United Nations: Human Rights Council Creates Working Group to Eliminate Discrimination Against Women in Law and Practice
Tuesday, October 5, 2010 1:30 PM

On 1 October 2010, the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) adopted a resolution that would eliminate laws and practices that discriminate against women in all spheres of life. Member states were in consensus on the resolution, which will establish a Working Group consisting of five independent experts on discrimination against women over a three year period.

The resolution calls upon states to be responsible for removing laws that discriminate on the basis of sex. Some states that have shown strong support for the resolution are Mexico, Columbia, Rwanda, Slovenia, Norway, and France. In particular, African nations have supported the resolution, in conjunction with the forthcoming launch of the African Women’s Decade that aims to address legal discrimination.

2010 marks the fifteenth anniversary of the U.N. Fourth World Conference on Women that took place in Beijing in 1995. At the conference, governments promised to repeal all sex discriminatory laws and set the deadline for 2005. However, laws that discriminate against women still persist, prompting Equality Now to propose stronger mechanisms within the U.N. that would eliminate discrimination against women in law and practice.

The five experts will be appointed in March 2011, and their first report will be in June 2012. According to Jacqui Hunt, the London Office Director of Equality Now, the selection of Working Group members is a critical choice. Hunt explains, "Since non-discrimination in law and practice is essential in guaranteeing women access to justice and equality, it is crucial that the HRC appoints strong mandate holders who will engage immediately with governments to accelerate women's equality." 

Compiled from: Human Rights Council Adopts Resolution on Discrimination Against Women in Law and Practice, OHCHR, (1 October 2010); WUNRN.com; Equality Now Hails Historic Creation of a New UN Mechanism that Will Focus on Eliminating Discrimination Against Women in Law and Practice , Equality Now, (1 October 2010).