Increasingly under attack, women human rights defenders need better back up

UN Women/Dzilam Mendez In Mexico City, an artistic installation consisting of a number of signs of Venus, representing women, stresses the magnitude of femicidal violence. (March 2018)

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

A group of United Nations human rights experts issued a joint statement on Wednesday calling on States to live up to their commitments to protect women human rights defenders, as they come under increasing attack, and with inadequate protection.

Marking International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, 29 November, the statement said that the current global context of “unchecked authoritarianism” along with “the rise of populism, of corporate power and of fundamentalist groups” have contributed to closing the space for civil society.

“This is being done through the enactment of laws and practices that effectively impede human rights work, including the misapplication of certain laws such as counter-terrorism and public assembly laws,” they explained.

The experts pointed out that women human rights defenders also face the additional barriers of economic and other structural discrimination, and “unique challenges driven by deep-rooted discrimination against women and stereotypes entrenched in patriarchal societies related to gender and sexuality.”

Moreover, sexual violence, defamation and intimidation, including against their family members, are being used as a deterrence. In 2017, Front Line Defenders recorded that 44 women human rights defenders were killed; an increase from 40 in 2016 and 30 in 2015.

They are at heightened risk of attacks and violence when working in areas such as  sexual and reproductive health, and often challenged by fundamentalist groups during conflict and post-conflict situations.

“Situations of armed conflict, and the subsequent break down of the rule of law, create a dangerous environment for women and girls,” the UN experts underscored.

“Women human rights defenders are pivotal in promoting sustainable peace, yet they are constantly excluded from peace processes and politics, often criminalized, and they experience gender-based violence, which hampers their participation in decision-making processes,” the experts spelled out.

On International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, UN human rights experts express thanks and admiration for their work, calling for:

  • Public recognition by the highest State authorities of the importance and legitimacy of their work, and a commitment to protect them against violence or threats.
  • Repeal of any State legislation or elimination of any measures to penalize or obstruct their work.
  • State institutions safeguarding their work to be strengthened.
  • Investigating and punishing any form of violence or threat against them.
  • Due diligence of States to protect women human rights defenders that are threatened by non-State actors.

They flagged that women human rights defenders promote international human rights law; mobilize society in identifying human rights violations; and contribute to developing solutions with a gender perspective.

According to the UN experts, these defenders call for gender equality and an end to gender-based violence by taking to the streets, airwaves and the internet, “bringing to light truths that are too often buried in darkness.”

They often challenge social and cultural norms that limit women’s human rights, taking the necessary but often unpopular route of passionate activism for their cause.

The UN experts concluded their statement by condemning all attacks on women human rights defenders.

“We are particularly concerned regarding those who have suffered reprisals for their efforts to work with the United Nations and regional bodies.  Participation in the work of the international human rights system is in itself a right and must never be met with intimidation or attacks,” they stressed.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Threats from mammoth banks and Brussels fuel May’s poll rates

Medical Devices Regulation: Commission welcomes Council support to prioritise the fight against coronavirus

Why youth unemployment is so difficult to counter

European Youth Capital 2018 : Cascais

Russia and the EU ‘trade’ natural gas supplies and commercial concessions in and out of Ukraine

Bitpay @ TheNextWeb 2014: Innovation’s Best Friend

Yemen: Escalation in fighting must stop ‘before it’s too late’, Griffiths tells Security Council

How to have a good Fourth Industrial Revolution

Plants, the ‘core basis for life on Earth’, under increasing threat, warns UN food agency

Business can be profitable AND drive progress on societal priorities

An analysis of the impacts of climate change on human health

Parliament to vote on new European Commission on 27 November

Trade protectionism and cartels threaten democracy

Britain, EU take edgy steps to unlock Brexit talks as the war of words rages

Here’s what happened when one Guatemalan town went to war on plastic waste

How blockchain can manage the future electricity grid

Gender equality, justice in law and practice: Essential for sustainable development

We can save the Arctic if we follow the Nordic countries’ lead

African cities will double in population by 2050. Here are 4 ways to make sure they thrive

Each for Equal is the women’s day theme – these maps of the world show how far we have to go

A new catastrophic phase in the Syrian carnage

Modern society has reached its limits. Society 5.0 will liberate us

The 13th round of TTIP negotiations hits a wall of intense protests and growing concerns

Dual Food Quality: Commission releases study assessing differences in the composition of EU food products

Poor Greeks, Irish and Spaniards still pay for the faults of German and French banks

Nuclear weapons in Lithuania: defence against Russia or target for terrorists?

You might soon be travelling without a passport – this is how

Don’t dismiss start-ups founded by millennials. This is how they succeed

EU prolongs economic sanctions on Russia by six months

Preparing medical students being digitally as well as socially responsible

Why COVID-19 makes a compelling case for the wider integration of blockchain

Global Citizen-Volunteer Internships

Piracy and high seas crime growing, becoming more sophisticated, UN Security Council told

Tsipras imposes more austerity on insolvent Greece; plans to win new early election soon

Major UN aid operation for 650,000 gets underway across Syria-Jordan border

EU and New Zealand launch trade negotiations

Better air pollution data is helping us all breathe easier. Here’s how

Ebola outbreak in DR Congo conflict zone ‘remains dangerous and unpredictable’ – UN chiefs

A Sting Exclusive: Towards better business opportunities for the EU and its neighbours, Commissioner Hahn live from European Business Summit 2015

Guterres lauds UN peacekeeping, highlights need to bridge ‘critical’ gaps

Making Europe’s businesses future-ready: A new Industrial Strategy for a globally competitive, green and digital Europe

Coronavirus: Commission concludes talks to secure future coronavirus vaccine for Europeans

UN food agency appeals for access to key storage facility amid fight for Hudaydah

A ‘system value’ approach can accelerate the energy transition. Here’s how

Security of 5G networks: EU Member States complete national risk assessments

The EU tells the bare truth to the UK that there is no such thing as easy divorces

Seven trends shaping the future of the mining and metals industry

European financial values on the rise

African continent ‘an example of solidarity’ towards migrants and refugees: UN chief

The ITU Telecom World on 14-17 November in Bangkok, Thailand

Stress, overtime, disease, contribute to 2.8 million workers’ deaths per year, reports UN labour agency

These are the next big products in consumer technology

What’s behind South Korea’s elderly crime wave?

‘Being open about my mental health created a better work culture’

Cancer is a growing global threat and prevention is key, UN study shows

We can’t tell if we’re closing the digital divide without more data

Rising inequality affecting more than two-thirds of the globe, but it’s not inevitable: new UN report

2018 Golden Pen of Freedom Awarded to Maria Ressa of the Philippines

China’s 13th Five Year Plan and the opportunities for Europe

90% of fish stocks are used up – fisheries subsidies must stop

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s