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HRC Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women
June 12, 2014

Clustered Interactive Dialogue on Violence Against Women and Extreme Poverty and Human Rights

Statement by the Delegation of the United States

delivered by Ambassador Harper,
U.S. Representative to the Human Rights Council

UN Human Rights Council – 26th Session
June 12, 2014

Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, Its Causes and Consequences

The United States thanks Special Rapporteur Rashida Manjoo for her report covering how the UN system has addressed violence against women over the past 20 years.  The report recognizes that consideration of violence against women has become increasingly multifaceted.  The UN, member states, civil society and other stakeholders now pay attention to topics that were not being considered when the Special Rapporteur’s mandate was created in 1994.  These include women’s political and economic empowerment; women and girls in conflict situations; domestic violence and intimate partner violence; sexual and reproductive health services and reproductive rights; child, early, and forced marriage; violence against LGBT individuals; women’s access to justice; and women human rights defenders.  These concerns are all priorities for the United States.

Special Rapporteur Manjoo notes that there has been increased recognition of groups of women who are particularly at risk.  As one example, she mentions women harmed by traditional, customary, and religious practices, including female genital mutilation / cutting.  The United States would like to mention a couple of additional examples.  Violence against indigenous women and girls is a significant global problem.  Among other initiatives, existing UN mechanisms can address this, including the Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Working Group on Discrimination Against Women in Law and Practice, and UN Women.  Child, early, and forced marriage remains high throughout the world, particularly in developing countries, where one in seven girls gets married before the age of 15.  This practice, which is rooted in the low status of girls, threatens their health, education, and human rights, robbing them of an opportunity to reach their full potential.  In these marriages, girls are often subject to violence and deprived of an opportunity to attend school or earn an income.

Older women are another group at risk for physical abuse, neglect, and exploitation.  Abuse of older women often goes unreported, leading to a lack of data on the consequences of this abuse on individuals and the broader community.  It is critical to increase awareness within the UN about violence against indigenous women and older women.  Thank you for your attention.

Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights

The United States would like to thank the Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, Ms. Magdalena Sepúlveda Carmona, for her report on the relationship between taxation and the realization of human rights.   While we agree that human rights obligations and impacts should be considered in setting fiscal policies, and that good governance principles need to play a key role, we are concerned by some of the report’s discussion and recommendations indicating that human rights obligations may somehow dictate or regulate how states carry out their fiscal policies.   Setting fiscal policy involves assessing multiple and complex issues, including, but not limited to, human rights.  We thank the Special Rapporteur again for her observations.


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