To commemorate the International Safe Abortion Day, ISHR joined 372 organisations as well as women human rights defenders working to prevent maternal deaths, including through ensuring safe abortions, to demand free, safe and accessible abortion for everyone, NOW!
On 6 October at the 48th session of the UN Human Rights Council, ISHR delivered a joint statement during the enhanced interactive dialogue on the report of the High Commissioner on Sudan on behalf of the MENA Women Human Rights Defenders Coalition, Sudan Women Rights Action and Nora Center for Combating Sexual Violence. They highlighted the challenges facing women and women human rights defenders (WHRDs) in Sudan.
On 21 September 2021, Sudan’s democratic transition was threatened by a coup attempt. The organisations warned that the danger of the militarization of the State remains the most challenging peril for women’s rights and WHRDs in Sudan.
As a threat to the democratic transition represents a threat to women’s rights, Sudanese women groups organized protests to reaffirm their support for democratic change in Sudan.
Sudanese women achieved remarkable progress in putting gender equality at the top of the agenda for the transitional process following the revolution in 2018, including 40% participation for women. Despite this and other positive constitutional and legal developments, such as the slow commencement of the CEDAW ratification process, women in Sudan continue to face growing marginalization, discrimination, sexual violence, and abuse.
Sudanese women’s struggle for gender equality, peace and democracy has achieved some success after the revolution. But the transitional government failed to fully implement the constitutional documents’ commitments related to the issues of women political participation, women peace and security and protection from sexual violence.
The Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights concurred that despite the commitments, women’s representation in decision making is lacking and below the 40% requirement.
Despite the commitments of protection and inclusion of women in the peace agreement, women in Darfur and the Eastern region face increasing violence as tribal tension continues, while attacks on civilians and sexual violence never stopped in all conflict areas of Sudan.
During the enhanced interactive dialogue, some States highlighted the continuing women’s rights issues and emphasised the need for enhanced protection for their rights.
Germany said “the transition in Sudan has brought remarkable progress. We welcome in particular concrete efforts to combat discrimination and violence against women.” Norway then urged the Government of Sudan to create an enabling environment for both human rights defenders and women. Saying they must implement the National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security. Ireland echoed this call for implementation.
Whilst the EU noted the challenges that remain for women and girls in Sudan, the last call came from the Republic of Korea who expressed their shared concern about women and girls suffering SGBV and called on the government to do more to protect women’s rights.
The organisations called on the Council to increase support for the democratic transition in Sudan and put women’s rights at the core of this support. Sudanese women human rights defenders need the support of the international community to build and strengthen their efforts to achieve gender equality, peace, and protection from violence.
Watch the statement below:
This week in an online event, 10 candidate States publicly spoke to an audience of around 200 people on their pledges as incoming Human Rights Council members for 2022 – 2024. They also faced questions on pressing human rights issues from both States and civil society organisations.
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ISHR joined 74 civil society organisations from across the world in urging Egypt to release researcher Ahmed Samir Santawy, and to ensure that, pending his release, he is granted immediate and regular access to his family and lawyers, provided with adequate healthcare, and protected from torture and other ill-treatment.
Beyond the discrimination and indignation that ordinary women suffer, indigenous women in Africa continue to be marginalised and denied the full recognition and protection of their rights. Decisively, the long-awaited National Human Rights Institutions’ (NHRIs) Forum organised by the Network of African National Human Rights Institutions (NANHRI) convened on 8 and 9 April 2021 to discuss the role of NHRIs in promoting the realisation of indigenous women’s rights in Africa. The Forum was convened ahead of the 68th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human & Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR). The result of the deliberations was a final draft Statement on the “Rights of indigenous women in Africa” that will be submitted to the ACHPR.
The Martin Ennals Foundation has granted Yu Wensheng, a leading Chinese human rights lawyer, the 2021 Martin Ennals Award. Lawyer Yu was among the three finalists to the Award selected by a jury of ten global human rights organisations - among which ISHR -, along with Loujain AlHathloul from Saudi Arabia and Soltan Achilova from Turkmenistan.
It's difficult to encapsulate such a complex year in a word, but "interconnected" is one that comes to mind when reflecting on 2020. We are proud to have remained deeply interconnected with defenders and to have supported, protected and amplified their work at the national, regional and international levels. With them, the "essential workers" of our times, we strive for a 2021 full of freedom, equality, dignity and justice.
In an online discussion organised by the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) and the World Uyghur Congress (WUC), Uyghur camp survivor Gülbahar Jalilova shared her story of long-term arbitrary detention. Her testimony echoes mounting evidence of human rights violations that call for systematic UN monitoring and public reporting.
Operating in a context of persistent insecurity and aggravated by the Covid19 crisis, human rights defenders in Burkina Faso are exposed to many risks. The law on the protection of defenders and its implementing decree were adopted in 2018, but its implementation and use remain a challenge for defenders.
Members of the UN Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women and the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights met in March 2021 to prepare two ‘Lists of Issues’ to guide their respective reviews of the People’s Republic of China.
In a landmark decision, the UN CEDAW committee found that Libya violated the rights of a woman human rights defender and issued recommendations to better respect, protect and support the work of women defenders.