This statement is made on behalf of the Nordic and Baltic countries: Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden and my own country Estonia.
“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” and “Human rights of women and of the girl-child are an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of universal human rights” are quotes from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Vienna Declaration, that are often highlighted. However, while celebrating the 70th and the 25th anniversary of the mentioned documents, we can conclude that these words have not always been followed by sufficient actions.
Acknowledging the advancements of the enjoyment of human rights by women and girls, the World Economic Forum in its last year’s report concluded that at the current rate of progress, the global gender gap will take 100 years to close. The struggle of women’s rights movements and the strive for equal opportunities for women around the world show that it is high time to move from words to actions, to end all forms of gender inequalities.
Women and girls are often more deeply impacted than men and boys by poverty, climate change, food insecurity, conflict, inadequate access to basic services and global economic crises. For making progress on ensuring the enjoyment of human rights by all women and girls and making our words count, we need to have a gender responsive approach in all policy fields, at the international, national and local levels. This is also well demonstrated through a number of thematic reports presented to the Human Rights Council at the ongoing session, be it on safe drinking water and sanitation, death penalty or preventable maternal mortality. For women’s and girls’ rights to be realized it is crucial to eliminate gender based violence and ensure women’s and girls’ right to decide freely on matters affecting all aspects of their life, including their sexual and reproductive health and rights. There also needs to be effective and meaningful participation of women at all levels of decision making in political, economic and public life.
The Nordic and Baltic countries remain fully committed to respecting, protecting and fulfilling the human rights of all women and girls. We urge all States to fulfill their human rights obligations towards women and girls in their countries.