Annual discussion gender perspective, JST by Latvia on behalf of NB8

Annual discussion on the integration of a gender perspective, Joint Statement by Latvia on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic Group. Theme: Gender integration and human rights investigations: strengthening a victim-centered approach. 24 September, 2018.

As delivered by H.E. Jānis Kārkliņš, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Latvia to the United Nations Office in Geneva

Mr President, Distinguished panellists,

I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic and Baltic countries [Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden and Latvia].

We welcome todays’ important discussion.

Gender mainstreaming is essential to all the work of this Council and its mechanisms, including human rights investigative teams.

Despite efforts to combat sexual and other forms of gender-based violence, these crimes remain common and widespread in humanitarian and conflict situations. Women and girls continue to account for the vast majority of those affected. Impunity for such crimes can never be tolerated. Human rights investigative teams play a vital role in mapping human rights violations and abuses in a given context, which is crucial for holding perpetrators of such crimes to account. In carrying out this work, it is crucial to understand and investigate all forms of gender-based violence, not merely sexual violence.

We believe that integration of a gender perspective throughout the work of the Council’s human rights investigative bodies is crucial not only to uncover the causes, patterns and extent of the human rights violations committed, but also to better respond to the fact, that women, girls, men and boys may experience human rights violations and abuses differently.

The investigation of human rights violations through the prism of gender perspective also allows moving towards specific, action-oriented and victim-cantered recommendations that can bring a real change ensuring that all violations and abuses are accounted for, as well as preventing gender-based violence and discrimination in the future. Identifying the root causes of gender-based violence should also contextualize it within the gendered structures of society, identifying the broader patterns of discrimination against women and girls.

Gender integration of human rights investigations also relates to the composition of the mechanisms of the Human Rights Council, where gender parity must be the goal.

We would like to ask the distinguished panellists the following – Conflict often exacerbates existing inequalities. How can we ensure that human rights investigations are gender transformative, not focusing only on the sexual and gender based violence but also look at the underlying causes such as stereotypes, gender power relations and structural discrimination against women and girls?

I thank you Mr President!