"To put an end to violence against children it is absolutely necessary to address gender-based violence and disempowerment of women and girls and to break intergenerational cycles of violence" - SRSG Maalla M'jid at HRC50 thematic discussion
Geneva, 4 July 2022 - At the Human Rights Council annual thematic panel discussion on technical cooperation and capacity building, on the theme of technical cooperation and the full and effective participation of women in decision-making and in public life and on the elimination of violence, with a view to achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girl, Special Representative Maalla M'jid said the ongoing humanitarian situations, including protracted conflicts, climate change, food insecurity and the effects of COVID-19, were at the core of the violence toll in women and girls.
"Over the last months, during various country visits and online events, I have met and discussed with hundreds of these girls and women, many of whom left also their countries scaping violence and who are denied opportunities for rebuilding their lives due to their migratory limbo status. Against these challenges, the agency, capacity and strength that girls demonstrate are remarkable. The strength of millions of girls must be our motor to dismantle the multiplicity of barriers blocking women and girls to enjoy their rights. These barriers impede a development that is inclusive, equitable and above all sustainable. Empowerment starts by providing opportunities to all." highlighted Dr Maalla M'jid.
To put an end to violence against children, the Special Representative stressed the importance of addressing gender-based violence and disempowerment of women and girls and to break intergenerational cycles of violence.
"The intersections between violence against children and violence against women in terms of common causes, consequences and solutions is well-documented. To put an end to violence against children it is absolutely necessary to address gender-based violence and disempowerment of women and girls and to break intergenerational cycles of violence. Girls and women have to be part of the solution as key actors of change" added Dr. Maalla M'jid.
In the ensuing debate, speakers said that women and girls were disproportionately affected by violence, which was an impediment towards their achieving equality. Empowering women was vital for achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and to eradicate all forms of violence, including gender-based violence. Strengthening the role of women in public life was a path requiring the convergence of many measures, including putting an end to impunity for violence. Technical assistance and capacity building in the field of human rights, and the full participation of women and girls in public life were crucial to prevent future violations of human rights.
Some speakers said that technical assistance programmes should be provided only on a voluntary basis, in line with States’ needs and at the request of the country concerned, whilst respecting their specific cultural and religious values. Promoting women’s rights to public and political participation required the repeal of laws and the elimination of discriminatory practices. All forms of physical, symbolic and political violence against women must be eliminated, and the economic empowerment of women must be promoted, allowing them to take up leadership positions.
Speaking in the panel discussion were Guyana, Timor Leste (on behalf of the community of Portuguese speaking countries), Saudi Arabia, Lithuania (on behalf of the a group of countries), Côte d’Ivoire (on behalf of the African Group), Brazil (on behalf of a group of Latin American countries), European Union, Cambodia (on behalf of a group of Asian countries), Madagascar (on behalf of a group of countries), Cambodia, Honduras, Qatar, Venezuela, Namibia, Mauritania, United Nations Population Fund, Luxembourg, Togo, United Nations Women, Indonesia, Food and Agricultural Organization, India, China, Afghanistan, Argentina, Benin and Gambia.
Also speaking were Centro de Apoio aos Direitos Humanos "Valdício Barbosa dos Santos", Plan International, and the Representative of South East Asia Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression Caucus.
The Special Representative' statement can be found here. The webcast of the full Human Rights Council thematic discussion can be found here. All meeting summaries can be found here. Documents and reports related to the Human Rights Council’s fiftieth regular session can be found here.