UN special rapporteur calls on businesses to respect women human rights defenders

Author: Michel Forst, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Published on: 13 January 2019

"Situation of women human rights defenders: Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders", 10 Jan 2019

[T]he present report is based on numerous discussions that the Special Rapporteur has had with women human rights defenders around the world since the beginning of his mandate... As women human rights defenders have observed, women are attacked for promoting and protecting human rights because of their identity and because of what they do...[W]omen defenders often face additional and different risks and obstacles that are gendered, intersectional and shaped by entrenched gender stereotypes and deeply held ideas and norms about who women are and how women should be... Non-State actors such as businesses, organized criminals, investors and financial institutions have been growing in power and influence over States and societies. Projects carried out in the name of economic development – for example, by extractive industries and agribusiness have resulted in environmental destruction, displacement and high levels of human rights abuses and violence... Women defenders have been at the forefront of protesting such changes and claiming their rights, often with far fewer resources than those whose actions they resist... They have also been subjected to strategic lawsuits against public participation by businesses, to intimidate and silence them... The Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights are key for business enterprises.

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