Various supranational human rights bodies have cancelled or limited meetings in response to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) assessment of the global risk posed by the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the increasing number of travel restrictions imposed by national governments. [NGO CSW; HRC Bureau Meeting; WHO Press Release: Feb 28] Civil society’s participation has been hardest hit, most notably by the decisions to reduce the 64th session of Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) from two weeks to one day, and to cancel all side events at the United Nations Human Rights Council’s ongoing session. [NGO CSW; France24; VOA] Some human rights monitoring bodies and civil society organizations have also reminded States of their human rights obligations in the context of preventing the spread of coronavirus. [ACHPR Press Release; OHCHR Press Release; Amnesty International] On its webpage, the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, for one, encouraged participants in its March session to use videoconferencing to participate remotely. The human rights bodies’ decisions to cancel or modify meetings come after a February 28 letter from the United Nations Secretary General António Guterres.
Category Archives: Commission on the Status of Women
In another effort to both curtail international human rights oversight and advance a regressive view of reproductive rights, the United States Department of State indicated in late March 2019 that it would reduce its financial support for the region’s human rights bodies, which have urged States to repeal laws that criminalize abortion without any exceptions. [Washington Post; PAI] U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo announced that the U.S. would reduce its regular contribution to the Organization of American States (OAS), a regional intergovernmental organization with 35 Member States, in an effort to target the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the Inter-American Commission of Women (CIM). See U.S. Department of State, Remarks to the Press (Michael R. Pompeo, 26 March 2019); Letter from Lankford et al., U.S. Senators, to Michael Pompeo, U.S. Secretary of State, United States Senate (Dec. 21, 2018).
The announcement follows other recent efforts by the U.S. to undermine international human rights protections or oversight, including revoking the International Criminal Court prosecutor’s visa to enter the U.S., and efforts to weaken the recommendations on women’s reproductive health and rights during the 63rd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women. [Reuters: Prosecutor; The Guardian] Read more
In recent years, international advocacy has contributed to increased awareness of forced sterilization as a human rights violation, including as a result of our work at the International Justice Resource Center (IJRC). Around the world, healthcare providers and others continue to sterilize people without their informed consent, most often targeting those who are Indigenous, living with HIV, are persons with disabilities, or who experience discrimination on other grounds. Just this month, IJRC advanced our partners’ advocacy on this issue at the 63rd Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), and Human Rights Watch published a report on involuntary sterilization of transgender persons in Japan. The past three years have also seen judgments from regional human rights courts on forced sterilization and important statements from other bodies. This post details the results of advocacy before regional and United Nations human rights bodies, summarizing the growing body of recommendations, statements, and judgments that more fully define forced sterilization as a human rights violation and guide governments in addressing this harmful practice.
During the month of September 2016, several supranational bodies will review States’ implementation of their treaty obligations, regional judicial bodies will conduct hearings, and four UN special procedures mechanisms will conduct country visits.
Four United Nations treaty bodies will hold interactive dialogues with more than 20 States regarding their implementation of treaty obligations related to economic, social, and cultural rights and to the rights of persons with disabilities, children, and migrants and their families. The UN Human Rights Council and two working groups under it will conduct sessions as well. The UN General Assembly will host the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants. In addition, UN independent experts will visit Israel and Palestine, Kuwait, Azerbaijan, and Mexico to assess the country situations with regard to violence against women, human trafficking, the intersection of human rights and business enterprises, and human rights defenders, respectively.
The European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) will hold a session on State compliance with employment related rights. The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) will hear a case on freedom of expression and the right to a fair trial, and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) will complete its consideration of cases against Ecuador, Guatemala, and Colombia during its 55th Special Session. The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR) will hold its third ordinary session of the year.
During the month of March 2016, ten supranational human rights bodies will be in session. These include three regional human rights monitoring bodies: the African Court on Human and People’s Rights (AfCHPR), the European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR), and the Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACtHR). Additionally, seven United Nations mechanisms will meet in Geneva, Switzerland: the Human Rights Council; the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW Committee); the Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (CESCR); the Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED); the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD); the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW); and the Human Rights Committee. State representatives will receive expert reports and discuss current human rights concerns during the Human Rights Council session, while the six UN treaty bodies in session will review States’ implementation of the respective treaties, consider individual complaints, and discuss best practices. Video of the public portions of these sessions is available on UN Treaty Body Webcast or UN Web TV. Read more
The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is holding its 59th session from March 9 to 20 in New York. During this session, representatives of United Nations Member States, civil society organizations, and United Nations bodies will gather to discuss issues affecting women and the measures necessary to empower them. In this vein, they will be assessing the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BDPfA), which was adopted 20 years ago and “is considered the most progressive plan for achieving gender equality.” [OHCHR] There are 8,600 representatives and 1,100 non-governmental organizations registered to participate in this year’s session, and 166 States have submitted national reviews evaluating the progress they have made toward achieving gender equality. [UN Women]
The CSW will also present its future organization and working methods, and adopt a political declaration commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women, where the BDPfA was adopted.
