We, women sex workers, were part of the Feminist Organizations Forum and we joined forces with partner associations to develop the following Political Statement.
40 years of the Latin American and Caribbean Feminist Movement in ECLAC
We, as Latin American and Caribbean feminist women, from various indigenous people, Afro-descendants, from the countryside and the city, lesbian, bisexual and trans women; women with disabilities, sex workers, workers from various fields and ages, gathered in Montevideo in the Forum of Feminist Organizations,
In Latin America we have 40 years celebrating Women´s Conferences and we have made significant progress in building our citizenship, but at this time we recognize that the challenges we face are sharpened by a context of inequality and cruelty.
Our region faces deposing democratic setbacks by deposing coups of the citizens’ will and governments that deepen and expand extractive economic models, causing poverty, destroying possibilities of food sovereignty and generating a greater exclusion of women.
The fundamentalist onslaught trying to expand the supposed existence of the «gender ideology» seeks to curb the feminist struggle for equality. The gender perspective is a scientific, analytical and political category, as reaffirmed at previous Women’s conferences, and is an essential conceptual tool to ensure equality and to end patriarchy in our societies.
In Latin America and the Caribbean, most of us live in cities. Quito just adopted the new global urban agenda and we participated with a clear evidence: Women should -but don’t- play a central part in taking decisions in cities.
Parity enriches representative democracy and is essential for the progress towards equality for Latin American Feminism.
This places the democratic system at the center of the transformations, in which substantive equality and non-discrimination to any human being, make the basis for nobody to be left behind.
In our region disability continues to be invisible. Women with disabilities do not have access to health services, education, rehabilitation and employment on an equal footing, nor do they have access to basic functional rehabilitation services.
We as women who defend human rights are under attack and threatened because of the work we do; they constantly attempt to stop our work and intimidate us.
In our region we live in a shamefully permissive culture with many different kinds of violence against women. Naturalized and deeply rooted violence but especially insidious and invisible. We are concerned witnesses of the increase of pregnancies and forced maternity among girls, femicide/feminicide and hate crimes; we are the main victims of institutional violence, street harassment, stigmatization and attacks by the media, discrimination and segregation in our work.
For all this, once again we urge the governments of our region:
• Fulfill the commitments made at the Regional Conference for substantive equality, egalitarian democracy and justice.
• That laws and policies recognize the gender identity of transgender people as an essential step to a fulfilled citizenship.
• That our right to love and to bond emotionally, can be exercised safely. Lesbian and bisexual women are tired of being forced to stay in the closet, the torture and «corrective» rapes to «punish» our sexual orientation.
• Recognize and respect the diversity of our families. No political or conceptual reduction will achieve to change the reality of how diverse we are.
• Stop looking the other way when we die from clandestine abortions. We claim the right to decide about our own bodies, including access to legal, safe and free abortion.
• To ensure access to reproductive health care services, methods of assisted reproduction and to modern contraception, including emergency contraception and implement laws and policies of comprehensive sexuality education.
• Eliminate stigma, discrimination and violence towards women living with HIV to ensure the their rights, comprehensive care and access to services, treatment and concrete actions for the elimination of vertical transmission.
• That girls, adolescents and young people are fully recognized as a subject of law, to promote and ensure their full political and social participation of their autonomy.
• To take effective action to eliminate the discrimination, marginalization and exclusion that women with disabilities face and commit to remove architectural, urban, communicational and especially the attitudes and everyday barriers they must face.
• Put an end to trafficking and sexual exploitation of girls, adolescents and women and to understand that human trafficking and sex work are not the same, we demand a frame of guarantees for women engaged in voluntarily and autonomous sex work.
• Categorically reject religious interference in the state and public policy. Secularism must be a guiding principle of democracies to guarantee the exercise of our rights.
• To guarantee for women human rights defenders a secure an enabling environment: that respects and promotes the right to defend human rights!
• Constituting inter-agency mechanisms, involving women’s organizations, committed to monitor and implement the New Urban Agenda.
• Recognize the structural inequality that affects the Sub-Caribbean region in socio-economic and environmental and racial terms and implement comprehensive policies and economic measures to reverse the situation.
• That the fiscal policy has a gender perspective. This involves progressive collection schemes that recognize differentially the contribution of women and public spending with a gender perspective.
• Monitor the socio-environmental impacts of the concentration of wealth, and its impunity; if there is a region in the world that can and should do it, it’s ours.
• Implement the 2030 Agenda with the highest standards of human rights, recalling that the development agenda brings the challenge of articulating the social, economic and environmental dimensions: nothing without welfare, justice and a healthy environment.
• Heed the urgent call to take action to eradicate violence against women. It is time to secure our lives, to prevent further assassinations across the continent. Our voices will continue claiming #NiUnaMenos, #VivasNosQueremos
• Remember that it is not enough to recognize our contribution, we need resources and sustainability for our actions. Three years later, The Autonomous Regional Fund for Gender Equality, remains an elusive aspiration. It is urgent for that to comply.
Finally, feminists in the region express our solidarity with women, girls and adolescents in Colombia as well as an entire nation struggling for peace after more than 50 years of armed conflict. We believe that there are two imperatives: that soon a new agreement shall be signed and not to waste the political opportunity to contain the highest possible standards of truth and justice. Peace is an essential element for the full exercise of citizenship, as well as gender equality is essential to achieve this last one.
Yesterday, at the opening of this conference, Alicia Bárcena echoed one of our historic demands, which we reaffirm today:
Never again, nothing about us, without us!
Feminist Organizations Forum XIII CRM
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