HRC 42: Statement on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order

ITEM 3: Clustered ID with Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order

Statement by Action Canada for Population and Development

12 September 2019

Thank you President. Action Canada makes this statement on behalf of the Sexual Rights Initiative and the Coalition of African Lesbians.

We welcome the Independent Expert’s reaffirmation of the right to participate in public affairs, and the recognition that that public extends beyond the domestic sphere of one’s own nation state, to global and multilateral institutions and spaces. We also welcome the affirmation that such participation requires that the rights to equality, to non-discrimination and access to information and the freedoms of opinion, expression, peaceful assembly and association be realised. The public must be free to engage and advocate in multilateral spaces and global institutions without coercion or fear of domestic or regional reprisal to enact meaningful participation. 

We welcome the Independent Expert’s concerns about the impacts of global governance forums on the international order - including highlighting the disproportionate power and influence that a few countries in such fora wield over the rest of us. It is important to speak about the impact of economic domination and exploitation on the pursuit of an equitable global order - highlighting not only the North-South divide, but also the ongoing problem of neo-colonialism coupled with environmental degradation. Whilst we welcome the foregrounding of civil society and some marginalised groups that often find themselves actively barred from participation in public affairs, it is important to have an intersectional analysis of positionality, including geography and the standing of one’s nation state in the global order. Further, in order to begin to address the barriers to engagement by civil society and by marginalised people there needs to be a concerted effort to dismantle systems of oppression such as patriarchy and heteronormativity, neoliberal capitalism, as opposed to a tendency towards tokenising the marginalised by inserting them into inequitable structures with the expectation that they will carry the burden of reforming them.

We call on States to:

  1. To ensure the ability of civil society and marginalised people to meaningfully engage in public affairs - including within global institutions and multilateral spaces
  2. Ensure impartial and independent multilateral human rights institutions for Women Human Rights Defenders.

Thank you.