Women Human Rights Defenders in Asia: Fighting for Freedom & Democracy – Wed. march 17. 9:00-
Human Rights Now, Aware Girls, Women's Peace Network, Aware Girls
Women in power and decision-making, Human rights of women
SDG16 – Peace and Justice Strong Institutions
Harassment (2016)
The session had to do with human rights and the need for networks and governments to work together.
Human rights defenders are under threat and civil spaces are decreasing. In some places anti-terrorism laws are used to book activists and when activists speak for their rights they are booked for treason and accused of blasphemy. Digital spaces are unsafe for activists. Seniors are in jail for young rights defenders. This is a concerning time fro human rights activists in Pakistan and Hong Kong ands in other areas of Asia. The focus of women's equality and peace has been about enabling young women so they can break agents of change and citizens with equal rights. Reprisals must be denounced at the highest levels. Funding needs to be secured for human rights defenders. Details from Myanmar were particularly troubling. During the last 10 years the citizens did enjoy some rights with some access to the outside world and limited freedom of assembly. It was a system that allowed the military to manipulate. It emboldened the military to carry out the present coup. Now many have been arrested and have no legal rights. The military have been brutal to the women and especially towards ethnic and minority women. The concerns of the women are growing. These widespread crimes against the protesters need to be viewed together with those against all and are crimes against humanity. It is time for the world held the military to account. They must not be allowed to run the country again. In the past the Burmese would not have believed the military could burn the Rohingya villages and rape. Now there is a growing understanding and care for the Rohingya. Tragically many in refugee camps are suffering from trauma and mental health issues. They are tragic victims of crimes against humanity. Another area of growing concern for human rights defenders is social media. The attacks are aimed to stop discussion among younger activists. A strong network of defenders needs to be built. Women are in the front line. They are targeted because they are making a difference.
The session was brutal and very real. It was a wakeup call to support these incredibly courageous rights defenders how we can.

I am always week on this area and I know it is an important one! I will think in th weeks ahead and watch carefully for any opportunities

Author: Hally Siddons

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