Posts Tagged ‘JASS’

JASS: feminist network supports Women Human Rights Defenders

February 11, 2013

JASS is an international feminist organization founded in 2003 by activists, popular educators, and scholars from 13 countries.  Working with women and diverse organizations and social movements in 27 countries, JASS trains and supports activist leadership and grassroots organizing and builds and mobilizes alliances amplified by creative media strategies to influence change in discriminatory institutions, policies and beliefs. On its website JASS devotes attention to women Human Rights Defenders. It reads in part:

“The insecurity and backlash that women face around the world transcend national boundaries and test the limits of established NGO and civil society responses prompting a demand for fresh alternatives and stronger, more agile alliances and strategic action. States can no longer be relied upon to protect citizens; transnational, non-state actors are exerting increased but often behind-the-scenes influence; and violence is perpetuated by widespread impunity.

Growing levels of influence by organized crime and other non-state actors, along with devastating economic policies have deepened the global crisis, leaving women activists largely unprotected and constantly under threat. State institutions would rather invest in militarization and wartime policies than harness the political will to defend women’s rights. Not only are women activists victims of slander and backlash from outside perpetrators, but also suffer violence from within their own communities and movements. Doubly at risk, their protection is particularly complex.

Despite the risks, women have mobilized around the world, leading struggles against impunity and repression. Suffering threats, intimidation and even death in reprisal for their work, these women activists, many of whom have never identified themselves as human rights defenders, continue to fight on the frontlines of social justice, democracy and rights battles. Women defenders span all levels of activism, joined together by their mutual concerns for justice. They are diverse, from community leaders, teachers, mothers, union members and LGBTI activists who defend social and economic rights to indigenous women, feminists, lawyers, journalists, and academics to advance political and civil rights.”

Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico top the list of reported cases of violence against women, journalists and activists. As a response, JASS is a founding member of the Mesoamerican Women Human Rights Defenders Initiative JASS facilitates dialogue, joint action and capacity building among diverse women activists; it publicizes their contributions to human rights, supports strategy development for protection and self-care, and mobilizes resources for their workAs of 2012, JASS’ program with women human rights defenders is largely being driven by the work of JASS Mesoamerica. However, interest in this work is evident throughout the organization. For example, JASS Southern Africahas begun discussions on how to integrate heart-mind-body strategies into a women human rights defenders approach to support safety, wellbeing and self-care.