Datum & tijd 19/04/2018, 13:30 - 16:00 uur
New Babylon Meeting Center
Thursday April 19th WO=MEN organises an open afternoon session Women Human Rights Defenders: Fighting the Closing Space! This afternoon session is part of the general members’ meeting in which the WO=MEN network and partners have the opportunity to network, have in-depth discussions and jointly strategize. The venue will take place from 13.30 till 16.00 pm in New Babylon Meeting Center, The Hague.
The objective of the session is to jointly analyse the current challenges that women human rights defenders worldwide daily face. Such as increasing violent extremism, increasing political and social pushback against women’s rights and gender equality, shrinking financial resources for CSOs and the negative impact of de-risking measures of the international financial sector and donors. In addition, we aim to develop recommendations for the Dutch and international gender justice and women’s rights movement to tackle these challenges.
The session starts with (women) human rights defenders (WHRDs) Visaka Dharmadasa, chair of the Association of War Affected Women in Sri Lanka, Ana-Maria Rodriguez, human rights lawyer in Colombia, and Thalia Malmberg, program officer Human Security Collective, introducing themselves, and the challenges WHRD’s face in their work. Each will highlight a dimension of shrinking space: social, political and financial. The conversation continues at the table with Jelmer Kamstra, researcher and sr. policy officer at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Sascha Gabizon, executive director of Women in Europe with a Common Future. In interaction with the public the guest speakers and table guests will analyse the sources restricting WHRDs to fulfil their work, and to formulate strategies to tackle these constraints. Lastly, the discussion will head towards the role of the international gender justice and women’s rights network and the ways we can support WHRDs’ work worldwide.
Program of the afternoon
13:30 – 13:35: Start & introduction of the afternoon program
13:35 – 14:05: Introduction of (women) human rights defenders Visaka Dhamadasa, Ana-María Rodriguez and Thalia Malmberg
14:00 – 15:30: Table conversation: what are the challenges WHRDs face and what preconditions can we identify for WHRDs to continue their work?
Such as political support, sustainable resourcing, finance mechanisms, coherence of governmental policies, human rights and feminist based agendas, other. Dilemma’s to discuss:
- Trade and (state)security vs human rights
- Managerial approach vs transformational thinking donors
- Conservative vs feminist governance
15:30 – 16:15 Interactive debate: how can the international gender justice network support WHRD? Identifying strategies to support the preconditions: what should and can we do as Dutch and international gender justice community? What steps can we identify for the near future?
16:15 – 16:30 Conclusions & wrap up
Visaka Dharmadasa: Visaka is the founder and chair of the Association of War Affected Women (AWAW) and Parents of Servicemen Missing in Action. Visaka played a key role in ending the civil war and fostering a lasting peace in post-conflict Sri Lanka, and has emerged as one of the country’s most powerful women leaders.
In coordination with the “1000 Peace women across the globe” movement, she was nominated for a collective Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. She was a team member of the team of special rapporteur to look into the violence in North and East Sri Lanka and the ceasefire violations by the Human Rights commission of Sri Lanka. She is a network member of Inclusive Security Women Waging Peace, and a member of the expert pool of Resolution to Act, Women thrive World Wide, a member of WASL, Global Network of Women Peacebuilders and Director of the board of National Peace Council and PAFFREL of Sri Lanka
Ana-María Rodriguez: Ana María is a human rights lawyer, representor of the Colombian Commission of Jurists (CCJ) and accordingly represents this commission at the UN. With her organization she has been involved in various peace negotiations and processes. The CCJ is closely involved in the current peace process with the FARC and peace negotiations with the ELN in Colombia. Furthermore, the CCJ works on themes around land rights forced disappearances, and human rights in general. Ana-María Rodriguez, as a woman human right defender in Colombia, deals with distressing and dangerous situations. With her juridical background, she’s utmost suitable to discuss the shrinking space of WHRD in Colombia.
Thalia Malmberg is a program officer at Human Security Collective, currently working on a project focusing on Women, Peace and Security in Libya, as well as on various other HSC projects on youth leadership. She previously worked for Women Peacemakers Program, an organization that specialized in gender-sensitive active nonviolence. Thalia was born and raised on the island of Aruba, and moved to The Netherlands in 2010. She has a BA in Social Sciences from Amsterdam University College and an MA in Conflict Resolution and Governance from the University of Amsterdam.
Jelmer Kamstra is a senior policy officer at the Civil Society Division (DSO/MO) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who possesses great expertise on civil society and humanitarian aid. He holds two master degrees from the Radboud University of Nijmegen in the fields of Public Administration and Organizational Science and Development Studies with a specialization in Conflict Studies. In 2005 Jelmer cofounded research agency 101 research and online research facility peilsnel. For this agency he has carried out a range of research and training assignments for NGOs, universities, (local) government institutes and businesses. While continuing to work for 101 research, Jelmer obtained his PhD on promoting civil society and democracy in developing countries within the IS-academy program. A joint program of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Center of International Development Issues Nijmegen (CIDIN).
Sascha Gabizon is the Executive Director of the international network WECF – Women in Europe for a Common Future, with 150 member organizations in 50 countries. In 1994 she joined WECF to prepare the contribution to the 4th World Women’s Conference in Beijing in 1995. Since 1996 she has been the executive director of the WECF network, which she developed from an initial focus on the EU, Eastern Europe and Central Asia to a global scope with programs in Africa, Asia and global women movements. Sascha Gabizon, obtained a Master in business, worked for an international consultancy in Spain and then joined the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Energy and Environment (WI), in Germany, where she was the co-founder of the Wuppertal Institute’s “FrauenWissen” (Women’s Scientists).