human Sciences is organizing a consultation, which will convene in Addis Ababa on 30 May – 1st June 2005, on the theme: “Empowering Women in the Great Lakes Region: Violence, Peace, and Women’s Leadership.”

Within the framework of its research activities for Beijing + 10, the Section for Gender Equality and Development of the Sector for Social and Human Sciences produced a conceptual framework for qualitative and quantitative information on women's empowerment. These "social indicators of women's empowerment" measure women's capabilities, participation, and rights across civil, political, economic, social, and cultural domains. One of the seven sets of indicators pertains to "women's bodily integrity and health", including data on the following:

• Female genital mutilation prevalence (%)
• People with HIV/AIDS (% female among adults)
• Sexual abuse of women (% total population)
• Physical abuse against women by an intimate partner (% of adult women who have been physically assaulted by an intimate partner, in past 12 month, ever in any relationship).

The Section for Gender Equality and Development of the Sector for Social and Human Sciences undertakes social science research into the causes of violence against women and it correlates in order to help shape policy and legal reform, along with cultural changes that are needed to ensure women’s dignity, equality, empowerment, and enjoyment of human rights.

UNESCO’s work in the area of “violence against migrant women workers”
UNESCO promotes the human rights of migrants and their integration in society and considers violence against women migrant workers in the context of human trafficking and forced labour to represent an extreme case of human rights violation that must be urgently addressed. In the past year, UNESCO has hence brought increasing attention to the issues of discrimination against migrant women in general and exploitative migration of women and children by working, in particular, on the fight against human trafficking.
More specifically, UNESCO is addressing the problem of human trafficking at its root through the promotion of multi-disciplinary responses and comprehensive counter-measures that take into account all dimensions of the phenomena, notably its historical, legal, political and socio-cultural aspects.

In particular, UNESCO:

• Promoted the ratification and implementation of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, supplementing the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the International Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers and their Families which provides unprecedented legal tools to combat the scourge.
• Conducted research in Western and Southern Africa and Asia on the socio-cultural dimensions of human trafficking that has shown that traffickers exploit traditional beliefs and practices (such as voodoo rituals and ingrained gender stereotypes) in order to subjugate their victims and manipulate women into exploitative labor. Informed by this research, UNESCO encouraged the formulation of culturally appropriate responses that can effectively prevent trafficking. In the Upper Mekong region, for example, UNESCO contributed to the production and broadcasting of soap operas on local radio stations that transmit in the languages of ethnic minorities most vulnerable to traffickers information on the dangers of trafficking. UNESCO furthermore conducted research in this sub-region on the structure of the trade of women and girls and developed a computerized surveillance system for tracking and analysing the changing patterns of trafficking in the region. This work provided invaluable data in support of HIV/AIDS prevention programmes and legal advice services carried out jointly with other UN Agencies and NGOs.
• Collected innovative and successful practices in combating trafficking and carried out capacity-building programmes (policy formulation and implementation) for African policy-makers, NGOs, community leaders and the media at the local and national level.
• In partnership with the Institute of Sociology of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), UNESCO started the “Together with Migrants” project in 2002 that seeks to promote the integration of women migrant workers in the urban social and economic fabric through training in life and basic skills, vocational training, career counseling, family planning, health and rights. In recent years, the project has broaden its partnerships to include contemporary Chinese artists in order to encourage, through contemporary art, non-discriminatory public perceptions of migrant women workers.

Information on UNESCO’s work with women migrant workers:

Contact: Saori Terada (s.terada@unesco.org)
Upper Mekong region
Contact: David Feingold (d.feingold@unesco.org)
Contact: Geneviève Domenach-Chich (g.domenach-Chich@unesco.org)

Information on UNESCO’s work on violence against women

• Contact: Valentine Moghadam (v.moghadam@unesco.org)

Information on UNESCO’s overall policy on women and gender equality

• Contact: S.Gülser Corat (sg.corat@unesco.org)





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