This is an onsite edited excerpt of the G|O Briefing newsletter
The symbolism was lost on no one: Monday, March 8, International Women’s Day saw the birth of a new alliance before the current session of the Human Rights Council to boldly reaffirm that women’s rights are human rights. The political significance of the move was also clear as sixty-two countries took the floor with a joint statement to support women's broad access to reproductive and sexual rights. The remnants of former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s “Geneva Consensus Declaration,” a regressive initiative supported by some of the world’s most repressive regimes to make abortion illegal and prevent policies and funding to be considered in international organizations, were swept away. The rebuke was led by the Nordic countries, supported by the US, Mexico, and other like-minded countries. In its statement, the group reminded the Council and the international community that “women and girls have faced a rollback on human rights in general and on sexual and reproductive health and rights in particular.”
“In the midst of the crisis, sexual and reproductive health services remain essential and should be part of national plans dealing with the COVID pandemic,” it said.
The statement also paid tribute to the courage and efforts of feminist movements around the world, particularly targeted by the so-called “Geneva Consensus Declaration.”
“During these challenging times, feminist movements and organizations have remained active and vocal, online and offline, dismantling patriarchal systems and their manifestations, such as gender-based violence and discrimination.
Today we salute and pay respect to all the courageous feminist movements, organizations, and women human rights defenders around the world. We do see you and stand with you,” the group declared.
It includes countries such as Argentina, Australia, Austria, Botswana, Canada, Chile, Denmark, France, Germany, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.