Women’s Issues

Human Rights Council adopts resolutions on preventable maternal mortality

Action on Resolution on Preventable Maternal Mortality and Morbidity and Human Rights

On September 27th 2012, in a resolution (A/HRC/21/L10) regarding preventable maternal mortality and morbidity and human rights, the Council requested all States to renew their commitment to eliminate preventable maternal mortality and morbidity, including through the allocation of resources and the necessary information and health services addressing the sexual and reproductive health of women and girls. The Council also requests States to give renewed emphasis to maternal mortality and morbidity initiatives in their development partnerships and cooperation arrangements. It calls upon United Nation agencies to provide technical cooperation and assistance to States to support the implementation of the technical guidance. Finally, the Council requests the Office of the High Commissioner to prepare a report on how the technical guidance has been applied, to be presented to the Council at its twenty-seventh session, and requests the Secretary-General to transmit the technical guidance to the General Assembly as a contribution to the review of the realization of the Millennium Development Goals.

Human Rights Council holds Panel Discussion on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the empowerment of women

On September 20th 2012, the Human Rights Council held its annual discussion on integrating the human rights of women throughout the United Nations system with a focus on economic, social and cultural rights and the empowerment of women.

In opening remarks, Bacre Ndiaye, Director of the Human Rights Council and Special Procedures Division of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, said considerable progress had been seen in advancing women’s rights worldwide, in education, employment and legislation.  However, these were still not on a substantive equal basis with men and a lot remained to be done to ensure their enjoyment.

Maria Soledad Cisternas, Expert from the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, in brief opening remarks, indicated that the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was mainly concerned about women suffering from difficulties and disabilities, who represented around 50 per cent of this category.  She called for aid to be provided to non-governmental organizations so that they were able to participate in the debates of the Council on such issues.

Leilani Farha, Director, Member of the International Network on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and Executive Director of Canada without Poverty, said that women suffered disproportionately and therefore in order for different human rights mechanisms to ensure a substantive equality approach to women and housing, the Council should develop a substantive understanding of the meaning of equality.  The Council could consider establishing a gender focal point to ensure a more systematic approach to the integration of gender in its work.

Magdalena Sepulveda Carmona, United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, said she worked closely with women’s organizations to look at the different impacts of policy on men and women and how women’s poverty was entrenched and exacerbated. Further efforts must be made in all reports to integrate the gender perspective in analysis, communication and recommendations.  States should specifically include gender in the work of all Special Procedure mandate holders and harmonization between United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations was noted as a challenge to be addressed.

Fatima Duarte, President of the Portuguese Commission for Citizenship and Gender Equality, said it was easy to conclude that in spite of the progress seen in the reduction of inequalities, this burden was a great obstacle to women.  She suggested to the Human Rights Council that more work should be done on the right to work and social security, and in the Universal Periodic Review gender pay gaps and parental leave schemes should be considered, with both parents considered equally.

Moez Doraid, Director, Coordination Division, United Nations Women, said the new post-2015 development agenda and framework should recognize gender equality as a central component; be based on human rights; include a separate set of targets and indicators on gender equality; integrate accountability measures; drive new data collection on gender equality; reflect all forms of inequality and present data disaggregated on the basis of several factors; and include women’s voices and aspirations.

Pregs Govender, Deputy Chair, South African Human Rights Commission, said that South Africa had made important human rights commitments in its Constitution, national laws and international obligations; those had often been undermined by international and national trade choices, with devastating impact on the rights of women and gender equality.  The political will of a Government was key to advancing the human rights of its citizens.  Governments must also address policy fragmentation and incoherence and its impact on gender inequality.

In the discussion, speakers said that the integration of a gender perspective must take into account the interdependence of all rights.  No country could claim total equality.  What were the greatest challenges the United Nations faced in integrating gender and how could Member States help?  Speakers encouraged the Council not to ignore the situation of vulnerable women, including those belonging to minority groups.  Early marriage continued to affect many girls as young as nine-years old.  Violence against women, including rape as a weapon of war, remained one of the most insidious challenges.

Participation of GICJ at Human Rights Council Sessions

Human Rights Council - 35th regular session (6 June - 24 June 2017)

Human Rights Council - 34th regular session (27 February - 24 March 2017)

Human Rights Council - 33rd regular session (10 September - 30 September 2016)

Human Rights Council - 32nd regular session (13 June - 1 and 8 July 2016)

Human Rights Council - 31st regular session (29 February - 24 March 2016)

Human Rights Council - 30th regular session (14 September - 2 October 2015)

Human Rights Council - 29th regular session (15 June - 3 July 2015)

Human Rights Council - 22nd special session on the human rights situation in Iraq in light of abuses committed by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant and associated groups - 1 September 2014:

Human Rights Council - 21st special session on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem - 23 July 2014:

Human Rights Council - 26th regular session (10 - 27 June 2014):

Human Rights Council - 25th regular session (3 - 28 March 2014):

Human Rights Council - 24th regular session (9 - 27 September 2013):

Human Rights Council - 23rd regular session (27 May - 14 June 2013):

Human Rights Council - 22nd regular session (25 February - 22 March 2013):

Human Rights Council - 21st regular session (10 - 28 September, 5 November 2012):

Human Rights Council - 19th regular session (27 February - 23 March 2012):

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