Support of Women Human Rights Defenders and Their Work
15 March 2021
UN Country Team Statement, 15 March 2021
Women human rights defenders are women who act to promote or protect human rights and all individuals who defend the human rights of women or work for gender equality. We have unfortunately, witnessed intense aggression and stigmatization of the work of women human rights defenders through social media in the past few days in Georgia, along with the threats and condemnation expressed against individual women human rights defenders.
Women human rights defenders are at the forefront of social justice and feminist movements that advocate for the realization of gender equality, women’s empowerment, and human rights for all, the UN Country Team in Georgia would like to reaffirm its solidarity with women human rights defenders, who are leading the fight for the equal enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
We underline that women human rights defenders are subject to the same types of risks as any human rights defender, but as women, they are also targeted for or exposed to gender-specific threats and gender-specific violence. Often, the work of women human rights defenders is seen as challenging traditional notions of family and gender roles in the society, which can lead to hostility by some groups. Their families also become targets for threats and violence, aiming to discourage women human rights defenders from pursuing their work. Women defenders are more at risk of being subject to certain forms of violence and other violations, prejudice, exclusion, and repudiation than their male counterparts. Prompt investigation of all threats of violence against women human rights defenders should be launched.
In the times of COVID-19, when we see significant risks and drawbacks to the achievements made in the field of gender equality and signals of rise of misogyny are alarming. In this context the work of women human rights defenders is more important than ever so that we continue to build back better and collectively contribute to irreversible progress towards gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls, everywhere.
We condemn, any forms of intimidation, threats, violence, and other abuses against women human rights defenders, as well as attempts to subject women human rights defenders to stigmatization and ostracism and call on the Government to take appropriate, robust, and practical steps to protect women human rights defenders and to integrate a gender perspective into their efforts to create a safe and enabling environment for the protection of human rights.