49th session of the Human Rights Council - Item 3 - General debate - JST

Joint Statement on Women’s and girls’ rights in humanitarian situations Delivered by: H.E. Ms Anna Jardfelt, Ambassador, Permanent representative of Sweden to the UN in Geneva

Thank you, President,

It is my pleasure to deliver this statement on behalf of the core group of the resolution on promoting, protecting and respecting women’s and girls’ full enjoyment of human rights in humanitarian situations, composed by Canada, Fiji, Georgia, Uruguay, and my own country, Sweden.

We would like to thank the Office of the High Commissioner for the presentation of the report requested by resolution 45/29. This report illustrates growing humanitarian and protection needs, and the associated risks of violations and abuses that women and girls in all their diversity face.           

Pre-existing gender-based discrimination exacerbates the situation and creates additional obstacles to the enjoyment of human rights by women and girls in humanitarian settings. This situation is even more concerning considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the need for sexual and reproductive healthcare increases in humanitarian settings. At the same time, availability to services decreases, with life-threatening consequences.

There is also an existing gap in accountability mechanisms and where their function they tend to focus on a restricted concept of justice. Although these are critically important, a comprehensive approach also entails multiple, participatory and transparent forms of monitoring including availability of avenues for women to claim these rights.

In this context, we agree with the report that a comprehensive approach to promoting, protecting and respecting women’s and girls’ enjoyment of human rights in humanitarian situations necessitates  the implementation of a human rights-based approach throughout the humanitarian programming cycle. Such approach should take into account that women and girls in all their diversity are subjected to multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination, which requires tailored humanitarian responses.

In addition, we would like to highlight the centrality of ensuring women’s and girls' equal and meaningful participation. In this regard, we agree with the Office that the sustainability of humanitarian interventions would increase if women and girls are involved in and have a sense of ownership in claiming their rights. We would also highlight the need to meaningfully support national and local actors, including women-led and women’s rights organizations and women human rights defenders.

Finally, we recognize that women-led and women’s rights organizations have been overlooked and continue to struggle for resources and support, including in the context of humanitarian settings, and we note that States and other donors should meaningfully mainstream gender and champion an intersectional and inclusive approach.

Thank you.


Last updated 16 Mar 2022, 10.14 AM