By Ritah Kemigisa
Amnesty International has faulted governments for failing to protect women human rights defenders who routinely face a wide range of gender specific attacks, including rape, because of their work promoting rights relating to women, gender equality and sexuality.
This is contained in its new report titled “Challenging power, fighting discrimination: A call to action to recognize and protect women human rights defenders”released on International Women Human Rights Defenders Day.
Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty International’s Secretary General says in a statement that women human rights defenders are attacked because of who they are and what they do.
He asks governments to live up to their commitment to ensure these activists can operate freely and safely.
“All over the world, women human rights defenders are speaking out against injustice, abuse and discrimination, often because they have experienced it first-hand. They are central to human progress: hey fight for human rights and against patriarchy and racism, while pushing for ground-breaking reforms on so many fronts. Governments must live up to their commitment to ensure these activists can operate freely and safely”, said Mr.Naidoo in a press statement.
The report reveals that these activists continue to be assaulted, threatened, intimidated, criminalized and even killed for their campaigning.
This, Mr. Naidoo says is despite repeated commitments, including the passing of a UN resolution six years ago, to enhance their protection.
Women human rights defenders (WHRDs) is an inclusive term that represents the struggle for recognitio of the specific challenges faced by women who engage i the defence of any human right, and people of all genders who defend women’s rights or work on a range of gender-related issues and sexuality.
Amnesty International has long worked alongside WHRDs and is part of the Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition. For this report, published today to mark International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, the organisation drew from its analysis and research and also that of other allies.
The report also contains fresh input from 23 activists i 21 countries interviewed between February and April 2019.