Human Rights Council (HRC)
The Human Rights Council (HRC) is the key intergovernmental body within the United Nations system responsible for the promotion and protection of all human rights around the globe. It holds three regular sessions a year: in March, June and September. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is the secretariat for the HRC.
The HRC works by:
Debating and passing resolutions on global human rights issues and human rights situations in particular countries
Examining complaints from victims of human rights violations or activist organizations on behalf of victims of human rights violations
Appointing independent experts (known as “Special Procedures”) to review human rights violations in specific countries and examine and further global human rights issues
Engaging in discussions with experts and governments on human rights issues
Assessing the human rights records of all UN Member States every four and a half years through the Universal Periodic Review
AWID works with feminist, progressive and human rights partners to share key knowledge, convene civil society dialogues and events, and influence negotiations and outcomes of the session.
With our partners, our work will:
◾️ Raise awareness of the findings of the 2017 and 2021 OURs Trends Reports.
◾️Support the work of feminist UN experts in the face of backlash and pressure
◾️Advocate for state accountability
◾️ Work with feminist movements and civil society organizations to advance rights related to gender and sexuality.
AWID IN 2015: Building Collective Impact
In 2015 AWID grew and diversified.
We ramped up preparations for the 13th AWID international Forum, focused a lot of energy on the Post 2015 Development Agenda and Financing for Development processes, and continued the core work of our priority areas:
- Challenging Religious Fundamentalisms
- Women Human Rights Defenders
- Economic Justice
- Resourcing Women’s Rights
- Young Feminist Activism
A sneak peak inside the report
- We continue witnessing the rapid breakdown in democracy and democratic institutions, with spaces for dissent shrinking.
- Multiple and concurrent systemic crises (energy, food, finance and climate) continue to deepen inequalities and pose major challenges.
- Corporations are a leading power in determining the development agenda.
- Violence against WHRDs remains an urgent problem.
- Religious fundamentalisms are pervasive and increasingly powerful.
- New forms of online gender-based violence have emerged.
In response, we are moving out of our silos.
Increasingly, women’s rights and other movements worldwide are articulating the systemic and intersectional nature of these and other problems. We are making better connections with the agendas of other social and environmental movements for solidarity, alliance building and collective responses. We are also seeing greater visibility of these movements fighting for justice on the ground.
- For effective strategizing and advocacy, we need facts
- To exchange knowledge and join hands in solidarity, we need a strong online community
- To build our collective power, we need to work together
- To influence international processes, we need to increase our access and voice
- To reposition power we need to give visibility and emphasize the important role that feminist and women’s rights movements are already playing
As at 31st December, 2015 we had:
Read the full report
Notre vision : La justice économique dans un monde féministe
En tant que féministes luttant pour la justice de genre, la paix, la justice économique, sociale et environnementale, nous savons qu'il n'existe pas de recette miracle, mais plutôt un éventail de possibilités qui peuvent faire changer les choses, et qui les font changer.
Cet éventail d’options est aussi diversifié que nos mouvements et les communautés dans lesquelles nous vivons et nous luttons.
Avant de vous présenter quelques-unes de ces propositions féministes pour un autre monde, voici les principes qui encadrent nos propositions :
1. Un développement autodéterminé, du local au global
Nous croyons qu'il ne doit pas y avoir un seul modèle pour tous, et que chacun-e doit avoir le droit de revendiquer et de contribuer à la construction d'un autre monde possible, comme le formule le slogan du Forum social mondial.
Cela inclut le droit de participer à la gouvernance démocratique et d'influer sur son avenir, politiquement, économiquement, socialement et culturellement.
L'autodétermination économique permet aux peuples de prendre le contrôle de leurs ressources naturelles et d'utiliser ces ressources pour atteindre leurs propres objectifs ou pour un usage collectif. En outre, le pouvoir d’agir des femmes dans la sphère économique est fondamental pour atténuer le caractère souvent cyclique de la pauvreté, le déni de l'éducation, de la sécurité et de la sûreté.
