SIDE EVENT AT #HRC41: Gender Parity in UN human rights bodies and mechanisms

ORGANIZED BY: GQUAL, International Bar Association Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI), Women@theTable, Center for Justice and

SPONSORED BY: Permanent Mission of Mexico

WHEN: 27, June, 2019 – 3.30 – 4.30 PM

WHERE: Conference Room VIII, Palais des Nations, 1211 Geneva 10

WHAT: The forty first regular session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) will take place from June 24th to July 12th 2019. From June 26-28, the HRC will devote part of its sessions to address challenges faced by women that impact their right to equality, non-discrimination and a life free of violence. Additionally, the HRC is expected to discuss and adopt a new Resolution on the “Elimination of Discrimination against Women”. In past years, this landmark resolution has addressed different challenges faced by women to enjoy full equality and has urged States and UN bodies to take appropriate action.

The HRC plays a significant role in highlighting issues of concern for the international community, encouraging States and UN bodies and agencies to take action to overcome situations of discrimination, and setting forward recommendations that promote that agenda. In this sense, the HRC can play a fundamental role in overcoming the historic inequality faced by women when it comes to participation and representation in international bodies.

Putting this issue front and central in the HRC’s agenda would represent a major step forward and could open opportunities to discuss best practices and concrete measures to be taken by States, UN bodies and agencies, and civil society to promote gender equality.

In this setting, the purpose of this event is to highlight the importance of taking measures to achieve gender parity in international representation, especially in international tribunals and human rights monitoring bodies and mechanisms. Promoting gender parity in international tribunals and bodies strengthens the legitimacy and impact of these organs and it constitutes a necessary measure to guarantee the right to equality of all. Adopting measures that promote gender equality in this field falls within the core mission of the UN, and the international obligations of States to eradicate gender discrimination. These measures are also consistent with the objectives set forward by the Sustainable Development Goal Agenda, and the Beijing Action Plan.

This side event will prompt a discussion on the scope and impact of women’s underrepresentation in UN human rights bodies and mechanisms, in order to explore the different contributions and actions that the HRC, and other UN bodies, agencies, and mechanisms, could undertake to promote gender parity.

WHO: Opening Remarks by Meskerem Geset Techane, Chair, UN Working Group on Discrimination against Women in Law and in Practice

Moderator: Caitlin Kraft-Buchman, Executive Director of Women@TheTable, Co-founder of International Gender Champions
Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI

-Baroness Helena Kennedy, Director, International Bar Association Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI)

-Meskerem Geset Techane, Chair, UN Working Group on Discrimination against Women in Law and in Practice

-Verónica Birga, Chief of the Women’s Human Rights and Gender Section of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

-Claudia Martin, Co-Director, Academy for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, American University, Member of the GQUAL Campaign’s Secretariat

-Diego Ruiz Gayol, Permanent Mission of México to the United Nations in Geneva