In follow-up to the International Justice Resource Center’s most recent training, Protecting Women’s Rights: International Law & Advocacy, we are pleased to announce that the video recordings and summary report are now available online.
The conference, held at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco on June 19, 2014, featured some of the most distinguished human rights and women’s rights practitioners in the world speaking on a variety of topics, including international and regional human rights mechanisms, domestic violence, multiple discrimination, and the human rights of LGBTQ women. The speakers addressed various advocacy channels and strategies, from the local level to the universal level. Though the training was focused on providing the information most relevant to women’s rights advocates and other human rights defenders in the United States, the information is highly relevant to those working in other countries.
The six sessions addressed:
- women’s human rights under international law;
- the United Nations human rights mechanisms – including the treaty bodies, special procedures, Universal Periodic Review, Human Rights Council, and Commission on the Status of Women – and the opportunities for advocacy around women’s rights, such as in the case of domestic workers in the United States;
- the Inter-American System for the protection of human rights and the evolution of its doctrine on women’s rights;
- discrimination against women as a human rights violation;
- violence against women, with a special focus on the Jessica Lenahan (Gonzales) case); and
- advocacy on sexual and reproductive rights, with a special focus on the Center for Reproductive Rights’ “Nuestro Texas” campaign and the Karen Atala Riffo case.
Each of the videos can be viewed below, or watched or downloaded on IJRC’s Vimeo page.
IJRC has also published a summary report of the training, which synthesizes the information and insights provided by each speaker. This report, as well as the background materials, agenda, speaker bios, and other information, are available in a public Dropbox folder, which is accessible at the following shortened link: www.bit.ly/
More than 75 people gathered last Thursday for Protecting Women’s Rights: International Law & Advocacy, a full-day conference for advocates and lawyers organized by the International Justice Resource Center (IJRC). The training, held at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco, featured some of the most distinguished human rights and women’s rights practitioners in the world speaking on a variety of topics, including international and regional human rights mechanisms, violence against women, gender discrimination, and sexual and reproductive rights. Though the discussion covered a range of advocacy strategies and women’s rights issues, speakers and participants underscored six key insights relevant to women’s rights defenders in the United States and around the world. Read more
Training Registration Now Open: Protecting Women’s Human Rights through International Law and Advocacy
WHEN: Thursday, June 19, 2014
WHERE: UC Hastings College of the Law, San Francisco, California
WHO: Experts in international human rights law and women’s rights will share insights and examples with advocates and attorneys whose work involves violence against women, discrimination against women and girls, and reproductive health. Confirmed speakers include: Katrina Anderson (Center for Reproductive Rights), Connie de la Vega (University of San Franscisco School of Law), Krishanti Dharmaraj (IANGEL), and Caroline Bettinger-Lopez (University of Miami School of Law).
WHY: This training is designed to enable lawyers and other advocates to incorporate human rights advocacy strategies into their work, whether on behalf of individual clients or to bring about changes in policy and practice.
Registration is now open for this full-day conference focused on the international norms and advocacy channels available to help lawyers and advocates address critical women’s rights issues, including: gender and other forms of discrimination, violence against women, and reproductive rights. Visit the registration page for additional details.
If you would like to attend, but cannot afford the registration fee, please contact us about volunteering or download the Scholarship Application and submit it to email@example.com.
58th Commission on the Status of Women Closes with Commitment to Pursuing Gender Equality, Women’s Human Rights in Post-2015 Development Agenda
The Commission on the Status of Women held its 58th Session from March 10 to 21 at the UN Headquarters in New York, bringing together States and civil society organizations to discuss the priority theme of “challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls.” The discussion both centered on, and informed revisions to, the Agreed Conclusions adopted by the Commission on the Status of Women on the final day of the session. Read more