3 September 2008
Annual NGO session at UN; Universal Declaration of Human Rights After 60 Years
The Annual Meeting of NGOs normally takes place in NYC at the UN. This year to commemorate the 60th Aniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights the meeting was shifted to Paris, the location of the signing in 1948.
The three day session was held at UNESCO headquarters in Paris.
Ban Ki-Moon, Sec-Gen of the UN spoke from NYC UN headquarters. He was there in preparation for the openig of the UN session. In past years Kofi Anan attended and spoke. Anan came to see the NGO groups as a source of political support. He was also pressured by many of the NGO groups.
A highlight of these sessions are the workshops where NGOs; themselves lead the sessions. Over 40 sessions were held.
At the Wednesday afternoon session "Woman's Right to Quality Jobs at Equal Pay" speakers emphasized and quoted the Declaration's own words which made those rights UNIVERSAL.
Mariq Pimentel head of Women's International Democratic Federation lead the workshop and made clear that the WIDF; an organization that has been around longer than the declaration, is fighting for those rights around the world. Pimentel spoke from its European Manifesto, "What Women Want in Europe; Issued by the WIDF European Regional Office. (June 2008)
Skevi Koutra KouKouma; a Vice President of WIDF spoke from her prepared text on the same issues. "The protection of the workers gains and contemorary demands of the class labor movement it is not ony an issue of the women's movement," She pinpointed the "antilabour and neoliberal policies of International organizations such as the IMF; World Bank; World Trade Organizations; etc." She is also a member of Parliament from Akel-Left Parety-New Froces; Cyprus. (This is the equivalent of the Communist Party of Cyprus)
Frank Goldsmith; who represents the World Federation of Trade Unions at the UN, said that the WFTU is in complete agreement with the WIDF on these matters. Based in Athens, the WFTU, has a worldwide organization of labor activists fighting for workers rights; a especially fight for the economic and social rights of women workers.
Al Marder head of the International Associatin of Peace Messenger Cities and the World Peace Council also emphasized the economic rights that the Universal Declaration put forth.
It is fitting that the WIDF statements include in their message a quote from the great United States working class and Communist leader; Clara Zetkin "Thus women's work is not only a cheap form oflabor, it also cheapens the work of men and for that reason it is double appreciated by the capitalists, who craves profits."