Religious Extremism and Human Rights
In “Playing Hardball against Women’s Rights” (Vol. XXXIV, No. 2), Joanne Omang discusses the role of the Holy See in advancing a regressive international development agenda at the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). The Holy See relies on support from governments with equally regressive ideologies, including Russia and Egypt, to advance a well-coordinated and strategic offensive on women and girls’ human rights, their value in society, their right to make free and informed decisions, their existence as sexual beings, and their access to sexual and reproductive health services, even in cases of sexual violence.
Examples extend beyond the CSW to include the Human Rights Council resolution led by Russia on “traditional values” and the Egypt-led draft text on the “protection of the family,” which could potentially exempt states from their responsibility to protect individuals’ human rights, in favor of protecting harmful practices including female genital mutilation, early and forced marriage, so-called “honor” killings, intimate partner violence and targeted discrimination.
Confronting such gross human rights violations requires states to act in a coordinated manner, across regions and constituencies to advance a progressive human rights-based development agenda.
Action Canada for Population and Development (ACPD)