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China co-sponsors discussion on gender equality at UN human rights session

GENEVA, June 24 (Xinhua) -- China's Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva Wu Hailong on Wednesday said China co-sponsored a discussion on gender equality during a Human Rights Council (HRC) session.

The "Beijing+20: Gender Equality" side-event co-sponsored by China, Mexico, Denmark and Kenya is part of the HRC's 29th session taking place from June 15 to July 3 this year.

It serves to take stock of progress made since the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BDPA) in 1995 while identifying remaining challenges.

Panelists, which included a number of NGOs, applauded the progress made since the BDPA was adopted 20 years ago, and highlighted the continued relevance of BDPA's guidelines in today's gender equality agenda.

"The platform for action is the defining and fundamental policy framework, envisioning a world where women can enjoy their rights and freedom on an equal footing with men," said Wu, adding that "gender equality is a key factor in eliminating poverty, improving education and health, and achieving sustainable development."

Zhao Hongju, deputy director general of international department under All China Women's Federation, warned that despite the significant progress made in terms of women's economic empowerment, education, participation and decision making, "greater efforts and resources are needed."

Zhao also stated that China's most urgent priority is development, which will help women living in rural areas access rights to which they are entitled.

An official from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) highlighted how "the vision of the platform for action is inspiring," lauding the inclusion of women's rights as human rights.

The official also called on all countries to ratify the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

Panelists further condemned the protracted use of gender stereotypes and violence against women endemic to all societies, and highlighted the importance of including women's rights and gender equality in the post-2015 sustainable development goals agenda.

"No country has achieved full gender equality in all spheres of life," said Kenya's Secretary of Justice Maryann Njau-Kimani, adding that political will on a national, regional and global level is needed to address the remaining gaps in gender equality.

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