[Human Rights] HRC / 22nd Session; Item 3 - general debate - discriminatin of women
Joint statement by Austria, Croatia and Slovenia
On the day when we celebrate International Women's Day, it is a disturbing fact that women worldwide still face discrimination and denial of basic rights on everyday basis. Their unequal status is often additionally burdened by poverty, and currently aggravated by the consequences of the financial crisis. However, discrimination and gender equality are not the only challenges in lives of too many women. Violence against women remains a global, consistent and vicious problem. The scope and levels of violence against women are as unacceptable as is the widespread impunity for the perpetrators.
Stronger efforts are needed to improve public awareness of the human rights of women and girls, including the unacceptability of gender-based violence.
We are especially alarmed by the acts of rape and sexual violence against women and children that are being used as weapons of war. We therefore fully support all efforts to enhance the means to prevent and combat sexual violence in conflict, including the analysis and reporting arrangements on conflict-related sexual violence. We also encourage all relevant UN actors, including UN Women as well as the SRSG on sexual violence in conflict to cooperate closely and to interact on a regular basis with this Council. In the context of processing cases of sexual violence qualifying for categorization of war crimes and crimes against humanity, it remains crucial to bring the perpetrators to justice.
We believe that the rights of women and girls to education and to full and meaningful participation in political and public life are essential for the development and stability of every country, particularly war affected and post-conflict societies.
With regard to post-conflict situations, we would like to stress that while the international community has on numerous occasions reaffirmed that the full, equal and effective participation of women in all phases of conflict management and post-conflict planning processes needs to be ensured, progress continues to be uneven and obstacles remain.
We are well aware that where women prosper, societies prosper too. By ensuring full participation of women and girls, not only do we change their status in the society, but we also invest in the sustainable development and stability of the country. For that reason, special attention needs to be paid to political and economic participation of women.
Another equally difficult situation is the issue of violence against children. This deplorable phenomenon remains pervasive on a global scale. Especially vulnerable are children in the juvenile justice system, children belonging to minority or indigenous groups and children in conflict situations. Once a child becomes the target of violence, a vicious circle is set in motion that makes it likely for the child to become a perpetrator of violence in the future.
We deem several elements to be crucial in order to step up the protection of children from violence:
(1) A legal protection through the establishment of a strong normative framework, for example, banishing all forms of corporal punishment;
(2) Establishment of national and sub-national level institutions entrusted with ensuring child protection mechanisms, and
(3) Proactive efforts to change deep-rooted attitudes that violence against children is acceptable.
In this regard we support the work and mandate of the SRSG on Violence against Children. We call on all states to increase their efforts for the prevention of violence against both women and children.
Let us use this opportunity today to discuss, deliver and act together to accelerate progress towards the empowerment of women and the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women and girls. Let us join our voices in condemning the violence against women and children whenever it occurs and let us, above all, create preconditions in our societies that will help prevent the violence and discrimination from occurring in the first place.