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UN Commission adopts agreement on gender equality, reproductive health

Participants of the Sixth Asian and Pacific Population Conference (APPC) [official website] hosted by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) [official website] declared Sunday that gender equality and reproductive health are indispensable to sustainable development. Ministers and senior officials from 47 countries adopted a comprehensive Asian and Pacific Ministerial Declaration on Population and Development [PDF], which affirms and endorses policies of non-discrimination, of ending violence against women and of universal sexual and reproductive rights. The declaration will also serve as the region's input for review by the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) [official website], which will be conducted by the UN General Assembly [official website] in 2014.

The UN and others have been working around the world to promote gender equality and reproductive health [JURIST backgrounder]. The UN has been particularly concerned with violence against women, and in March more than 130 UN member states agreed to adopt new measures [JURIST report] to prevent and eliminate violence against women and girls. Gender inequality has also manifested in countries' criminal justice systems, and in 2011 the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers [official website] Gabriela Knaul [official profile] urged countries to integrate gender perspectives into judicial procedures to allow women's perspectives to challenge the "traditional notions of judging and judicial authority."

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