Our report ‘Preventing and Combating Violence against Women with Disabilities in the UK, EU and Turkey’ is submitted to PACE. We are proud to submit our report on “Preventing and Combating Violence against Women with Disabilities in the UK, EU and Turkey” to the Committee on Equality and Anti-Discrimination in the PACE and UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls. This comprehensive report aims to shed light on the pressing issue of violence against women with disabilities in different countries.
The report, which has been meticulously compiled through rigorous research and consultation, underscores the urgent need for measures to address and eliminate the violence faced by women with disabilities. It highlights the unique challenges they encounter and provides recommendations to the PACE on policy frameworks, awareness campaigns, and support systems.
We firmly believe that this report will contribute significantly to advancing the dialogue and actions surrounding this critical issue within PACE and beyond.
Our proposed amendments to the EP on the impact of prostitution on gender equality and women’s rights in the EU. We are proud to announce our amendment proposals on the Regulation of prostitution in the EU: Its cross-border implications and impact on gender equality and women’s rights.
The issue of prostitution and its regulation is being debated in many Member States and worldwide. The regulations, which differ from Member State to Member State, lead to diverse realities for and impacts on people in prostitution that prove disappointing and do not do justice to them and their individual situations. The draft report has been prepared in a very comprehensive and precise manner, but in our view, it requires a few changes to highlight some current challenges facing the continent. Our proposed amendments focus on the escalation of the sexual exploitation and trafficking of Ukrainian women and girls following the Russian invasion.
Our report on Ukraine has been submitted to PACE, the UN Special Rapporteur and the FEMM Committee of European Parliament. We are pleased to submit a brief report on “sexual exploitation and trafficking of Ukrainian women” to esteemed FEMM Committee of the European Parliament, the Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination of the PACE and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls.
This report sheds light on the alarming issue of sexual exploitation faced by women in the context of ongoing conflict in Ukraine. It aims to highlight the gravity of the situation, bring attention to the plight of the victims, and advocate for urgent action to address this pressing issue.
By submitting this report, we sincerely hope to draw the attention of relevant authorities to the urgent need for intervention and assistance in addressing this gross violation of women’s rights. It is our firm belief that concerted efforts from the international community can help prevent further atrocities and alleviate the suffering of the affected women.
We kindly request attention and consideration of this report in the upcoming work of all relevant international authorities.
You can read our detailed report in the section below:
The final report of Baroness Casey’s investigation into the London Police Department (Met) was made public in late March.
Commissioned by Mayor Sadiq Khan in response to the murder of Sarah Everard, the report reveals disturbing findings about the culture and practices of the Metropolitan Police.
The review found a culture of sexism and harassment within the Met, and many female officers and staff reported their experiences of harassment and sexism. These behaviours were often ignored or rejected by senior leadership, creating a toxic environment for women in power. The report also highlighted insufficient education on gender and race issues; many officials and staff did not have sufficient knowledge of how to handle cases involving women and minority groups. This has led to bias and discrimination in the handling of cases.
Additionally, the report noted a lack of diversity in leadership within the force, with senior leadership being predominantly white and male. This led to a lack of diversity in decision-making and policy development, which further perpetuated biases and discrimination within the force.
To address these issues, the report made several recommendations. One of the key recommendations was a cultural overhaul, with the men’s club needing to develop a comprehensive plan to address the sexist and discriminatory culture within the club. The report also recommended better training for members on issues of gender and race, with mandatory training required for promotion and advancement within the club. The report called for a more efficient and transparent disciplinary process, with stricter penalties for members found guilty of misconduct. Finally, the report recommended that the club take active steps to recruit and promote more women and minority members into leadership positions.
In conclusion, the final report of Baroness Casey’s review paints a concerning picture of a men’s club in need of significant reform. However, the report’s recommendations provide a clear roadmap for how the club can begin to address these issues and create a more equitable and just institution. We must work together to dismantle the exclusive culture of the men’s club and create a more inclusive environment for all members.
Human Rights Solidarity organised two panels at the CSW-67 conference held at the United Nations, where women’s issues were discussed. From March 6th-17th, HRS attended the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) 67 conference at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City where representatives of UN Member States. Civil society organisations and UN entities gather at UN headquarters in New York to discuss progress and gaps in women’s rights and their status in society, with a focus on innovation, technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls.
