CHRI Statement on International Women’s Day 2017

March 8, 2017

On the occasion of International Women’s Day 2017, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) reaffirms its commitment towards ensuring a future of justice, empowerment, equality and prosperity for women across the world.

CHRI joins all groups and governments committed to these efforts in the struggle to promote political, social and economic empowerment of women by eliminating gender-based violence, securing access to justice and providing quality education to women. The need to bridge gender is increasingly recognized as central to national, and indeed, global progress as they are both enshrined in the Commonwealth Charter which covers 52 nations as well as the Constitution and is at the heart of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Despite the growing international consensus on women empowerment, significant gaps remain in many Commonwealth nations in ensuring unhindered access to justice for women, which is essential for the practical realization of their rights.

Everyone is aware of the many and varied factors impeding women’s access to justice include a dominant patriarchy, lack of awareness of legal rights and remedies, insensitive and unaccountable policing, and judicial processes which are gender insensitive. Police services remain bastions of masculinity, with poor representation of women.  These are the spaces and places where visible, enduring and critical changes must take place if the rights of women are to be upheld and celebrated