HRC35: Statement on the Upcoming UPR of Ukraine – States Should Address the Impact of Austerity Measures on Women

21 June 2017

Statement made at the UN Human Rights Council 35th session (6 to 23 June 2017) during Interactive Dialogue under item 10

The quality of life and safety of women in Ukraine has significantly decreased due to the lowering of social standards and narrowing of access to social services arising from both the armed conflict and macro-economic reforms. Regrettably, the Human Rights Council has overlooked the significant negative impact of the latter. We urge Council members and observer states to redress this.

Austerity measures included as part of the conditionalities attached to lending provided by International Financial Institutions, mainly the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have disproportionately affected women in Ukraine. Violations of women’s economic and social rights resulting from implementation of austerity measures have contributed to the feminization of poverty and the deepening of gender inequalities within the family and in the society as a whole.

These violations pose significant obstacles to women’s meaningful participation in Ukraine’s peace efforts. While promoting and protecting women’s economic and social rights are crucial ends in themselves, women also need to have the economic resources to be active participants in decision-making processes. Women will not be able to participate in the peace process and post-conflict reconstruction efforts if they struggle to meet the most basic needs for themselves and their families.

The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom has highlighted these negative impacts in a recent submission to the CEDAW Committee[1] and statements to this Council, including a written statement to this session that provides concrete recommendations that the Council should address in its deliberations on Ukraine.[2]

We have also raised negative impacts of macro-economic reforms in our submission to the Universal Periodic Review titled: “Obstacles to Women’s Meaningful Participation in Peace Efforts in Ukraine”. We urge all delegations to use the opportunity of the upcoming UPR of Ukraine to ask questions and make recommendations aimed to address these concerns and, by doing so, contribute to women’s meaningful participation in Ukraine’s peace efforts.



[2] UN index: A/HRC/35/NGO/68, available at:, also available at