Statement of Caribbean women, women’s organizations and other civil society organizations on the occasion of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) 59, Beijing + 20

We, women of the Caribbean Regional Network of Organizations and our allies, form part of a global movement dedicated to ensuring that our Governments and other actors respect, protect and guarantee the full enjoyment of the human rights of all women and girls. On the eve of the 20th anniversary of the commitments made in the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action, we are dismayed and disturbed that Governments of the Caribbean Community [CARICOM] are undermining the commitments in the Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA), in the context of the current negotiations among UN member states to agree on a Political Declaration. Unbelievably, this Political Declaration, so far, is a poor facsimile of the existing commitments made in Beijing in 1995, and depicts a lack of ambition unbecoming of CARICOM. It also threatens a major step backward in the cause of the equality of women and girls.

20131014diasporaAs Caribbean women, we see this as a monumental betrayal by CARICOM, which in Beijing, 1995, played a pivotal and progressive role in the development of agreements made, as outlined in the BPfA. We believe this betrayal is responsible in large part for the unequal, uneven, insecure, unhealthy and unfair space for women our region has become. It is with great alarm in the face of our deepening insecurity that we view this continuing backward slide and attempts to escape once again the role that all peoples expect from their governments.

We join all equality seeking women’s and other organizations devoted to social justice and human rights and demand that CARICOM Governments live up to their commitments and responsibility, and be accountable to us by working to deliver a Political Declaration that:

  • Expresses unequivocal commitment towards fully realizing gender equality; and the human rights and empowerment of women and girls, which is a cross cutting theme emphasized throughout the Beijing Declaration and the Platform For Action;
  • Commits to accelerated implementation of the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action, along with the outcomes of the 23rd United Nations General Assembly Special Session, the Beijing+10 and+15 political declarations, the agreed conclusions and resolutions of the Commission on the Status of Women, as well as regional and national-level declarations on gender equality and the human rights of women and girls;
  • Commits to universal ratification and implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and regional-level treaties on the human rights of women and girls and gender equality. We call on CARICOM Governments to show leadership and ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention “in order to facilitate the full enjoyment of the rights guaranteed under the Convention”, and to -“fully utilize the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, which reinforce the provisions of the Convention;
  • Recognizes and welcomes unequivocally, the critical role women’s and feminist organizations and women human rights defenders have played in pushing for gender equality, and the human rights and empowerment of women and girls, AND   commits to creating an enabling environment and resources to allow women’s organizations, feminist organizations and women human rights defenders to be able to do their work free from violence.

Statement of Caribbean women, women’s organizations and other civil society organizations on the occasion of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) 59, Beijing + 20

  • Recognizes and commits to addressing the emerging challenges that are setting back our fight for equality and the realization of the human rights of all women and girls , such as increasing regional and global inequality, violence against women and girls, increasing fundamentalisms, and climate change among others, AND ensures real accountability for governments including detailed measures to reform and strengthen public institutions to address the structural causes of gender inequality;
  • Affirms the strong linkages between Beijing and the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goal, thus emphasizing that gender equality, empowerment and the human rights of women and girls will be critical for the success of the post-2015 sustainable development agenda and must be a “Stand Alone Goal”;
  • Despite the fact that we Caribbean women in particular have experienced, inter alia, increasing levels of VAW and Girls; poor political representation and participation in power and decision-making; and continued exclusion and discrimination in particular of indigenous women, LBT women, women with disabilities, older women, young women, rural women, and household workers, we have recently re-committed to working with our governments through the “Caribbean Joint Statement on Gender Equality and the Post 2015 and SIDS Agenda” agreed in Barbados, 2013.

We admonish and entreat CARICOM Governments to recall that under all the Human Rights treaties you have signed, you have a legal duty to ensure women’s enjoyment of our human rights on a basis of equality with men. Women and girls are not disposable! Promises made must be promises kept!

You have already agreed in the Beijing Declaration, “Women’s Rights are Human Rights!”


