What does the term “sexual and reproductive health and rights” – or SRHR for short – actually mean? What role do its topics play in international discussions of human rights? Where are these issues debated and negotiated, and who are the main actors? Katrin Erlingsen from the DSW — Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung explained the concept of SRHR in a web seminar from the Hirschfeld-Eddy Foundation.
This article covers a side event organised by GIN-SSOGIE at the UN Human Rights Council on “Using inclusive narratives around faith and tradition to support human rights advocacy on the continent”.
Key topics at a high-level online event held by the UN LGBTI Core Group during the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly in late September 2020 were intersectionality, protecting the rights of LGBTI people, and lessons learned from the pandemic.
“While all LGBTI persons experience discrimination and exclusion, we do not experience discrimination and violence in the same way,” said Jessica Stern at the opening of the high-level event held by the UN LGBTI Core Group during the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly in late September 2020. The UN LGBTI Core Group is an informal group of UN member states that was founded in 2008 with Germany involved from the start (see boxed info text).
The year 2020 marks the 25th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. In early October 2020 the anniversary was celebrated during the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York with a high-level event and many speakers.
A key result of the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995 was its Platform for Action, in which 189 countries specified twelve strategic goals for gender equality. Although important progress has been made since 1995 such as a decrease in maternal mortality rates, the speakers at the high-level event at the 75th session of the UN General Assembly all agreed that not enough has been done.
“Yet no country can claim to have achieved gender parity, and the current crisis threatens to erode hard-earned gains,” said the president of the 75th General Assembly, Volkan Bozkir, at the event entitled “Accelerating the realization of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.” UN General Secretary António Guterres also warned of setbacks. “Covid-19 could wipe out a generation of fragile progress toward gender equality.”
Im Jahr 2020 jährt sich die vierte Internationale Weltfrauenkonferenz in Peking zum 25. Mal. Anfang Oktober 2020 wurde dieses Jubiläum während der 75. Sitzung der UN-Generalversammlung in New York mit zahlreichen Redner*innen und einer thematischen Tagung gefeiert.
Wesentliches Ergebnis der vierten Weltfrauenkonferenz 1995 in Peking war die Aktionsplattform, in der 189 Staaten zwölf strategische Ziele für die Gleichstellung der Geschlechter festgelegt haben. Obwohl seit 1995 zwar wichtige Fortschritte erzielt wurden, wie beispielsweise der Rückgang der Müttersterblichkeitsrate, waren sich die Redner*innen beim Jubiläumsfestakt bei der 75. Sitzung der UN-Generalversammlung einig: Seitdem ist nicht genug passiert. „Kein Land kann von sich behaupten, Geschlechterparität erreicht zu haben, und die gegenwärtige Krise droht hart erarbeitete Errungenschaften zu untergraben”, sagte der Präsident der Generalversammlung der Vereinten Nationen, Volkan Bozkir, bei der Tagung, die den Titel trug „Die Verwirklichung der Gleichstellung der Geschlechter und die Ermächtigung aller Frauen und Mädchen beschleunigen“. Auch der UN-Generalsekretär António Guterres warnte vor möglichen Rückschritten: „COVID-19 könnte eine Generation zerbrechlicher Fortschritte auf dem Weg zur Gleichstellung der Geschlechter auslöschen”.
Der Ansatz der Intersektionalität, der Schutz der Rechte und die Lehren, die aus der Pandemie gezogen werden, waren zentrale Themen bei einer hochrangigen Online-Veranstaltung der UN LGBTI Core Group während der 75. UN-Generalversammlung Ende September 2020.
„Während alle LGBTI-Personen Diskriminierung und Ausgrenzung erfahren, erleben wir Diskriminierung und Gewalt nicht in der gleichen Weise“, sagte Jessica Stern bei der Eröffnung der hochrangigen Veranstaltung der UN-LGBTI Core Group während der 75. Sitzung der UN-Generalversammlung Ende September 2020. Die LGBTI-Core Group der Vereinten Nationen ist eine informelle Gruppe von Mitgliedstaaten der Vereinten Nationen, die 2008 gegründet wurde und der Deutschland von Anfang an angehört. (Siehe Infobox)
How can different types of families be better protected during and after the Covid-19 pandemic? Who decides what a family is, and (how) is religion being instrumentalised for this purpose? What obligations do UN member states have regarding family diversity? These are just some of the questions that civil society organizations discussed at a side event for the UN Human Rights Council.
“Our goals are to make family diversity more visible and to highlight the experience and reality of rainbow families in different regional, cultural and religious contexts,” says Maria von Känel, co-founder and board member of International Family Equality Day (IFED), a global network for family diversity.
“Throughout human history there have always been different models of family and community life,” adds Simon Petitjean from the Global Interfaith Network. “The UN system and its states have a responsibility to respect the human rights of all family members without distinction of any kind, and this is of particular importance in times of crisis when inequalities are heightened and reinforced.”
As part of a project to raise the profile of international debates on human rights, Dr. Silke Voß-Kyeck discussed the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva – its work and history as well as current focuses – in an informative online talk with Sarah Kohrt from the Hirschfeld-Eddy Foundation on July 28. Voß-Kyeck earned a doctorate in political science and worked at Amnesty International Deutschland for many years before becoming the HRC reporter for our umbrella organization Forum Menschenrechte* in 2019, or simply “our woman in Geneva”.
Civil society plays an important role
The HRC was established in its current form in 2006, and has 47 member states. It meets for a total of ten weeks a year, but can also convene for special sessions on pressing issues and developments. Germany is one of the current members, coinciding with its membership in the UN Security Council. Since 2006, members have been elected for a maximum of two consecutive three-year terms in order to prevent long-term entrenched structures. More than 5,000 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from around the world have consultative status at the HRC, which enables them to make brief presentations in the round assembly hall, submit statements, and organize side events in the complex of buildings that used to house the League of Nations in Geneva – events which right now may only be held online.
Secretary Pompeo´s “Commission on Unalienable Rights”.Hirschfeld-Eddy-Foundation cordially invites you to a Web-talk with Mark Bromley, Chair of the Council for Global Equality (CGE) about the Trump adminstration´s attempt to redefine Human Rights.
“Pompeo’s clear interest is to undermine the growing consensus that universally accepted human rights can be claimed by all vulnerable minorities, including LGBTI people and women who wish to control their own bodies.” Julie Dorf, Council for Global Equality
Until recently, clear progress had been made in the movement towards women´s rights and the human rights of LGBTI people. In the UN and other multilateral institutions the United States had a global leadership role regarding the rights of LGBTI people. Along with other states, the US always voted in favor of these rights. But now the U.S. appears to have changed sides.
In the web-talk “African Writers in Migration: Clementine E. Burnley and Tim B. Agaba about Queerness, Space and Human Rights” on July 21st 2020, Tim B. Agaba and Clementine E. Burnley had a conversation about queer realities, self-censorship, safe spaces, racism, decolonisation, and how class hierarchies impact access to human rights.
Tim B. Agaba and Clementine E. Burnley are both emerging writers. They met in a fairly random way. On the first day of Ms. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus Trust (PHT) Creative Writing workshop (which has followed on from Farafina Workshop) they sat next to each other while Ms. Adichie battled through Lagos traffic.