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NHRIs showcase their work to bolster women’s rights

Graphic: NHRI participants at the side event

NHRIs from different parts of the globe have participated at a special side event at the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

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National human rights institutions (NHRIs) representing different parts of the globe have described a broad suite of initiatives they have undertaken to advance the rights of women and girls at a special side-event at the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

The well attended side-event – held on 15 March 2016 and co-sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Germany, Australia, Morocco, New Zealand and Chile – sought to demonstrate the value of NHRI participation in the Commission on the Status of Women.

It forms part of the current NHRI campaign – led by the APF, in partnership with the International Coordinating Committee of National Human Rights Institutions – to secure independent participation in the work of the UN body dedicated to promoting gender equality.

Commissioner Karen Gomez-Dumpit, from the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines, spoke of the Commission's current national inquiry on access to reproductive health services, as well as its gender ombuds mandate.

Othman Boucetta of the Moroccan National Human Rights Council presented the outcomes from their groundbreaking report on gender equality and in Morocco, which generated widespread public debate, especially on inheritance laws.

The Council had also been advocating for Morocco to ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, Mr Boucetta said.

Olga Ege, representing the Danish Institute of Human Rights, highlighted the popular and timely online "Human Rights Guide to the Sustainable Development Goals" that her NHRI had recently published.

Each of the issues raised by the NHRI speakers are directly relevant to the mandate and concerns of the Commission on the Status of Women, said Pip Dargan, APF Gender Focal Point, who chaired the side event.

Graphic: Participants at the side event

Speakers representing the governments of Australia, Germany and Chile expressed their support for the work of independent NHRIs to promote and protect women's rights and advance gender equality.

Representatives from UN Women and the United Nations Development Programme provided additional comments to the discussion. Also in attendance were representatives from the NHRIs of Australia, Canada, Korea and New Zealand. Photos and updates from the side-event were tweeted using #nhri.

In addition, a number of NHRIs that were not able to travel to New York contacted their governments to urge them to support the inclusion of a statement recognising the value of independent NHRI participation in the 'Agreed Conclusions' of CSW 60.

These combined efforts resulted in significant endorsement for NHRIs in the CSW 60 Agreed Conclusions:

OP9. The Commission recalls General Assembly resolution A/RES/70/163 and encourages the Secretariat to consider how to enhance the participation, including at the 61st Session of the Commission, of national human rights institutions fully compliant with the Paris Principles, where they exist, in compliance with the ECOSOC rules of procedure.

In coordinating the advocacy campaign at CSW 60, the APF worked in close cooperation with ICC representatives, other regional NHRI networks, individual NHRIs, governments and key NGOs, most notably the International Service for Human Rights.

The 60th Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women was held from 14-24 March 2016. Women's empowerment and its link to sustainable development was the priority theme for this year's meeting.

Date: 28 March 2016

Image credits

  1. NHRI participants at the side event - APF/Joel Sheakoski
  2. Participants at the side event - APF/Joel Sheakoski