Joint Oral statement to the 62 Commission on the Status of Women by:

• Islamic Relief Worldwide
Islamic Relief USA
• Commission of the Churches on International Affairs of the World Council of  Churches
• Kirkon Ulkomaanavun Säätiö/Finn Church Aid
• Lutheran World Federation

Faith-Based Organizations (FBOs) and Faith-Based Organizations, such as Churches, are confronted with the detrimental effects of economic injustice, which combined with customary laws in male-dominated societies often limit rural women’s access to education, remunerated employment opportunities, sources of credit and decision making capacity on property and other assets.

Faith actors have great potential to influence attitudinal and behavioral change. FBOs are advocates for gender justice amongst faith communities, due to their influence and access and therefore they should be included in partnerships, consultations and localisation of aid.

Through their engagement in promoting women’s human rights and gender justice, FBOs have brought into their constituencies the agenda and recommendations issued from the United Nations platforms and specialized bodies, such as CSW and UN Women. Through our efforts to strengthen capacity to bring local advocacy initiatives to the global arena, particularly through CEDAW and the UPR mechanism, we have proven track in denouncing harmful and discriminatory practices.

Our contribution is particularly valuable and transformative in contexts where religion plays a central role in the lives of women and men. In such contexts, countering the misuse of religion to discriminate, (or) violate or misinterpret women’s rights is of utmost relevance.

Additionally, the Commission should recognize the commitment of FBOs efforts in the realization of the right to education, to sustainable livelihoods, to employment and to health; the provision of support to migrant women and women living with HIV/AIDS that numerous FBOs offer to marginalized women and girls throughout the world in all contexts, particularly in conflict areas.

We urge the Commission to recognise that faith can drive positive transformation for recognition of the dignity of all persons in our communities and acknowledge the role played by numerous FBOs in terms of protection, inclusion, advocacy and empowerment of rural women and girls. As FBOs, we have a long record of engagement with UN mechanisms such as the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and have contributed since its inception to strengthen the CSW agenda in our areas of influence, interacting with multiple stakeholders and ensuring that the protection of women’s rights is put at the center of our actions.

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