HRC43: Oral statement during Item 3 General Debate

HRC43: Oral statement during Item 3 General Debate - Civic Space


ARTICLE 19 delivered the following oral statement on the freedom of religion or belief and gender equality at the 43rd Session of the UN Human Rights Council during the Item 3 General Debate.

ARTICLE 19 welcomes the timely report of the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief.

Across the world, intolerance, discrimination, and violence against persons on the basis of their religion or belief, often takes a gendered dimension, disproportionately and differentially impacting on women, as well as gender diverse and LGBTQ persons. At the same time, religion is often used as a justification for gender-based discrimination, and violence; placing women, gender diverse and LGBTQ persons who belong to religion or belief communities, in a double-bind.

We are deeply concerned that political leaders, the media, and other influential voices often deploy gendered stereotypes to further hate-fuelled agendas on other protected grounds, such as race, nationality, and migrant status.

A range of UN initiatives provide guidance to tackle religious intolerance, and hatred within our societies – including Resolution 16/18, the Rabat Plan of Action, and the Secretary General’s Plan of Action to Tackle Hate Speech – yet none address the importance of a gender perspective to promoting inclusion, diversity and pluralism. We must do more to address this “gender gap” and ensure that our responses to tackling hatred are truly intersectional: simply including women, gender diverse and LGBTQ persons is not enough.

ARTICLE 19 urges all States to take a gender-responsive approach to implementing Resolution 16/18, and to report on best practices in this area.

At the same time, all States must repeal legislation that impacts on freedom of religion or belief and gender equality, including blasphemy laws, bans on or compulsory veil laws, and anti-LGBTQ propaganda laws, among other laws restricting civic space.

Finally, ARTICLE 19 commends the revival of the Istanbul Process and thank the Netherlands for integrating gender into the agenda; we urge the next host to take a similarly inclusive approach.