ActionAid and the Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition recently released a report showing growing violence against women human rights defenders. Now the two non-governmental organizations are calling on governments to live up to their international obligations to protect activists as set forth by a 2013 UN resolution.
The report, titled “Fearless: Standing with Women and Girls to End Violence,” surveyed 47 women human rights activists in over 20 countries. Findings reveal that women engaged in grassroots activism and human rights work are increasingly the targets of sexual harassment, threats and violent assaults by armed militias, religious groups, and other anti-women’s rights fundamentalists.
The greatest perpetrators of violence against women, however, according to ActionAid, are the governments that fail to protect women and seek punishment against their violators. Lucia Fry, head of Policy at ActionAid, says that by not addressing cultures of impunity, governments are direct perpetrators of the violence taking place.
In addition to perpetrating violence against women, the report revealed that funding for women’s programs and civil society space for dialogue and debate on women’s issues is being shut down, all of which negatively impact the lives and work of women activists on the ground.
Through its Fearless campaign, ActionAid is calling on the UK’s government to take the lead in living up to its international obligations to protect women activists, and to remain committed to preserving and growing civil society spaces in which women may convene and continue to advance their human rights work.
Governments accused of perpetrating violence against women, The Guardian, 23 June 2015.
Read the ActionAid report: Fearless: Standing with Women and Girls to End Violence.
Join the Fearless Campaign and urge governments to put an end to violence against women.