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Monday, March 8, 1999 Published at 21:45 GMT


World: South Asia

Net links women across the world

Russian women make the most of their holiday to go on a march

Women around the world are being brought together with a global video conference to mark International Women's Day.

In the video, which is being streamed live on the Internet by the UN, women discuss their experiences of rape, domestic assault, forced prostitution and harassment in the workplace.

The UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, said these and other forms of violence against women cut across religious and regional boundaries.


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Discussions will also focus on traditional practices such as female circumcision, which UN figures say account for two million victims a year in Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and several African and Middle Eastern countries.

The video, A World Free of Violence Against Women, will link five cities: Strasbourg, Mexico City, Nairobi, Delhi, and New York.

It will give human rights activists, government representatives, academics, and ordinary women whose lives have been affected by violence a chance to talk directly to UN decision-makers.

Many of the women taking part have already used their personal experience of violence to change policies or inspire grass roots initiatives.

The UN Development Fund for Women, Unifem, has also been sponsoring a "virtual working group" for Internet-users, which will be fed into the video conference.

Taleban attack Women's Day

The Taleban Movement in Afghanistan is another focus of criticism on International Women's Day.


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Their policies - which include forbidding women from working in public, except for a small number in the medical sector, and banning education for women and girls - have been widely condemned by the international community.

But the Taleban have responded by saying the marking of International Women's Day is a sign that the West has not given full rights to women, whereas in Afghanistan women are respected according to Islamic law.



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Internet Links


International Women's Day - United Nations

Women's Human Rights - Unifem

History of International Women's Day

'A flower for the women of Kabul' - IWD - EU

Live Stream of global video conference

Join UN Internet Working Group on women and violence


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.




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