HRS engaged in various panels, discussions, and networking opportunities held both in the UN and by participating NGOS and global companies eager to help the women’s movement, while also hosting their own event: Women Power in the World Economy with special guest speakers Dr Virginia Valian and Dr Jenna Carpenter. The event took us through the past, present, and future of women in the workforce, economy, and STEM through both a lens of social psychological factors and female empowerment in male dominated sectors.
The event was greatly successful, and the HRS members gained valuable experience and knowledge from the insightful panels and the powerful women they met from within the UN and around the world.
Funding girls’ education supports the mission to end poverty long-term and to bring women into the workforce
Enabling access to technology and the digital world to all girls and women will increase access to education, help, and the ability to share experiences and struggles with others
How we can help:
Education: Advocate for equitable education, encourage, create, and join a course for digital literacy
Urge national and local governments to guarantee a network of support for women with localized organizations and leaders
Call on nations to work with localized communities to address gender gaps in schooling collaboratively and commit resources.
You can read our detailed report on these meetings in the section below:
As we approach International Women’s Day (8 March) this year, the theme of women’s equality is more urgent than ever. We have witnessed in the last year a backlash against women’s and girls’ rights and gender equality almost all over the world. We must come together as a global community to address the many challenges and injustices faced by women around the world if we want to attain our global goals of sustainable development and universal peace.
The COVID-19 crisis had already exacerbated pre-existing gender-based discrimination and violence. The world is yet to recover from the economic recession and change in employment practices that had a negative impact on women’s rights.
The recent Taliban takeover in Afghanistan has had a devastating impact on the rights and freedoms of women in the country. Women are being forced to stay at home and their access to education and healthcare is severely limited. Initial reports suggest that some 16 per cent of the women have lost their jobs after the takeover. The situation of women lawyers is particularly concerning as they are being hunted down by former prisoners released by the Taliban regime. It is our duty to stand in solidarity with these women and call for their rights to be protected and upheld.
In Iran, the ‘lift the veil’ movement has highlighted the systematic oppression of women in the country. The Iranian regime has been responsible for the deaths of many girls who have spoken out against the oppressive laws that restrict their freedom. Almost 1000 girls have been poisoned by toxic gas in Iran since the beginning of the protest, in what many believe is a deliberate attempt to force their schools to shut down and prevent the girls from reaching out to the public with their demands. We must demand that the Iranian government respect the rights of women and girls and take immediate action to stop these atrocities.
The Turkish government’s human rights record was already at the lowest of its history and much lower than any acceptable standard in a democratic society. Official statistics suggest that between 2015 and 2021, 97,721 women were tried under the anti-terrorism laws of Turkey, 24,945 of whom received prison sentences. Turkey’s antiterrorism laws are reportedly used to silence opposition in the country. Turkey’s prisons are overcrowded and women inmates are subjected to various forms of inhuman treatment, including sexual harassment, naked body search and psychological torture. Turkey’s resile from the Istanbul Convention encouraged impunity for crimes against women. Only in 2022, 334 women were killed by men and only a minimal number of these cases were solved.
The recent earthquake in Turkey and Syria has once again shown that women and children are often the real victims of natural or manmade disasters. There are already signs that the regime is discouraging civilian initiatives to participate and independently control the rehabilitation efforts. Access to social media has already been restricted in various locations. When an already authoritarian regime restricts participation and communication, there is enough reason to be concerned. The international community must put pressure on the Turkish government to ensure that women and girls of vulnerable populations are provided due support and resources they need to rebuild their lives.
In Ukraine, the ongoing conflict has had a particularly devastating impact on women. UN’s Refugee Agency’s figures suggest that 80 per cent of the displaces 8.3 million Ukrainians are women and girls. These women are often the targets of violence and sexual abuse and are left to bear the brunt of the war’s consequences. We must do everything in our power to support the women of Ukraine and ensure their voices are heard.
