ARF Reps Attend Socialist International Council Women’s Bureau

YEREVAN (ARF press office)–Representatives of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) participated in Socialist International’s (SI) Council meeting in Johannesburg–South Africa–hosted by the African National Congress (ANC).

On November 15 and 16–leaders and delegates from 100 member parties and organizations from 70 countries–gathered to discuss the Council’s main theme–"The Progressive Agenda: priorities for our movement today."

The gathering of the Council–SI’s highest decision-making body during the inter-Congress period–underlined the commitment of SI to address the concerns of the African people and SI’s strong presence in the continent.

Representing the sole party from the South Caucasus–ARF Bureau member and the organization’s representative in Socialist International Mario Nalbandian–and ARF Armenia member Maria Titizian–also participated in the three panel debates. Titizian partook in Socialist International Women’s Bureau meeting: "Women Speak out on The UN Millennium Development Goals," which took place November 12 and 13.

The Women’s Bureau addressed UN development goals–its effects on the eradication of poverty and hunger–and examined means to developing global partnerships. At the heart of discussions was the dire need to promote gender equality and empower women to occupy center stage in the development of the human race. The meeting also reviewed increases in gender-based violence–from sexual abuse to systematic rape–forced pregnancies–and continuous violation of women’s rights. Titizian had the opportunity to present ARF Armenia’s political and social undertakings to empower the women of that country.

On the eve of the Council–SI’s leadership conducted a working meeting with the President of the Republic of South Africa and of the ANC–Thabo Mbeki–to discuss SI’s Africa priorities–evaluate the outcome of US elections–and review current Mid East developmen’s.

The plenary session of the Council opened with SI President Antnio Guterres’s address that defined certain tasks and priorities for social democracy.

On Monday–November 15–in the afternoon and on Tuesday–November 16–in the morning–the panel discussions took place with a broad representation of participants. On each subject addressed by the panels–the Council agreed on specific resolutions reflecting the outcome of the debates. The Council also addressed the urgent and critical developmen’s in the Middle East and the serious situation in Cte d’Ivoire.

The SI Secretary General gave a report on the activities of Socialist International and presented an outline of the organization’s work for the forthcoming months.

"Our task–as we adjourn here today–is to return to our towns and cities–to our countries–and to our regions–to pursue with ever greater vigor and confidence the program of progressive action we have deliberated on," stressed ANC Secretary General of the Kgalema Motlanthe in closing the meeting.

On the sidelines of the Council–the ARF representatives were both able to hold numerous meetings with members of various organizations to review issues of concern to Armenia and Armenia’s.

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