06 March 1998
(Annan/Mideast, Women's Rights) (380) ANNAN WILL TRAVEL TO THE MIDDLE EAST MARCH 19-26 Secretary-General Kofi Annan will visit Egypt, Israel, Lebanon and Syria as well as areas under the jurisdiction of the Palestinian Authority, UN Spokesman Fred Eckhard said March 5. That trip had been planned for February, but was postponed in the light of the Iraq crisis. The original itinerary had included Jordan, but the Secretary General was not able to include that country in the rescheduled trip because of prior commitments on the Jordanian side. "However, the Secretary-General does hope to make a trip to Jordan at the earliest mutually convenient time," Eckhard said. UN DEPUTY SEC-GEN FRECHETTE URGES WOMEN TO RECOMMIT THEMSELVES UN Deputy Secretary General Louise Frechette March 5 urged women to recommit themselves to ensure that the equal rights of men and women as enshrined in the United Nations Charter become a reality. Opening a panel discussion at UN Headquarters commemorating International Women's Day (8 March), Ms. Frechette said that the movement of women's rights was one of the most momentous in the history of humankind. Ms. Frechette said that the relationship between non-governmental organizations and governments was often adversarial and that it needed not be so. She said that achieving the goals of the women's movement required the building of truly global partnership of solidarity, a partnership which came alive at the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights held in Vienna, and the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing. Noting that this year marked the fifth anniversary of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, Ms. Frechette said the Human Rights Conference had been a watershed in the recognition of women's rights as human rights and human rights as women's rights. With the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action, the world saw the first truly comprehensive plan in 12 critical areas of concern to the advancement of women, Ms. Frechette said. She added that non-governmental organizations were instrumental in crafting sections on women's rights in a process which generated a new international sisterhood. There was no going back from the Platform for Action, the Deputy Secretary-General stressed.