CHRGJ Briefs Top UN Women’s Rights Body on Tax, Tax Abuse, and Gender Equality

(GENEVA, 10 November, 2017) The Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, together with coalition partners the Center for Economic and Social Rights, the Tax Justice Network, IWRAW-AP, and Professor Kathleen Lahey of Queens University Faculty of Law, today hosted a closed briefing on Tax Systems, Tax Abuse, and Women’s Rights in Geneva with the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women. This briefing came on the heels of the Paradise Papers leak, the latest in a long line of revelations of abusive tax practices through which wealthy individuals and corporations take advantage of a global network of financial secrecy jurisdictions to deprive states of public tax revenues essential to realizing human rights.

The briefing built on the CEDAW Committee’s pioneering work to hold states like Switzerland to account for the impacts of their tax and financial secrecy policies on women’s rights. Committee members were very engaged in the interactive discussion. The topics examined included how domestic and international tax policies and practices fundamentally affect women’s rights and substantive equality and implicate states’ treaty obligations under CEDAW; why the time is ripe to increase attention to the effects of systemic tax abuse on inequality; and how the CEDAW Committee can continue its leadership in this area.

Several of the organizations hosting this briefing co-authored a shadow report for the CEDAW Committee in 2016 on Switzerland’s financial secrecy policies and a similar submission to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights concerning the United Kingdom’s  tax policies and practices.

Read more about the work of the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice and the Global Justice Clinic on tax and human rights.