By Liz Stuart, Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association (Canada)
This panel was hosted by a number of different states and moderated by a representative of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions. The representative from the United Kingdom Government summed up the role of Human Rights Commissions as that of holding the Government to account. While this process was sometimes "painful" for the government, it is an important one.
The panel member from the Philippines talked about the fact that while the Human Rights Commission had made gains there were factors creating challenges such as the feminization of migration and the risks women are exposed to through sexual and labour trafficking. In addition, there has been an alarming increase in misogynistic comments from public officials which adds to the problems already faced by women in the workplace.
The most exciting part of this panel was Dr. Sima Samar, a representative of the Afghanistan Human Rights Commission. Dr. Samar, a personal hero, spoke eloquently of the human rights gains made for women in Afghanistan, one of which being the Afghanistant government's willingness to co-host this event. in addition, she referred to the fact that up until recently, honour killing in Afghanistan was still legal and now it has been criminalized as has the trafficking of women and girls. Dr Samar went on to highlight the importance of women being included in all sectors including security forces.