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Norwegian initiative to protect women human rights defenders

Women fighting for human rights are particularly vulnerable. Their efforts should be encouraged, not curtailed or stigmatised. This week, Norway presents a new resolution to the UN General Assembly, aimed at protecting women human rights defenders.

 

 “Women human rights defenders risk violence, prejudice and exclusion for their courageous work. Through this resolution, we want to contribute to their protection,” says Norway’s Foreign Minister Børge Brende.

 Norway is coordinating the UN General Assembly’s work on the protection of human rights defenders. The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Margaret Sekaggya, has on several occasions expressed great concern for the challenging working conditions of human rights defenders. This is the first time a resolution on the situation and significance of women human rights defenders has been put on the table.

 “We want to send a clear signal of support to women who fight for human rights around the world, and we call on member states to enable and allow for their work to make our societies better,” says Foreign Minister Brende.

 The resolution also calls on national human rights institutions, regional organizations and the UN system to take action.

 “Creating a safe and enabling environment for human rights defenders should be a fundamental objective of any society,” says Brende.

 Women human rights defenders are defined as women who stand up for the protection of various kinds of human rights, such as economic, social, cultural or civil and political rights, and all people who support and encourage equal rights for women. The draft resolution was formally presented on Friday 1 November. You may read the draft resolution here.

 

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