As delivered by Hans Brattskar on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic Group of Countries.
Check against delivery
This statement is made on behalf of the following countries: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden and my own country Norway.
We congratulate the Working Group for this year’s report that rightfully calls for all actors to unite to protect and promote women’s rights. It is extremely important, in these times when many are opposing the universality of women’s rights.
We fully agree with the Working Group that arguments based on culture, religion or protecting the family must not be used to dilute human rights.
We are in particular concerned by the backlash against sexual and reproductive health and rights. Women and girls’ right to sexual and bodily autonomy is at the core of their fundamental right to equality. Lack of access to comprehensive sexuality education, sexual and reproductive health services, contraceptives and protection from sexual and gender based violence has serious consequences for their health and ultimately for their life.
The promise we have made to Leave No One Behind will remain only a slogan unless we end the systematic discrimination of women and girls. If not, we will all lose. If we deny women and girls equal rights in society and in their families, we deny ourselves growth and prosperity.
In closing, let me thank civil society and in particular women human right defenders for their tireless work for gender equality. We stand by you, and we stand by our promise to always defend women and girls enjoyment of human rights.