Published on 12th July 2017
Kesaya Baba, VSA’s Programme Manager – Solomon Islands, was chosen to attend the 61st session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 61) at the UN in New York earlier this year.
Kesaya attended wearing her other hat, as a member and former Chair of the Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights (YCSRR). The theme of the UN Women-hosted event was “Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work”. The outcome statements of this annual event are not legally binding but there is a moral obligation for states to abide by them.
Kesaya, along with three other YCSRR members, hosted a parallel event approved by the CSW NGO Committee, organised youth advocacy and lobbied governments negotiating the outcome statement.
The parallel event was titled “Buzzwords and Hush Words: Economic Empowerment and Abortion, Sex and Sexuality”. It brought together a diverse panel of young advocates to discuss sex work, abortion and LGTBQI rights in relation to economic empowerment. Kesaya was also selected to present at a UNFPA event about adolescent sexual and reproductive health (SRHR) in humanitarian settings. UNFPA has a project called “Safe Birth Even Here” which focuses on women giving birth in humanitarian settings, and they wanted to shine the spotlight on adolescents, who are often overlooked. Kesaya spoke about how to address key issues for adolescent SRHR in these settings.
Kesaya says the whole event was inspiring, and left her with a key takeaway: “Labour is increasingly becoming more informal and women, girls and migrants are highly represented in the informal sector, meaning their rights are at risk of being eroded.
Young people are mobilising right from the UN to local levels to call on governments to respect, protect and fulfil all our human rights.”