UN Human Rights Council Resolution on Sexual Violence Against Women
In early June, a large group of NGOs, coordinated by Action Canada for Population and Development (ACPD), in expressing concern on the annual resolution on violence against women put forward by the Government of Canada at the UN Human Rights Council.
Although in the past the Government of Canada has taken a leadership role in seeking to create advances to protect women from violence, the initial resolution failed to reflect the views of many governments and civil society organizations regarding the crucial linkages between sexual and reproductive health and rights issues and the resolution theme of “sexual violence.”
Input from various states, including the US and a number of EU and Latin American countries, led to the inclusion of language recognizing the importance of promoting sexual and reproductive health and protecting and fulfilling reproductive rights.
Due to Canada’s reluctance, however, the final text does not operationalize these sexual and reproductive rights in the form of critical actions like providing sexuality education to adolescents, which plays a strong role in promoting gender equality, empowering girls and reducing gender-based violence, and reviewing laws that criminalize or restrict access to abortion. It asks governments to provide accessible health care services but does not list critical sexual and reproductive health services that survivors of sexual violence must have access to. It does have a strong provision on marital rape and changing discriminatory laws in relation to sexual violence. Further detail is available here.