On 19 September the Secretary-General’s report on reprisals was made public, including three of five cases ISHR has been actively campaigning for, namely the cases of Vanessa Mendoza (Andorra), Kadar Abdi Ibrahim (Djibouti) and the situation of civil society in Hong Kong.
At a high level panel organised at the UN Human Rights Council last Thursday, expert panelists and States recognised that everyone is entitled to the same protection of rights online as they are offline.
Speaking on behalf of the Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition, a group of NGOs highlighted that women activists are increasingly engaged in digital spaces. While this has allowed for new opportunities for awareness and accountability, it has also exposed them to further risk of online harassment, smear campaigns, intimidation and violence with clear gender dimensions aimed at delegitimising their work to defend human rights.
The Coalition stressed that the first step towards addressing online violence is to recognise that it is a legitimate and harmful manifestation of gender-based violence.
Elena Levina, a woman human rights defender from Russia, highlighted specific urgent cases for the attention of Member States.
Egyptian feminist Amal Fathy remains in pre-trial detention for exposing sexual violence in Egypt. The unsubstantiated charges she faces include “incitement to overthrow the government in Egypt,” “spreading false news on Facebook”, and “abuse of social media.”
Vietnamese dissident Pham Doan Trang disseminated information online regarding human rights violations connected with development projects in Vietnam. She was allegedly kidnapped by security officials earlier this month. Vietnamese legislators have subsequently adopted a cybersecurity law, effective as of 1 January 2019.
Watch the statememt here:
Photo: Flickr/ Say NO – UNITE
The policy to silence and quash opposition to the Venezuelan government continues, says the UN’s body of experts on Venezuela in its report to the Human Rights Council.
Activists from all regions of the world joined ISHR and a coalition of 17 civil society organisations to mark the 25th anniversary of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and to call for an update of this landmark document.