Human Rights Council Thirty-second session

Agenda item 3

Resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council on 30 June 2016

32/4. Elimination of discrimination against women

The Human Rights Council,

Guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations,

Reaffirming the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the

Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Convention on the Rights

of the Child and all other relevant international human rights instruments,

Recalling the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, the Programme of

Action of the International Conference on Population and Development, the Beijing

Declaration and Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review

conferences, the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action and the outcome document

of the Durban Review Conference,

Recalling also all relevant resolutions on the elimination of discrimination against

women adopted by the Human Rights Council, the General Assembly, the Security Council

and other United Nations agencies and bodies,

Welcoming the inclusion of both gender equality and the empowerment of all

women and girls as a stand-alone goal and its integration into all goals and targets of the

2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,1 including in its health-related provisions, and

the adoption of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda,2

Underscoring that international human rights treaties prohibit discrimination on the

basis of gender, and include guarantees to ensure the right of everyone to the enjoyment of

the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health on the basis of equality,

Stressing that health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being,

and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity,

Emphasizing that realizing the rights of women and girls that are equal to those of

men and boys in the context of health and safety requires the provision of differential

1 General Assembly resolution 70/1.

2 General Assembly resolution 69/313, annex.

services, treatment and medicines in accordance with their specific needs throughout their

life cycle, which are distinctively different to those of men, and the elimination of the social

and economic barriers that may make them more vulnerable,

Recognizing that the quality of women’s health care is often deficient in various

ways, depending on local circumstances, and that women are frequently not treated with

respect, nor are they guaranteed privacy and confidentiality, nor do they always receive full

information about the options and services available,

Reaffirming that the human rights of women include a woman’s right to have control

over, and to decide freely and responsibly on, matters related to her sexuality, including

sexual and reproductive health, free of coercion, discrimination and violence, and that equal

relationships between women and men in matter of sexual relations and reproduction,

including full respect for the integrity of the person, require mutual respect, consent and

shared responsibility for sexual behaviour and its consequences,

Recognizing that health policies and programmes often perpetuate gender

stereotypes and fail to consider socioeconomic disparities and other differences among

women, and may not fully take account of the lack of autonomy of women regarding their

health, and that women’s health is also affected by gender bias in the health system and by

the provision of inadequate and inappropriate medical services to women,

Reaffirming that the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action and the outcome

documents of its reviews, and the outcomes of relevant major United Nations conferences

and summits and the follow-up to them, have laid a solid foundation for sustainable

development, and that the full, effective and accelerated implementation of the Beijing

Declaration and Platform for Action will make a crucial contribution to the implementation

of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that will leave no one behind,

Recognizing while deeply regretting that many women and girls, particularly those

belonging to marginalized groups or in a vulnerable situation, face multiple and intersecting

forms of discrimination and are still subjected to discriminatory laws and practices, and that

de jure and de facto equality has not been achieved,

Expressing concern about the disparate impact of poverty, global economic crises,

austerity measures, climate change, armed conflict and natural disasters on women’s and

girls’ health and well-being,

1. Takes note of the report of the Working Group on the issue of discrimination

against women in law and in practice with regard to health and safety, and the work

undertaken since its establishment;3

2. Reiterates that States should take all appropriate measures to eliminate

discrimination against women in the field of health care in order to ensure, on the basis of

equality of men and women, access to health-care services, including those related to

family planning, and that States should ensure for women appropriate services in

connection with pregnancy, confinement and the postnatal period, granting free services

where necessary, as well as adequate nutrition during pregnancy and lactation;

3. Affirms that realizing human rights requires the full, effective and meaningful

participation and contribution of women and girls in all aspects of life, on an equal footing

with men and boys;

4. Calls upon States to ensure women’s and girls’ equal access to accessible,

affordable, available, appropriate, effective and high-quality health care and services, and to

3 A/HRC/32/44.

eliminate legal, administrative, financial and social barriers that hinder women’s right to the

full enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, particularly

when designing policy measures, programmes and resource allocations;

5. Also calls upon States to ensure women’s equal right to the full enjoyment of

the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, and to promote the integration

of the distinct needs of each phase of their life cycle through their differential health


6. Urges States to take steps to ensure that laws, policies and practices respect

women’s equal right to decide autonomously in matters regarding their own lives and

health, including their bodies, by repealing discriminatory laws relating to third-party

authorization for health information and services, and combating gender stereotypes and

behaviours that discriminate against them;

