U.S. Delegation Felt "Ambushed" at U.N.

Envoy Evaluates Conference on Women

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NEW YORK, MARCH 14, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The United States felt “ambushed” last week by a myriad of unrelated amendments that U.N. delegations introduced to a resolution aimed at women’s economic progress.

So said Ellen Sauerbrey, a U.S. ambassador who attended the sessions of the Commission on the Status of Women. The two-week-long event came 10 years after the 1995 World Conference on Women, held in Beijing.

She acknowledged that the U.S. delegation ended up withdrawing the resolution that was designed to promote economic advancement.

The unrelated amendments that were attached to the resolution included the introduction of “reproductive rights” by South Africa and New Zealand, and “de facto equality” by Cuba, Sauerbrey said.

The former ambiguously promoted the idea that childless women have more possibilities to profit, while the latter called for absolute equality between the sexes, such as in hiring practices, which Sauerbrey called “unrealistic.”
The resolution, nevertheless, was adopted.

There was some consolation for the U.S. delegation. European Union delegates sought the removal of such words as “sexual” and “prostitution” from a resolution entitled “Eliminating the Demand for Trafficked Women and Girls for all Forms of Trafficking,” but the United States was eventually supported by 50 countries. The resolution passed.

“It is essential that wealthy countries, the nations to which women are trafficked, take responsibility,” Sauerbrey said.

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