The IPF (Institute for Family Policy) and 18 other organizations from around the world — all with UN consultative status presented a report last week at the 51st session of the Committee on the Situation of Women, which is taking place in the United Nations Head Quarters in New York from February 26 to March 10.
The report addresses the situation of female children in various countries, and focuses particularly on the discrimination against them practiced in many countries, including denial of the basic right to be born.
The report reveals that 100 million women are missing from today's world as a result of selective abortion and female infanticide. 80 million of the missing women are due to selective abortions in India and China. And in other Asiatic countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Taiwan, South Korea, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Caucasus (Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia) female infanticide is giving way to selective abortion.
Since these countries contain nearly half of the world's population (3 of the 7 billion inhabitants), these practices have caused gender imbalance at a global level. The consequences of this are not only the creation of "bachelor villages" in India, or the lack of young women to marry in China, says the report, but also the increase in violence, alcoholism, drug addiction and depression, in addition to an alarming increase in rape and trafficking of women at a national and international level.
Lola Velarde, President of the European IPF Network, says "the phenomenon of selective abortion is becoming a new, more silent version of female infanticide, by which female children are denied their most basic of rights, the right to be born, and is also a phenomenon linked to the most unfair gender-based discrimination."
The consequences are already making themselves felt, says the report. They are manifested in increases in violent attack and organized crime, rape and other forms of violence against women. Further manifestations include situations where a number of men share the same wife, the kidnapping and trafficking of female children between neighboring countries, and women being sold for between $50 and $900 (the younger the female, the higher the price). According to UNIFEM information, in Haryana region alone (India), 45,000 female children were sold in 2006.
The report presented to the UN Committee on the Situation of Women recommends:
- Fulfillment of the preamble Convention on the Rights of the Child, which states that "the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth."
- The elimination of any kind of violence towards and discrimination against female children, restating equality of dignity and equal rights for men and women, especially the right to be born.
The Committee to urges governments to adopt a political commitment to:
- "Strengthen existing legislation, or introduce legislation prohibiting female infanticide and selective abortion;
- change any national legislation that considers women as a burden;
- support the initiatives of local NGOs working to promote the birth of female children and their acceptance into the family;
- provide education on equal rights and opportunities in different countries;
- create an environment that favors female children, supporting those families that have them, foster and/or adopt them."