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"59th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW59)"
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Girlsĺ rights are human rights. Girls must be allowed to grow up to become women with all their rights promoted and protected by law on an equal basis with men and boys throughout their lives. Comprehensive, non-discriminatory legal frameworks based on international human rights law and standards are the necessary foundation for gender equality.

In 1995, in the Platform for Action adopted in Beijing, 189 governments agreed that laws that discriminate against women and girls undermine equality and pledged to ôrevoke any remaining laws that discriminate on the basis of sex.ö Yet 20 years later, inequality, even in its most overt form, has not been vanquished. In 2000, the General Assembly reviewed the Platform for Action and established a target date of 2005 for the revocation of discriminatory laws. This target was far from met.

2015 marks both the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action and the target date for achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, Goal 3 of which includes promotion of gender equality. As womenĺs rights, human rights, development and civil society organizations, we know that without good laws and access to justice women and girls have no formal recourse to protect and promote their rights and cannot fully participate in society. Legal equality, at a minimum, gives women and girls an equal opportunity to build up their capabilities and realize their hopes and dreams. Legal equality is an essential component to meeting current and future internationally agreed upon sustainable development goals for the greater inclusion and prosperity of all.

Although there has been progress around the world in removing discrimination against women and girls from the law, too many sex discriminatory laws remain in force and new discriminatory laws are still being adopted. In anticipation of 59th session of the Commission on the Status of Womenĺs review of governmentsĺ implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action, Equality Nowĺs updated report, Words and Deeds -- Holding Governments Accountable in the Beijing +20 Review Process (at www.equalitynow.org), highlights a small sampling of these laws with regard to violence against women and girls, personal status, economic status, and marital status that still remain in force, denying women and girls the fundamental right to equality.

Together, we urge each member state to continue in their efforts to repeal or amend all sex discriminatory laws as soon as possible. Taking action now would improve the lives of women and girls and their communities as well as demonstrate respect for the commitment made in Beijing and renewed in 2000 at the Special Session of the General Assembly, and in the many other treaties, declarations, and statements recognizing and affirming sex equality as a fundamental human right. Governments should also commit to promoting both gender equality and the rule of law with comprehensive goals, targets and indicators throughout the new post-2015 sustainable development framework.

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