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Gender Perspective in the UN Special Procedures

September 17, 2013
The example of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence

Last week, the Human Rights Council held its annual discussion on gender integration in its work and an interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on truth, justice, reparation and non-recurrence.

The annual discussion focused on civil society’s contribution to the integration of a gender approach in the work and mechanisms of the HRC. Mr. Chaloka Beyani, Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons and Chair of the Coordination Committee on Special Procedures, highlighted the efforts undertaken by special procedure mandates holders to include a gender perspective in their work, as provided in the HRC resolution 6/30.

The afternoon session featured an interactive dialogue with Pablo de GrieffSpecial Rapporteur on truth, justice, reparation and non-recurrence. This session demonstrated how the UN actively integrates a more gender sensitive approach. Grieff presented his annual report to the Human Rights Council including his report on a mission to Tunisia. While member States merely mentioned gender during the dialogue (with the exception of Finland which highlighted the importance of a gender approach), the report of the Special Rapporteur contained many references to the gender aspect of transitional justice

The Human Rights Council holds its sessions in Room XX of Palais des Nations.  Credits: UN Photos/Jean Marc Ferré

The Human Rights Council holds its sessions in Room XX of Palais des Nations.
Credits: UN Photos/Jean Marc Ferré

The SR on Truth and Justice successfully uses a gender approach

In his annual report, the Special Rapporteur noted that truth commissions are paying increased attention to women’s rights. He urged States and other actors responsible for the design of the mandates of truth commissions to ensure that truth commissions continue to dedicate specific attention to women’s rights and adopt a gender approach in the design and functioning of truth commissions.

While we welcome the inclusion of language specifically dealing with women’s rights and gender, Special Rapporteurs should not limit his analysis to the progress made by States and other actors in including women’s rights and gender in the mandate of truth commissions but should identify good practices and promote them.

A close look to the inclusion of gender in specific reports

And that is what the Special Rapporteur did in his report on his mission to Tunisia in November 2012. Pablo de Grieff identified good practices and in particular the fact that nine members out off 15 members of the National Fact-Finding Commission are women.

He also went further in the analysis and identified challenges faced by Tunisia in the establishment and the implementation of a truth commission. One of them is the inclusiveness of truth commissions. In Tunisia, national consultations to set up a truth commission did not include enough women; the Special Rapporteur says that “the voices of women, so crucial in the deliberations of a country on how to move ahead, were not sufficiently represented”.

We welcome the recommendation specifically calling on Tunisia to include women in an inclusive manner in the consultation process. WILPF is actively working on the participation of women in Tunisia and in the rest of the MENA region as part of our MENA Project .

By way of conclusion, we want to highlight that during the interactive dialogue held after the presentation of the report, Member States asked for examples of best practices in establishing truth commissions. No doubt about the inclusion of women in the decision-making process!

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