[Brussels, 20 January 2016] Before the winter break, the European Parliament (EP) adopted a very important resolution on human rights and democracy in the world, where it calls for EU action on a series of issues. The rights of women and girls are an important part of the demands of the EP: the EWL welcomes such focus and hopes that the EP call will lead the European Commission to adopt concrete action to end the violations of women’s and girls’ rights both internally and externally.
The EP highlights the pervasive violation of women’s and girls’ rights which is violence against women, and call for access to justice, prevention actions, ratification of the Istanbul Convention, support to women’s organisations, and end to impunity especially in cases of feminicide, protection for refugee women, and access to health care in situations of conflict. The EP denounces the practices of underage marriage and male-order bride, and reiterates the importance of universal respect of sexual and reproductive health and rights.
The EWL is particularly happy to see the EP concern towards the phenomenon of surrogacy, in times of greater discussion on this growing industry and its impact on women’s rights. In particular, the EP “condemns the practice of surrogacy, which undermines the human dignity of the woman since her body and its reproductive functions are used as a commodity; considers that the practice of gestational surrogacy which involves reproductive exploitation and use of the human body for financial or other gain, in particular in the case of vulnerable women in developing countries, shall be prohibited and treated as a matter of urgency in human rights instruments”.
Women’s inequalities in terms of decision-making, education and wage gap are also highlighted in the resolution, which calls for EU action to “equally ensure the full range of human rights for women and contribute to their empowerment, including in the framework of the post-2015 agenda and through support for the Beijing Platform for Action and the Istanbul Convention”.
The EP resolution also highlights the discrimination faced by women from Indigenous communities, low casts, and women with disabilities. The EP condemns the increase of prostitution during sport events, and calls for action to prevent sexual exploitation of children worldwide.
We welcome the strong vision of the EP on women’s and girls’ rights, and hope that it will translate into its work within the European Union, to ensure consistency between its vision for EU action externally and the concrete EU action internally. Women’s and girls’ rights are universal, and the EU should walk the talk and aim to lead by example.
The full resolution can be found here.