Integrating the human rights of women throughout
the United Nations system

Commission on Human Rights resolution 2003/44


The Commission on Human Rights,

Reaffirming that the equal rights of women and men are enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and other international human rights instruments,

Recalling all previous resolutions on this subject,

Recalling also the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action adopted in June 1993 by the World Conference on Human Rights (A/CONF.157/23) which affirms that the human rights of women and of the girl child are an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of universal human rights and calls for action to integrate the equal status and human rights of women into the mainstream of United Nations activity system-wide,

Welcoming the increased integration of a gender perspective into the work of all entities of the United Nations and the major United Nations conferences, special sessions and summits and their follow-up processes, such as the special session of the General Assembly on human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance and the World Summit on Sustainable Development,

Welcoming the commitment of the Commission on the Status of Women at its forty-seventh session to improving the situation of women, in particular by recognizing the need to raise awareness of the responsibility and role of the media and information and communications technologies in empowering women and in eliminating all forms of discrimination against women,

Recalling the United Nations Millennium Declaration, in particular its call for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women as effective ways to combat poverty, hunger and disease and to stimulate development that is truly sustainable,

Acknowledging the need to integrate further a gender perspective into all aspects of the work of the United Nations system, including the treaty bodies, the Commission on Human Rights, the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and all other subsidiary mechanisms,

Acknowledging the need for a comprehensive and integrated approach to the promotion and protection of the human rights of women, which includes the integration of the human rights of women into the mainstream of United Nations activities system-wide,

Bearing in mind that the Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing in September 1995, in its Platform for Action (A/CONF.177/20, chap. I, annex II), and the General Assembly, in the outcome document of its twenty-third special session, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”, called upon all relevant organs, bodies and agencies of the United Nations system, all human rights

bodies of the United Nations system, as well as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, to give full, equal and sustained attention to the human rights of women in the exercise of their respective mandates,

Reaffirming the need to implement fully international humanitarian and human rights law in order to protect fully the human rights of women and girls,

Recalling the initiative of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to develop a general comment on article 3 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights regarding the equal right of women and men to the enjoyment of all economic, social and cultural rights set forth in the Covenant,

Emphasizing the pivotal role of the Commission on the Status of Women in promoting equality between women and men and welcoming its agreed conclusions over the years on the human rights of women and on the other critical areas of concern of the Platform for Action,

Recalling the entry into force of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women on 22 December 2000,

Welcoming General Assembly resolution 57/180 of 18 December 2002 on improvement of the status of women in the United Nations system,

Reaffirming the important role that women’s groups and non-governmental organizations play in promoting and protecting the human rights of women,

1. Welcomes the report of the Secretary-General (E/CN.4/2003/72);

2. Emphasizes that the goal of mainstreaming a gender perspective is to achieve gender equality and that this includes ensuring that all United Nations activities, including United Nations conferences, special sessions and summits, integrate the human rights of women;

3. Recognizes the importance of examining the intersection of multiple forms of discrimination, including their root causes, from a gender perspective, and their impact on the advancement of women and the enjoyment by women of their human rights, in order to develop and implement strategies, policies and programmes aimed at the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women and to increase the role that women play in the design, implementation and monitoring of gender-sensitive anti-discrimination policies;

4. Invites the Economic and Social Council to continue to give attention to the implementation of its agreed conclusions 1997/2 on mainstreaming the gender perspective into all policies and programmes of the United Nations system and 1998/2 related to the coordinated follow-up and implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, in particular Part II, section B.3 on the equal status and human rights of women, inter alia through the conference reviews, in the promotion of an integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to major United Nations conferences and summits in the economic, social and related fields;

5. Invites the Secretary-General to bring the present resolution to the attention of the World Summit on the Information Society, to be held in Geneva in December 2003 and in Tunis in 2005, in order to stress the need for integrating a gender perspective into the outcome of the summit;

6. Recalls the decision of the Economic and Social Council, in its resolution 2001/41 of 26 July 2001, to include a regular sub-item on gender mainstreaming in its substantive session and invites the Council to devote the coordination segment of its substantive session of 2004 to the review and appraisal of the system-wide implementation of agreed conclusions 1997/2, adopted by the Council on 18 July 1997, on mainstreaming a gender perspective into all policies and programmes in the United Nations system;

7. Encourages the continued commitment of the United Nations

High Commissioner for Human Rights to integrating the human rights of women throughout the United Nations system, including through continued cooperation with the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women and the Division for the Advancement of Women;

