47th Session of the Human Rights Council
Interactive Dialogue with the Working Group on discrimination against women and girls
Action Canada for Population and Development
Action Canada makes this statement on behalf of the Sexual Rights Initiative.
We welcome the Working Group’s report on SRHR in crisis and its call for a radical shift in States’ responses to situations of crisis, which must be intersectional and address the impact of neoliberal, patriarchal, and racist policies.
As the report and our submission highlight, the States’ failure to ensure SRHR for women and girls is a major crisis in itself that pre-dates COVID, and many women and girls live in a ‘persistent state of crisis’ under systems and histories of oppression, exclusion, racism, apartheid and colonization.
The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the impact of these systems of oppression and of existing laws and policies restricting access to sexual and reproductive health services. We call on States to heed the recommendation to prioritise sexual and reproductive health and rights also by gender budgeting and financial investments and share the concern that donor priorities often drive interventions, sometimes with devastating consequences for SRHR and health systems. We urge States to account for their role in this crisis, cancel debt and aid conditionalities, ensure the right to bodily autonomy and transform power structures so that women and girls can fully enjoy their rights.
Finally, we deplore the systemic underfunding of the UN human rights system and the drive for so-called efficiency, including the cancellation of general debates in June. General debates are a vital part of the agenda by which NGOs can address the Council without restrictions. We call for the reinstatement of general debates at all sessions, with the option of civil society participation through video statements.