A resolute voice in times of backlash

AWID welcomes the report of the Working Group on Discrimination Against Women (DAW) on the causes of deprivation of liberty. 

We commend the Working Group on its bold and sustained attention to structural forms of discrimination and the impact of interlocking systems of oppression, and for their unflinching focus on patriarchy as underlying cause.

Whether it be:

  • Women and girls confined to the home or deprived of their rights to free movement and self-determination, justified in the name of ‘complementarity’ or ‘guardianship’;

  • Women Human Rights Defenders monitored and criminalized for their work challenging fundamentalisms, authoritarianism, and extractivism; 

  • Women who are migrants, indigenous, or racial or religious minorities - and those who are sexual and gender non-conforming - disproportionately targeted for policing and control; or

  • Deprivation of women and girls’ liberty arising from systems of economic inequality

Today our fundamental right of bodily autonomy is profoundly threatened, and a fixation on controlling women and girls’ bodies and lives is a common thread amongst the rising far right - a central preoccupation for diverse fundamentalisms, fascisms, white supremacy, corporate power, and neo-colonialism. 

We must reject these anti-rights ideologies that promote hate, control and inequality - that instrumentalize culture and religion, appropriate human rights language, and threaten multilateral systems in order to foster impunity and violate rights - and unite to defend gender justice and the core principle of the universality of rights.

Over the past 9 years the pioneering work of the DAW Working Group has been critical to further issues of women’s human rights at the Council and beyond; a resolute and essential voice in this time of backlash. We stress our strong support for the mandate, and call upon States to ensure its renewal and to reaffirm their commitment to cooperate with the DAW Working Group in a united effort to protect, promote and fulfil women’s equality and gender justice. 

It is the time for action, to prove our commitment to women and girls’ human rights. There is no excuse for discrimination.

This statement was delivered by the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) at the 41st session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, June 27, 2019.