We must not forget the impact that western restrictions on immigration are having on women. Many women are being forced to leave their homes and families behind in search of a better life, only to face discrimination and hardship in their new countries. Even when the immigration stories that hit the newspaper headlines are about men, there are silent women and girls that will suffer the repercussions of those stories, unheard and unaided. We must call on governments to do more to support these women and provide them with the resources they need to thrive.
Women and girls lag behind by means of enjoying the developments in new technologies. The digital gap is wider for women and they are the victims of new forms of online violence and harassment. It is essential to ensure that new technologies incorporate a human rights-first approach and prioritise the protection of women and girls in their platforms.
In conclusion, as we celebrate International Women’s Day this year, let us remember that women’s equity is not a privilege, but a fundamental human right. Let us realize we cannot achieve gender equality without eradicating gender-based violence. Let us understand that with half of its population left behind, no society can reach its full potential.
We must stand together and demand that governments and other institutions take immediate action to address the many challenges and injustices faced by women around the world. Only then can we build a more just and equitable world for all.
Women volunteers of HRS participated in the Million Women Rise (MWR) March on the occasion of International Women’s Day (IWD). The action in London took place on Saturday, March 4th, to increase participation. The participants protested against the violence against women and the pushbacks during the march, which started at Duke Street and ended at Trafalgar Square. HRS participated in the march with the concept of a refugee boat and two female mannequins symbolising a refugee woman and her daughter. The concept underlined the fact that women and girls are traumatically affected by pushback incidents even more so than men.
HRS’s concept was a response to a most recent shipwreck, which ended with the drowning of 62 refugees, 12 of them children, on a boat that sailed from Turkey toward the European Union. Refugee boats leaving Turkey often face pushback by Greek authorities. Since 2021 252 people have died as a direct result of pushback policies. 126 of these deaths took place on the Turkish Greek border. Reports suggest that more than 17.000 people died en route and within Europe between 2014 and 2021 while trying to reach their final destinations in a European country. “Pushbacks are not only causing deaths but also creating a political culture that normalises the use of force against asylum seekers and leaving them to die in unsafe waters. These policies will not diminish the number of refugees. They will only force the refugee waves to change form. The next generation will face climate migration on a much larger scale. Governments should stop pushback policies once and for all and see through that the responsible are held accountable,” said Merve Aslangoren, the Chairperson of HRS.
HRS is a registered charity operating in London and has been participating in the Million Women Rise marches for the third time this year. HRS promotes human rights with a particular stress on refugee rights and the rights of the future generations.
This year’s Million Women Rise march, themed against male violence was on the 5th of March. Exactly a year after the violent murder of Sarah Everard. The march started in front of the Charing Cross police station and ended in front of the New Scotland Yard. These locations were crucial to the protest, because as Sabrina Qureshi, the founder of Million Women Rise, said, despite the fact that we pay for the police to keep us safe and protect us, there are still to this day, multiple incidents of the police violence against women. The police continues on to ignore occasions of abuse of women. In short, the police keeps failing women.
Male violence cases have been surging since the start of the pandemic, and despite all attempts to improve the system, few women can find a remedy in it.
As the Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee of Human Rights Society we decided to place a male embodiment of all news coverages of violence against women inside a cage. This was symbolising both the source of violence against women, and the kind of freedom we women would enjoy had this source been neutralized.
The male mannequin character had newspaper clippings covering male violence cases such as “I killed 17 women” and “Violent ex stalked women” around his body. This physical demonstration was one of the highlights of the whole march and got a lot of attention from many media outlets such as the BBC, The Guardian and The Independent.
This was our turn to say “Stop!” This was our turn to ask for justice, to claim back our long lost safety, right in front of those who deny us from it.
We asked them to “Stop the violence!” and “Stop the rape!”
Because women have had enough; because there will be no peace if no justice is delivered.
It was a cold Saturday in London indeed. We raised our banners up to the sky under 4 degrees Celsius, while our hands and legs were shivering. We embraced each other in order to keep warm; in order to keep safe.
The march ended with a rally in front of New Scotland Yard. Speakers and campaigners stood up against male violence and highlighted how racism, xenophobia and homophobia were the main causes of police brutality against women. The campaigners highlighted that “Enough is Enough” and women will not tolerate any more violence against themselves.
