A call to recognize, protect and support women human rights defenders and women’s movements

Sep 20, 2018

Civil society statement on the occasion of the Women Foreign Ministers Meeting

21-­‐22 September 2018, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

We,  the  undersigned  organizations,  call  on  Women  Foreign  Ministers  gathered  in  Montreal, on the eve of the High-­‐Level General Debate of the 73rd Session of the United Nations  General  Assembly  in  New  York,  to  make  concrete  and  accountable  commitments to women human rights defenders and women’s movements:

1.            RECOGNIZE:  Explicitly  recognize  the  legitimacy  of  women  human  rights defenders and women’s  movements, and publicly support and acknowledge their  contribution to the realization of more peaceful, just, and inclusive societies worldwide.

2.            PROTECT: Ensure a safe and enabling environment for women human rights defenders and women’s movements, supported by legislation, social programs, public institutions, and accountability mechanisms at all levels.

3.            SUPPORT: Support, strengthen and fund women’s movements, and defend their right to engage in public life and discourse without fear of punishment, reprisal, or intimidation.

Women  human  rights  defenders  include  lawyers,  journalists,  peacemakers,  trade  unionists, grassroots community activists, politicians, youth leaders and anyone who is a woman peacefully advocating in support of human rights. They are on the forefront of movements to prevent conflict and promote social justice, peace and security.  

Women’s movements and civil society groups more broadly have always been drivers of social and political progress, and are key actors in advancing greater peace and security across the globe. From women’s suffrage and civil rights, to LGBTI  rights and the fight  against HIV/AIDS, they are the most effective at identifying and advocating for the needs and rights of the individuals and communities with which they work. 

Yet  women  human  rights  defenders  are  at  a  heightened  risk  of  experiencing  human  rights violations, including forms of gender-­‐based  and sexual violence, threats, harassment, and defamation campaigns linked to their status as women. These risks are compounded  for  those  whose  race,  ethnicity,  religion,  caste,  class,  sexual  orientation,  gender identity, age, nationality, Indigenous identity, or disability exposes them to multiple and intersecting forms of marginalization. 

Women  human  rights  defenders  and  women’s  rights  movements  are  frequently  targeted because their activism is seen as challenging traditional gender norms, such as through working to defend sexual and reproductive health and rights; the human rights of women and girls; or the environment, land, and territory. 

Women  human  rights  defenders  and  women’s  movements’  contributions  to  public  debate and decision-­‐making should be celebrated, not criminalized, and recognized and supported by states. This requires the adoption and implementation of legislation and systems of justice and accountability that recognize and protect women human rights defenders, as well as policies and funding mechanisms that promote their active, free, and meaningful  participation  in  the  development,  implementation  and  monitoring of  public policy. 

Welcoming the precedent-­‐setting nature of this Women Foreign Ministers Meeting, and the collective power of your voices, we call upon you to reference the above points and commit to concrete actions in your country’s statement during the High-Level General Debate during the upcoming United Nations General Assembly.

Endorsed by:

