Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) attribute poster for women human rights defenders who were killed or attacked over their activism, November 29 - AWID official Facebook pag
CAIRO – 2 December 2017: According to the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) tribute to female activists 2017; women around the world are killed or disappear as they defend human rights. These women were targeted for various reasons including protecting their own land or calling out injustices or corruption.
Female human rights defenders are also regularly victims of criminalization, detentions, attacks and threats among other forms of structured violence. Moreover, they are exposed to misogynistic attitudes and to the questioning of their femininity.
Female activists are especially being targeted for their gender, for being women, and they face challenges to hinder their activism in defending human rights. They are more prone to be attacked for the role they decided to play, more than men, because they break social norms.
This is clearer in countries where the mainstream is to believe that women belong to home and their reproductive role. In several occasions not only were the women attacked, but so were their families as well. These women’s vulnerability can be exacerbated in humanitarian and emergency settings where natural resources and legal systems are degraded or destructed.
Female human rights defenders face a situation of particular vulnerability as they play a vital role in promoting and protecting human rights globally. All states should publically guarantee and support their right to defend rights. Countries are obliged to adopt adequate protection measures and to include a gender perspective to their policies so that human rights defenders can carry their work freely.
Moreover, all countries should adhere to the recommendations of the dedicated committee to follow up on the implementation of the convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) once they ratify and adopt the convention. The convention includes recommendation No. 35 which calls for recognizing all crimes against women human rights defenders as forms of gender-based violence.
In conjunction with the International Human Rights Defenders Day, November 29, and the international 16 Days of activism against gender-based violence campaign, November 25 to December 10; AWID honored 72 women human rights defenders who were killed, disappeared or subjected to structured violence in 2017 for their activism to advance human rights.
In this article we remember some of these activists whose struggles’ reflect the collective story of female human rights movements.
>b/b< She was an environmental defender and a land rights leader and the president of the Association of Rural Workers. On May 24, she was shot along with a number of other people by the local police at the farm she lived on.
Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) attribute poster for women human rights defenders who were killed or attacked over their activism, November 29 - AWID official Facebook page
>b/b< She was a member of the Compostela Farmers’ Association (CFA) that opposes large-scale mining projects. Members of the association have been targeted by state security forces. She and her husband had donated some land to be used as a school for indigenous children in Mindanao and later in March they were shot at their home.
In October 2017, the International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) launched a comprehensive cooperation plan to address the need to protect human rights defenders, especially in the Americas where three quarters of all killings of human rights defenders in the world occur, according to IACHR.
This article is part of Egypt Today’s campaign “Break the Silence ... Say No to Violence” marking the 16-Day campaign of activism against gender-based violence GBV from November 25 to December 10.