Denmark throws hat in ring for seat on UN women’s rights commission

A country that has always been in the forefront of gender issues has a great deal to contribute, ministers feel

There are two vacant seats on the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) reserved for the western European group and, so far, only Switzerland has declared its candidacy.

The minister for equality and Nordic co-operation, Karen Ellemann, and the development minister, Ulla Tørnæs, feel that Denmark has a lot to offer in this area and should also put forward a candidate commission for the UNCSW.

Vital role for Denmark
“The women’s rights commission is one of the world’s most important forums for political values relating to the rights of women and girls,” said Elleman.

“It is here you can move the agenda along in discussions with countries with which we are certainly not in agreement, but with which it is nevertheless necessary to cross swords when it comes to women’s rights.”

Abortion under threat
“With the government’s high-profile stance on women’s rights in connection with development, it is natural for Denmark to seek election to the commission,” Tørnæs added.

“For us, the rights of women to control their own bodies is a key issue, but it is under threat in many countries – especially seen in the light of the American decision to enforce the ‘Global Gag Rule’, which withdraws funding from organisations that don’t actively oppose abortion.”

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The election will take place in April 2019, and it is as yet uncertain how many countries will put forward candidates.

Membership of the UNCSW includes voting rights when resolutions should be passed. There is also the possibility of being voted onto the commission’s bureau, which makes decisions regarding organisational matters as well as addressing political questions relating to the UNCSW’s work.