Tag Archives: UN

Emma Watson to All Men ‘Gender Equality is Your Issue, Too’ – #HeForShe

“It is time that we all see gender as a spectrum instead of two sets of opposing ideals. We should stop defining each other by what we are not, and start defining ourselves by who we are.”

Emma Watson

Emma Watson made this call as she launched a United Nations campaign for men and boys worldwide to join the movement for gender equality.

The UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador was at the UN Headquarters in New York on Saturday, to deliver a strong and personal message on equality, gender roles, and feminism.

The UN Women campaign called “HeForShe” aims to mobilize one billion men and boys as advocates of change in ending inequalities that women and girls face globally.

“I want men to take up this mantle so their daughters, sisters and mothers can be free from prejudice but also so their sons have permission to be vulnerable and human, too and in doing so, be a more true and complete version of themselves,”

Emma Watson

In the speech, Watson stressed the importance of men’s involvement in promoting women’s rights.

“How can we effect change in the world when only half of it is invited to participate in the conversation? Men, I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. Gender equality is your issue, too. I’ve seen my father’s role as a parent being valued less by society. I’ve seen young men suffering from illness, unable to ask for help for fear it will make them less of a man …. I’ve seen men fragile and insecure by a distorted sense of what constitutes male success. Men don’t have the benefits of equality, either. We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes but I can see that they are.”

Emma Watson

Watson said liberating men from stereotypes ultimately benefits women.

“When they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence. If men don’t have to be aggressive in order to be accepted, women won’t feel compelled to be submissive. If men don’t need to control, women won’t have to be controlled. Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong.”

Emma Watson

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka commended Watson for her work with UN Women.

“Men are responsible for most of the threats and violence against women. Often, these men are close to the victims – fathers, husbands, boyfriends or supervisors. We need to say to men and boys: Do not raise your hands in violence – raise your voices to stop it – and to support human rights for all.”

Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary-General


Chile Addresses Report on LGBTI rights violations

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), the Organización de Transexuales por la Dignidad y las Diversidad (Organization of Transsexuals for Dignity and Diversity; OTD), and 14 other organizations recently submitted a report on Human Rights Violations of LGBT people in Chile to the United Nations Human Rights Committee. The report by the US-based NGO details flaws in the anti-discrimination law, abuse of gay and trans people in society and prisons, and problems relating to the general lack of dignity in the treatment of LGBTI persons.

The UN HRC also closed a dialogue with the Chilean government about the country’s pursuit of its human rights obligations in many areas.

This follows a resolution Chile signed in June at the Organization of American States (OAS) regarding “Human Rights, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identity and Expression” in which the government agreed “to condemn all forms of discrimination against persons by reason of their sexual orientation and gender identity or expression”, and to “eliminate, where they exist, barriers faced by lesbians, gays, and bisexual, transsexual, and intersex (LGBTI) persons in equal access to political participation and in other areas of public life, and to avoid interferences in their private life.” The resolution also urged states to adopt legislation to protect LGBTI people from violence, discrimination, and harassment.

In an IGLHRC press release, Director of Programs Marianne Møllmann said that the government of Chile has been cooperative and engaged with LGBT issues. “Throughout the committee’s dialogue with the Chilean government, it was clear that LGBTI issues are not a fringe concern,” she said. “Until our rights are fully protected, Chile’s human rights record will remain blemished.”
Chile has been on front lines of LGBTI legal progress on the continent. In response to the progress needed, the government promised to:

  • “Push for amendments to the anti-discrimination law to overcome legal uncertainty and to provide for victims reparations;
  • “Support the proposed gender identity law currently before the Chilean Congress;
  • “Create a new gender identity area within the police human rights unit;
  • “Develop and promote a protocol within the Ministry of Health to ensure that infants born with ambiguous genitals (intersex infants) will not be mutilated; and
  • “Develop and promote a protocol within the Ministry of Education to ensure and promote respect for diverse gender identities in all school.”

Director of the OTD, Andrés Ignacio Rivera Duarte, outlined avenues for progress. “We have already developed a protocol on trans diversity in schools for the Ministry of Education, which we have shared with the government,” he said. “We are working on a protocol on respect in treatment of intersex infants that we will be happy to share as well. The moment I am back in Chile, I will reach out to the government to put these commitments on a concrete timeline.”

Uruguayan LGBT amendment fails as UN Adopts ‘Pro-Family’ Resolution

Uruguayan efforts to include a non-hetero-normative passage in a Human Rights Council document failed last week as the United Nations body adopted its resolution on the “Protection of the Family”. The resolution supported by delegations from Uganda, Russia, Egypt, and other global leaders in LGBT-opposition, is part of a growing effort of conservative states to establish and clarify heterosexual foundations in international law, an effort aided significantly as Ugandan Sam Kutesa takes leadership of the General Assembly.

The delegation of Uruguay, a continental and global leader on legal recognition of gay rights, tabled the amendment along with Chile, France, and Ireland. The effort was to clarify that “different cultural, political and social systems various forms of the family exist” in hopes to counteract an affirmation of ‘family’ being used to discriminate against same-sex relationships. The language was rejected during debate.

The document is characteristic of the larger global debate underway in an area with few specific international precedents. These measures may often be largely rhetorical but in international law, they may be used to legitimize further action by either party. At this point delegations are hoping to quietly ‘place dominoes’ early in the process.

The resolution does not call for dramatic action. It requests the High Commissioner for Human Rights prepare a report on the status of the family and instructs the Human Rights Council to convene a “panel discussion” at its next session on the subject. It also does not specifically declare that marriage consists only of a man and a woman — Saudia Arabia and Pakistan had tabled an amendment to add that language, but withdrew it after the Uruguayan amendment was rejected.

The language battle could have significant implications, however. The direction outlined for the High Commissioner’s reports would have influence on every subsequent debate on the subject of the family and analysis in that document of non-hetero-normative family structures and the issues they face could affect the establishment of goals and norms in the future.

Overall, this phase of the process is marked only by frustrated middle-ground progress. The organized international community and the United Nations have an inherent liberal tendency toward a broad understanding of human rights, as shown by the extension of UN staff benefits to same-sex partners this week by order of Secretary General Ban-Ki-Moon. Latin American countries have taken an increasingly activist role in this field in recent years but, as for now, revolution is not on the menu.