[Brussels, 1 December 2015] Did you know that equality between women and men is a core value in the EU? Did you know that migrant and refugee women are more vulnerable to discrimination? Did you know that women’s rights organisations face attacks and threats in several countries in the EU? It can be physical attacks against women defending the right to abortion, such as in France or Spain; in other countries women’s organisations are put on a black list by their government (as in Hungary) and cannot enjoy their right to association and freedom of expression.
In December, the European Women’s Lobby (EWL) focuses on Human Rights of Women, as part of its Beijing+20 campaign. Read and share EWL’s factsheet on Human Rights of Women, which is part of EWL report “From words to action” and comprises of our key demands to the European Union and the Member States.
All our members mobilise throughout Europe to make 2015 a critical year towards the realisation of all commitments of the Beijing Platform for Action. Women and girls rights cannot wait 20 more years to enjoy their full women’s rights! At all levels, you can take action. Contact our member organisations, join us by following us on social media, disseminating our factsheets and report, coming to our events and the activities of our members if you can!
Human Rights of Women
Women make up more than half of the world and Europe’s population, and should therefore fully enjoy all human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, on an equal footing with men, and on an equal footing among themselves.
Several international human rights instruments focusing on women’s rights and empowerment have been adopted over the last 40 years, including the Beijing Platform for Action and CEDAW, but equality between women and men is still not a reality in Europe; violations of women’s and girls’ human rights are still prevalent at all levels, in different spheres of society and life; women and girls lack knowledge about their rights; and some women are made more vulnerable to the violation of their rights due to their multiple identities. More and more violations of women’s human rights are emerging in the case of migrant, refugee, asylum-seeking and undocumented women, in a context of globalisation and increased migration flows.
Promoting, respecting and guaranteeing women’s human rights is an integral commitment of all Member States, which should be accompanied by an obligation for all Member States to act with due diligence, in order to provide a framework to prevent and combat all human rights violations, including women’s human rights and their right to equality.
The EWL demands
- Sign and ratify the CEDAW Convention and its Optional Protocol
- Develop an EU internal Human Rights Strategy with a strong women’s rights and gender dimension.
- Implement systematic gendered human rights impact assessment for all EU legislations.
- Eliminate all gaps in the EU legislation on discrimination by: adopting legislation that prohibits sex discrimination in all sectors, including education and media; adopting legislation prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of age, sexual orientation, disability, religion or belief.
- Sanction any violation of the right of association and expression and any attacks against women’s rights organisations, and support these organisations as part of the EU civil and democratic dialogue.
- Take measures to give access to justice to women, including to the European Court of Justice, by disseminating relevant information about their human rights and possibilities of action, using adequate and non-sexist language, providing free legal aid, and supporting women’s organisations undergoing strategic litigation.
Human Rights of Women: the EWL in action!
- EWL Factsheet on Migrant Women
- EWL Statement for the Commission of the Status of Women (CSW)
- EWL position paper on Roma women
- Publication “Protecting All Women From Discrimination”