Discrimination against women in access to justice (statements to UN)

Today the ICJ delivered an oral statement on discrimination against women in access to justice at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The statement came during an interactive dialogue with the Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice. Ms Alda Facio, Chair of the Working Group, presented the Working Group’s latest report which highlighted examples of good practice in eliminating discrimination against women.

The ICJ stated as follows:

The ICJ would like to thank the Working Group for its report and welcomes its positive focus in highlighting examples of good practice, whilst continuing to note that discrimination against women remains a multifaceted and systemic problem.

The ICJ shares the Working Group’s concerns about the intense backlash against women’s rights gains in national, regional and international spheres. We are particularly concerned about the levels of discrimination women continue to face in accessing the justice required to uphold their human rights.

The ICJ has been working for a number of years, in different regions and with different stakeholders, to identify the discriminations women face in accessing justice and to consider the opportunities that can be used to address these discriminations. The importance of applying a gendered analysis to the law and the way that this is accessed and applied is essential to the elimination of discrimination in this area.

The ICJ supports the Working Group’s identification of the fundamental importance of incorporating international human rights standards into domestic legal frameworks to ensure gender equality protections. In the context of the 2030 Agenda, and with particular reference to Sustainable Development Goals 5 and 16, the ICJ encourages States to ensure that any laws and practices that discriminate against women in accessing justice are repealed, and to recall that any exceptions on the grounds of culture, religion or tradition are unacceptable.

Whilst discrimination against women in access to justice has been well documented and is by no means a new phenomenon, it is highly alarming that the problem is worsening in a number of states. The ICJ would ask that the international community remains vigilant about these potential regressions and commits to holding to account any States that fail to fulfil their international obligations to ensure access to justice for women.


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