Statements

Emergency Motions presented to and adopted by EWL General Assembly 2012

The EWL General Assembly on 13 May adopted three Emergency Motions.

EWL condemns detention of “Pussy Riot” activists by Russian authorities

The European Women’s Lobby condemns the detention of Maria Alekhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Ekaterina Samucevich by the Russian authorities for allegedly performing a protest song in a cathedral as part of a feminist punk group ‘Pussy Riot’. The three young women have been charged with "hooliganism", have been remanded in jail, facing up to 7 years criminal punishment. The EWL calls on the Russian authorities to drop the charges of hooliganism and immediately and unconditionally release the detainees ensuring their protection and that of their families.

Political context : The protest song titled ‘Virgin Mary, redeem us of Putin’ was performed by several members of the ‘Pussy Riot’ group with their faces covered by balaclavas. The song calls on Virgin Mary to become a feminist and banish Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin. It also criticises the dedication and support shown to President-elect Vladimir Putin by some representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church. The performance was part of wider protests against Putin and unfair elections in Russia.

Universalism and Olympics

On 25 July 2012 in conjunction with the opening of the London Olympics, a protest will be organised against the Olympics Committee’s failure to respect the principles of equality and neutrality. The presence of the Presidents/or Delegates from the LEF and from National Coordinations would be of major importance. The aim of the protest is to ask for a strict implementation of the Olympic Charter based on universal principles.

Political context: While in the United Nations "cultural relativism" is about to win the battle against universality of rights (*), we should try to save the concept of universal values in a very symbolic international area : the Olympic Stadium.

The fact that the Olympics take place in Europe and that the Olympic Charter is based on universal principles should be considered as a unique opportunity to express our opposition to cultural relativism as far as it challenges fundamental women’s rights.

(*)for instance, this year, for the first time, the 56th CSW was unable to reach consensual conclusions)

EWL calls for full implementation of Beijing Platform for Action and rejects any new conference that would re-open negotiations on agreed language

In light of the increasing world-wide attacks on women’s rights and gender equality, and after the failure of the 56th CSW session to reach agreed conclusions, the EWL must take a very strong stand towards EU institutions, EU member states and the UN to renew their commitments - without any reservations - to the full implementation of the Beijing PFA and other international agreements on gender equality and women’s human rights. Therefore we say no to any conference that would re-open negotiations on agreed language at this time and believe it is crucial to stop all attempts by members and observers reneging on earlier commitments to women’s rights.

Political context:
Although we support all opportunities to push for progress, over the last ten years women’s rights have been more and more under attack by conservative movements on the basis of safeguarding "traditional values" at the expense of human rights and fundamental freedom of women. It resulted in the shameful absence of agreed conclusions at the 56th session of the CSW and in the Rio+20 draft outcome document numerous references to women’s rights have been deleted or bracketed by many different countries and the Vatican. Therefore we believe any re-opening of agreed language from the Beijing PFA or any international agreements on women’s human rights as it would be risky and regressive.

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