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HRC45: Nordic-Baltic countries address Item 8 General Debate

Human Rights Council 45th Session. 
Item 8: General Debate
 1 October 2020
Nordic-Baltic Intervention by 
H.E. Ambassador Katrin Saarsalu-Layachi, Estonia

Madame President, 
I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the Nordic and Baltic countries: Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden and my own country, Estonia. 

At the World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna in 1993, States agreed, that women and girls’ rights should form an integral part of the United Nations human rights activities. Despite the urgent calls in Vienna 27 years ago to intensify efforts for the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights by all women and girls, women and girls continue to face rights violations, including multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination and violence. The World Economic Forum concluded last year that none of us will see gender parity in our lifetimes. Nor will probably our children. This shows a clear need to step up our efforts! 
We need to adopt a gender transformative approach to all policy fields and invite women to the table, so that we can benefit from the half of the world’s talent that often remains underutilized. We also need to start looking at human rights more broadly to brake down silos and have a more holistic approach with the aim to fulfilling the promises of gender equality. 

With this in mind, we welcome the initiatives at the Human Rights Council this year, which seek to create synergies between the work done by different UN bodies and mechanism, civil society and other stakeholders. Respecting and promoting women and girls’ rights and gender equality, and preventing and addressing discrimination and violence against women and girls are central to the maintenance of international peace and security as recognized by the Security Council resolution 1325 on Women Peace and Security. Failure to ensure accountability fuels impunity and lack of respect, protection and fulfilment of all human rights, including women and girls’ rights. Peacebuilding and accountability are both closely tied to our work on human rights where it is important to recognize women and girls’ agency.

The Nordic and Baltic countries remain fully committed to respect, protect and fulfil the human rights of all, including of all women and girls, and urge all States to fulfill their human rights obligations towards women and girls in their countries. 
Thank you!