ICJ statement on online violence against women and girls

The ICJ today issued a statement on online violence against women and girls.

The statement was issued on the occasion of an interactive dialogue at the UN Human Rights Council, with the UN Working Group on discrimination against women. The ICJ was unable to read the statement due to the limited time provided for NGO statements. The statement is as follows:

“International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) welcomes the Report of the Special Rapporteur focusing on online violence against women and girls.

This is timely considering the noted rise in incidents of women being attacked online for expressing their opinions. In many countries, women political dissenters and women human rights defenders, who express their views through social media, face backlash from the subjects of their criticisms and their supporters. They are persecuted and are threatened with sexual and physical violence. Many of the attacks against them clearly embody harmful gender stereotypes.

The ICJ notes that these harmful stereotypes exist in many countries around the world and they hinder women from accessing justice. Unfortunately, technology and social media play a role in spreading and proliferating these harmful gender stereotypes.

The ICJ continues to assist in strengthening the capacities of formal justice actors such as judges to help women access justice and to eliminate gender stereotypes. In 2016, the ICJ engaged with judges from the Philippines, Thailand, Timor Leste, and Indonesia when they developed and adopted the Bangkok General Guidance for Judges in Applying a Gender Perspective.

The ICJ joins the Special Rapporteur’s recommendation for States to provide training for all justice actors, including judges, to ensure their ability to bring perpetrators of cases of online and ICT-facilitated violence to justice. The ICJ offers the General Guidance as a tool for justice actors to consider evidence in these cases without resorting to gender stereotypes and to decide cases based on the principle of equality under international human rights standards.

The ICJ shall persist in its work to enable women to access justice and to eliminate gender-based violence and discrimination.”

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