UN Human Rights Council 41: explanation of vote on violence against girls

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Thank you Mr President

The United Kingdom rejects the amendment proposed by the Russian Federation contained in document L.43.

This amendment contains numerous changes, additions, caveats and deletions, all of which were raised over the course of a number of open and transparent informal meetings. As with the other amendments presented today, they failed to garner support from the delegations participating in these informal meetings, or from the main sponsors of this resolution, and were therefore not incorporated.

We are particularly concerned that this amendment seeks to strike references to girls’ participation in society, the economy, and in both political and individual decision-making. Over the course of this Council, we have seen consistent efforts by the Russian Federation to erase girls from texts that seek to promote and protect their human rights, to empower them and to give them voice and control over their own lives. This does not do justice to the millions of young women and girls around the world who actively participate and contribute, day in and day out, to every aspect of life.

To suggest that girls are not capable of participating in the elaboration of solutions to their own concerns is absurd. For too long, girls have been written out of history; this Council has a responsibility to do better.

This resolution seeks to eliminate violence against women and girls in the context of the workplace; this resolution certainly does not endorse children in the workplace, but it recognises that in the real world, girls do engage in the workplace, and when they do, they should not face violence.

Furthermore, the passage of this amendment would set a bad precedent for the working of this Council. At this stage in our deliberations, as I said yesterday, Council Members should be considering thoughtful and well-articulated amendments that reflect concerns and issues of specific importance to delegations. This amendment does not meet that criteria.

For these reasons, we will vote against this amendment and we call on all other Members of the Human Rights Council to do the same.

Thank you, Mr President.

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