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Interactive Dialogue with the Working Group on discrimination against women and girls

Statement by International Development Law Organization (IDLO)

53rd session of the Human Rights Council
Interactive Dialogue with the Working Group on discrimination against women and girls
22 June 2023

Thank you, Madam Vice-President.

The International Development Law Organization thanks the Working Group for its substantive report.

As the only global intergovernmental organization exclusively devoted to promoting justice as an enabler of peace and sustainable development, IDLO strongly believes that gender equality and women’s empowerment are key to achieving sustainable development and eradicating poverty.

Our programmes, research and policy advocacy promote the rule of law across a spectrum of fields, from peace and institution building, climate justice and food security, to social development and inclusive economic recovery, including in countries emerging from conflict, and other intersecting crises that define current times.

As a rule of law organization, our work involves strengthening laws and justice institutions, as well as legally empowering peoples, in particular those living in situations of poverty and vulnerability. IDLO’s experience taught us that these individuals are the ones who often do not have access to the legal protection and services, facing more complex and interrelated legal problems.

We recognize that poverty affects women disproportionately, and discriminatory laws and unequal access to justice further exacerbate their vulnerability. In that regard, IDLO welcomes the call for grounding all laws and policies, especially in the economic and social arenas, in the core human rights principles of equality and non-discrimination, the meaningful participation of women and girls, accountability, and the progressive realization and non-retrogression of economic, social and cultural rights.

IDLO supports the Working Group’s recommendation that States ensure “the realization of cross-cutting rights, such as access to justice, including for violations of socio-economic rights, the right to development and the right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment”. We also support the call for the elimination of laws that criminalize acts associated with poverty.

IDLO agrees with the Working Group that “rights-based feminist approaches to inequality and poverty provide key insights, tools, accountability measures and remedies that would enable the structural determinants of poverty and inequality to be identified, challenged and overcome.”

Gender equality and justice for women is a core priority for IDLO, incorporated as a principal objective in our Strategic Plan. We work towards the elimination of discriminatory laws and help building gender-responsive legal and regulatory frameworks. We partner with governments and civil society organizations to strengthen institutions and empower women and girls to make justice systems gender responsive, especially in cases of gender-based violence, climate change, food insecurity, and health emergencies. We also enhance women’s leadership and participation in the justice sector, including through women judges and lawyers associations.

We would welcome hearing from the Working Group on how we can ensure a stronger commitment to a rule of law approach in addressing gender inequalities of poverty.

Thank you.