32nd Human Rights Council report: General Assembly on discrimination against women and the human rights of internally displaced people

News - 32nd Session – Human Rights Council. On Monday, June 20th were presented two reports from the Special Rapporteur on violence and discrimination against women Dubravka Simonovic and the Special Rapporteur on the rights of internally displaced people Dr Chaloka Beyani.


Violence and discrimination against women

The Special Rapporteur on violence against women of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women Dubravka Simonovic was presenting her report on violence and discrimination against women at the 32nd Session of the Human Rights Council, on Monday, June 20th 2016.

She deeply regretted the murder of Jo Cox, and started that this show the persisting issues about women in politics in the world. She called out Sudan, a country in which she has identified 27 laws which are inherently discriminating and harmful to women, such as child marriage, and the strong relation between extremism and violence against women. Stereotypes and sexual assaults are still too persisting and must be campaigned against. 

Internally displaced persons

The Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons Dr Chaloka Beyani was also presenting his report at the Council on the same day.

He asserted the importance of finding solution to displaced people a normal and decent life – while taking into account that the most vulnerable people among them are minorities, women and girls, and indigenous people.

Two countries appear as particular priorities when dealing with IDPs. Irak is one of them, because of the women situation, as internally displaced women are much more at risks to fall prey so sexual slavery, rapes and forced marriages. The Philippines are another country to specially take into account, as more than 4 million people are internally displaced: a lot of work remains to do, particularly by restoring infrastructures in the country. The government must also protect Indigenous rights and overall provide safety, security and a good life to internally displaced persons.

Declaration by the countries

After the reports, countries had five minutes to express themselves on the reports that were just presented. Particularly relevant were:

• Honduras: The representative stated that while they do have a consequent number of internally displaced persons, it is not for the usual reasons such as disasters of conflicts. Nevertheless, their goals to prevent displacement and to protect particularly vulnerable groups such as young girls and women from abuses remain. Honduras also stated that their national plan of action is one of their accomplishment that allows progress, as it enables to identify issues and to adapt laws from other countries to South America, in coordination with UN Women. The representative of Honduras also specified that the country needs more resources and recommendations in order to adequately deal with migrants.

• Iraq: The war has brought out many displaced persons in the country and while the representative of Iraq does give new documentation, they nonetheless disagree with the report which blames Iraq for not accepting all internally displaced persons.

• Syrian Arab Republic: The Syrian Arab Republic has regretted that terrorist groups, which cannot legally be seen as equal to the official government, have been considered as equal in the report of the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced persons.

• Ukraine: The representative of Ukraine has reported that the presence of the Russian Federation in the East of the country (the Crimea occupation) is violating of human rights. 

The exchange was pretty interesting. The reports from the Special Rapporteur were well explained and exhaustive. However, I regret the statements from some countries, particularly the Syrian Arab Republic, giving only importance to the form of the text. They wanted to explain that they disagree with the Special Rapporteur, who referred to terrorists group as equal to the government. I understand the diplomatic importance for them to distinguish both concepts but it’s a shame for the internally displaced persons thematic. Other countries have made propositions and have shared ideas to change the situation but the Syrian Arab Republic hasn’t.