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Are borders only georgaphic? A case study of whether framing of women’s rights as human rights is successful at the domestic level
Unformatted Document Text:  Framing women’s rights as human rights 10 Historically, equal rights were written in the constitution of the Soviet Union but were hardly enforced. Thus, countries of the former U.S.S.R. are rather comfortable pointing out that such rights exist. For example, the governmental reports of Russia, Belarus, Moldova, and Georgia stated that women in those countries are guaranteed equal rights with men (United Nations, 2001). However, in practice women’s rights are often violated, but no indication or explanation to that is provided in the reports (Women Action 2000, 2000). This problem has also been indicated in several publications produced by international NGOs in relation to countries of the former U.S.S.R. For instance, the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF) pointed out in its report, that “all these [former Soviet Union] countries enshroud women’s rights in the myth of formal equality, claimed as a fait accompli, but rarely if ever enforced” (IHF, 2000). At the same time, NGOs point out that governmental reports often proudly describe women’s right to receive education and health services, and demonstrate impressive statistics on women with higher education (37% for women in Georgia, United Nations, 2001). The result of these high numbers can be explained by the Soviet past of these countries where everyone was guaranteed a free education and higher education was free for those who could pass the exams. Women were actively encouraged to get higher education (IHF, 2000). However, the governmental reports have not discussed problems in such critical areas as women and health and women and education. In addition, governments have not participated in the working groups on these issues at Beijing. For instance, the working groups on education, media, economy, and environment did not include any of fifteen countries of the former U.S.S.R., and only three out of those fifteen countries were participants in the working group of women and health (Women Action 2000, 2000).

Authors: Tsetsura, Katerina.
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Framing women’s rights as human rights
10
Historically, equal rights were written in the constitution of the Soviet Union but were
hardly enforced. Thus, countries of the former U.S.S.R. are rather comfortable pointing out that
such rights exist. For example, the governmental reports of Russia, Belarus, Moldova, and
Georgia stated that women in those countries are guaranteed equal rights with men (United
Nations, 2001). However, in practice women’s rights are often violated, but no indication or
explanation to that is provided in the reports (Women Action 2000, 2000).
This problem has also been indicated in several publications produced by international
NGOs in relation to countries of the former U.S.S.R. For instance, the International Helsinki
Federation for Human Rights (IHF) pointed out in its report, that “all these [former Soviet
Union] countries enshroud women’s rights in the myth of formal equality, claimed as a fait
accompli, but rarely if ever enforced” (IHF, 2000).
At the same time, NGOs point out that governmental reports often proudly describe
women’s right to receive education and health services, and demonstrate impressive statistics on
women with higher education (37% for women in Georgia, United Nations, 2001). The result of
these high numbers can be explained by the Soviet past of these countries where everyone was
guaranteed a free education and higher education was free for those who could pass the exams.
Women were actively encouraged to get higher education (IHF, 2000).
However, the governmental reports have not discussed problems in such critical areas as
women and health and women and education. In addition, governments have not participated in
the working groups on these issues at Beijing. For instance, the working groups on education,
media, economy, and environment did not include any of fifteen countries of the former
U.S.S.R., and only three out of those fifteen countries were participants in the working group of
women and health (Women Action 2000, 2000).


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