Oct 26, 2011

Seanad Motion


Gendercide

Gendercide involves the killing of baby girls before and after birth simply on account of the lower social status of girl children. It is perhaps the most widespread human rights abuse in the world today; it's a particular problem in China and India but occurs also in parts of Europe.

Today a motion was put forward in the Seanad raising the issue of Gendercide:




1. News Release on Gendercide debate in Seanad

Gendercide a direct attack upon human dignity causing massive social upheaval

Senator Rónán Mullen tables a Private Members' Motion this Wednesday on gendercide - the practice of selective abortion, infanticide and fatal neglect of baby girls after birth. The motion notes that gendercide is one of the most horrific and widespread human rights abuses present in the world today and calls on the Government to bring diplomatic pressure to bear on states such as India and China that promote or tolerate the practice.

"Gendercide is motivated by economic and social factors leading to prejudice against baby girls," Senator Mullen says. "It is by far and away the most widespread form of violent anti-female discrimination present in the world today. An estimated 160 million girls have been killed either before or after birth over the last three decades through gendercide, mainly in India and China but increasingly also in Europe."

"Only two weeks ago the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted a resolution and recommendation condemning the practice of sex-selective abortions. The Parliamentary Assembly warned of the social consequences of prenatal sex selection, namely population imbalances which lead to serious human rights violations such as forced prostitution, trafficking for the purposes of marriage or sexual exploitation, and massive social unrest."

"Although the scale of the problem has been comprehensively documented at UN level, in US Congressional reports as well as by reputable publications such as The Economist, Time and Newsweek, our Government has to yet to make a clear statement against gendercide, either domestically or internationally," Senator Mullen says.

"It's time for our Government to make a clear statement that it does not in any way tolerate gendercide and that it is committed to raising this issue in international fora. The Government must also ensure that recipients of Irish foreign aid do not promote gendercide."

Expressing the hope that the Government would depart from its usual practice of tabling amendments to private members motions in the Seanad, Senator Mullen said there was no reason for the Government to oppose his motion. "This is an issue that unites opinion from across the political spectrum," Senator Mullen said, noting that the Council of Europe's recent resolution was drafted by Swiss socialist MP, Ms. Doris Stump.






2. Private Members' motion on Gendercide

That Seanad Éireann, noting that:
- Gendercide involves the selective abortion, infanticide and fatal neglect of baby girls after birth;
- Gendercide is one of the most horrific human rights abuses present in the world today and perhaps the most widespread form of violent anti-female discrimination;
- The scale of the problem has been comprehensively documented at UN level, in US Congressional reports as well as by reputable journalists in cover story articles in The Economist, Time and Newsweek among others; and that
- Opposition to gendercide unites people with significantly different perspectives on the issue of abortion generally;

Calls on the Government to:
- Bring diplomatic pressure to bear on the governments of various states, and in particular China and India, which either promote Gendercide or tolerate the problem within their borders;
- Raise the issue of gendercide at UN and EU level, with a view to proactively challenging states like China and India to abandon coercive population limitation policies, to repeal laws that reinforce bias against baby girls, and to take steps to counter the negative cultural attitudes towards women that underpin and motivate the bias against baby girls, leading to gendercide;
- Ensure that recipients of Irish foreign aid do not promote gendercide.






3. Government counter-motion/amendment

"That Seanad Éireann, condemning in the strongest terms female infanticide and all other violations of the rights of women and girls,
- commends the Government's firm opposition to such practices and its efforts to combat all forms of gender-based violence;
- endorses the Government's strong support for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls through its Official Development Assistance Programme."

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