Human Rights Council: Ensure explicit recognition and genuine participation of WHRDs

02.06.2015

The Human Rights Council must ensure that the situation and protection needs of women human rights defenders (WHRDs) are explicitly addressed during its 29th session in June, ISHR said today.

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(Geneva) - The Human Rights Council must ensure that the situation and protection needs of women human rights defenders (WHRDs) are explicitly addressed during its 29th session in June, the International Service for Human Rights said today.

The Council will adopt a resolution on combatting all forms of violence and discrimination against women at the close of the 29th session, which includes a focus on domestic violence against women.

‘Women defenders supporting victims of domestic violence in documenting and reporting cases as well as in access to justice of victims often themselves face threats, intimidation and harassment as a result of their work,’ said Ms Pooja Patel, ISHR Programme Manager on WHRDs.

‘At the very least, the Council must recognize the role that WHRDs play towards accountability for human rights abuses,’ added Ms Patel.

Resolution 68/181 adopted by consensus by the UN General Assembly in 2013 expresses particular concern ‘about systemic and structural discrimination and violence faced by women human rights defenders of all ages’ and it ‘calls upon States to take all measures necessary to ensure their protection and to integrate a gender perspective into their efforts to create a safe and enabling environment for the defence of human rights’.

‘Women defenders are also integral in ensuring domestic implementation of international human rights standards on addressing violence and discrimination against women,’ said Ms Patel.

ISHR also highlighted the importance of ensuring inclusive and genuine participation of WHRDs in the process of negotiating Human Rights Council outcomes, particularly those initiatives concerning the rights of women.

‘It is deeply regretful that many women human rights defenders engaging with the Commission on the Status of Women in March this year expressed their concerns at their lack of genuine inclusion and participation,’ said Ms Patel.

‘Public acknowledgement of WHRDs and the legitimacy, necessity and importance of their work in intergovernmental spaces serves to better ensure their protection’, she added. 

Contact: Pooja Patel, Women Human Rights Defender Programme Manager, ISHR, on p.patel@ishr.ch

Category:

Topic
  • Human rights defenders
  • Women's rights and WHRD
Mechanism
  • UN Human Rights Council