Many practices and norms that discriminate against women and other groups of people that have historically suffered discrimination and persecution are justified by reference to tradition, such as so-called honour killings, dowry-related violence and homophobic violence. Several States have taken actions to dismantle such traditional values, norms and practices, such as laws and programmes to end domestic violence and female genital mutilation, decriminalization of consensual sexual activity and media campaigns to counter homophobia.
The Human Rights Council initiative on ‘protection of the family’ is flawed in that it takes an unrepresentative view that elevates ‘the family’, while neglecting that families can be the site for human rights violations. For example, resolution 29/22 asserts that the family “is a strong force for social cohesion and integration, intergenerational solidarity and social development” (OP6). At the same time, there is no recognition that many families uphold power structures that oppress women, the elderly, children, persons with disabilities, queer and transgender youth, among others.
Written contribution to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights On the occasion of the Day of General Discussion on "The right to sexual and reproductive health" (15 November 2010)
Submitted: 18 October 2010
This submission is made on behalf of the Sexual Rights Initiative and the Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights.
With the adoption of its landmark resolution 11/8, entitled “Preventable Maternal Mortality and Morbidity, and Human Rights”, the Human Rights Council has affirmed that the issue of maternal mortality and morbidity is a part of the global human rights agenda and has also placed the issue squarely within the Council’s own agenda. The resolution represents the first international intergovernmental recognition that maternal mortality and morbidity is a human rights issue.
Through this submission the SRI would like to highlight the links between adolescents’ sexual rights and education. Gender-based discrimination, social control over girls’ sexuality and sexual abuse lead to high drop out of girls from formal education systems. Discrimination against and humiliation of gender non-conforming and transgender children causes them to drop out as well. In South Asia, for example, intersex children are often given away to hijra communities who, facing social ostracization, live in poverty and are kept out of formal education systems.