Latest News

The Essential of the 27th Session of the Human Rights Council

2 October 2014

The Human Rights Council concluded its 27th regular session last week after adopting 32 resolutions on a wide range of issues. Here is the essential.

Civil society space

In a very important resolution, the Human Rights Council calls on the High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a compilation of practical recommendations to States to ensure a safe and enabling environment in which civil society could operate free from reprisals and insecurity.

The resolution, adopted by consensus, urges States to expand and protect space for civil society, at home and globally, and emphasises the crucial role of a strong and independent civil society in promoting democracy, development and the rule of law. It also condemns the continuing use of laws, such as those relating to counter-terrorism or limiting access to funding, to restrict and criminalise the vital work of activists and NGOs.

Such a resolution is of the utmost importance in the current context of ongoing attacks and reprisals against women’s human rights defenders and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) rights advocates.

Sexual orientation and gender identity
Results of the vote on the resolution on sexual orientation
Results of the vote on the resolution on sexual orientation

In a ground-breaking resolution on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity, adopted by a vote of 25 in favour, 14 against and 7 abstentions, the Council expresses grave concern at acts of violence and discrimination, in all regions of the world, committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity, and requests the High Commissioner for Human Rights to update its report called Discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity with a view to sharing good practices and ways to overcome violence and discrimination.

This resolution follows up on the previous resolution adopted in June 2011, when the Council passed the first ever UN resolution on human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

This resolution was introduced by Colombia, Chile, Brazil and Uruguay and sponsored by 42 other States. This Latin American leadership on the topic of LGBTI rights reflects the positive steps taken by these countries to promote the universality of these rights, which are not new rights, unlike what certain countries such as Egypt or Pakistan have been stating repeatedly during this session.

We have seen an increasing polarisation of the Human Rights Council over this issue of sexual orientation and gender identity. States such as Russia, Egypt, Pakistan, Indonesia or Iran emphasised a cultural approach against LGBTI rights, while such rights are universal human rights that should not be infringed by any culture. Every single individual on the planet should enjoy the same rights, regardless of their cultural background.

“Protection” of the family

Once again, the issue of protection of the family has provoked many discussions, both at the Council and in side events. States such as Russia and Egypt have emphasised the importance of the family as the fundamental and natural unit to protect children and preserve heritage, culture, traditions and values. Such a position seeks to promote a narrow and patriarchal concept of the family that denies equal protection to the human rights of individuals who belong to the diverse forms of family that exist all over the world.

The great diversity of families should be acknowledged, as families continue to change with time, societal trends and development. In addition, States such as Australia and Mexico explained that many indigenous families around the world do not fall within the framework of a “nuclear” family, and that such diversity should be respected.

Additionally, the intimacy of the family unit is often the framework of gender-based discrimination and violence. Therefore, the human rights of individual members of the family should be protected rather than the family unit as a whole.

During their side events, some States and organisations insisted on the importance of the family as a traditional framework to protect children. However, what should matter is the protection of children as individual rights-holders in all settings, and the right of children not to be discriminated against on the basis of family status.

If you would like to learn more about the protection of the family issue, read the previous joint statement that WILPF co-signed after the 26th session of the HRC when it adopted a resolution on this matter.

Right to peace

The working group on the draft declaration on the right to peace presented its report during the session to provide some update on the progress of the current negotiations on the declaration. Afterwards, the HRC adopted a resolution on the promotion of the right to peace. It was introduced by Latin American States, and adopted by a vote of 33 in favour, 9 against and 5 abstentions.

Results of the vote on the resolution on the promotion of the right to peace
Results of the vote on the resolution on the promotion of the right to peace

The United Kingdom and the United States of America opposed the resolution on the pretext that there is no basis in international law for such a right and that it would modify existing human rights. According to them, peace is not a human right in itself but rather the consequence of the full realisation of all human rights. On the other hand, other States such as Bolivia or Costa Rica reaffirmed that the right to peace is the pre-requisite for the full enjoyment of all human rights.

In this resolution, the Human Rights Council decides that the working group will hold a third session in 2015 to finalise the declaration on the right to peace. WILPF keeps on advocating for this declaration to take into account all the elements of peace, including disarmament, gender equality and social justice. Have a look at our statement to know more.

WILPF’s coverage of the Human Rights Council

In case you missed our blogs reporting on some of the discussions at this 27th session of the Council, you can catch up here:

Interested in human rights and what is going on at the Human Rights Council? Then subscribe to our Update from the Human Rights Council to follow the discussions.

Share the post

Your donation isn’t just a financial transaction; it’s a step toward a more compassionate and equitable world. With your support, we’re poised to achieve lasting change that echoes through generations. Thank you!

