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Human Rights Council 35: Discrimination Against Women

This UK statement was delivered during the Interactive Dialogue with the Working Group on Discrimination Against Women at the 35th session of the Human Rights Council on 9 June 2017.

The Human Rights Council takes place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva
The Human Rights Council takes place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva

The United Kingdom fully supports the high priority attached by the Council to achieving the full and equal enjoyment of human rights by all women and girls.

Gender inequality is still too prevalent, whether in terms of access to education; sexual violence and abuse in conflict or peacetime; female genital mutilation or forced marriage; or a lack of control or choice by women over their lives, their position within their families, their bodies, their decisions. All states must urgently take further action to reform discriminatory laws and practices.

The UK welcomes the role of the Working Group and agrees with the conclusion of their latest report: that we are currently witnessing a backlash against hard won progress in the area of women’s rights. We would be keen to hear more from the Working Group about how they propose to address the continuing rise of openly misogynist voices coming from state and non-state actors alike.

Collectively, we must do more to address gender inequality. We believe girls and women everywhere should have voice, choice and control over their own lives. They must have the power to make their own choices about their health, their relationships, whether or not they have children and how many; the freedom to live without violence; and the opportunity to become leaders in their societies and fulfil their potential through a quality education and a worthwhile career. Unlocking the potential of half the world’s population is in everyone’s interests; it is the right thing to do, and it will lead to a more stable, more prosperous world.

Published 12 June 2017