Women’s civil and political rights



What OHCHR does

OHCHR works for the protection and promotion of women’s civil and political rights in a variety of ways, including through its support to the Treaty Bodies, especially CEDAW, CHD and CESCR, and Special Procedures.

1. Women’s participation in political and public life

Women Human Rights Defenders


2. Access to Justice


3. Discrimination against women in nationality-related matters

In spite of some positive developments, many nationality laws still discriminate against women. In its resolution 20/4 (add link to Resolution), the Human Rights Council invited OHCHR to prepare, in consultation with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice, States and other relevant stakeholders, a report on discrimination against women in nationality-related matters. A report was submitted to the HRC in June 2013 pursuant to that request. The report examines how women in certain countries do not enjoy equal rights with men to acquire, change and retain their nationality and are also not allowed to transfer nationality to their children or spouses on the same basis, which very often results in statelessness. It analyses the negative impact of discriminatory nationality laws on the enjoyment of women’s rights and the rights of their children and spouses, and also includes best practices and other measures to eliminate discrimination against women in nationality laws.

Main OHCHR thematic studies/reports/documents

Main speeches

At the Policy Level:

  • Provides advice and conceptual guidance on non-discrimination and women’s human rights focusing on key political and public life issues.
  • Supports OHCHR advocacy efforts on non-discrimination and women’s human rights

At the Operational Level:

  • Organizes Human Rights Council panel discussions and side events on women in political and public life
  • Panel discussion in June 2012 on women human rights defenders.

At the Capacity Building Level:

  • Organizes regional consultation workshops with women human rights defenders and UN representatives in coordination with relevant stakeholders.
  • On 12-13 December 2012, OHCHR organised a workshop for women human rights defenders from the MENA region in Tunisia, Tunis.
  • Produces materials to raise awareness about non-discrimination, gender equality and women’s human rights among colleagues and the general public.