8. Also encourages the continued commitment of the High Commissioner to raise awareness and promote the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and welcomes his nomination of a Senior Adviser on gender issues;

9. Welcomes the continued cooperation between the Commission on the Status of Women and the Commission on Human Rights, including through joint bureau meetings and the participation of the Chair of the Commission on the Status of Women in the work of the

Commission on Human Rights and, similarly, the participation of the Chair of the Commission on Human Rights in the sessions of the Commission on the Status of Women, and encourages the continuation of this reciprocal collaboration;

10. Also welcomes the cooperation and coordination between the Division for the Advancement of Women and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights aimed at mainstreaming the human rights of women, including through their joint work plan;

11. Further welcomes the report of the Secretary-General on the joint work plan for the year 2003 of the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, the Division for the Advancement of Women and the Office of the High Commissioner (E/CN.4/2003/73-E/CN.6/2003/5), in particular the continued cooperation in the creation of a multi-media training package on international human rights instruments, starting with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and its Optional Protocol, and recalls the proposal to convene a meeting of national human rights institutions, national machineries for the advancement of women and the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women to discuss strategies to address the elimination of sex discrimination;

12. Encourages the Secretary-General to ensure implementation of the joint work plan, to continue to elaborate this plan, reflecting all aspects of work under way and the lessons learned, to identify obstacles/impediments and areas for further collaboration, and to make it available to the Commission on Human Rights at its sixtieth session and to the Commission on the Status of Women at its forty-eighth session;

13. Urges the relevant organs, bodies and agencies of the United Nations system, including all human rights bodies, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, to bear in mind, in the recruitment of staff, including for peacekeeping operations and humanitarian and human rights missions, the need for expertise in the enjoyment by women and girls of human rights;

14. Emphasizes the need for further activities in the United Nations system to strengthen expertise concerning the equal status and human rights of women through, inter alia, the provision of training on the human rights of women and on gender mainstreaming, including through gender impact analysis, to all United Nations personnel and officials at Headquarters and in the field, especially in field operations;

15. Recognizes the importance of the participation of women at all levels of decision-making, including at the higher levels within the United Nations system, for the achievement of gender equality and the realization of the human rights of women, and in this regard strongly encourages Member States to promote gender balance by, inter alia, regularly nominating more women candidates for election to the human rights treaty bodies and for appointment to United Nations bodies, including international courts and tribunals, the

specialized agencies and other organs, and calls upon all relevant actors to implement General Assembly resolution 57/180 of 18 December 2002 on improvement of the status of women in the United Nations system;

16. Encourages United Nations bodies and agencies to increase cooperation with other organizations in developing activities to address, within their respective mandates, violations of the human rights of women and to promote the full enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by women;

17. Encourages the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, with a view to promoting greater efficiency and effectiveness, as well as enhancing her access to the information necessary to fulfil her duties, to continue to cooperate with regional intergovernmental organizations and any of their mechanisms engaged in the promotion of human rights of women;

18. Requests all special procedures and other human rights mechanisms of the Commission on Human Rights and the Sub-Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, and invites human rights treaty bodies regularly and systematically to integrate a gender perspective into the implementation of their mandates and to include in their reports information on and qualitative analysis of human rights of women and girls, and encourages the strengthening of cooperation and coordination between these procedures and mechanisms;

19. Encourages States to give particular consideration to the general comments of the treaty bodies that relate to the enjoyment by women of their human rights;

20. Notes with appreciation the request made by the Economic and Social Council in its agreed conclusions 1998/2 that the Commission make explicit the integration of a gender perspective when establishing or renewing human rights mandates;

21. Urges the use of gender-inclusive language in the formulation, interpretation and application of human rights instruments, as well as in reports, resolutions and/or decisions of the Commission, the Sub-Commission and the various human rights mechanisms, and requests the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to utilize gender-inclusive language in the preparation of all of its communications, reports and publications, and to work with the United Nations conference services to ensure gender-inclusive language and interpretation in the proceedings of the Office;

22. Encourages the efforts of the treaty bodies to monitor more effectively the human rights of women in their activities, bearing in mind the workshops on gender integration, and reaffirms that it is the responsibility of all treaty bodies, in their work, to integrate a gender perspective, bearing in mind also the need:

(a) To develop gender-sensitive guidelines to be used in the review of reports of States parties;

