Acting on a Norwegian initiative, the UN General Assembly has passed a landmark first resolution calling for the protection of women human rights defenders.
“Women human rights defenders frequently face violence, threats and other types of harassment. By adopting this resolution, the UN member states are sending a clear message on the importance of taking responsibility for protecting those who defend the rights of others,” said Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende (photo).
Norway led the preparations and the negotiations for the resolution adopted on 27 November 2013 by the UN General Assembly Committee.
The UN resolution states that human rights defenders should be able to carry out their work without restrictions or threats to themselves or their families. The member states have also committed themselves to implementing special measures to protect women human rights defenders.
“There is an urgent need to reduce the gap between the obligations of states and the realities on the ground in terms of protecting women human rights defenders. This resolution is a first step in the right direction,” said Mr Brende.
The resolution calls upon states to stop criminalising, stigmatising and hindering the work of women human rights defenders. Member states are asked to review and amend their laws in order to ensure consistency with international human rights law. All UN member states should publicly acknowledge the role of women human rights defenders and condemn violence and discrimination against them.