This week it has been announced that Australia has won a seat on the UN Security Council starting on 1 January 2013, the entire process of getting this seat took five years and cost $25million.
Australia was one of the founding members of the UN and played a big part in drafting the articles of the UN Charter that deals with the Security Council. We haven’t held a seat on the council since 1985-86 but are still the 12th largest contributor to the UN regular and peacekeeping budgets and currently have 3,500 peacekeeping staff deployed around the globe.
At the moment Federal Foreign Minister Bob Carr is overseeing the process but it is rumoured that Kevin Rudd MP, Federal Member for Griffith is considered highly likely to be offered the posting for a two-year period.
The recent release of the 2012 UN General Assembly report Supporting efforts to end obstetric fistula – Report of the Secretary-General has raised many questions about the validity and research into obstetric fistula (OF) sufferers worldwide with such statements as “obstetric fistula has been eliminated in industrialised countries” not once but numerous times throughout this report.
Whilst the UN first recognized the problem of OF in 2005 in its resolution 60/141 on the girl child and then officially acknowledged OF during the General Assembly in 2007. This was sponsored by 172 States “calling for renewed focus and intensified efforts for eliminating OF” and included the global Campaign to End Fistula.
In 2012 apparently it still hasn’t filtered through that women in developed (industrialised) nations suffer from OF and the numbers are growing. I simply cannot understand how the UN General Assembly can put out a global report that baldly states such inaccurate statements with no basis or research.
FACT: Women do suffer from obstetric fistula in developed nations.
FACT: This occurs through surgical error (ie: 4th degree tears, episiotomy) or Crohns disease.
FACT: Women struggle to get diagnosed and then struggle to find a surgeon who has the experience to do the repair. Some women have to go across the world to find a surgeon to repair them, if they have the money.
FACT: Incontinence has no borders. Urine or feces running down your leg is the same wherever you live.
FACT: Women with obstetric fistulas cannot work because they wear catheters or colostomy bags yet do not qualify for disability payments because it is not a recognized medical condition and is not reported to the World Health Organisation.
So what does this mean for Australians? It means we now have a voice at the UN and gives us some power to make changes affecting not only Australians but others globally suffering from obstetric fistula.
I am now campaigning the Australian government to get the UN to acknowledge the plight of women in developed nations and give these women the recognition they deserve along with sufferers in developing nations. Will you join me?