UN consultation: the Impact of Fundamentalism and Extremism on the Cultural Rights of Women

Karima Bennoune, UN Special Rapporteur, invites stakeholders to contribute to a consultation on the impact of fundamentalism and extremism on the cultural rights of women. Submissions must be made by 19 May 2017.

Her last report to the Human Rights Council (pdf) provided an overview of the impact fundamentalism and extremism on cultural rights. The first mandate holder has also reported on the cultural rights of women (pdf).

Email your submissions (max: 2,500 words) to srculturalrights@ohchr.org with the title “Submission to study on impact of fundamentalism and extremism on women’s cultural rights.” Also include any objections to your reply being posted on the OHCHR website.

Contributions are sought on the issues below:

  • The impact of fundamentalism and extremism on women’s human rights, with a focus on cultural rights, as guaranteed by Article 15 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as related concerns arising in regard to the right to education, the right to freedom of opinion and expression, the right to freedom of conscience and religion or belief. How do fundamentalist and extremist ideologies as conceptualized in A/HRC/34/56 limit the opportunities for women to exercise their rights:
    • to access, take part in and contribute to cultural life without discrimination, including having the freedom of movement needed to do so and the right to work;
    • to participate in the development of scientific progress and the arts, as well as to access and enjoy the benefits of their applications;
    • to pursue education and
    • to take part in the interpretation and development of their culture, including their cultural heritage and practices, at all relevant levels of decision-making and governance?
  • What are the particular impacts on the rights of diverse women, including girls, women living with disabilities, lesbian, homosexuals, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT), women belonging to indigenous or minority groups, migrant, internally displaced and refugee, and rural women, widows, women living in poverty or any other relevant group of women?
  • Examples of different situations illustrating these matters, which may be included in the report (reflecting geographical diversity, normative and regulatory practices by States / Non-States actors, situations of explicit / implicit and structural limitations, different forms of pressure, including threats and calls for retaliation, discrimination and violence, etc.);
  • Examples of general good practices, whether in the use of existing instruments protecting human rights, including the principle of equality between men and women, or in designing measures to challenge fundamentalist and extremist views, including through strengthening freedom of peaceful assembly and association, education in accordance with international standards, freedom of opinion and expression for all and respect for cultural diversity and cultural rights;
  • Examples of efficient and innovative specific measures and practices aiming at the prevention, protection, reparation and remedy of abuses of the cultural rights of women motivated by fundamentalist and extremist ideologies, including through human and cultural rights education and awareness;
  • Examples (at the local and national levels, both public and in an independent capacity) of any body, that as part of its mandate and in accordance with international standards, undertakes the monitoring of and response to fundamentalist and extremist threats in society, including against women, women’s rights and women human rights defenders, and any specific mechanisms in place to receive and assess complaints and reports from citizens and civil society organisations, including women human rights defenders, that would raise concerns about fundamentalist and extremist discourses and practices. Where relevant, please include as well examples of measures taken to provide protection and reparation for victims, and any steps taken to ensure that such measures and mechanisms are gender sensitive;
  • Examples of measures your country has taken to respect, maintain and positively value cultural diversity, the universality of human rights and the syncretic nature of culture and religion, including in educational programmes, as specifically relevant to ensuring women’s human rights;
  • Examples of measures your country has taken to provide for and protect the separation of religion and State, and guarantee the freedom of religion or belief. Please specify how these measures respect and ensure the rights of women, in particular in regard to fundamentalist and extremist abuses of their cultural rights;
  • Relevant cases of human rights defenders, including cultural rights defenders and women human rights defenders, as well as any person expressing dissent from fundamentalism and extremism who is at risk as a result. Please include measures taken to protect the rights of such persons and support their work defending the cultural rights of women from fundamentalist and extremist movements.

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