STORY: Defending Migrants’ Human Rights – UN Women
TRT: 01:45 mins.
SOURCE: UNTV CH
ASPECT RATIO: 16:9
DATELINE: 28 November 2022 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
Women human rights defenders play a crucial role in protecting migrant rights. On today’s International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, UN Women is launching a groundbreaking set of recommendations on the protection of women human rights defenders around the world, especially those at risk in migration contexts.
“We are trying to create an environment, like situations, where women migrants can actually do this work without, you know, risking their lives”, said Inkeri Von Hase, Global Coordinator for UN Women in charge of Making Migration Safe for Women, while speaking to the media at the United Nations in Geneva.
These recommendations are the first of their kind and were developed with experts, including migrant women human rights defenders, to protect women human rights defenders who work in an unpaid manner for which they often are silenced and harassed. They reaffirm the legally binding obligations of States parties to human rights defenders and the defence of human rights articulated in international human rights treaties and related authoritative guidance by human rights treaty bodies such as to counter stigmatization and criminalization, develop effective protection measures for migrant women human rights defenders but also secure the rights of migrant women and girls at all stages of migration.
“They do this kind of work individually, but also collectively, as state as well as non-state actors and through professional and employment-related roles, but also voluntarily, just because they see a need for this work to be done and they do it”, emphasized Ms. Von Hase.
Women human rights defenders play a crucial role in securing the right of people on the move but while doing so, they also face enormous threats such as rape, extorsion, use and force of labor. They are the unsung hero who are working in the background of people’s life to protect their rights on the move “by providing food, water, shelter, emergency medical supplies, by documenting and publicizing human rights violations, by accompanying migrants through dangerous routes, searching for those who are missing, reuniting families and facilitating access to justice, just to name a few”.
UN Women documented in recent years a dramatic rise in anti-rights moments, resulting in a backlash against women’s right organizations and a rise in attacks against women human rights defenders and activities. They are exposed to smear campaigns, indirect discrimination, criminalization, censorship, restriction and reprisal.
Furthermore, due to their status as migrants, they are also experiencing “arrest, detention and deportation, refoulement, deprivation of status, deprivation of their liberty, disappearances, torture, cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, again sexual and gender-based violence, digital and physical surveillance, and racial profiling and public stigmatization,” said UN Women’s Global Coordinator for Making Migration Safe for Women.
According to estimates there are 281 million migrants worldwide, escaping poverty, unemployment, political instability, violence while others leave to pursue opportunities such as better education or to be with their family.