“Women human rights defenders and lawyers must be able to carry out their work on the basis of equality, free from gender discrimination,” says the ICJ’s new reflection paper.
The ICJ has today released a paper, Drivers of Change: Women Lawyers and Human Rights Defenders in Africa.
This paper is an outcome of a multi-year initiative to support women judges, lawyers and human rights defenders within Africa.
This initiative has included a number of colloquia with these actors, which have taken place in Tanzania, Tunisia, Geneva, Zimbabwe and Swaziland over the course of two year.
This paper reflects upon the challenges, risks and opportunities faced by women lawyers and human rights defenders both generally as women in these roles and specifically as defenders of women’s rights.
The ICJ explored issues of threats to women’s security, and consideration of the kinds of reprisals that are routinely experienced by women lawyers and human rights defenders in Africa as a result of the work they do.
Another issue addressed is that of the discriminatory attitudes and gender stereotyping women lawyers and human rights defenders have experienced within the workplace and within their families and communities as well.
Finally, the paper also considers issues around the promotion and protection of the rights of women, including informing women about their rights and addressing gaps or inadequacies in national legislation and insufficient funding.
The paper makes a number of recommendations drawn from the experiences shared by participants at the colloquia.
The report concludes that “States must create an environment which enables women human rights defenders and lawyers to carry out their work in safety, free from reprisals including harassment, arrest, prosecution, violence and death.”
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