Joint Statement on the 27th session of the Human Rights Council: Annual Discussion, Integration of a Gender Perspective
Statement from the following organizations:
Amnesty International, Asian Forum for Human Rights and
Development, Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development, Association for
Progressive Communications, Association for Women's Rights in Development,
Center for Reproductive Rights, Coalition of African Lesbians, International
Service for Human Rights, Just Associates,
MADRE, Women's Global Network for Reproductive Rights, Women's
Rehabilitation Center- Nepal, World Organization Against Torture (OMCT)*
Distinguished delegates and panelists,
ISHR makes this statement on behalf of members of the Women Human
Rights Defender International Coalition, an international network of women's
rights, human rights and sexual rights organizations. We address this simple
fact: in the global North and South
alike, women human rights defenders are targeted for murder, kidnapping,
torture, rape, and harassment because of who we are and because of the work we
do. As the Council strengthens its work on women generally, we note the
critical need to integrate analysis and reporting on women human rights
defenders who demand protection, respect and fulfillment of all human rights.
This integration called for in Resolution 6/30 requires commitment
and rigor alongside sharp and sensitive gender analysis, deep political will,
and meaningful resource allocation. The best work requires listening to women's
voices, a feminist consciousness, naming and confronting patriarchy and a
commitment to address intersectional factors that place defenders at, or
protect them from risk. It is unacceptable that women human rights defenders
are either not addressed at all or often among the first to fall off the radar
of those within governments and within UN mechanisms and activities.
We recommend that those doing country work within the Human Rights
1. Proactively ask new and different questions, and seek relevant
input to build a richer analysis in enhancing a gender perspective in any and
all agenda items of the Council.
2. Proactively seek information from and meet with women human
rights defenders, especially those who may be hidden, such as defenders in
women's groups, unions, environmental, minority and Indigenous groups, and in
those groups that work on sexuality and gender including on abortion, on rights
related to HIV/ AIDS, sex work, and on sexual orientation and gender identity
3. Commit to documenting women human rights defenders’ situations
with sensitivity and nuance.
4. Take into account which women human rights defenders are not
represented in the analysis and what political pressures might account for
5. Ensure the experiences of women human rights defenders are
integrated throughout all stages of research and reporting, not as a last
minute isolated add on.
6. Address the contexts that affect gender in country specific
work, including increased militarization, increased fundamentalisms of all
kinds, including in religious and economic areas, negative ramifications of
globalization, crises of democracy and also the restrictive effects of the
heteronormativity and patriarchy that confine women's choices.
7. Look at the law and look beyond the law. Look at reality: even
where legal safeguards exist, women human rights defenders experience
violations because of de facto discrimination and actions based on misogynist
8. Recognize that there may be reprisals against those who
contribute to this work. Take adequate
measures to protect from reprisals those who engage with the Council's work.
Should reprisals occur, ensure that the allegations are promptly investigated.
9. Learn from what has worked well in past efforts to integrate a
gender perspective and commit to doing
better work every time you have the opportunity.
10. Stand by your gender sensitive research, and documentation.
Resist efforts, wherever they come from, to dilute or erase this information.
These commitments will help the Human Rights Council’s mechanisms
to do justice to the courage and strength of women human rights defenders
around the world. The risks we take to
demand justice and rights warrant no less.