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NEW YORK (25 October 2012) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Heiner Bielefeldt, today urged States to consistently respect, protect and promote the human right to freedom of religion or belief in the area of conversion.

GENEVA (18 October 2012) –In many countries of the world, adultery continues to be a crime punishable by severe penalties, including, in the most extreme instances, flogging, death by stoning, or hanging. Adultery laws have usually been drafted and almost always implemented in a manner prejudicial to women. Provisions in penal codes often do not treat women and men equally and establish harsher sanctions for women, and in some countries, rules of evidence value women’s testimony as half that of a man’s.

The Human Rights Council (the Council) is the main body of the United Nations dealing with human rights. It is mandated, among other things, to promote universal respect for the protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all. The Council is also tasked with addressing situations of violations of human rights, including gross and systematic violations, and make recommendations thereon.

*  At the current session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, Russia has tabled a resolution seeking to promote “traditional values” as a basis for human rights. 

On National Women's Day, UN Women congratulates the Government and people of Tunisia on their leadership in women's empowerment and gender equality.Calls on the Tunisian people and Government to continue championing gender equality in the constitutional revision process.

Nous, les organisations et individus du monde entier soussignés, nous sentons vivement préoccupés et déçus devant le fait que la Commission de la condition de la femme des Nations Unies (CSW) ait échoué à adopter les conclusions concertées à l’occasion de sa 56ème session. Cet échec est un coup dur porté au travail, à l’énergie, au temps et aux coûts considérables que les femmes partout dans le monde ont investi dans la 56ème session de la  Commission de la condition de la femme. La promotion des droits humains des femmes ne doit pas être mise en suspens en raison de batailles politiques entre États. Nous disons NON à toute réouverture des négociations sur les accords internationaux déjà établis relatifs aux droits humains des femmes, et nous appelons l’ensemble des gouvernements à faire preuve de leur engagement pour la promotion, la protection et le respect des droits humains et des libertés fondamentales des femmes. 

نحن الموقعون أدناه، مؤسسات وأفراد من جميع أنحاء العالم، نشعر بالقلق وخيبة الأمل أن لجنة الأمم المتحدة المعنية بوضع المرأة فشلت في اعتماد قرارات متفق عليها في دورتها 56 إن هذا الفشل يمحو العمل، والطاقة، والوقت، والتكاليف التي استثمرتها النساء من جميع أنحاء العالم استثمرت في الدورة 56 للجنة وضع المرأة. فلا ينبغي أن يتم تأجيل النهوض بحقوق الإنسان للمرأة بسبب المعارك السياسية بين الدول. ونحن نرفض إعادة فتح المفاوضات بشأن الاتفاقات الدولية القائمة بالفعل في مجال حقوق الإنسان للمرأة، وندعو جميع الحكومات لإثبات التزاماتها لتعزيز، وحماية، وإعمال حقوق الإنسان، والحريات الأساسية للنساء.

Farida Shaheed is a sociologist with over 25 years’ research experience on women’s issues (including rural development, women and labour and legal rights), especially in Pakistan and South Asia. She is a long-time UNRISD collaborator, and joins us with an interview on the occasion of International Women’s Day. Her article on politics, religion and gender in Pakistan has been published in a special issue of Cahier du Genre entitled “Religion et politique: Les femmes prises au piège”. In this interview, she speaks to UNRISD about International Women’s Day, laws on women’s rights in Pakistan and some of the challenges in implementing them.

We, the undersigned organisations and individuals across the globe, are alarmed and disappointed that the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) failed to adopt agreed conclusions at its 56th session. This failure has diminished the considerable work, energy, time and costs that women all over the world invested on the 56th session of the CSW.  The advancement of women’s human rights should not be put on hold because of political battles between states.  We say NO to any re-opening of negotiations on the already established international agreements on women’s human rights and call on all governments to demonstrate their commitments to promote, protect and fulfill human rights and fundamental freedoms of women. 

Expressing “deep regret” that the Commission on the Status of Women had failed to adopt the agreed conclusions that traditionally mark the conclusion of its annual sessions, the head of UN-Women today urged delegations to move past that setback and press ahead with efforts to ensure that rural women — the focus of the current session - would be fully empowered to reach their potential.

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