UN body says gender inequality remains problem across cultures

Posted on : 2008-11-12 | Author : DPA
News Category : World

London - Gender inequality remains widespread and deep-rooted in many cultures despite manyfold declarations in support of women's rights, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) said in a report published Wednesday. The report, presented in London, said development strategies which were sensitive to cultural values could reduce "harmful practices" against women and promote human rights. "Human rights are everybody's work, and being culturally sensitive and understanding the context is everybody's business," said Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, Executive Director of UNFPA. The report suggests that partnerships between UNFPA and community-based institutions and leaders could promote human rights and end their abuses, such as female genital mutilation. "Culturally sensitive approaches seek out creative solutions produced within cultures, and work with them. Communities have to look at their cultural values and practices and determine whether they impede or promote the realization of human rights. "Then, they can build on the positive and change the negative," said Obaid. Values and practices that infringe human rights can be found in all cultures, said the report, entitled Reaching Common Ground: Culture, Gender and Human Rights. The report emphasized the importance of a culturally sensitive approach not only to development, but also to humanitarian assistance. "Culture is not a wall to tear down. It is a window to see through, a door to open to make greater progress for human rights," said Obaid.

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