UN Commission on Status of Women misses again opportunity to tackle plight of Women Human Rights Defenders

June 16, 2016

The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and women’s rights. Its 60th session this year focused on women’s empowerment and its link to sustainable development. Despite mounting evidence of targeted violence against women human rights defenders (WHRDs), particularly those working on development issues, the Commission on the Status of Women failed at ensuring their adequate protection says the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) in a report of 12 May 2016. ISHR-logo-colour-high

The role and contribution of WHRDs around the world in human rights and development policies and programmes must be a guarantee by all States,’ said Ms Pooja Patel, programme manager at ISHR. ‘It is disappointing that the Agreed Conclusions did not go further to call for a safe and enabling environment explicitly for women defenders, and that the text was adopted without any acknowledgement of the particular risks faced by women human rights defenders’.

The UN General Assembly resolution 68/181, adopted in 2013, outlines a series of steps for States to better protect women defenders. This was echoed by CSW in 2014, however, negotiations in subsequent years have seen such references taken out.

Noelene Nabulivou, who spoke on a panel on the role of women human rights defenders held during CSW noted, ‘The 60th Commission on the Status of Women missed another opportunity to adequately support and defend women human rights defenders, despite increased public calls and momentum this year,’

She added that..’Women human rights defenders are targeted, imprisoned and killed for their work every day. Soft language and fence sitting do not help. Governments must publicly stand with those at the dangerous front-lines of gender equality, women’s human rights, and economic, ecological and social justice, and clearly reject those rolling back decades-long gains. Where there is violation of the human rights of WHRDs there must be clear political response – from south, north and all between.’

Just days before the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) met in New York, the murder of Honduran activist, Berta Caceras, made evident the high risks involved in protecting land and environment rights while confronting corporations.[https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2016/03/07/exceptional-response-from-ngo-world-on-killing-of-berta-caceres/]

Source: CSW: Progress urgently needed to recognise WHRDs and SOGI | ISHR

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