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Dilma irritated by criticism at the Women Leaders' Summit

06/22/2012 - 15h22

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LAURA CAPRIGLIONE
SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT IN RIO DE JANEIRO

President Dilma Rousseff was openly criticized by former prime minister of Norway Gro Harlem Brundtland and the feminist movement for submitting a Rio+20 document that did not directly address the issue of reproductive rights.

I don't understand how president Dilma Rouseff [in her initial speech at the Women Leaders' High Level Summit] mentions reproductive rights while this issue does not appear in the document," said Brundtland, considered to be the mother of the term "sustainable development," the central theme of Rio+20.

Dilma asked to speak a second time (which was not planned) to point out that the document was not written to please any specific sector.

"Just two decades ago, what we had was bilateralism and hegemonic positions. The multilateralism of Rio+20 requires me to act as a representative of different positions. If all of my positions are not there, it's because I have to respect diversity. And this diversity means retreating a little bit and moving forward a little bit," she said with a dry tone of voice, displaying some irritation.

Around 30 feminists with banners invaded the room where access was restricted.

The banners-"The rights of women cannot be negotiated" and "For reproductive rights''-were opened after the intervention of the former prime minister of Ireland, Mary Robinson, who expressed concern about the regression of the document in relation to reproductive rights.

The Rio+20 document used "reproductive health" instead of "sexual and reproductive rights"-an expression that was coined during the International Conference on Population and Development (Cairo, 1994) when, for the first time, there was a favorable position in the U.N. towards "sexual and reproductive rights.

According to the feminists, "reproductive rights" refers to the access to contraceptive methods and sexual education, in addition to the health dimension in and of itself.

Translated by ANNA EDGERTON

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