UN related

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.

In a groundbreaking achievement for upholding the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the United Nations Human Rights Council (the Council) has passed a resolution on human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity (L9/rev1). The resolution, presented by South Africa along with Brasil and 39 additional co-sponsors from all regions of the world, was passed by a vote of 23 in favour, 19 against, and 3 abstentions. A list of how States voted is below.

Special Rapporteur has been appointed by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to investigate the situation in Iran. When asked how this would effect the situation in Iran, human rights lawyer Shadi Sadr told Arseh Sevom that the reports of previous Special Rapporteurs (Galindopole and Copithorne), appointed before the establishment of the UNHRC, had a positive effect on the conditions in the country, particularly on those of political prisoners.

Thank you Mr. President. I am delivering this statement on behalf of Shirkat Gah - Pakistan, Baobab for Women’s Human Rights –Nigeria, IWRAW Asia Pacific, Partners for Law in Development – India, and the Violence is Not our Culture campaign. The Vienna Declaration and Program of Action affirms that “the human rights of women and of the girl-child are an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of universal human rights”. It prioritises the full and equal participation of women in all dimensions of their lives. It calls for the eradication of all forms of discrimination on grounds of sex as a priority objective of the international community.  It considers that acts of gender-based violence, including those resulting from cultural prejudice, are incompatible with the dignity and worth of the human person, and must be eliminated. Coupled with the fact that 186 members States of the UN have also ratified the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, States are legally obligated to ensure that the social causes of inequality and discrimination against women are eliminated, including those based on social and cultural patterns of conduct that are premised on the inferior or subordinate status of women in family and in public life.

The UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders recently produced this report on the the situation of women human rights defenders. In response, the Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition, of which MADRE is a member, produced this statement that was read at the Human Rights Council.  

Letter from Civil Society Organizations to State Representatives: Excellency, We are writing to you to strongly urge your government to actively engage in the negotiations on the resolution on “combating defamation of religions”/”combating religious hatred and denigration of religions” at the 16th Session of the UN Human Rights Council (“the Council”) that is currently taking place.  Specifically, we urge your government to vote against any resolution which refers to “defamation of religions” or similar terms such as “vilification” and “denigration” of religions and religious symbols, and support a resolution which omits such terms and focuses on freedom of expression, freedom of religion and non-discrimination in ways that properly reflect international human rights standards.

L’ONU-Femmes est pourvu depuis mercredi dernier, le 10 novembre, d’un Conseil d’administration formé de 41 membres. Ces élections ont été organisées par les 54 pays membres du Conseil économique et social des Nations Unies (ECOSOC). Les sièges ont été attribués de la façon suivante : dix pays d’Afrique, dix pour l’Asie, quatre pour Europe orientale, cinq pour l’Europe occidentale, six pour Amérique Latine et les Caraïbes et six pour les pays donateurs. 17 des 41 membres jouissent d’un mandat de deux ans et les 24 autres d’un mandat de trois ans. La création de cette entité indépendante avait été louée par l’ONU. Toutefois, les compétences virtuelles, pour le moment, jusqu’à l’entrée en fonction de l’institution en janvier prochain, sont déjà remises en question par les controverses autour de la présence de l’Arabie Saoudite au sein du Conseil d’administration au titre de pays membre bailleur de fonds.

La Résolution 1325 interpelle tous les Etats membres des Nations Unies, toutes les parties prenantes lors des conflits armés et tous les acteurs impliqués dans le processus de désarmement et de paix à aborder les questions relatives à la paix et à la sécurité en prenant en compte la dimension genre. C’est la première mesure portant spécifiquement sur les femmes que le Conseil de Sécurité des Nations Unies a adoptée depuis sa création.

We are writing to ask that the UN general assembly condemn stoning as a crime against humanity and issue an emergency resolution calling for an end to the medieval and barbaric punishment as well as the immediate release of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani and others sentenced to death by stoning.

“Nor can we stay quiet when people are denied fundamental rights – whatever their race or faith or age or gender or sexual orientation. It is unfortunate that laws that criminalise people on the basis of their sexual orientation exist in some countries. They should be reformed”.United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Around the world, people face human rights violations because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, including killings, criminal sanctions, torture, rape, arbitrary detention, violations of freedom of expression, and discrimination in accessing economic, social and cultural rights. On Friday 17 September, in an event hosted in Geneva, a high-level panel will consider how these urgent matters can best be addressed by the Human Rights Council and other human rights mechanisms.

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