2. Les droits, l'égalité réelle et la justice au cœur de l'économie
Le principe de l'égalité réelle est énoncé dans la Convention sur l'élimination de toutes les formes de discrimination à l'égard des femmes (CEDAW) et d'autres instruments internationaux relatifs aux droits humains. Ce principe est fondamental pour le développement et la transformation vers une économie juste, car il affirme que tous les êtres humains naissent libres et égaux.
La non-discrimination fait partie intégrante du principe d'égalité, qui veille à ce que personne ne soit privé de ses droits en raison de facteurs tels que la race, le sexe, la langue, la religion, l'orientation sexuelle, l'identité sexuelle, une opinion politique ou autre, l’origine nationale ou sociale, la fortune ou la naissance.
La dignité inhérente à toute personne sans distinction doit être maintenue et respectée. Alors que les États doivent veiller à l'utilisation d’un maximum de ressources disponibles pour la réalisation des droits humains, le fait d’exiger ces droits et la dignité est un enjeu clé pour la lutte de la société civile et la mobilisation populaire.
3. Une redistribution juste pour tous et toutes, sans monopolisation ou accaparement (le principe d’anti-avidité)
Ce principe, mis en œuvre par les efforts coordonnés visant à transformer les institutions injustes, soutient le rétablissement de l’équilibre entre la « participation » (entrées) et la « distribution » (sorties), lorsque celui-ci est rompu.
Il permet de poser des limites à l'accumulation monopolistique de capital et d'autres abus liés à la propriété. Ce concept est fondé sur un modèle économique qui repose sur l'équité et la justice.
4. La solidarité féministe et inter-mouvements est fondamentale
Pour changer les choses, nous avons besoin de réseaux féministes solides et diversifiés. Nous avons besoin de mouvements qui renforcent la solidarité du niveau personnel au niveau politique, du niveau local au niveau global, et inversement.
Construire le pouvoir collectif grâce aux mouvements permet de convertir la lutte pour les droits humains, l'égalité et la justice en une force politique pour le changement qui ne peut être ignorée.
« Seuls les mouvements sont en mesure de créer des changements durables à des niveaux que la politique et les lois seules ne permettraient pas d’atteindre. »
Pour en savoir plus sur ce sujet, consulter S. Batliwala, 2012 Changer leur monde. Mouvements féministes, concepts et pratiques.
Snippet FEA collaborator and allies Photo 2 (FR)
Maria da Lurdes Fernandes Silva
Ivonne Siu Bermudez
Annual Report 2010
Our 2010 Annual Report highlights the major accomplishments of each of our strategic initiatives during the year.
Along with activity highlights, we include a brief analysis of the impact of our initiatives as well as reflections from our members and partners that further illustrate the relevance of AWID’s work and its connection to broader women’s rights movements.
This interactive document is complete with links to our websites and recent publications with in-depth information on the issues we address in the report.
Alternative framework for economic governance
The current global economic crisis provides stark evidence that the economic policies of the last 3 decades have not been working.
The devastation that the crisis has wrought on the most vulnerable households in the Global North and Global South is a reminder that the formulation of economic policy and the realization of human rights (economic, social, political, civil and cultural) have for too long been divorced from one another. Economic policy and human rights do not have to be opposing forces, but can exist symbiotically.
Macroeconomic policies affect the operation of the economy as a whole, shaping the availability and distribution of resources. Within this context, fiscal and monetary policies are key.
- Fiscal policy refers to both public revenue and public expenditure, and the relationships between them as expressed in the government budget.
- Monetary policy includes policies on interest and exchange rates and the money supply, as well as the regulation of the financial sector.
- Macroeconomic policies are implemented using instruments such as taxation, government spending, and control over the supply of money and credit.
These policies affect key prices such as interest and exchange rates that directly influence, among other things, the level of employment, access to affordable credit, and the housing market.
Applying a human rights framework to macroeconomic policy allows States to better comply with their obligation to respect, protect, and fulfill economic and social rights. Human rights are internationally agreed-upon universal standards. These legal norms are articulated in United Nations treaties including, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).
Article 1 of the UDHR states that, “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”
Although the UDHR was written about six decades ago its relevance is enduring. Many of the ideas address concerns and critical issues that people continue to face globally. Issues regarding inhuman punishment (Art. 5), discrimination (Art. 7), property ownership (Art. 17), equal pay for equal work (Art. 23/2), and access to education (Art. 26/1) are pertinent matters in countries South and North of the equator.
