Published on 2 April 2024

Crif - #NYC2024: Crif participates in the French ministerial delegation to the UN CSW

The UN Commission on the Status of Women – CSW was held in New York from March 11 to 22, 2024. Crif was part of the French delegation led by Minister Aurore Bergé and was able to attend the various events organized by Member States and civil society organisations.
The 68th Commission on the Status of Women - CSW68 of the United Nations (UN) brought together all member countries for sessions dedicated to the status of women and their rights throughout the world.
Like every year, a French delegation went to the CSW. Minister Aurore Bergé was keen to bring together French civil society organizations mobilized on the subject of women's rights and their applications. The President of Crif Yonathan Arfi and the person in charge of international affairs and civil society issues, Marie-Sarah Seeberger, were invited to take part in this delegation.
Since October 7, 2023 and the Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel, Crif has alerted and raised awareness among public authorities and the French government about sexual violence committed in particular against Israeli women.
In December 2023, Crif led a delegation to Israel made up of NGOs and members of civil society. Crif was then keen to suggest that feminist and women's rights organizations take part in the trip. Many had refused the invitation, out of reluctance at best, out of conviction at worst.
Céline Bardet, founder and president of the French NGO We are not Weapons Of War (WWoW), accepted and went to Israel.
Beyond a trip to the south of the country and to the localities affected by October 7, and meetings with survivors of the terrorist attacks, a panel was dedicated to the issue of sexual crimes and rape as a weapon of war.
When we returned to France, Céline Bardet's interventions were particularly well-publicized, in a context where the words of Israeli women were systematically questioned.
A few weeks later, Crif invited Cochav Elkayam-Levy, the president of the Israeli Civil Commission on Crimes Committed by Hamas against Women and Children, to France. Crif then organized several political and association meetings.
Cochav notably met Minister Aurore Bergé as well as a delegation of women parliamentarians.
A few weeks later, Aurore Bergé announced that she wanted to offer a side event during the CSW on the subject of sexual crimes against women in armed conflicts. She then asked the NGO We are not Weapons Of War (WWoW) to lead this side event.

“I listen to you, I believe you, I protect you”

On March 11, France held its side event at the UN, in New York, under the aegis of the minister and the NGO WWoW.
Following the minister's opening remarks, UN Special Representative Pramila Patten outlined key points from her October 7 report on sex crimes.
Céline Bardet then brilliantly introduced the subject, recalling that, everywhere, at all times, women were the first victims in armed conflicts. She highlighted the injustice with which Israeli women victims had been treated by feminist organizations around the world. Céline recalled the rule that must apply to everyone: “I listen to you, I hear you, I believe you.”

Several women then spoke: Erika Veloza, from GENFAMI, Hala Alkarib, from SIHA Network, Anastasiya Nenka, from the Women’s Information Consultative Center, Anne-Gabrielle Heilbronner, from the Women’s Forum. The audience was also able to hear the courageous testimony of Mildred, a woman from Zimbabwe, and her daughter Vimbaim, born from her rape.


Cochav Elkayam-Levy also spoke, welcoming Pramila Patten's report, recalling the seriousness of the sexual crimes committed on October 7 in Israel and alarming the catastrophic situation of women still held hostage by Hamas.
This French side event was extremely well attended and demonstrated the minister's unfailing involvement in women's rights and the essential place of women's voices throughout the world.
During its participation in CSW68, Crif also attended a session of the UN Security Council dedicated to the presentation of the report of Special Rapporteur Pramila Patten on sexual crimes of October 7.
The President of Crif also participated in a working meeting with the entire delegation on France's strategic recommendations on the issue of the status of women.
Crif is very grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in the French delegation to the UN CSW and continues to be mobilized for women's rights and respect for the words of victims, whoever they are.