UN Human Rights Council 43rd Session February 2020


As a participant of all four  UN World Conferences for Women, in Mexico City 1975, Copenhagen 1980, Nairobi 1985 and Beijing 1995, I have been privileged to follow the progress in solving the plight of women. Each Conference gave us incentives for further action. Women have been more accepted as integral to the sustainable development goals.


The Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action adopted in 1995 set strategic objectives and actions for the advancement of women and the achievement of gender equality in  several critical areas of concern. If only meagre progress,  at least awareness has been achieved concerning many of the objectives (now SDGs). Gender-based violence, women’s economic empowerment and gender equality have become priority issues as well as the violation of women’s human rights under the name of cultural tradition. Without Gender Equality (Number 5 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals) none of the SDGs will be achieved.


One of the areas, which has regressed, are the media with the enhanced power to present, create and manipulate through the new technology. The no limits-principle has also meant erasing  the rules of good conduct in the media. My organisation the International Council of Jewish Women is highly aware of this.


With the decline of journalism to be replaced by pseudo-individualism,  conservative and set images of women are reappearing more frequently and the change from object to subject has  not fully materialised. The new technology is as a rule created and managed by men.


The regression  in the media constitutes a real and concrete danger to the development of women towards full equality. Global and regional institutions seem unable to set standards against this negative development. This area of concern as well as the other SDGs all need an urgent call for action in the UN and its agencies, civil society and NGOs.


Thank you for your attention.

The Crocus Project is an Irish initiative whereby HOLOCAUST EDUCATION TRUST IRELAND,  HETI provides yellow Crocus bulbs for young people aged 11 years and older to plant in memory of the 1.5million Jewish children who perished in the  Holocaust and thousands of other children who were victims of Nazi atrocities. The yellow flowers recall the yellow star of David that Jews were forced to wear under Nazi rule. The Crocus blooms around the end of January, in time for Holocaust Memorial Day (27 January).

The Crocus Project is a tangible way to introduce young people to the subject of the Holocaust and to raise awareness about the dangers of racism and discrimination. The
children’s involvement in learning about the Holocaust, planting the bulbs and watching the flowers grow, encourages learning about tolerance and respect. HETI provides an information pack to assist teachers in educating about the Holocaust.
The Crocus Project has grown since2005 when 6,000 Irish pupils participated. In 2018/19, 1,398 schools and 93,616 students from 12 European countries (Bulgaria,
Croatia, Czech Republic, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia), participated in The Crocus Project. Over 14years, a total of 638,000 individual students have planted crocus bulbs. We hope increasing numbers of countries will join The Crocus Project each year until the whole of
Europe participates in it and more than 1.5million crocuses will bloom.
Schools participating in The Crocus Project can use the Facebook Crocus Club group to post messages, share photographs and swap stories of their experiences of involvement in The Crocus Project. This platform connects students, teachers, and communities across Europe..