Belgian Federal Public Servive Foreign affairs
Gender and women’s rights
Action by Belgium and the United Nations (UN)
The UN has a Commission on the Status of Women that deals both with issues to do with being female as well as ‘gender mainstreaming’ (i.e. taking account of the gender dimension in various policies and actions). The Commission is also responsible for monitoring compliance with the Declaration and the Action Programme adopted in Beijing and ensuring their implementation. Belgium has been an active member of the Commission for several (consecutive) years and also chaired it between 2007 and 2009. This commitment demonstrates the high importance attributed by our country to this problematic and multifaceted issue. The UN General Assembly also discusses several resolutions on the rights of women and girls. Belgium is calling for the promotion and protection of women’s rights within the framework of the resolutions adopted by various UN bodies, like the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, the Human Rights Council and various specialist UN agencies and funds. First and foremost, Belgium wants to ensure that sexual and reproductive rights are respected and to combat impunity and guarantee good governance, in a bid to safeguard women’s rights to protection and development. Belgium also attributes great importance to the mandate of the UN’s special rapporteur on violence against women.
Action by Belgium and the European Union
The promotion and protection of women’s rights is a priority for Belgium and the European Union. Our country has had an Institute for Equal Opportunities between Women and Men (IEFH/IGVM since 2002, charged to make sure that such equality is respected in Belgium and to combat any discrimination in this connection. The European Union has also adopted various instruments designed to counter violence and discrimination against women in third countries. Belgium and the European Union regularly raise the issues of women’s rights and discriminatory laws and practices in their dealings with third countries.
Furthermore, Belgium supports a number of initiatives designed to promote and protect both women’s rights and gender mainstreaming within other regional organisations, like the Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).