Sommaire: 28 September 2009, Geneva - Statement by Ms Lina van der Weyden, Counsellor, Permanent Representation of Sweden to the United Nations Office in Geneva, on behalf of the European Union, UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL 12th Session (14 September - 2 October 2009), Item 8: Annual discussion on the integration of a gender perspective in the Council's work (with focus on UPR)
The European Union welcomes this discussion on how to integrate a gender perspective into the work of the Human Rights Council. The 1993 Vienna declaration called for the integration of the human rights of women in the UN system.
The EU welcomes the unanimous support given in the GA to the creation of a new gender entity and will work to give the necessary impulse to the establishment of the new entity during the 64th session of the GA.
The EU believes that the Human Rights Council has an important role to play in mainstreaming human rights of women in the UN. It is self-evident that human rights of women should be mainstreamed in the Council's own work. The UPR has brought up many examples of continuing existence of discriminatory laws and negative practises against women in many countries. Challenges to meet equality in practice still prevail also in the EU, although women's status and rights have improved considerably over the past decades.
The EU would like to reaffirm its strong commitment to urgent eradication of all forms of discrimination against women and girls. In this regard, the EU is highly appreciative of the initiative by Colombia and Mexico to address the issue of laws that discriminate women. We believe this initiative is very timely, since we're heading towards the 15-year anniversary of the commitments made in Beijing, and the 30-year anniversary of CEDAW which is being celebrated later this autumn.
We welcome that the High Commissioner, in her report, pointed out that instead of seeing women as a vulnerable group, we should see them as rights-holders. We agree with her recommendations that the State under Review indicate what efforts have been made to ensure that women are represented in decision-making positions, and to consider that domestic policies have different effects on women, men, girls and boys.
In her report, she mentions as a challenge to the UPR process the lack of consistency as to what "integrating a gender perspective" means in practise. It would be interesting to hear if there are any ideas on how to overcome this problem.
We also have a couple of questions to the representatives in the panel;
How do you foresee, in your work, to make use of information that has been obtained from the UPR-process?
How can NGO's with limited resources draw from synergies between the treaty body system and the UPR process?
Apart from the few ideas that have been mentioned in your presentations, what other suggestions do you have on how gender aspects could be integrated in the work in the best way?