UN Watch Statement

Panel on Women’s Rights

Human Rights Council, 32nd Session, 15 June, 2016

Delivered by Ms. Nian Hu

Thank you, Mr. President.

In adopting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the United Nations in Resolution 70/1 pledged to “eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres.”

We wish to share concrete examples and relevant national experience about the obstacles facing today’s victims in achieving this goal.

In Saudi Arabia in 2006, a 19-year old girl from Qatif was raped 14 times by a gang of seven men. But when she brought the case before the courts, she herself was punished—with 200 lashes and six months in jail.

In the United Arab Emirates, in 2008, Alicia Gali was drugged and raped by co-workers when she worked at a luxury hotel. But when she reported it to the police, she was charged with having illicit sex, and was imprisoned for eight months.

And just this year, in Qatar, a 22-year old Dutch woman named Laura was on holiday when her drink was spiked, and she was raped while unconscious. When she reported the assault to the Qatari police, she herself was arrested and charged with adultery. She was jailed for three months. Before being finally released this week, she was convicted for “illicit consensual fornication.” She was fined 3,000 Riyals, and given a one-year suspended sentence.

In light of the above, I would like to ask members of the panel:

How can we achieve Goal 5, of ending violence against women, when governments regularly arrest, jail and lash women who are the victims of rape?

Each of the countries mentioned is an elected member of this Council, and therefore obliged to uphold the highest standards of human rights. What measures can be taken to convince those governments that women’s rights are human rights?

And is it not problematic when the world’s designated guardians and judges of human rights are the ones who pervert justice, even going so far as to blame and oppress the victims of rape?

Thank you, Mr. President.

**Applause**

[UNHRC President:] No applause please

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