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NHRIs’ work on women’s rights acknowledged at CSW 61

Graphic: Dr Sima Samar and Florence Simbiri-Jaoko at CSW 61

States from around the globe have highlighted the valuable contribution that NHRIs bring to international discussions on the rights of women and girls


States from around the globe have drawn attention to the valuable contribution that national human rights institutions (NHRIs) can bring to the discussion of the rights of women and girls on the international stage.

In March 2017, at the 61st Session of the Commission on the Status of Women in New York, NHRIs from across the globe continued their advocacy for independent participation in the work of the UN's global policy making body on women and girls.

The APF was responsible for coordinating and leading their lobbying efforts, on behalf of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI).

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.

The Agreed Conclusions issued at the end of CSW 61 highlighted the positive contribution made by NHRIs "in promoting the economic empowerment of women and their full and productive employment and decent work".

Importantly, and despite opposition from some States during their drafting, the strong gains secured by NHRIs in 2016 were maintained at CSW 61 with the Agreed Conclusions encouraging the CSW secretariat:

… to continue its consideration of how to enhance the participation, including at the sixty-second session of the Commission, of national human rights institutions that are fully compliant with the principles relating to the status of national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights (Paris Principles), where they exist, in compliance with the rules of procedure of the Economic and Social Council.


NHRI side event at CSW 61

NHRIs can act as a catalyst to empower women claiming and realising their right to equal economic opportunities and to help combat discrimination against women at work.

Read more in the concept note for the NHRI side event on promoting gender equality and women's economic empowerment.


Discussion at CSW 61, which ran from 13-24 March 2017, centred on women's economic empowerment in the changing world of work.

As part of the two-week gathering, the APF and GANHRI hosted a side event to showcase the efforts of NHRIs from around the world to support women's workplace participation and economic empowerment.

Held on 17 March 2017, the highly popular event was co-sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Afghanistan, Australia, Chile, Costa Rica, Germany, Morocco, New Zealand, Qatar and the United Kingdom.

It featured presentations from the NHRIs of the Philippines, Morocco and the United Kingdom.

The event demonstrated the practical work that NHRIs are undertaking to support gender equality and women's economic empowerment, as well as the unique insights that NHRIs can bring to global discussion of the human rights issues facing women and girls.

Florence Simbiri-Jaoko, GANHRI Special Envoy and former Chairperson of Kenya's National Commission on Human Rights, chaired the discussions.

Date: 3 April 2017


Image credits

  1. Dr Sima Samar and Florence Simbiri-Jaoko at CSW 61 - APF/Pip Dargan
  2. NHRI side event at CSW 61 - APF