I was very honoured to be able to recite my poem “On Womanhood” during the rally. I expressed my worries on how while “boys will be boys, girls never get to be girls”. It was a moving experience for me to have amazing, inspiring and shivering women listen to me and support me by their ovations. I also received a few hugs from strangers by the end of my performance. It was truly an unforgettable moment.
With these feelings still warm and alive in my heart, I leave you with the poem:
To be born into womanhood is to be born neck-deep into guilt.
It means to be a house haunted by shame.
It means to be a daughter, a mother and a sister – before a person, because boys won’t care unless you compare them to their birth givers.
It’s getting your screams and cries ignored, it’s getting your right to justice avoided – Because women bleeding doesn’t bother men unless it’s from periods.
To be a woman is to grow up earlier than boys, It’s getting told what girls do and don’t.
It’s being so aware that you are a girl, you forget you’re human.
It’s having to accept when your mother says “boys will be boys, that’s what they do”,
Is that what boys will be? Will boys be boys?
Will boys be rapists? Murderers?
Will boys be abusers and predators?
Boys will be boys.
Boys will be boys, and girls will never forget to look behind themselves when they’re alone at night. girls will be girls instead of women, because even that is too much for a boy to grasp. a woman becomes a girl when her hands bleed from clutching her keys too tight.
a woman becomes a girl in a boy’s eyes.
Boys will be boys. But, will girls be girls? Will girls be alive?
Girls never get to be girls, women never get to be women.
And today we will stand and scream and make noise, for those who never got the chance to have a voice.
We’ll stand for the women in war. We’ll stand for the women of Ukraine, For the women of Palestine, the women of Syria, the women of Sudan!
For the women unlawfully detained!
Raise your voice for the Uyghur women of China getting ethnically cleansed!
For the women of Iran, the women of India, the women of Africa!
For the women whose rights are ignored!
Raise your voices for the women of Pakistan, the women of Spain and Brazil!
The women of the United Kingdom who were killed by the police!
For the women whose justice was never offered!
Raise your voices for the women who lost their lives to violence.!
For the women who never got their respects paid!
Let us all rise for our sisters all around the world! Let us ask for justice!
On the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, HRS organized a CasseroleAtHome protest to raise awareness on domestice violence.
One woman is killed every three days by a man in the UK. The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives and quarantines caused many people to stuck in the same house with their abusers. This made the domectic violence records of all countries in the world even worse.
We wanted to call for attention to domestic violence by asking people to make noise by banging pots, pans and other utensils. There are a lot of people who do not know that they are abusing their partners or are being abused by them. We aimed to shout out this ignorance.
Our volunteering CasseroleAtHome protersters quitted their houses, armed with pots and pans, at 7.00 PM on 25 November, to bang and clang and make as much noise as possible for five minutes to remind the world of the elephant in the room; violence against women. As HRS’s response to the pandemic restrictions, CasseroleAtHome provided an opportunity to protest in isolation.
Human Rights Solidarity has been fighting for an equal and liveable future for the next generations. 8 March is the day that we celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of all women around the world. 8 March is not only a day of celebration for us, but also a great day to talk about the challenges that women have been facing. On 8 March 2021, we interviewed 6 amazing women from different countries on YouTube. The main goal behind this was to see how women in different countries were affected by violence and abuse. Our speakers’ personal stories enlightened us and our audience on the value of the rights we have and on the importance of the human rights work we do.
Our amazing guest speakers list included:
Rita Edah: A psychotherapist, counsellor, and coach from the UK.
Mahbuba Jebin: A PhD holder journalist and self-defence teacher for victims of violence. Mahbuba is originally from Bangladesh and lives in the UK.
Gabriela Rondon: A lawyer and human rights activist at Anis – Institute of Bioethics, Human Rights and Gender from Brazil.
Louise Anne: A domestic abuse recovery coach from the UK.
Dilnaz Kerim: A 17-year-old Uyghur from East Turkestan. Dilnaz experienced the life of an Uyghur in China and knows what Uyghur women are going through right now. Grown up in Norway, she currently lives in the UK.
Sevgi Akarcesme: An exiled Turkish journalist and an ESL teacher who is currently living in the USA.