Guided on sex, in the enjoyment of rights

Guided by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination,


Acknowledging the Universal Declaration of Human Rights sets of principles of non-discrimination, including based on sex, in the enjoyment of rights it guarantees—including as it relates to property, food, and housing,

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Reaffirming and recalling,

Article 3 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights that calls on states to “undertake to ensure the equal right of men and women to the enjoyment of all economic, social and cultural rights set forth in the present Covenant,” and prohibits discrimination based on sex,

The United Nations Committee’s statement on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights that “women have a right to own, use or otherwise control housing, land and property on an equal basis with men, and to access necessary resources to do so.”

  Article 3 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that guarantees equality between women and men, and it prohibits discrimination based on sex in Article 2. Article 26 of the treaty enshrines equality before the law, and can be applied to defend women’s right to protect them from discrimination and equality, not only with respect to civil and political rights, but also with economic and social rights.

 The United Nations Human Rights Committee has also underscored that, “during marriage, the spouses should have equal rights and responsibilities in the family. This equality extends to all matters arising from their relationship.” The Committee specifically notes that women have equal rights to marital property and inheritance.

United Nations Human Rights Committee statement that, “the right of everyone … to be recognized everywhere as a person before the law is particularly pertinent for women, who often see it curtailed by reason of sex or marital status. This right implies that the capacity of women to own property, to enter into a contract, or to exercise other civil rights may not be restricted on the basis of marital status or any other discriminatory ground. It also implies that women may not be treated as objects to be given together with the property of the deceased husband to his family.”


Noting The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women recognition on specifically “the right to own, manage, enjoy and dispose of property is central to a woman’s right to enjoy financial independence, and in many countries will be critical to her ability to earn a livelihood and to provide adequate housing and nutrition for herself and for her family.”


Reaffirming the human right to be free from all forms of discrimination and the equal right of women and men to the enjoyment of all civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights,





Recognizing  the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the United Nations Population Fund, and the former United Nations Development Fund for Women observation that “the abuses of human rights that women deal with on a daily basis can become nearly insurmountable obstacles when HIV/AIDS is involved. One of the most serious economic effects of HIV for women has been the loss of property.”


Noting with deep concern the findings of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women of links between property rights and violence against women, noting that:  “…… as they are dependent on their husbands in legal and economic terms. Where the husband does not allocate the resources equally, women are at a severe disadvantage and powerless. In cases of domestic violence, the inability to live life independently without a husband or father may force women to stay with their batterers.”


Fulfilling the UN Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights issued that strategies that uphold national food security should, “give particular attention to the need to prevent discrimination in access to food or resources for food. This should include: guarantees of full and equal access to economic resources, particularly for women, including the right to inheritance and the ownership of land and other property, credit, natural resources and appropriate technology


Bearing in mind that the FAO estimates that if women had the same access to productive resources as men, they could increase yields on their farms by 20–30 percent. The gains in agricultural production could lift some 100–150 million people out of hunger.


Convinced that international, regional and local trade, finance and investment policies should be designed in such a way that they promote gender equality in terms of ownership of, access to and control over land and the rights to own property and to adequate housing and other productive resources and do not undermine women’s capacity to acquire and retain these resources,



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