HRC50 - SRI Statement on the commemorative event on the occasion of the 50th session of the HRC

Published on June 15, 2022

50th session of the Human Rights Council

High-level commemorative event on the occasion of the 50th session of the Human Rights Council: achievements and lessons learned

Statement by Action Canada

15 June 2022

Thank you president. 

Action Canada makes this statement on behalf of the Sexual Rights Initiative.

SRI as a feminist coalition has participated in every session of the Council since its formation. We show up for every session because we believe that all states must be held accountable for their violations of human rights and also that the world can do better. We, together with countless other feminist activists and human rights defenders, often working alongside state representatives and UN officials, have grappled with new and emerging human rights situations and shed light on the human rights dimensions of long-standing intractable global issues. 

While the challenges have been numerous, the successes must not be discounted.  These successes have been driven by civil society and would not have been possible without our contributions and leadership.Yet, civil society has to continually fight to take our rightful place in this Council.  Perversely, the decline of civil society space is one of the defining characteristics of these fifty sessions.  

In sixteen years time, when we commemorate the 100th session of the HRC, what will we look back on? Will it be more of the same or even worse? Or will we be able to look back on 2022 as a turning point, a moment of collective reckoning, recognition that we can and must do better. 

We must be fearless and rigorous in our stocktaking. The world continues to confront the devastating impact of the pandemic: inequality has increased within and between states, rates of gender-based violence have skyrocketed, millions of  people are at risk of hunger, and the destruction of the planet continues unabated. To effectively respond to these seismic global events, we must resist the urge to turn away from or minimize our differences, failures and inaction. We must address the repetitive patterns of unchecked power and inequality that plague this Council and multilateral spaces.  The current disgraceful WTO TRIPS waiver negotiations are a prime example of what we must no longer tolerate.  

The multilateral system cannot remain a space for elites, excluding the majority of the world, and serving as a microcosm of the colonial, ableist, and patriarchal patterns we face daily in our societies. We will continue to demand more of States, this Council and the UN system as a whole.  This, you can depend on.