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Human Rights Council Starts Soon!

June 6, 2014

Next Tuesday the HRC session of June will start with many exciting initiatives for WILPF. These are a few of the topics you will be hearing from us:

Civilian possession of Firearms and Gender-based Violence
Flyer for Guns and Gender Based Violence

Flyer for Guns and Gender Based Violence

A resolution will be tabled by Peru that will highlight the impact of the possession of firearms by civilians on human rights. This will be one of WILPF’s main focus during the session.

WILPF has long been underlining that militarism contributes to the widespread of small arms that are leaked among civilians. We have warned constantly that these affect women, they contribute to gender-based violence inside and outside the household and they have an indirect impact on many other women’s human rights and their autonomy to make decisions without violent threats. This was underlined in a recent publication by Sharna De Lacy, a member of WILPF Australia, that you will be able to read soon.

We will further be running a side event called Guns and Gender Based Violence with our disarmament and MENA programmes to raise awareness on these linkages on 12th June. Keep watching this page to hear more about it!

Transnational Companies and Human Rights

We introduced to you in March an initiative to have a binding instrument (a treaty) that would regulate a mechanism to ensure accountability and redress when human rights violations are perpetrated by transnational companies.

Indeed, there are numerous examples in which transnational companies violate human rights with impunity. Because  of the international nature of their work, it is extremely difficult for victims of their abuses to know how they can seek justice and to actually access the justice system that might be in a different continent many thousand miles away.

WILPF has co-signed a statement by the Treatymovement and we are also drafting a statement that will give a more in-depth look into the consequences for women, with the precious collaboration of our sections in the USA and in Nigeria.

Violence Against Women

This year the annual resolution on violence against women will be focusing on how violence against women affects many other human rights of women. We have been advocating for this approach a lot in the past!

Our paper on Civilian Possession of Firearms and its Impact on Women’s Rights is taking this approach and wants to link these two topics. Indeed, domestic violence is a constant threat for many women that prevents them from enjoying the right to public participation, freedom of movement or their sexual and reproductive rights, just to name a few examples.

The same goes for insecurity in the streets and the threat of gender-based violence that might prevent women to seek economic empowerment or political participation and that clearly restrains their freedom of movement.

Syria

Unfortunately, Syria is very much still on the table as one of the places suffering the most serious human rights violations. A delegation of civil society women from Syria will be attending with WILPF and will be also speaking at a side event.

Our advocacy will once again insist on the necessity to have civil society women participate in the peace process and the need for an immediate stop of the violence.

We will have a look at the many implications that this conflict is having on the lives of women.

The “Protection” of the family

Another resolution will be tabled to protect the family. WILPF is highly worried about the implications that his resolution can have on domestic violence, the rights of women, the rights of children and the rights of LGTBI, just to mention a few issues.

Protecting the family can be tricky, protecting it from what? The unity of the family has long been used as an excuse to hide domestic violence, women and girls being bitten up, raped or even killed by their husbands, fathers, partners or other family members has been seen as an internal matter of the family resulting in total impunity.

There is a high risk that the text will not acknowledge that families have multiple forms and that they must be founded on the principle of equality of its members. In many cultures we consider 3 or 4 generations to be part of the core family whereas in others only the last two generations are considered to be that core. Brothers, sisters and family in law might be more or less involve and may live under the same roof or not. Many families have a single mom or dad, children may be biological or adopted or both, families may have two dads or moms or not have children at all.

Should we protect the family or the members therein and defend their right to enjoy their family life with equality and freedom from violence? Many issues such as the need to allow for work life and family life conciliation, poverty, LGBTI rights, could be included in this resolution if the objective really is to protect the members of the family and their right to enjoy it in peace.

And many other issues!

From discrimination against women to Ukraine to Killer Robots, we will engage in as many topics as possible to keep you informed.

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