Canadian Organizations

1.            Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada

2.            Aide International à l'Enfance

3.            Alberta Pro-­‐Choice Coalition

4.            Association Québécoise des Organismes de Coopération Internationale (AQOCI)

5.            Barbra Schlifer Clinic

6.            Canada Council for Global Co-­‐operation

7.            Canada Partnership for Women and Children’s Health

8.            Canada Women’s Foundation

9.            Canadian Federation of University Women

10.         Canadian Union of Public Employees

11.         CARE Canada

12.         Catholics for Choice Canada

13.         Child Care Now -­‐ Un Enfant Une Place

14.         Coady Global Institute

15.         Comité de solidarité/Trois-­‐Rivières

16.         Community Society to End Poverty-­‐Nova Scotia

17.         CSI-­‐Corcovado

18.         Everywoman's Health Centre

19.         Fédération du Québec pour le Planning des Naissances

20.         Federation of Medical Women of Canada

21.         FEM International

22.         Global Women’s Rights Project

23.         Greenpeace Canada

24.         Guelph Resource Centre for Gender Empowerment and Diversity

25.         Human Rights Research and Education Centre, University of Ottawa

26.         Humanité & Inclusion

27.         Inter Pares

28.         L’Association des religieuses pour les Droit des Femmes

29.         Migrante-­‐Ottawa

30.         Mines Action Canada

31.         MiningWatch Canada

32.         Montreal Center for Genocide and Human Rights Studies

33.         Native Women’s Association of Canada

34.         Nobel Women’s Initiative

35.         ONE Canada

36.         Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants

37.         Pacific Peoples’ Partnership

38.         Pax Christi Toronto

39.         PEI Family Violence Prevention Services

40.         Plan Global Canada

41.         Projet Accompagnement Québec-­‐Guatemala

42.         Public Service Alliance of Canada

43.         Sisters Trust -­‐ Canada

44.         Soeurs auxiliatrices du Québec

45.         South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario

46.         Terre Sans Frontières

47.         The Grandmothers Advocacy Network

48.         The MATCH Global Women’s Fund

49.         The United Church of Canada / L'Église Unie du Canada

50.         The White Helmets Canada

51.         The World Federalist Movement -­‐ Canada

52.         The WPS Group

53.         Unifor

54.         USC Canada

55.         Veterinarians without Borders Canada

56.         Village Monde

57.         West Coast LEAF

58.         Women’s Shelters Canada / Hébergement femmes Canada

59.         World University Service of Canada

60.         World Vision Canada

Global Organizations

1.            Advocacy and Legal Initiatives

2.            Afghan Women’s Skills and Development Center

3.            AFTURD

4.            Asia-­‐Pacific Human Rights Information Center – Hurights Osaka

5.            Associazione Italiana Donne Per Lo Sviluppo / Italian Association for Women in Development

6.            Al Firdaws Society

7.            Allamin Foundation for Peace and Development

8.            Alliance for Choice

9.            ALRANZ Abortion Rights Aotearoa

10.         ALTSEAN

11.         Amnesty International

12.         Associação para a Cooperação sobre População e Desenvolvimento

13.         Association of War Affected Women

14.         Ataa al Kheir for Charity and Awareness Work

15.         Center for Democratic Education

16.         Center for Health and Gender Equity

17.         Center for Supporters of Human Rights

18.         Centre for International Studies and Cooperation

19.         CISS / International Cooperation South South

20.         Coast Education Centre

21.         CODEPINK for Peace

22.         Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights

23.         CUSO Global

24.         Equilibres et Populations

25.         European Women’s Lobby / Lobby Européen des Femmes

26.         Federación de Planificación Familiar Eslatal

27.         Federation des Femmes du Quebec

28.         Federation of Muslim Women Association in Nigeria

29.         FONDO LUNARIA

30.         Fonds pour les Femmes Congolaises

31.         Front Line Defenders

32.         Gbowe Peace Foundation Africa

33.         Gender Action for Peace and Security -­‐ UK

34.         Global Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion

35.         Global Center for Research on Women

36.         Global Center on Cooperative Security

37.         Global Civil Society Action

38.         Global Fund for Women

39.         Global Justice Center

40.         Human Rights Watch

41.         INPADE-­‐FOCO Foro Ciuadadno de Participación por la Justicia y los DDHH

42.         Ipas

43.         Jagori Rural Trust

44.         Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice

45.         JOICFP

46.         Just Associates (JASS)

47.         Justice, Gender and Human Rights Association

48.         Libyan Women Forum

49.         Liga Internacional de Mujeres por la Paz y la Libertad

50.         MADRE

51.         Medica Mondiale

52.         Mediterranean Women's Fund

53.         Mercy Corps

54.         National Council of German Women’s Organizations (Deutscher Frauenrat)

55.         Neem Foundation

56.         Ohana Koa – Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific

57.         Oil Change International

58.         Osservatorio solidarietà della Carta di Milano

59.         OXFAM

60.         PAIMAN Alumni Trust

61.         Peace Track Initiative

62.         Peace X Peace

63.         PeaceWomen Across the Globe

64.         PRO.DO.C.S

65.         Promundo-­‐US

66.         Prospera Global Network of Women’s Funds

67.         Publish What You Pay

68.         Qadims Lumiere

69.         Realizing Sexual and Reproductive Justice Alliance

70.         Reconstruction Women’s Fund

71.         Rescue Me

72.         Sisters Arab Forum for Human Rights

73.         Slovak-­‐Czech Women’s Fund

74.         Solidarietà e Cooperazione – CIPSI

75.         Solidarité Feminine pour la Paix et de Development Integral

76.         Stop Rape Italia

77.         Taso Foundation

78.         Terra Nuova Italy

79.         Tevgera Jinen Azad/Free Women's Movement from Turkey and Kurdistan

80.         The Coalition of Finnish Women's Associations

81.         The END FGM European Network

82.         The Gender & Development Network

83.         Uhuru Community Development Project

84.         Ukranian Women’s Fund

85.         UNISON

86.         Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights

87.         URGENT ACTION FUND OF Latin America and the Spanish-­‐Speaking Caribbean

88.         Wi’am Palestinian Conflict Transformation Center

89.         Witness Somalia

90.         Womankind Worldwide

91.         Women Cross DMZ

92.         Women Deliver

93.         Women for Afghan Women

94.         Women for Development NGO, Armenia -­‐ Women’s Alliance for Security Leadership

95.         Women for Women's Human Rights

96.         Women Fund Tanzania

97.         Women In Global Security

98.         Women on Web

99.         Women Peace Network, Myanmar -­‐ Women’s Alliance for Security Leadership

100.       Women's Assembly of Peoples' Democratic Party

101.       Women's Refugee Commission

102.       Women's Rights Center

103.       Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network

104.       Women’s Global League for Peace and Freedom

105.       Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights

106.       Women’s March Global

107.       YouAct – European Youth Network on Sexual and Reproductive Rights

108.       Young Leaders Entrepreneurs Tunisia -­‐ Women’s Alliance for Security Leadership

 

 

To arrange an interview with a CARE spokesperson, contact:

Darcy Knoll
Communications Specialist | CARE Canada
darcy.knoll@care.ca | 613-228-5641