7. Calls upon States to promote a human rights-based approach to women’s

health, and to foster a functioning health system, with adequate supplies, equipment, trained

personnel and infrastructure, and an efficient system of communication, referral and

transport to support women’s right to the full enjoyment of the highest attainable standard

of physical and mental health;

8. Recognizes the need to pay specific attention and to take differentiated

measures, including special protection and support services, when addressing multiple and

intersecting forms of discrimination against women and girls;

9. Calls upon States to monitor and prevent unlawful forced institutionalization

and overmedication, and to ensure non-discrimination in relation to women’s mental health;

10. Urges States to adopt effective measures and to enact laws and policies to

prevent and eliminate harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage or female

genital mutilation and cutting;

11. Also urges States to ensure the promotion and protection of the human rights

of all women and their sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights in accordance

with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and

Development, the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review

conferences, including through the development and enforcement of policies and legal

frameworks, and to strengthen health systems that make quality comprehensive sexual and

reproductive health-care services, commodities, information and education universally

accessible and available, including, inter alia, safe and effective methods of modern

contraception, emergency contraception, prevention programmes for adolescent pregnancy,

maternal health care, such as skilled birth attendance and emergency obstetric care, which

will reduce obstetric fistula and other complications of pregnancy and delivery, and safe

abortion where such services are permitted by national law, and the prevention and

treatment of reproductive tract infections, sexually transmitted infections, HIV and

reproductive cancers, while recognizing that human rights include the right to have control

over and to decide freely and responsibly on matters related to their sexuality, including

sexual and reproductive health, free from coercion, discrimination and violence;

12. Further urges States to ensure equal access to and equal treatment of women

and men in education and health care, and to enhance women’s sexual and reproductive

health as well as education, including by, inter alia, training health providers and other

health-care workers on gender equality and non-discrimination, respect for women’s rights

and dignity, in lifesaving obstetric care and when giving birth, especially midwives and

auxiliary nurses, ensuring the affordability of medicines and treatments, avoiding the

overmedicalization of women’s health, acknowledging alternative medicine, abolishing

discriminatory practices that hinder women’s access to health services, and providing age-

appropriate, sexual health information, education and counselling, based on scientific

evidence and human rights, for women, girls, men and boys;

13. Urges States to take all appropriate measures to ensure equal access of

women with disabilities to health services that are gender sensitive, including health-related


14. Also urges States to adopt a holistic approach to maternal health, one of the

elements of the full spectrum of women’s health, by reducing maternal mortality and

morbidity by promoting access to family planning and proper prenatal care, skilled

attendance at birth, postnatal care and methods of prevention, including affordable

treatment and support services for sexually transmitted infections, such as HIV/AIDS, free

of stigma and discrimination;

15. Underlines the need to take measures to exercise due diligence and

accountability to ensure that health services and medications are provided in a gender-

responsive and non-discriminatory way;

16. Stresses the need to accelerate efforts at all levels to eliminate all forms of

violence against women and girls, including domestic violence, violence on their way to or

at school, in other public spaces and in health facilities;

17. Recommends that States collect data, prepare statistics disaggregated by age,

disability and sex, and conduct multidisciplinary research reflecting specific issues related

to women’s health and safety;

18. Reaffirms the importance of significantly increased investment to close

resource gaps for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls,

including through the mobilization of financial resources from all sources;

19. Recognizes that civil society organizations, including independent women’s

organizations and human rights defenders, do important work in promoting full equality in

all aspects of life, including women’s health, and in eliminating violence against women

and girls, and that they therefore require support for their sustainability, safety and growth;

20. Decides to extend the mandate of the Working Group on the issue of

discrimination against women in law and in practice for a period of three years, on the same

terms as provided for by the Human Rights Council in its resolution 23/7 of 13 June 2013;

21. Calls upon all States to cooperate with and assist the Working Group in its

tasks, to supply all necessary available information requested by it and to give serious

consideration to responding favourably to its requests to visit their country to enable it to

fulfil its mandate effectively;

22. Invites relevant United Nations agencies, funds and programmes, the treaty

bodies, within their respective mandates, and civil society actors, including non-

governmental organizations, as well as the private sector, to cooperate fully with the

Working Group in the fulfilment of its mandate, and requests the Working Group to

continue to engage with the Commission on the Status of Women, including by

participating in its work and reporting, on request;

23. Decides to continue its consideration of this issue in conformity with its

annual programme of work.

42nd meeting

30 June 2016

[Adopted without a vote.]