(b) To develop, as a matter of priority, a common strategy towards mainstreaming the human rights of women into their work, so that each body, within its mandate, monitors the human rights of women;

(c) To incorporate a gender analysis and to exchange information regularly in the development of general comments and recommendations, with a view to the preparation of general comments which reflect a gender perspective;

(d) To incorporate a gender perspective in concluding observations so that the concluding observations of each treaty body delineate the strengths and weaknesses of each State party insofar as enjoyment by women of the rights guaranteed by a particular treaty is concerned;

23. Encourages all entities charged with the promotion and protection of human rights, especially United Nations human rights bodies and mechanisms, to identify, collect and use sex-disaggregated data and gender-specific information in their activities and to apply gender analysis in monitoring and reporting;

24. Welcomes the submission of reports by specialized agencies, at the invitation of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, on the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women in areas falling within the scope of their activities and the contribution of non-governmental organizations to the work of the Committee;

25. Encourages all entities of the United Nations system to pay systematic, increased and sustained attention to the recommendations of the Committee, in order to ensure that its concluding observations and general recommendations are better utilized in their respective work;

26. Reminds Governments that their obligations under the Convention must be implemented fully and reaffirms their commitment to accelerate the achievement of universal ratification of the Convention, urges all States that have not yet ratified or acceded to the Convention to consider, as a matter of priority, doing so, and urges States parties to consider signing and ratifying the Optional Protocol to the Convention;

27. Urges States to limit the extent of any reservations to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, to formulate any such reservations as precisely and as narrowly as possible, to ensure that no reservations are incompatible with the object and purpose of the Convention and regularly to review them with a view to withdrawing them, and to withdraw reservations that are contrary to the object and purpose of the Convention;

28. Urges States that have ratified or acceded to the Convention to take action to implement the Convention fully, inter alia through national legislation, policies and practice, and to take account of the recommendations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in this regard;

29. Encourages all relevant entities of the United Nations system, within their mandates, as well as Governments and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, in particular women’s organizations, as appropriate, to continue to assist States parties, upon the request of those States, in implementing the Convention;

30. Also encourages all relevant entities of the United Nations system to continue to build women’s knowledge and understanding of and capacity to utilize human rights instruments, in particular the Convention and the Optional Protocol thereto;

31. Notes the first resolution on women and peace and security adopted by the Security Council, resolution 1325 (2000) of 31 October 2000, which, inter alia, calls on actors involved, when negotiating and implementing peace agreements, to adopt a gender perspective, including, inter alia, measures that ensure the protection of and respect for the human rights of women and girls, particularly as they relate to the constitution, the electoral system, the police and the judiciary;

32. Welcomes the study of the Secretary-General entitled Women, Peace and Security submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 1325 (2000), and the recent study of the United Nations Development Fund for Women, entitled Women, War and Peace: The Independent Expert’s Assessment of the Impact of Armed Conflict on Women and Women’s Role in Peace-Building;

33. Recognizes the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and in peace-building, the importance of their equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security and the need to increase their role in decision-making with regard to conflict prevention and resolution, and urges the United Nations system and Governments to make further efforts in this regard and to take steps to ensure and support the full participation of women at all levels of decision-making and implementation in development activities and peace processes, including conflict prevention and resolution, post-conflict reconstruction, peacemaking, peacekeeping and peace-building, as well as through the integration of a gender perspective into those United Nations processes;

34. Welcomes the 1999 Inter-Agency Standing Committee policy statement for the integration of a gender perspective in humanitarian assistance, and requests the Secretary-General to provide information on the status of implementation and impact of that policy statement;

35. Requests the Secretary-General to report, at its sixtieth session, on the implementation of the present resolution including analysing the degree to which the promotion and protection of human rights of women are being integrated into the United Nations system, the work of the Commission and its subsidiary bodies, identifying obstacles and challenges to implementation of the resolution, to make concrete, comprehensive recommendations for action by States and/or by the United Nations system and to bring the report to the attention of the relevant organs, bodies and agencies of the United Nations system, including all human rights bodies;

36. Decides to integrate a gender perspective into all of its agenda items;

37. Also decides to continue its consideration of the question at its sixtieth session.



59th meeting
23 April 2003
[Adopted without a vote.
See chap. XII. - E/CN.4/2003/L.11/Add.4]


HOME | SITE MAP | SEARCH | INDEX | DOCUMENTS | TREATIES | MEETINGS | PRESS | STATEMENTS



Copyright 1996-2000
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Geneva, Switzerland