HRC 56: SRI, AWID & NSWP statement to the interactive dialogue with the Working Group on discrimination against women and girls

Published on June 28, 2024


Item 3: Interactive dialogue with the Working Group on discrimination against women and girls 

Action Canada for Population and Development 


Thank you, President. 

Action Canada makes this joint statement on behalf of the Sexual Rights Initiative, the Association for Women’s Rights in Development and the Global Network of Sex Work Projects. 

We welcome the Working Group’s report. We encourage the Working Group to expand its framing of the “gender backlash” to analyze retrogressions through a structural and systemic lens that addresses the operation of patriarchy, neoliberalism, colonialism, racism, ableism and other systems of oppression throughout its work. As highlighted in the report, this would include the role of authoritarian and far-right rollbacks to global democracy and human rights, where State and non-State actors’ actions and rhetoric seek to harden or maintain conservative patriarchal, racist and classist hierarchies. 

We urge States to heed the Working Group’s recommendations related to the realization of individual and collective rights to substantive equality, including guaranteeing the right to decent work, comprehensive social protection, and repealing laws criminalizing poverty. International and regional economic, financial and monetary institutions and their member States must move away from the growth-centered and neoliberal paradigm that are root causes of inequalities.  

We welcome the Working Group’s 2023 evidence-based guidance document on the rights of sex workers and urge States to implement its recommendations. This aligns with oral statements made by sex workers and allies this session during the interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls, and with the Kathmandu Declaration issued by over 200 sex workers and allies from South Asia in May 2024.

We encourage the Working Group to continue holding broad and regional consultations for all future reports, including with sex workers and including regarding digital technologies as they also impact their lives and work. 

Finally, we urge States, especially Global North States, to heed the Working Group and other Special Procedures’ calls for a permanent ceasefire, arms embargo,1 and immediately stop their support for Israel’s genocide against the Palestinian people.2

1 See for instance “States and companies must end arms transfers to Israel immediately or risk responsibility for human rights violations: UN experts.” 20 June 2024. ; “Arms exports to Israel must stop immediately: UN experts.” 23 February 2024.  

2 See for instance “Gaza: UN experts call on international community to prevent genocide against the Palestinian people.” 16 November 2023.; “Gaza: ICJ ruling offers hope for protection of civilians enduring apocalyptic conditions, say UN human rights experts.” 31 January 2024.