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CSW to focus on the rights of women and girls living in rural areas

Graphic: Woman looks past her fishing net

NHRIs will showcase their work to unique work to promote women's rights at this year’s session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions LogoGlobal Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions
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National human rights institutions (NHRIs) from different corners of the globe will showcase their efforts to promote and protect the rights of women and girls living in rural areas when governments, NGOs and policy makers gather in New York next month.

The 62nd Session of Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 62) will be held at the UN Headquarters in New York from 12-23 March 2018.

The priority theme for this year's meeting is the challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls.

In partnership with the APF and the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI), the Australian Permanent Mission will host a side event on 16 March 2018 which will feature speakers from the NHRIs of Afghanistan, the Philippines and Australia.

The side event will be chaired by Florence Simbiri-Jaoko, GANHRI Special Envoy and former Chairperson of the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights.

"These presentations will show the impact that NHRIs can have to empower women and girls living in rural areas and help combat the discrimination and human rights violations they experience," said Pip Dargan, Deputy Director of the APF secretariat and APF Gender Focal Point.

"NHRIs can make a genuine difference by working with them to promote their right to an adequate standard of living, their food security and nutrition, and their rights to land," she said.

GANHRI will also present a special report that compiles the experiences of NHRIs in supporting and empowering women and girls living in rural areas.


Girls walking to school, rural India

"With few exceptions, every gender and development indicator for which data are available reveals that rural women fare worse than rural men and urban women, and that they disproportionately experience poverty, exclusion and the effects of climate change."

Read more in the short concept note for NHRI participation at CSW 62


The side event will also draw attention to the powerful contribution that NHRIs can make to global discussions and policy making on the rights of women and girls, as part of an ongoing campaign to secure the independent participation of NHRIs in the work of CSW.

Unlike at the Human Rights Council, 'A status' NHRIs do not have standing in their own right to participate in meetings of the CSW and can only attend as part of their country's government delegation, if they are invited, or with the support of an accredited NGO.

"Neither option reflects the unique and independent position that NHRIs hold," Ms Dargan said.

In an historic step, the Agreed Conclusions issued at the end of CSW 60 (2016) and CSW 61 (2017) included standalone paragraphs to encourage the CSW Secretariat to consider how it could enhance the participation of NHRIs.

"Our goal at CSW 62 is to build on the very positive developments we have achieved in the past two years and continue to demonstrate to governments the 'added value' that NHRIs can bring to this forum," Ms Dargan said.

Date: 23 February 2018


Image credits

  1. Woman looks past her fishing net - UN Women/Anindit Roy-Chowdhury, Flickr; http://bit.ly/2CluCaT
  2. Girls walking to school, rural India - Pandiyan, Flickr; http://bit.ly/2GJEKZj