More specifically, States have an obligation under international law to respect, protect and fulfill human rights, including the economic and social rights of people within their jurisdiction. This is particularly relevant now given the financial crisis. In the U.S., regulation is skewed in favor of certain interests. The failure to extend government’s supervisory role in the context of social and economic change is a failure with regard to the obligation to protect human rights.
States should abide by key human rights principles to achieve economic and social rights. Some of the principles have potentially important implications for governance of financial institutions and markets, yet these possibilities have been underexplored.
Economic and social rights have a concrete institutional and legal grounding. Global declarations, international treaties, covenants, and, in a number of cases, national constitutions have incorporated aspects of the economic and social rights framework—providing an institutional infrastructure in national and international law.
Some have suggested that a consideration of global justice may not be a useful pursuit because of the institutional complexities involved. However, this does not get around that fact that global institutions already have an impact on social justice, both positive and negative.
It is useful to tease out the implications that elements of alternative frameworks have for economic governance, specifically those supported by existing institutions. Economic and social rights represent one such concrete framework. The framework is an evolving one, and ongoing discussion and deliberation is necessary to address underdeveloped areas and potential deficiencies.
Learn more about this proposition
- How to Apply a Human Rights Framework to Macroeconomic Strategies by Center for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL)
This section is based on CWGL’s blog “Applying a Human Rights Framework to Macroeconomic Policies” (2012).
Part of our series of
Feminist Propositions for a Just Economy
Snippet FEA Meet the Solidarity Network (EN)
Meet the Solidarity Network, a health and service union mostly led by women. Emerging as a response to increasing precarity, severe underpayment and hostile work environments faced by workers in Georgia, Solidarity Network fights for dignified compensation and work places.
Its goal? To create a national worker’s democratic movement. To do so, it has been branching out, organizing and teaming up with other local and regional unions and slowly creating a network of unions and empowering women workers to become union leaders.
Its political approach is a holistic one. For Solidarity Network, labor rights issues are directly connected to broader national political and economic agendas and reforms. That’s why they are pushing for tax justice, women and LGBTQIA+ rights, and fighting against the dismantling of the Georgian welfare state.
The Solidarity Network is also part of Transnational Social Strike (TSS), a political platform and infrastructure inspired by migrant, women and essential worker organizing that works to build connections between labor movements across borders and nurture global solidarity.
Key impacts on the international human rights system
Anti-rights actors have had a substantive impact on our human rights framework and the progressive interpretation of human rights standards, especially rights related to gender and sexuality.
When it comes to the impact of conservative actors in international policy spaces, the overall picture today is of stasis and regressions.
We have witnessed the watering down of existing agreements and commitment; deadlock in negotiations; sustained undermining of UN agencies, treaty review bodies and Special Procedures; and success in pushing through regressive language in international human rights documents.
Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)
The CSW, held annually in March, has long been one of the most contested sites in the UN system. In March 2015, conservative efforts set the tone before events or negotiations even began; the outcome document of the Commission was a weak Declaration negotiated before any women’s rights activists even arrived on the ground.
At 2016’s CSW, the new Youth Caucus was infiltrated by large numbers of vocal anti-abortion and anti-SRHR actors, who shouted down progressive youth organizations. Again, intensive negotiations resulted in a lacklustre text, which included regressive language on ‘the family.’
Precisely when addressing women’s human rights is of urgent importance, the CSW has been rendered a depoliticized and weakened space. Using it to advance rights has become harder and harder since progressives’ energy is taken up trying to hold the ground against conservative backlash.
Human Rights Council (HRC)
As the intergovernmental body responsible for the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe, the HRC is a key entry point for conservative actors. In recent years, this mechanism has been the scene for a number of damaging anti-human rights moves.
In conversation with other anti-rights actors, one strategy of conservative states, and blocs of states, is to aggressively negotiate out positive language and to introduce hostile amendments to resolutions, most often resolutions focusing on rights related to gender and sexuality.
