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Zeid calls on States to go “beyond lip-service, towards gender equality” For International Women’s Day, 8 March 2015

GENEVA (5 March 2015) – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein today highlighted “the pressing need for women to participate in all discussions of strategic responses to extremist violence, to discrimination, and to deprivation of all kinds.”

“This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Programme of Action. States can seize this opportunity to go beyond lip-service and towards gender equality – genuinely challenging and dismantling the power structures and dynamics which perpetuate discrimination against women,” he said.

“In every part of the world, more can be done to safeguard and support women’s rights, access to employment, health – and their ability to take control of decisions that affect any aspect of their lives.”

Zeid paid tribute to women human rights defenders everywhere, hailing their courage in the face of tremendous obstacles.

“Real change does not happen unless women and men fight for these rights – and at the forefront of this fight are women human rights defenders,” he said. “All of us, together: men, women, boys, girls – we all have to do this to eradicate gender discrimination. Let us make it happen.”

Watch the High Commissioner’s video on women human rights defenders: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gchsVUZ5GOg

Join the UN Human Rights Office’s #reflect2protect campaign by taking a mirror selfie and posting it on social media with the above hashtag. See the video launching the campaign: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xrHxAaTw7w&t=103

#MakeItHappen is the official theme for International Women’s Day 2015. Use the hashtag to commemorate the day.

ENDS

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