Time for Action: Stop the anti-rights infiltration of the UN!


Time for Action: Stop the anti-rights infiltration of the UN!

Sign the Petition!

We call on official mandate holders in the United Nations to take urgent action to counter ultraconservative mobilisation against human rights. We can no longer afford to wait!

Historically, the United Nations has been an important site for feminist and social movement gains. It helps us call out violations and put pressure on states to uphold their human rights commitments. However, as we demand justice and accountability, anti-rights groups operate with greater coordination and resources to push back on our rights. The backlash is real.

Outright attacks on the system continue, such as defunding and rejecting the legitimacy of UN agencies. However, anti-rights actors are now also heavily invested in undermining human rights from inside the system. They employ a range of persuasive discourses to gain legitimacy. As well as misusing religion, culture, and tradition, they also co-opt the language of rights, including women’s rights, to hide their reactionary agendas. In reality, their aim is to water down human rights standards and, ultimately, build a system of impunity for human rights violations.

We call for red lines and concrete action to stem the tide of anti-rights infiltration.

Many of our human rights spaces and processes have already been undermined, but we still have a chance to stop this. With your help, we can make the UN work better for our rights!

We call on the UN mandate holders to address anti-rights attacks as a matter of priority and urgency by:

  1. Taking a coordinated approach to address anti-rights mobilization as dangerous attacks on rights related to gender and sexuality with devastating impacts on all human rights and systems of accountability.
  2. Upholding rights related to gender and sexuality as universal and inalienable, indivisible, and interrelated to all other rights, and rejecting all attempts to pit the rights of any one group against another.
  3. Prioritizing meaningful collaboration with feminist and social justice movements to develop robust, comprehensive, and effective responses to the threats of fascisms and fundamentalisms.
  4. Advocating for processes and procedures that enhance the accountability of human rights systems. This includes identifying and addressing systemic breakdowns and infiltration of anti-rights actors, and creating a conducive environment for feminist and social justice movements and marginalized communities to drive human rights agendas.
  5. Resisting the legitimization of anti-rights actors under the guise of human rights organizations and taking all possible measures to stop their access to decision-making positions.

Join the call — sign and share today.

Region Global
Source AWID


“UN experts call for resistance as battle over women’s rights intensifies

Women’s rights are facing an alarming backlash in many parts of the world, and it is critically important to press on with further setting of standards on gender equality, a group of UN independent experts has warned.

“The world is at a crossroads, with the very concept of gender equality being increasingly contested in some quarters,” said the experts.

“We feel it is time to reiterate the backlash against the progress which has been made in promoting and protecting women’s human rights. The polarization in the battle for rights is being demonstrated increasingly, and regressive positions have become a serious threat to the human rights legal framework.

“The international community needs to keep moving forward on setting standards on gender equality to counter the alarming trends which are undermining human rights principles and jeopardizing the gains made in women’s rights.”

The experts restate their support for the repeal of all laws that discriminate against women on traditional, cultural or religious grounds and laws that exclusively or disproportionately criminalize action or behaviour by women and girls.

They also stress women’s rights to make decisions about their own bodies, and to receive comprehensive sexuality education so they can enjoy their right to sexual and reproductive health.

“We need more than ever to protect the fundamental principle that all rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated,” the experts said.

“Despite this unbreakable principle, upheld in the 1993 Vienna Declaration on human rights, we are witnessing efforts by fundamentalist groups to undermine the foundation on which the whole human rights system is based.  Some of these efforts are based on a misuse of culture, including religion and tradition, or on claims related to State sovereignty.

“Under the disguise of protecting the family, some States are taking initiatives aimed at diluting human rights. We obviously recognise that the family is the fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection, but we insist on the need to re-assert women’s right to equality in all aspects of family life and recognise that diverse forms of families exist.”

The experts stress that discriminatory practices frequently take place within families, where, for example, women and girls may be limited to certain roles, experience harmful practices and patriarchal oppression, and suffer other human rights abuses including domestic violence and sexual abuse.

The experts insist that international human rights bodies need to guard against the backlash being witnessed, to ensure that the human rights legal framework is not undermined.

“In the current context, where women’s rights are being pushed back in all regions of the world, we need to continue denouncing any anti-rights rhetoric and actions which hinder the implementation of human rights standards, in particular regarding gender equality. Without equal rights in the family, gender equality will never be achieved,” the experts conclude.

Read the full statement from OHCHR.