Journal of South Asia Women Studies

Declaration on Women of April 14, 2005

Editorial Note by Enrica Garzilli

The e-journal Down of April 15, 2005 reported from the three-day meeting, which Social Watch Asia held recently in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Representatives of the Social Watch from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Korea, Thailand and Tanzania said that governments in Asia have failed to fulfill commitments pledged at the Copenhagen Social Summit, the Beijing Women Conference in 1995, and the Millennium Summit five years ago to ameliorate the lot of people, especially women.

The Social Watch issued the "Angkor Wat Declaration". The declaration noted that Asia remained home to two-third of world's poor - more than half of them women - whose deprivation and vulnerability were further underscored in the recent tsunami tragedy.

It demanded that the United Nations as well as signatory countries to the above covenants should improve the system of governance by enforcing democratic values and changing bureaucratic culture.
The declaration called upon the countries of the region to introduce gender budgeting and auditing systems to ensure that public expenditure responded to different needs of people.
It also stressed the need for recuperating gender parity in education and ensuring women's access to health, employment, and their due representation in business, government and civil society.
It invited the attention of the governments to women's exploitation, which undermined the dignity and survival of women, such as trafficking of women and children, dowry killings in India, honor killings in Pakistan and high suicide rate in China.

A long way to go for Asian women.