UN Resident Coordinator Frederick Lyons announced in Tehran on Tuesday that in order to promote awareness on women's issues, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) is in the process of establishing a Women's Information Dissemination Center in Iran, IRNA reported.
The UNDP has been assisting the Center for Women's Participation in its activities to promote awareness on women's issues, Lyons told a large number of participants at a ceremony marking International Women's Day 2004 at Banu Cultural Center.
He further said that to achieve the above-stated objective, a Women's Information Dissemination Center is in the process of establishment that will serve as a focal point where immediate issues relating to the situation of women in society can be addressed.
He said that the UN Population Fund (UNFPA)continues to promote the Beijing and Cairo agendas on gender issues and rights in Iran, adding that it is helping to mainstream gender concerns into development planning.
A joint project between the Center for Women's Participation and UNFPA has mobilized increased support in the campaign for women's rights, including their reproductive rights, he said.
Lyons also pointed out that UNFPA's support for poor women and girls, especially women-headed households, has continued within the framework of joint projects with the Literacy Movement Organization and the Center for Women's Participation.
"In the Islamic Republic of Iran, the United Nations Country Team is committed to working with the Government, civil society, the private sector and other partners to build capacity and support strong leadership to respond to gender issues at all levels," he said.
He said that the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), working on its vast humanitarian program for Afghan and Iraqi refugees in Iran, is committed to ensuring that women refugees' rights are respected.
He announced that UNHCR has launched a new initiative for 2004 that will give extra focus to the needs of refugee women. It is also working to meet the challenges of raising awareness and protecting the rights of refugee women.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Lyons said "WHO research has also demonstrated that every day, 1,600 women die due to complications related to pregnancy or childbirth. Ninety-nine percent of these deaths, most of them preventable, occur in developing countries. This must be turned around."
Referring to the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women as a tool for the empowerment of women, Lyons expressed hope that Iran would eventually affirm its commitment to this important convention which was recently ratified by the Majlis but has not yet been approved by the Guardians Council.
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