Thank you!

Melissa Torres


Prior to being elected Vice-President, Melissa Torres was the WILPF US International Board Member from 2015 to 2018. Melissa joined WILPF in 2011 when she was selected as a Delegate to the Commission on the Status of Women as part of the WILPF US’ Practicum in Advocacy Programme at the United Nations, which she later led. She holds a PhD in Social Work and is a professor and Global Health Scholar at Baylor College of Medicine and research lead at BCM Anti-Human Trafficking Program. Of Mexican descent and a native of the US/Mexico border, Melissa is mostly concerned with the protection of displaced Latinxs in the Americas. Her work includes training, research, and service provision with the American Red Cross, the National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Centre, and refugee resettlement programs in the U.S. Some of her goals as Vice-President are to highlight intersectionality and increase diversity by fostering inclusive spaces for mentorship and leadership. She also contributes to WILPF’s emerging work on the topic of displacement and migration.

Jamila Afghani


Jamila Afghani is the President of WILPF Afghanistan which she started in 2015. She is also an active member and founder of several organisations including the Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organisation (NECDO). Elected in 2018 as South Asia Regional Representative to WILPF’s International Board, WILPF benefits from Jamila’s work experience in education, migration, gender, including gender-based violence and democratic governance in post-conflict and transitional countries.

Sylvie Jacqueline Ndongmo


Sylvie Jacqueline NDONGMO is a human rights and peace leader with over 27 years experience including ten within WILPF. She has a multi-disciplinary background with a track record of multiple socio-economic development projects implemented to improve policies, practices and peace-oriented actions. Sylvie is the founder of WILPF Cameroon and was the Section’s president until 2022. She co-coordinated the African Working Group before her election as Africa Representative to WILPF’s International Board in 2018. A teacher by profession and an African Union Trainer in peace support operations, Sylvie has extensive experience advocating for the political and social rights of women in Africa and worldwide.

WILPF Afghanistan

In response to the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban and its targeted attacks on civil society members, WILPF Afghanistan issued several statements calling on the international community to stand in solidarity with Afghan people and ensure that their rights be upheld, including access to aid. The Section also published 100 Untold Stories of War and Peace, a compilation of true stories that highlight the effects of war and militarisation on the region. 

IPB Congress Barcelona

WILPF Germany (+Young WILPF network), WILPF Spain and MENA Regional Representative

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Mauris facilisis luctus rhoncus. Praesent eget tellus sit amet enim consectetur condimentum et vel ante. Nulla facilisi. Suspendisse et nunc sem. Vivamus ullamcorper vestibulum neque, a interdum nisl accumsan ac. Cras ut condimentum turpis. Vestibulum ante ipsum primis in faucibus orci luctus et ultrices posuere cubilia curae; Curabitur efficitur gravida ipsum, quis ultricies erat iaculis pellentesque. Nulla congue iaculis feugiat. Suspendisse euismod congue ultricies. Sed blandit neque in libero ultricies aliquam. Donec euismod eget diam vitae vehicula. Fusce hendrerit purus leo. Aenean malesuada, ante eu aliquet mollis, diam erat suscipit eros, in.


WILPF uses feminist analysis to argue that militarisation is a counter-productive and ill-conceived response to establishing security in the world. The more society becomes militarised, the more violence and injustice are likely to grow locally and worldwide.

Sixteen states are believed to have supplied weapons to Afghanistan from 2001 to 2020 with the US supplying 74 % of weapons, followed by Russia. Much of this equipment was left behind by the US military and is being used to inflate Taliban’s arsenal. WILPF is calling for better oversight on arms movement, for compensating affected Afghan people and for an end to all militarised systems.

Militarised masculinity

Mobilising men and boys around feminist peace has been one way of deconstructing and redefining masculinities. WILPF shares a feminist analysis on the links between militarism, masculinities, peace and security. We explore opportunities for strengthening activists’ action to build equal partnerships among women and men for gender equality.

WILPF has been working on challenging the prevailing notion of masculinity based on men’s physical and social superiority to, and dominance of, women in Afghanistan. It recognizes that these notions are not representative of all Afghan men, contrary to the publicly prevailing notion.

Feminist peace​

In WILPF’s view, any process towards establishing peace that has not been partly designed by women remains deficient. Beyond bringing perspectives that encapsulate the views of half of the society and unlike the men only designed processes, women’s true and meaningful participation allows the situation to improve.

In Afghanistan, WILPF has been demanding that women occupy the front seats at the negotiating tables. The experience of the past 20 has shown that women’s presence produces more sustainable solutions when they are empowered and enabled to play a role.

Skip to content