To take one example, during the June 2016 session of the HRC, opposition was mounted towards a resolution on discrimination against women by the member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and allies. During contentious negotiations, multiple provisions were removed, including women’s and girls’ right to have control over their sexuality, sexual and reproductive health, and reproductive rights; and the need to repeal laws which perpetuate the patriarchal oppression of women and girls in families, and those criminalizing adultery or pardoning marital rape.
The HRC has also been the site of pernicious conservative initiatives to co-opt human rights norms and enact conservative “human rights” language, such as that of the Russia-led “traditional values” resolutions, and more recently the “Protection of the Family” agenda.
Human Rights Committee
In 2015, moving their sights to another front, a number of religious right organizations began to target the Human Rights Committee, the treaty monitoring body for the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), a pivotal human rights instrument.
Anti-human rights groups mobilized in hopes of cementing their anti-abortion rhetoric into the treaty.
When the Committee announced it was drafting a new authoritative interpretation of the right to life, over 30 conservative non-state actors sent in written submissions, advocating their misleading discourse on ‘right to life’ - that life begins at conception and that abortion is a violation of the right - be incorporated in the Committee’s interpretation of article 6.
Conservative groups targeting the Human Rights Committee was a shift considering that historically anti-human rights actors have repeatedly attempted to undermine and invalidate the essential work of the treaty monitoring bodies, including the Human Rights Committee.
SDG negotiations and Agenda 2030
Anti-human rights actors were involved in lobbying towards the development of the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015, focusing again on rights relating to gender and sexuality. These efforts had limited traction in their attempts to embed regressive language in Agenda 2030.
However, after successfully pushing back against progressive language in the final text, conservative actors then pivoted to another strategy. In an attempt to evade state accountability and undermine the universality of rights, several states have repeatedly made reservations to the Goals.
On behalf of the African Group, Senegal claimed that African states would only “implement the goals in line with the cultural and religious values of its countries.”
The Holy See also made a number of reservations, stating it was “confident that the related pledge ‘no one will be left behind’ would be read” as meaning “the right to life of the person, from conception until natural death.”
Saudi Arabia went one step further, declaring that the country would not follow any international rules relating to the SDGs that reference sexual orientation or gender identity, describing them as running “counter to Islamic law.”
General Assembly (GA)
Anti-rights actors have made increasing headway at the UN General Assembly (GA). Most recently, during the 71st session in 2016, the GA was the scene of feverish anti-rights organizing in opposition to the new mandate created by the Human Rights Council resolution on sexual orientation and gender identity in June 2016: the Independent Expert on SOGI. Four separate attempts were made to undercut the mandate in GA spaces.
One approach was to introduce a hostile resolution at the Third Committee, led by the African Group, which in essence aimed to indefinitely defer the new mandate. While this approach was not successful, such an attempt in the GA to retroactively block the creation of a mandate brought forward by the Human Rights Council represented a new and troubling tactic - anti-right actors are now working to directly undermine the HRC’s authority respective to the General Assembly.
Another approach targeted the Fifth Committee (responsible for administration and budgetary matters) as an entry point to attack the mandate. In an unprecedented move a number of States attempted (again, unsuccessfully) to block the funding of UN human rights experts, including the new IE on SOGI,.
While these multiple efforts were unsuccessful in blocking the creation and continuation of the new mandate, the significant support they received, the novel strategizing employed, and the strong alliances built along regional lines through negotiations point to difficulties ahead.
 The Third Committee of the GA deals with agenda items relating to a range of social, humanitarian affairs, and human rights issues. Each year it discusses and issues resolutions on issues including the advancement of women, the protection of children, family, and youth.
 While UN Special Procedures experts (i.e. Special Rapporteurs, Working Group members and Independent Experts) work pro bono, some funds are generally allocated to facilitate country visits on the invitation of the national government, and support staff.
Snippet FEA different lines of work FOR S4 (ES)
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Leticia Eulalia Mary Mukasa- Kikonyogo
Leticia was a Ugandan lawyer and judge.
Prior to her retirement, she held many high profile positions including member of the Court of Appeal of Uganda and Deputy Chief Justice of Uganda. She was the first Ugandan woman to hold the position of Chief Magistrate between 1973 and 1986 and the first woman to be appointed High court judge in 1986.
She was one of the first ever women papal knights in the history of the Catholic Church in Africa. She died of a heart attack.