Join us during the #16Days of Activism and share your stories as #SRHRheroes, speak out for the recognition of SRHR defenders as Women Human Rights Defenders and demand their protection!
On the occasion of the 16 Days of Activism Campaign, in solidarity with women’s rights movements worldwide, and highlighting the courageous actions by activists around the globe working to protect and advance our sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), the Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR) calls for an end to the violence directed at SRHR defenders, as well as their recognition and protection as Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRDs).
As has been noted by UN Special Procedures as well as regional and Human Rights bodies, States must provide security for WHRDs as well as an enabling environment for them to do their work, as part of State responsibilities to respect, protect, and fulfill human rights. WHRDs who work on sexual and reproductive rights issues have been recognized at particular risk of grave consequences because of their work, as they are often perceived to be “challenging accepted socio-cultural norms, traditions, perceptions and stereotypes about femininity, […] and the role and status of women in society.” Not only are the advocacy efforts of SRHR activists often shunned, ignored or feared by broader society, but they often find their own lives and well-being at risk.
With this in mind, WGNRR calls on governments, international organizations, partners, and human rights advocates to recognize SRHR activists as WHRDs, particularly those who advocate for safe and legal abortion, LGBTQI rights, human rights in childbirth, sex workers’ rights, and/or youth SRHR; and to end the violence they experience because of who they are and the work that they do. When governments permit attacks on WHRDs, including SRHR defenders, they impede human rights and perpetuate gender-based violence.
For this year’s 16 Days of Activism, we:
Demand that governments and Human Rights bodies:
- Pay particular attention to cases of WHRDs who have been threatened because of the nature of their work, and protect them from State and non-State actors that can violate their health, wellbeing and rights.
- Create and implement policies and mechanisms that will protect SRHR defenders’ human rights, among them the rights to defend human rights; to liberty, freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association; and to freedom from violence and discrimination.
Encourage international organizations to:
- Prioritize the recognition of SRHR Defenders as WHRDs in your work, and urge governments to take all necessary steps to create appropriate protection mechanisms and eradicate this form of violence.
- Within the framework of your mandates, develop standards for the protection of SRHR advocates, to be taken into account by States in the development of inclusive protection policies.
Finally, we are calling on all our members, partners, and allies to:
- HIGHLIGHT the courageous actions of our colleagues and friends– defenders of sexual and reproductive rights, particularly those who have lost their lives for this cause, and those who have been victims of repression, extremism, intolerance, attacks, threats or intimidation.
- SHARE your stories and experiences on social media using the hashtags #SRHRvoices #SRHRheroes and help us make visible the often silent struggles SRHR defenders have to endure every day as Women’s Human Rights Defenders. Your story can help raise awareness about the violence that SRHR activists face on a daily basis and be a source of strength for thousands of SRHR defenders!
Give your story a voice and let your voice be heard #SRHRvoices #SRHRHeroes #SayNoToViolence
Stop Violence against SRHR defenders!