We understand that three resolutions are currently being negotiated at the 29thsession of the Human Rights Council which relate directly to Reproductive Health Matters’ area of expertise and interest, and to that of our stakeholders. Reproductive Health Matters is an international organisation focusing on the sexual and reproductive health and rights of people around the world and publishing a peer reviewed journal. Gender-based and domestic violence; child, early and forced marriage; and discrimination against women are key areas of concern for us and for our global community. We are pleased to see three resolutions calling for positive action in these areas and urge the government to support these draft resolutions as tabled by instructing your Permanent Mission or relevant authorities in Geneva to co-sponsor immediately. These three resolutions are:
1. Accelerating Efforts to Eliminate All Forms of Violence Against Women:Eliminating Domestic Violence
2. Strengthening efforts to prevent and eliminate child, early and forced marriage
3. Elimination of discrimination against women
These three resolutions all focus on efforts to reduce violence and discrimination against women and girls and as such require your immediate attention. As a country which prides itself on equality and non-discrimination we believe that the government must send out a clear signal to the international community that we stand with efforts to eliminate such practices.
In the meantime we are aware that a group of countries including Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates have tabled amendments that we believe will serve to weaken the resolution: These amendments are to:
1. “Replace the term intimate partner violence with spousal and non-spousal violence
2. “Delete the term marital rape”
3. “Replace the term sexuality education with sexual and reproductive health education
We hope you will oppose these amendments or any similar amendments that aim to water down the intent and potential of these resolutions to bring positive change, and that you will support the progressive language of the original resolutions as tabled.