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Statement from Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Marking International Women's Day

Date de publication : 11-03-2015
Paru dans : http://www.ohchr.org/
Hears Statement from Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Marking International Women's Day 

The Human Rights Council this morning held a clustered interactive dialogue with the Independent Expert on the issue of human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment, John Knox, and with the Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights, Juan Bohoslavsky. The Council also observed International Women's Day, hearing an address by Flavia Pansieri, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights. 

Ms. Pansieri said that human rights defenders working for gender equality and women human rights defenders had played a crucial role during the agreeing of the landmark Beijing Platform of Action, by insisting that women's rights were human rights and that violations experienced by women should no longer be dismissed as private matters or justified on the basis of misinterpretation of culture, religion or tradition. The world had made some progress in addressing some aspects of discrimination against women, she said, but today was an opportunity to strengthen the resolve to fully eliminate all forms of discrimination against women. 

Republic of Korea, in a joint statement on behalf of Mexico, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, Turkey and Australia said that women and girls were disproportionately affected by human rights violations and called upon all Members of the Council to work towards strengthening the role of women and addressing stereotypes against women. 

John Knox, Independent Expert on human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment, presented his reports, focusing on identifying and promoting best practices on the use of human rights obligations to inform and strengthen environmental policymaking. More than 100 good practices had been identified and a standalone website had been developed to facilitate online search. Between 2002 and 2013, a total of 908 people in 35 countries had been killed because of their work defending environmental and land rights. Mr. Knox urged States to recognize that the risks environmental defenders faced were a global problem, and to do more to address climate change, including taking into account human rights in order to make better climate policy.

Juan Bohoslavsky, Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights, said that his report focused on financial complicity and lending to States involved in gross violations of human rights and expressed regret that the Human Rights Council had not paid much attention to the links between financial support and systematic violations of human rights. Foreign financial assistance might prolong the life of regimes engaged in severe, large-scale violations of human rights. The interim study on illicit financial flows, human rights and the post-2015 development agenda emphasized the need for due diligence and due process in the fight against illicit financial flows, for better protection of witnesses and whistle-blowers and for incorporating human rights considerations in the management of returned stolen assets. 

France and Iceland spoke as concerned countries. The National Consultative Commission of Human Rights, the national human rights institution of France, also spoke.

During the interactive dialogue on human rights and the environment, speakers said that environmental degradation translated into threats to food security, created tensions between populations, and resulted in the flow of migrants. States had the obligation to improve their capacity to address the environment; for this access to technology and innovation was indispensable and adequate transfer mechanisms needed to be developed. Speakers underlined the importance of differentiated responsibilities between developed and developing countries on environmental issues, and several expressed concern that threats to human rights defenders working on environmental and land rights were increasing.

In the interactive dialogue on the effect of foreign debt, it was noted that currently, international financial institutions and creditor countries did not take into account the development needs and human rights of peoples. The negative impact of foreign debt on the enjoyment of human rights and the harmful activities of vulture funds and illicit financial flows had been long discussed in international fora; the efforts now must be focused on just and reasonable initiatives, in particular in the framework for debt restructuring. A study on the role of transnational corporations in the harming of the environment would be extremely important, and delegations asked how a legally binding instrument on transnational corporations and other business enterprises would serve victims of human rights violations in relation to environmental harm caused by transnational corporations. 

States participating in the dialogue were Ecuador on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, Algeria on behalf of the African Group, Bahrain on behalf of the Arab Group, Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the European Union, Ireland, Sudan, El Salvador, Sierra Leone, Venezuela, Indonesia, South Africa, Tunisia, Costa Rica, Slovenia, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Iran, Holy See, Morocco, Argentina, Egypt, United Nations Environment Programme, Ghana, Philippines, Gabon, Algeria, India, China, Chile, Bolivia, Brazil, Bangladesh, Uruguay, Cuba, Paraguay and Maldives.

The following non-governmental organizations also took the floor: Centre for Legal and Social Studies, Franciscans International in a joint statement, Friends World Committee for Consultation, Verein Südwind Entwicklungspolitik, Human Rights Now, Human Rights Advocates, Earthjustice (joint statement), and International Buddhist Relief and Development Organization.

The Council is holding a full day of meetings today. At noon, it will hold a clustered interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the right to food and the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing. At 3 p.m. the Council will hold a clustered interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on torture and the Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders. 

Observance of International Women's Day

FLAVIA PANSIERI, United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that today the world stood in solidarity with all human rights defenders working for gender equality and with women defenders who fought for the human rights of all. Those defenders had played a crucial role during the agreeing of the landmark Beijing Platform of Action, insisting that women's rights were human rights and that violations experienced by women should no longer be dismissed as private matters or justified on the basis of misinterpretation of culture, religion or tradition. The result was a visionary agenda, laying out a blueprint for the achievement of equality between women and men. The Deputy High Commissioner called on all to join the Office's campaign reflect2protect to raise the profile of women human rights defenders. The world had made some progress in addressing some aspects of discrimination against women, but today was an opportunity to strengthen the resolve to fully eliminate all forms of discrimination against women. All should ensure that the work of the Human Rights Council, through its resolutions, Universal Periodic Review recommendations, commissions of inquiry and Special Procedures, upheld the obligations articulated in the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and in the Beijing Platform for Action. Recognizing the work of all defenders fighting for gender equality and all women defending human rights could bring them additional credibility and operational space in their countries. Achieving gender equality was not only a "women's concern" but the collective responsibility: all owed it to their daughters and to their sons, to build societies that respected and protected the rights of all people regardless of their sex. 

Republic of Korea, in a joint statement on behalf of MexicoIndonesiaRepublic of KoreaTurkey and Australia on the occasion of International Women's Day, reiterated their strong commitment to gender equality and to eliminating discrimination and violence against women and girls. Women and girls were disproportionately affected by human rights violations. The countries underlined that economic empowerment of women was crucial, and regretted that women continued to be under-represented in peacekeeping efforts. They called upon all Members of the Council to work towards strengthening the role of women and addressing stereotypes against women. Support for gender equality and economic empowerment of women had to become a reality. The human rights of women and girls were an essential part of the work of the Human Rights Council. - See more at: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=15665&LangID=E#sthash.7RjWDc2s.dpuf



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