UN Member States Affirm Commitment To Gender Equality Without Taking Further Steps To Achieve It

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

09 March 2020

Media Contact: Daina Ruduša, commsteam@outrightinternational.org, +1 (917) 622-1865

UN Member States Affirm Commitment To Gender Equality Without Taking Further Steps To Achieve It

Twenty five years after the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action on gender equality, at the 64th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) of the UN, governments have reaffirmed the commitments made in 1995, but fallen short of taking any further steps toward committing to achieving gender equality or explicitly recognizing the impact of gender inequalities on LGBTIQ people.

The political declaration, adopted at this year’s abbreviated Commission on the Status of Women, replaces the agreed conclusions normally adopted at the end of CSW to mark the anniversary of the revolutionary agreement made in Beijing in 1995. The agreed text reaffirmed existing commitments and took some steps to ensure inclusivity in the document.

Jessica Stern, Executive Director of OutRight Action International, comments:

We welcome the reaffirmation of a global commitment toward gender equality, however, steps taken by states to ensure inclusivity of all in the political declaration left much to be desired. While references to ‘all women and girls’ and ‘multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination’ make the declaration more inclusive than the original Beijing Declaration, LGBTIQ people, who are disproportionately affected by gender inequality, and human rights defenders remain unmentioned.

The political declaration presented an opportunity to do more than reaffirm past commitments, and to instead identify and address new challenges, acknowledge the backlash against gender equality, and set the stage for a new international agenda to achieve it. This opportunity was not taken.

Sahar Moazami, UN Program Officer for OutRight Action International, comments:

It is shocking that 25 years after the original commitment to gender equality was made, the global community did not go beyond merely reaffirming it. Current challenges to gender equality were not acknowledged, specific steps to be taken to finally achieve the quarter of a century old commitments were not outlined. Sadly, the political declaration adopted today is a direct reflection of the increasing barriers gender equality efforts are facing around the world.

Due to concerns about the growing outbreak of the COVID-19 virus the full program of the CSW was postponed to an unspecified time. OutRight supports the prioritization of the health of potential participants of the CSW, and will work to ensure that the full program with meaningful civil society participation is held at a later date.

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OutRight

OutRight Action International works at a global, regional and national level to eradicate the persecution, inequality and violence lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer (LGBTIQ) people face around the world. From its offices in 7 countries and headquarters in New York, OutRight builds capacity of LGBTIQ movements, documents human rights violations, advocates for inclusion and equality, and holds leaders accountable for protecting the rights of LGBTIQ people everywhere. OutRight has recognized consultative status at the United Nations.