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UN GASS, UN Lobby with Yung-Chung Kim, New York, June 2000

The Need for Change

Making a Difference


The Need for Change

Family violence, poverty eradication, health, education and economic empowerment - such are the issues at the top of Dr Tan's list. And at the heart of these issues lies the soul of discrimination. "If there is no discrimination, there will be equal opportunity and equal access to everything for everyone in the world," says Dr Tan.

Education, Dr Tan believes, is the key to change. Along with knowledge, comes enlightenment and the ability to understand that every caste, gender and race working in harmony would mean equality and in turn, better lives, for all.

One way to realise such change, Dr Tan believes, is for the remaining countries of the UN to accede to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Getting countries to sign the Optional Protocol will encourage such change as it gives passage for the Committee to receive and consider complaints from individuals or groups. This ensures that all issues brought to light receive due attention and a fighting chance that a solution be found. "The Optional Protocol doesn't take away the country's sovereignty per se," she reiterates, "It simply offers the aggrieved party who has had no legal recourse, and the state the opportunity to be heard in an environment which is fair to both parties."

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