We are writing to update you on the status of three resolutions currently being negotiated at the 29th session of the Human Rights Council, and to urge you to contact your relevant government ministry to support the tabled texts.
Your urgent action is much appreciated.
The resolutions in question are as follows:
1.       Accelerating Efforts to Eliminate All Forms of Violence Against Women: Eliminating Domestic Violence  (A/HRC/29/L.16)
This is the first resolution focusing on domestic violence at the Human Rights Council and is being led by Canada. It addresses issues such as marital rape, intimate partner violence, femicide and rights to property and inheritance. It also calls for access to “Comprehensive Sexuality Education” (paragraph 8h). This will be the first UN resolution that includes this specific phrase. This can go a long way in ensuring the phrase Comprehensive Sexuality Education is used in future resolutions and other inter-governmental texts, and be an additional tool for national level advocacy.
HoweverBahrain, Egypt, Iran, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates have tabled amendments that serve to weaken the resolution: These amendments are to:
1.       Replace the term intimate partner violence with spousal and non-spousal violence” [Non-spousal violence is a very broad term which extends beyond the scope of this resolution. The focus needs to remain on intimate partner violence which we know if the most prevalent form of violence against women.]
2.       Delete the term marital rape” [Marital rape is an aspect of intimate partner violence that should be recognized as a crime, and addressed in this resolution focusing on domestic violence.]
3.       Replace the term sexuality education with sexual and reproductive health education” [Just sexual and reproductive health education does not fully address gender norms, violence against women and human rights, and would be a major step backwards.]
Should these amendments receive enough support from other Members of the Human Rights Council, it will dramatically reduce the impact that these resolutions will have on the ground.
There will be a vote on the amendments which will take place later this week (most likely Thursday 02 July). The result of that vote will determine which language is included – the original tabled text, or the revised text with the amendments. 
            2.       Strengthening efforts to prevent and eliminate child, early and forced marriage
This is the first substantive resolution on child, early and forced marriage that has been presented to the Human Rights Council by Argentina, Canada, Ethiopia, Honduras, Italy, Maldives, Montenegro, Netherlands, Poland, Sierra Leone, Switzerland, the UK, Uruguay and Zambia. It makes a number of advances on the subject, including recognition of sexual and reproductive health and rights (the concepts, not the exact term) for girls and women, strengthening protection mechanisms, access to justice and remedies, and access to sexual and reproductive health information, education and services. 
3.       Elimination of discrimination against women
This resolution is being run by Colombia and Mexico, and focuses on discrimination against women and girls in cultural and family life. Highlights of this resolution include provisions on women and girls’ equality in family life, including rights to property and inheritance, equality in nationality laws, access to formal legal systems, opposing discriminatory forms of marriage, and reforms in systemic and institutional structures which perpetuate discrimination against women.
All three resolutions need countries from all regions to co-sponsor them as soon as possible, and all of the proposed amendments to the Violence Against Women resolution need to be opposed. If you think your government will be supportive of this request, then please contact your relevant government ministry urging them to co-sponsor these three resolutions immediately and ensure that the progressive language in these resolutions is kept.
  All UN Member States can co-sponsor the resolutions.                  
  It is particularly important that voting members of the Human Rights Council support these resolutions. A list of Council Members can be found here.
  For such resolutions the most important contact is usually your government’s Foreign Ministry (though this can change depending on the country).  Contact details for the Foreign Ministry of each country can be found here:
  It is also helpful to send a copy of any correspondence to your country’s Ambassador or Permanent Representative in Geneva.  A list of Permanent Missions in Geneva can be found here:
We look forward to hearing from you and hope you can participate in this urgent action.  Please get in touch with Stuart Halford ([email protected]) or Neha Sood ([email protected]) if you have any questions.