UN Human Rights Council, 26th Session
High Level Panel on Preventing and Eliminating Child, Early and Forced Marriage
23 June 2014

The present report focuses broadly on developments in the United Nations regarding violence against women, its causes and consequences, over approximately 20 years. The objective is to provide a snapshot view of these developments, including the expanding conceptualization of the theme of violence against women, its causes and consequences. The analysis of continuing challenges is underpinned by the work of the mandate as identified through thematic reports, country missions and participation in conferences and meetings.

In 2012, a two-part study on the state of forced marriage was undertaken by Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) for its program on culturally-justified violence against women, supported by the Women’s Empowerment and Leadership Development for Democratisation (WELDD) consortium. This report is the documentation of that study and was subsequently revised as WLUML’s submission to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) for its report on preventing and eliminating child, early and forced marriage.

السيد الأمين العام للأمم المتحدة، ومكتب المفوضية السامية لحقوق الإنسان: أوقفوا عقوبة الرجم الآن

إن عقوبة "الرجم" ليست مجرد بقايا من الماضي، فهذا العقاب الوحشي لا يزال موجودا في أربعة عشر بلدا حول العالم.

في كردستان العراق عام 2008، هربت عزيز (16 عاما) للزواج من رجل ضد رغبة والديها، والتمست المساعدة من مصلحة إنهاء العنف المنزلي خوفا على حياتها، لكن المصلحة أعادتها لوالدها، وقامت عائلتها برجمها حتى الموت.

There is less than a week before the draft resolution will come up for adoption. 

The following States have co-sponsored the resolution so far:
Armenia, Argentina, Australia, Canada, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, EU, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay, Jordan, Lebanon, Vanuatu, Bosnia Herzegovina, Albania, FYR Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, USA,  New Zealand.

But push back continues on several aspects of the text, including:  

  • the inclusion of references to gender
  • explicit reference to WHRDs working to promote sexual and reproductive health, reproductive rights and matters related to sexuality
  • several States  are pushing for the inclusion of more references to the 'responsibilities' of human rights defenders.

Over 70 African civil society organisations have signed an open letter to the Africa Group urging them to support all aspects of the resolution

We need to keep urging States to support the resolution! 

It is commonly assumed that Muslim women are frustrated in their pursuit of property rights because those rights are limited under the Islamic legal system, they lack agency in the face of oppressive family and social structures and have an absence of conviction in their articulation of gender rights.

As we speak, a resolution is being negotiated at the General Assembly in New York on the protection of women human rights defenders (WHRDs).  This is the first time women defenders have been the focus of a draft resolution at the United Nations. Such an initiative is the result of activists’ work over many years raising awareness about the challenges, risks and attacks faced by women human rights defenders and their specific protection needs.  The resolution would provide much needed recognition of WHRDs and their work, and would be an important tool in urging States to create enabling environments in which WHRDs can carry out their activities, free from intimidation, threats or attacks.

Introduction
 
1. Many countries are witnessing a significantly disproportionate rate of increase of women being incarcerated, compared to their male counterparts. Globally, women and girls constitute a minority of the prison population as a whole, and it is estimated that they represent between 2 and 9 per cent of the total population. Throughout the world, women prisoners face similar human rights violations 
relating to the causes that led to their imprisonment, the conditions they face in prison and the consequences of their incarceration.

III. Analysis and Conclusions

83. Several respondents found that some traditional values were closely related to human dignity and human rights, provided the basis and background of universal rights, and supported their promotion and protection. Examples were provided as best practices in the application of traditional values while promoting and protecting human rights and upholding human dignity by both States and other stakeholders.

84. Some respondents were of the view that traditional values could be invoked to justify the status quo and undermine the rights of the most marginalized and disadvantaged groups. They noted that traditional values were at times misused to justify human rights violations especially with regard to freedom of belief, women’s rights, sexual orientation and gender identity. It was underlined by many that traditional values could never be used to justify violations of universal human rights or as a basis for discrimination in any form.

This report is a comprehensive statistical overview of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) in the 29 countries where the practice is concentrated. Analysisof the data reflects current perspectives on FGM/C, informed by the latest policy, programmatic and theoretical evidence. The purpose of the report is to generate an in-depth understanding of FGM/C that can be applied to the development of policies and programmes, with the ultimate aim of eliminating the practice.

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