International Women Human Rights Defenders Day

What is it?

Today, November 29th, is International Women Human Rights Defenders Day.  It is part of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign* (also see Defending Women Defending Rights**):

“November 29th is a day of recognition for women human rights defenders, and it is a day to commemorate activism, advocacy and courageous acts of resistance. The campaign focuses on defense of rights and the impact of abuses by state and non-state actors (including family and community members), the rise in militarism and fundamentalisms, and the many ways defenders are targeted because of sexuality, including the perception of being lesbian or gay.

For more information, check the women human rights defender campaign website for videos, action alerts, reports, and other materials you can use to celebrate International Women Human Rights Defenders Day in your community.”

* Also known as the 16 Days of Activism for Women’s Rights.  Gender violence is violence against any person based on their actual, perceived, expressed, or [self-]identified gender.  To call an effort against violence against women an effort against “gender violence” is problematic because everyone has gender, and anyone can suffer violence based on it, not just women.  Violence against women is gender violence, but gender violence is not solely violence against women; gender violence is violence against anyone based on gender.***  (It should also be noted that gender is not the same as sex.)  

** “Defending Women Defending Rights is an international campaign launched in 2004 for the recognition and protection of women human rights defenders who are activists advocating for the realization of all human rights for all people. The campaign asserts that women fighting for human rights and all activists defending women’s rights face specific violations as a result of their advocacy or their gender.”

What are the 16 days?  Why these particular days?

“The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence is an international campaign originating from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute sponsored by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership in 1991. Participants chose the dates, November 25, International Day Against Violence Against Women and December 10, International Human Rights Day, in order to symbolically link violence against women and human rights and to emphasize that such violence is a violation of human rights.”

Important Dates:

November 25, International Day Against Violence Against Women
November 29, International Women Human Rights Defenders Day
December 1, World AIDS Day
December 6, Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre
December 10, International Human Rights Day

More Information:

 

*** More on Gender-Based Violence:

  • Gender Against Men: “Gender Against Men exposes the hidden world of sexual and gender-based violence against men in the conflicts of the Great Lakes Region. The film demonstrates how male identities are under attack and how rape when used as a weapon of war affects husbands, fathers, brothers and the community.”
  • Gender-Based-Violence Against Men in Complex Emergencies: An Agenda for the Protection Community by Charli Carpenter: “While gender based violence has recently emerged as a salient topic in the international community, it has been framed principally with respect to violence against women and girls, particularly sexual violence. Emphasizing the issues most important to the humanitarian assistance community, I propose a broad definition that distinguishes sexual violence against men and women from other forms of gender based violence. Second, I argue that gender-based violence against men (including rape, forced conscription, forced refoulement, and sex-selective massacre) must be recognized and addressed by civilian protection agencies such as the ICRC and UNHCR. The imperative is two-fold. First, men deserve protection against these abuses in their own right. Second, the reduction of gender-based-violence against women and girls cannot occur without participation from men, nor can their particular vulnerabilities in conflict situations be separated from the forms of violence to which men are specifically vulnerable.” (and) “While gender-based violence has recently emerged as a salient topic in the human security community, it has been framed principally with respect to violence against women and girls, particularly sexual violence. In this article, I argue that gender-based violence against men (including sexual violence, forced conscription, and sex-selective massacre) must be recognized as such, condemned, and addressed by civilian protection agencies and proponents of a ‘human security’ agenda in international relations. Men deserve protection against these abuses in their own right; moreover, addressing gender-based violence against women and girls in conflict situations is inseparable from addressing the forms of violence to which civilian men are specifically vulnerable.”
  • Trans-hate at the core of gender based violence? by Liesl Theron
  • [News] [India] “Make sexual violence against trans genders punishable” by Stephanie Stevens
  • Action Plan for Sida’s Work Against Gender-Based Violence 2008–2010
  • Seven Things the World Can Do to End Violence Against Women
  • Efforts to Address Gender-Based Violence: A Look at Foundation Funding: “Some potential funders don’t understand the heightened risk of gender-based violence that transgender and gender queer populations face and have not been willing to support our work because we serve these populations in addition to women.”
  • Gender-based violence: A human rights issue by Nieves Rico: “While it is true that human rights violations are committed against men as well as women, their impact clearly differs depending on the sex of the victim. Studies of the subject indicate that all acts of aggression against women exhibit some characteristic or other that provides a basis for their classification as gender-based violence. This means that such violence is directly related to the unequal distribution of power and to the asymmetrical relationships that exist between men and women in our society, which perpetuate the devaluation of women and their subordination to men. What differentiates this type of violence from other forms of aggression or coercion is that the risk factor in this case is the mere fact of being a woman.
    Gender-based violence can take many forms and, depending on the type of relationship that is its context and the type of power being exerted, this crime may therefore fall into any of the following categories: rape and incest, sexual harassment at work or at school, sexual violence against women detainees or prisoners, acts of violence against displaced women, trafficking in women and domestic violence.
    The following study explores the last of these crimes in detail, but also discusses the other forms, since in recent years it has led to the establishment of new institutions and the adoption of legislative amendments that have served as a focal point for collective action by women.
    The lack of the necessary statistical data to provide an accurate picture of this phenomenon in Latin America and the Caribbean constitutes an obstacle to a fuller understanding of the issues associated with gender-based violence. Although clearly it occurs much more frequently than is indicated by official records, studies on the subject suggest that the problem is actually one of epidemic proportions. Most of the data cited in this study have been drawn from research papers and documents prepared by non-governmental organizations and international bodies that have studied the subject in recent years.
    The proposals presented here are based on the indivisible nature of women’s rights, on the obligation of the State to protect and uphold those rights, and on the conviction that respect for human rights is also an essential condition for the development of our countries and the full citizenship of all their inhabitants. A case is also made for the necessity of analysing the subject of human rights and gender-based violence from a perspective that holds out the possibility of cultural changes of a structural nature that will entail respect for women’s rights and will call into question the inevitability of violence as an element in gender relations.”
  • While not necesarily gender based violence, i.e., violence against men because they are men, important to consider: About Domestic Violence Against Men
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