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NHRIs to lobby for independent participation at UN women’s body

Graphic: Opening of CSW 57

NHRIs are seeking independent participation rights at the Commission on the Status of Women, as they currently hold with the UN Human Rights Council.

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National human rights institutions (NHRIs) from around the globe will meet in New York in March for the 60th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), the UN's principal policy-making body on gender equality and the advancement of women.

They will continue a campaign, which the APF began in 2009, to lobby for independent NHRIs to participate independently in the work of the CSW.

Unlike at the Human Rights Council, 'A status' NHRIs do not have standing in their own right to participate in meetings of the CSW and can only attend as part of their country's government delegation, if they are invited.

"NHRIs have established a strong record as trusted and legitimate partners to report to international bodies about the human rights situation on the ground," said Pip Dargan, APF Deputy Director and APF Gender Focal Point.

"That's why we will continue to seek independent participation rights at CSW, consistent with the participation rights that NHRIs currently hold with the Human Rights Council," said Ms Dargan.

The International Coordinating Committee (ICC) of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights requested the APF to coordinate the advocacy campaign at CSW 60, which will be held from 14-24 March 2016.

A key goal is to raise awareness among the government delegations attending CSW of the critical role played by NHRIs to promote and protect the rights of women and girls and the enormous value they can bring to discussions of human rights issues at the international level.

This was recognised in December 2015 when the General Assembly adopted a resolution calling for NHRIs to be given the opportunity to contribute independently to the work of different bodies within the UN system in New York, including CSW.

On 15 March 2016, with the support of the Permanent Missions of Australia, Germany, Chile, Morocco and New Zealand, the APF and the ICC will host a side event to demonstrate the value of NHRI participation in CSW.

In addition, NHRIs who are not able to travel to New York will contact their governments and urge them to support the inclusion of a statement recognising the value of independent NHRI participation in the 'Agreed Conclusions' of CSW 60.

In coordinating the advocacy campaign, the APF will work in close cooperation with ICC representatives, its leadership, other regional NHRI networks and individual NHRIs.

"We also have strong support from various States and key NGOs, most notably the International Service for Human Rights," said Ms Dargan.

Date: 26 February 2016

Image credits

  1. Opening of CSW 57 - UN Women/Jeca Taudte, Flickr; http://bit.ly/1KPqn6I