Association of Women’s Organization of Jamaica (AWOJA) – Hermione McKenzie; Bahamas Crisis Centre – Sandra Dean- Patterson, Donna Nicholls; Bahamas – Citizens for Constitutional Equality (CCE) – Donna Nicholls, Noelle Nicholls; Bahamas Women’s Watch – Donna Nicholls, Gwendolyn Knowles; Barbados YWCA – Paige Bryan; Business and Professional Women’s Club of Barbados –Marianne Burnham; CAISO, Colin Robinson – Trinidad & Tobago; Caribbean Association for Feminist Research and Action (St. Lucia) – Flavia Cherry; CAFRA Suriname- Representative   Teersa Burleson, Sandra Clenen; Caribbean Association for Feminist Research and Action (CAFRA/T & T)- Tara Ramoutar; Caribbean Domestic Workers Network, Shirley Pryce; Caribbean Development Activists Network of Women [Caribbean DAWN]-Shakira Maxwell ; Caribbean Policy Development Centre (CPDC), Shantal Munro-Knight; Caribbean Rural Women’s Network – Mildred Crawford; Caribbean Women’s Association, (CARIWA) Barbados- Marilyn Rice-Bowen ; Caribbean Youth Environment Network – Shashian Thomas; Centre for People’s Development, Julia Terborg, Suriname; Christian Aid – Haiti; Culconsult – Henna Guicherit, Suriname; Caribbean Forum for Liberation and Acceptance of Genders and Sexualities ( Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St.Lucia, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago); Directorate of Gender Affairs Crisis Centre- Antigua and Barbuda; Eve for Life : Emma Lewis, Joy Crawford Jamaica; Fifty-One Percent Coalition – Justine Harrison, Jamaica; Firecircle, Steve Theodore- Trinidad & Tobago; Foundation Ultimate Purpose [UP] – Suriname; Grenada National Organization of Women (GNOW); GROOTS – Jamaica, Lana Finikin, Latin America and the Caribbean Committee of NGOs   for CSW, Co-President [Caribbean]; GROOTS – Trinidad & Tobago: Delores Robinson (formerly of ASPIRET&T)   Latin America and the Caribbean, Committee of NGOs for CSW – Vice-President [Caribbean]; GROOTS Trinidad & Tobago, Nicole Hendrickson; Guyana Association of Women Lawyers (GAWL); Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association (GRPA), GUYANA; Help & Shelter – Josephine Whitehead/Danuta Radzik – GUYANA; Institute of Gender and Development Studies – IGDS, UWI- Mona : Dr. Leith Dunn, Nadeen Spence JAMAICA; nstitute for Women, Gender and Development Studies (IWGDS)-Renuka Biharie, Suriname; Jamaica AIDS Support for Life, Kandasi Walton-Levermore; Jamaica Community of Positive Women – Olive Edwards; Jamaica Civil Society Coalition; J-FLAG – Karen Lloyd; JFLAG – Women’s Empowerment for Change (A JFLAG Subsidiary) – Latoya Nugent ; Jamaica Household Workers Union, Shirley Pryce; Jamaica Network of Rural Women Producers , Mildred Crawford, Jamaica ; Jamaica Youth Advocacy Network – Monique Long; Lobi Foundation, Member Association of IPPF- Nensy Bandhoe, Suriname; National Council of Dominican Women – Vanya David; Network of NGOs of Trinidad & Tobago, Terry Ince; Newland Women Safety Group- Charmaine Moodie; PANOS Caribbean – Indi McLymont Lafayette; Quality of Citizenship Jamaica – Angeline Jackson, Jalna Broderick JAMAICA; Red Thread, GUYANA; Saint Lucia Crisis Centre – Antonia Jean, St. Lucia; Save Foundation – Liesel Daisley, BARBADOS; SISTREN Theatre Collective (Jamaica); Stichtung Projekta- Sharda Ganga, Suriname; United and Strong, St Lucia, Kenita Placide; Walking Into Walls, Claytine Nesbitt, Antigua & Barbuda; Womantra, Stephanie Leitch –Trinidad & Tobago; Women’s Committee of the G2K (Jamaica Labour Party Youth Arm); Woman Inc. – Joyce Hewett, Dundeen Ferguson, Jamaica; WMW {Formerly Women’s Media Watch} (Jamaica) – Hilary Nicholson, Jamaica; Women’s Issues Network of Belize (WINBELIZE) – J. Carolyn Reynolds, Belize; Women Across Differences (WAD), GUYANA; Women Against Rape Inc. – Antigua& Barbuda; World Association for Christian Communication WACC Caribe- Iris Gilliad, Suriname; Women’s Parliament Forum-Minouche Bromet, Suriname; Women’s Resource and Outreach Centre (WROC) – Dorothy Whyte, Jamaica; Women’s Rights Centre- Carla Bakboord, Suriname; Women’s Way Foundation- Tieneke Sumter, Suriname; Young Women’s Leadership Initiative – Ayesha Constable, Jamaica

Forty women activists/researchers/academic have also signed in their individual capacity, and include Dr Peggy Antrobus, Grenada/Barbados; Chrystabelle Beaton, Suriname; Guerda Benjamin, Haiti; Marion Bethel, Bahamas; Crystal Brizan, Trinidad & Tobago; Paulette Allicock, Makushi Nation, Guyana; Professor Rhoda Reddock, Trinidad & Tobago; Linnette Vassell, Jamaica; Eunadie Johnson, Jamaica & Dominica; Marie- Laurence Lassegue-Jocelyn, Haiti; Georgia Love, Jamaica; Rev Patricia Shererattan-Bisnauth, GUYANA

For further information contact members of the Caribbean Regional Network at:

Joan Grant Cummings, Caribbean DAWN: or (876)342-6940;

Delores Robinson at GROOTS Trinidad & Tobago:

Louise Lana Finikin, SISTREN Collective/GROOTS Jamaica :









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