The Human Rights Council is a subsidiary body of the General Assembly and was established in 2006 in order to address human rights abuses and create a forum for policy recommendations. The Council has also adopted the role of the former Commission on Human Rights in addressing thematic and country specific topics.
The Human Rights Council has intergraded gender specific recommendations into its Institution-Building package. In addition, the Special Rapporteur on violence against women reports annually to the Human Rights Council. The Special Rapporteur undertakes fact-finding missions and collects and analyzes data on violence against women in order to recommend measures to be taken at the international, regional and national level.
The 26th session of the Human Rights Council came to an end on 27 June 2014 after 3 weeks of discussions. A resolution on Human Rights and the Regulation of Civilian Acquisition, Possession and Use of Firearms introduced by Peru and Ecuador, successfully passed on 20 June. While the resolution was met with some resistance, many states such as Uruguay and Pakistan fully supported this resolution.
The adoption of this resolution proved to be a big step forward on the issue of arms trafficking, however, the adoption of another resolution took a step backwards on violence within a family. The resolution on the Protection of the Family, as argued by many civil societies and Member States, can be used as justification for marital rape, domestic violence and child abuse.
At the end of the session, a total of 34 texts were adopted covering a range of topics from persons with disabilities to the elimination of discrimination against women. While it is disappointing that the protection of the family resolution was passed, there were positive results from this session. Civil society will continue to push for a change in language on the protection of the family resolution as well as a stronger presence for women’s equality, inclusion and empowerment throughout resolutions.
Source: Human Rights Council
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