UNITED NATIONS- A UN policy-making body agreed upon a declaration Friday urging an end to violence against women and girls despite concerns from conservative Muslim countries and the Vatican about references to women's sexual and reproductive rights.
Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Libya, Nigeria and Sudan, along with Honduras and the Vatican, expressed reservations about the declaration of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, but did not block adoption of the 18-page text.
While the declaration of the commission, created in 1946 for the advancement of women, is non-binding, diplomats and rights activists say it carries enough global weight to pressure countries to improve the lives of women and girls.
"People worldwide expected action, and we didn't fail them. Yes, we did it," Michelle Bachelet, a former president of Chile and head of UN Women, which supports the commission, told delegates on Friday after two weeks on negotiations on the text.