27 March 1997 Edition

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Women's rights as human rights

National and community based women's organisations, human and civil rights groups from around the world came together in Dublin last week for a conference on women's rights in Ireland and internationally.

They addressed issues such as freedom from violence and abuse, the right to reproductive choice, freedom from sexual harassment and exploitation, the right to economic justice, freedom from all forms of discrimination and persecution, the right to a freely determined sexual orientation and freedom of cultural identity. At the Edmund Burke Hall, Trinity College a wide-ranging debate took place. Ursula Barry (ICCL) introduced Mary Lawlor, Director of Amnesty International (Irish section) who spoke on Women's Human Rights abuses worldwide. She said Roisín McAliskey's ``dignity as a human being is being violated by the conditions of her detention''.

International guest speakers were Shireen Huq, a founding member of the women's human rights organisation Naripokkho in Bangladesh, Charlotte Bunch, feminist and organiser for over two decades, a founder of Washington DC Women's Liberation and of Quest: a Feminist Quarterly, and currently director of the centre for Women's Global Leadership of Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA, Florence Butegwa, activist lawyer, scholar and women's human rights advocate from Uganda, a founder and former co-ordinator of the regional network, Women in Law and Development in Africa (WILDAF).

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