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UN Women says corporate power is shrinking civic space & women defenders need more support

Author: Dzilam Mendez, UN Women, Published on: 3 December 2018

"Increasingly under attack, women human rights defenders need better back up", 29 Nov 2018

Marking International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, 29 November, the statement said that the current global context of “unchecked authoritarianism” along with “the rise of populism, of corporate power and of fundamentalist groups” have contributed to closing the space for civil society. “This is being done through the enactment of laws and practices that effectively impede human rights work, including the misapplication of certain laws such as counter-terrorism and public assembly laws,” they explained. The experts pointed out that women human rights defenders also face the additional barriers of economic and other structural discrimination, and “unique challenges driven by deep-rooted discrimination against women and stereotypes entrenched in patriarchal societies related to gender and sexuality.” Moreover, sexual violence, defamation and intimidation, including against their family members, are being used as a deterrence... [Women human rights defenders] often challenge social and cultural norms that limit women’s human rights, taking the necessary but often unpopular route of passionate activism for their cause. The UN experts concluded their statement by condemning all attacks on women... defenders. “We are particularly concerned regarding those who have suffered reprisals for their efforts to work with the United Nations..." [they said].

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