The Human Rights Council Through the Eyes of a Newcomer: How to advocate for women’s rights through a resolution

 By Juliia Torchynska, World YWCA Human Rights Council Intern

First of all I want to present myself: my name’s Juliia Torchynska and I am World YWCA short-term intern from YWCA of Ukraine. That’s why I came to Geneva to take part in the World YWCA participation in the Human rights Council – 20thSession from 18 June to 6 July, 2012.


Despite the fact that I wrote in the title “through the eyes of newcomer” I want this blog to be very useful and informative for everybody who wants to know more about HRC, YWCA’s involvement in UN HRC sessions, women’s human rights, new resolutions on violence against women, mechanisms and ways to be heard and to have power to change.

Can you imagine the room where the representatives of different countries gather together to discuss problems of current interest? And can you imagine better opportunity for YWCA and other NGOs to mention women’s problems and needs, make them visible in order to influence and help the governments to make the right decisions concerning remedies for women survivors of conflict situations?

I want to say that we really had such an opportunity and tried to do our best to increase YWCA’s contribution to global accountability for the human rights of women step by step.

As I promised everything in this article will be clear I want to talk about these steps in more details.

Step 1. As you know or may not Permanent mission of Canada proposes their vision of resolution on the elimination of violence against women. Manon Boisclair, Second Secretary Human Rights, Permanent Mission of Canada, presented the draft resolution created to the requests input from NGOs.

Step 2. In the morning of 19th June NGO CSW Geneva Caucus meeting was held. Marie-Claude Julsaint, World YWCA Global Programme Manager for Violence Against Women, Marcia Banasko, World YWCA Programme Associate in the communications department, and me were able to take part in the discussion of Canadian resolution with other NGOs such as WOW, PWESCR and others. As for me YWCA’s recommendations on the resolution are not only very important and precise but really necessary and useful because YWCA advocates for peace, justice, human rights and care for the environment for more than a century. It means that YWCA has not only the strategic goals and power to change but the experience to engage in advocacy as much as possible. You can be convinced of it by yourselves – this is the short list of the added corrections and recommendations:

– to include to the text of the resolution ‘girls’ near women because we can’t deny the fact of violence against young girls as well as women so they also need to be protected;

– to add to the text the necessity to prevent further incidence of violence;

– to provide the economic support and empowerment programmes for victims of violence;

– to ensure that measures include educating providers to protect confidentiality and prevents stigmatization or further harm to victims;

– to mention the necessity of women’s equitable participation in judicial system.

Step 3. In the same day the informal consultation on the resolution on the elimination of violence against women was organised for UN members, and NGOs got the opportunity to speak and to share their recommendations. In my opinion this fact was the first very pleasant and important opportunity for us and the second one was that we spoke not only to Canadian mission as the author of the resolution but to all UN members and we were heard in spite of some countries’ reluctance. As for me it was like the first women’s win during this HRC because it’s only the third day of HRC 20th session and a lot of opportunities lie ahead of us.

Finally I want to quote Margaret Sanger: “Woman must not accept; she must challenge. She must not be awed by that which has been built up around her; she must reverence that woman in her which struggles for expression”. So never stop to listen to the woman inside you because she really has the power to do everything.


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