Posts Tagged ‘sexual and reproductive health’

CIVICUS publishes report on Women Human Rights Defenders and the struggle against silencing

March 16, 2019

WHRDs PolicyBrief

Defence of Humanity: Women Human Rights Defenders and the struggle against silencing”

In recent years, combined with existing threats, the rise of right-wing and nationalist populism across the world has led to an increasing number of governments implementing repressive measures against the space for civil society (civic space), particularly affecting women human rights defenders (WHRDs). The increasingly restricted space for WHRDs presents an urgent threat, not only to women-led organisations, but to all efforts campaigning for women’s rights, gender equality and the rights of all people. In spite of these restrictions, WHRDs have campaigned boldly in the face of mounting opposition: movements such as #MeToo #MenAreTrash, #FreeSaudiWomen, #NiUnaMenos, #NotYourAsianSideKick and #AbortoLegalYa show how countless women are working to advance systemic change for equality and justice. More WHRDs across the world are working collectively to challenge structural injustices and promote the realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Their power has been in the collective, despite constant attempts at silencing them. Furthermore, there have been WHRDs recognized for their invaluable contributions to opening civic space and protecting human rights in India, Poland, and Ireland. In the United States, WHRDs have won awards for the environmental activism, and in Iraq for their work in calling for greater accountability for sexual violence during war time.

This policy brief responds to this context and highlights how the participation of WHRDs in defending and strengthening the protection of human rights is critical for transforming traditional gender roles, embedded social norms and patriarchal power structures. WHRDs are leading actions to advance sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR), socioeconomic justice, labour rights and environmental rights. Moreover, WHRDs work to ensure that women are included in political and economic decision-making processes, making clear the disproportionate effects that socioeconomic inequalities have on women and gender non-conforming people.

Download the Report

My blog contains many posts about woman human rights defenders and especially about awards given to them. see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog and use “woman human rights defenders” as search term.

16 days of Activism: Stop Violence against SRHR defenders

November 24, 2015

The Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR) calls for an end to the violence directed at SRHR defenders, as well as their recognition and protection as Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRDs). For those who are not familiar with the term: SRHR stand for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights.The 16-day campaign encourages all to share stories and experiences on social media using the hashtags #SRHRvoices #SRHRheroes, speak out for the recognition of SRHR defenders as Women Human Rights Defenders and demand their protection.

The 16 Days of Activism Campaign links two international days of action: 25 November, International Day of Action for Elimination of Violence against Women, and 10 December, International Human Rights Day. In between falls 29 November, International Women’s Human Rights Defenders Day.

WHRDs who work on sexual and reproductive rights issues have been recognized at particular risk of grave consequences because of their work, as they are often perceived to be “challenging accepted socio-cultural norms, traditions, perceptions and stereotypes about femininity, […] and the role and status of women in society“. Not only are the advocacy efforts of SRHR activists often shunned, ignored or feared by broader society, but they often find their own lives and well-being at risk.

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Imam and Human Rights Defender Baba Leigh still missing after two months in the Gambia

February 16, 2013

 

More than two months after his arrest, the whereabouts of human rights defender and religious leader Imam Baba Leigh continues to remain unknown. Imam Baba Leigh was taken from his home on 3 December 2012 by two men believed to be part of the Gambia‘s National Intelligence Agency. Imam Baba Leigh is a religious leader and an active human rights defender. He serves as a religious advisor for The Gambia Committee on Traditional Practices (GAMCOTRAP), an organisation working in the area of sexual and reproductive health and the rights of women and children. He is known as an outspoken campaigner who has aptly used his religious status to advocate for human rights and social reform. Read the rest of this entry »

Good news from the Gambia: judicial harassment of 2 HRDs ended

November 15, 2012

On November 14, 2012 The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), announced and welcomed the vindication of two women human rights defenders in The Gambia following two years of judicial harassment.

On November 12, the Banjul Magistrates’ Court decided to drop all charges against Dr. Isatou Touray and Ms. Amie Bojang-Sissoho, respectively Executive Director and Programme Coordinator of The Gambia Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children (GAMCOTRAP), an organisation working on sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and children. The two women human rights defenders had been prosecuted since October 2010 on charges of “theft” for the alleged embezzlement of 30,000 Euros received in 2009 from “Yolocamba Solidaridad”, a Spanish development NGO.

This landmark decision puts an end to an uninterrupted judicial harassment that had been going on for more than two years, since the police started interrogations of GAMCOTRAP staff in May 2010. Since the opening of their trial, Dr. Isatou Touray and Amie Bojang-Sissoho had been summoned to 66 hearings, which took place in a hostile atmosphere and on completely unlawful grounds. Indeed, the alleged victims had never filed a complaint and the Prosecution failed to present sufficient evidence that they had indeed committed a criminal offence. Furthermore, on January 31, 2011, Ms. Begoña Ballestros Sanchez, Director of Yolocamba Solidaridad, denied accusing anyone associated with GAMCOTRAP of theft and submitting a complaint in relation thereof during a hearing at Banjul Magistrate’s Court. During interrogation, Ms. Isatou Touray had to respond to very precise questions by the Prosecutor covering all aspects of GAMCOTRAP’s activities, staff and resources that are unrelated to the charges. In addition, the Prosecutor also repeatedly made depreciating comments about the work of GAMCOTRAP’s programme to eradicate female genital mutilation.

One can only hope that their acquittal marks a step forward in the respect of the rights of human rights defenders in the Gambia.