DAWN has been engaging with a Southern feminist perspective in the Human Rights Council (HRC) to contribute to the expanding of the policy space for incorporating gender perspectives into the diverse and interrelated human development and human rights themes. The network had been present during the sessions of the HRC and in so doing had come to work closely with key human rights and sexuality rights groups. The debates around sexual rights and sexuality have evolved and changed substantially over the last decades. Women and feminists have joined other sexual rights-related social movements to produce substantive analysis on specific sexuality related themes and policies. This process was positive because it provided the opportunity for specific social movements to get empowered and their analyses strengthened (for example, Gays, Lesbians and bisexuals, transgender and intersex people, women’s groups, young people, sex workers, HIV/AIDS groups, among others). However, there remains the need to strengthen dialogues among sexual rights advocates and even within the SRHR movements to capture diverse and multiple areas and dynamics.
Together with other groups that are also engaged in UN negotiations and processes, DAWN had formed an informal gender caucus in the HRC. Through Angela Collet, the network actively works with the caucus in pushing for the integration of a gender perspective throughout the work of the Council, including its Special Procedures. Other areas of the HRC in which DAWN is engaged that demand gender analyses, include special mandates on critical ecological concerns such as toxic and dangerous products and wastes; the right to food; access to safe drinking water and sanitation. DAWN believes that the Council can effectively contribute toward illuminating the linkages between the devastating health and livelihood effects of environmental degradation, the increasing impoverishment of women, and human rights violations worldwide.