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*GENDER CENTRED: A GenderIT.org thematic bulletin*
APC WNSP - GenderIT.org, 14 September 2011
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I. THOUGHTS AROUND...Internet rights are women rights!
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This edition of GenderIT.org is dedicated to women human rights defenders. Those working on women's and sexual rights often face challenges not only in the public space, but in their personal space, from their family and partners, as well. In this edition, we examine what new dimension brings ICTs into this struggle, how they are used to mobilize around women's and sexual rights, and the risks many defenders face online. Security emerged as not only one of the main topics in our interviews but also in living practice, forcing us to question and change our communication protocols in order to pull this edition together without jeopardizing the safety of our interviewees.
We hope then that you find the readings engaging!

Katerina, Flavia, and Grady from the GenderIT.org's team
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I. THOUGHTS AROUND... Internet rights are women rights!
by Joy Liddicoat, APC Project Coordinator for the Connect your rights! campaign

A couple of years ago I stumbled across GenderIT.org while browsing the web for information about women's rights, human rights defenders and the internet. I was hooked, but I never thought that I would be invited to write an editorial.

Then, in April this year I was appointed an APC project coordinator, helping to launch a new campaign: Connect your rights! Internet rights are human rights. The campaign calls for action to respect, protect and promote freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly and association, and democratisation. I'm delighted this edition of GenderIT.org takes a closer look at women human rights defenders and how their rights to freedom of expression and freedom of association are affected by internet restrictions...

Read the full editorial at:

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*ICT skills gap = online security risks*
GenderIT.org contributor Mavic Cabrera-Balleza interviews Mary Jane Real, outgoing coordinator of the Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition about the use of internet and information and communication technologies by women human rights defenders, the opportunities they present as well as the digital security risks women human rights defenders confront. Real goes on to share her ideas on how the risks could be minimized or eliminated.

*The changing face of women's rights activism* - part 1
Jennifer Radloff, GenderIT.org contributor, and Running Toddler, a participant of a recently hosted workshop in secure online communications for women human rights defenders, interviewed the workshop's trainers, c5 and anonymous. In this first part of the interview, the trainers talk about their experience in training activists and human rights defenders to use technology securely, and the challenges inherent in communicating safely as feminists and women human rights defenders, and the importance of awareness that these technologies can both serve us and put us at risk.

*Defending yourself means defending your community* - part 2
In the second part of the interview with c5 and anonymous, the trainers from the secure online communications workshop provide strategies for mitigating some of the dangers for women human rights defenders. While examining the practices of policy-makers, internet intermediaries and every day users, they conclude that security means more than just awareness -- it requires behavioural change.

*Connectedness or alienation*
Women's human rights activist Edna Aquino remarks on how ICTs have impacted her work, presenting both new opportunities and new risks. In her interview with new GenderIT.org writer, Maya Ganesh, Edna argues that activists using ICTs must be mindful of alienating women with the use of excessive jargon, and must always be keenly aware that there are inherent risks in online communications. However, she argues that these problems can be remedied through secure online communications training and capacity building.

*Secure communications essential to women's rights defenders*
Grady Johnson speaks to women's human rights defenders from India and the Philippines who use ICTs in their work. For these women, the right to freedom of association and ICTs are inseparable in the modern context. However, many users approach these new technologies with skepticism. Speaking from their own experience, these women's human rights defenders dispel some of the common myths surrounding the internet and the use of ICTs.

*Who's gonna track me*
Flavia Fascendini looks at the report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders -- which, for the first time in history, focuses on the situation of women's human rights defenders. Drawing on the report's findings, she talks to South-East Asian women's activists about the unique security risks they face online.

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*Strategising Online Activism: A Toolkit*
The Toolkit was designed for and by women activists but can be used by everyone. Key chapters include: strategising and planning your online activism; creating your campaign's identity; social networking, and security on the internet. The guide provides practical and accessible step-by-step advice, while keeping a political and feminist eye. It was developed by APC's women's programme (APC WNSP) and the Violence is Not our Culture (VNC) campaign.

*UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders*
This Declaration recognises the legitimacy of human rights work and the need for these activities and those who carry them out to be protected. It articulates existing rights contained in the major human rights instruments, such as the right to freedom of expression, association and assembly, as they apply to the situation of human rights defenders. It also outlines that not only States, but also non-State actors (such as corporations and "fundamentalist" groups), have the duty to protect human rights defenders against any violence, retaliation and intimidation as a consequence of their human rights work.

*Urgent responses for women human rights defenders at risk*
This report prepared by Inmaculada Barcia in 2011 for the Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID) is a resource specifically designed for women human rights defenders. It maps the diverse responses and specific measures currently being offered to protect women defenders from governments, as well as from non-governmental sectors. The Report also recognizes and evaluates the effects of international pressure and visibility (urgent appeals, working with international and regional mechanisms, sponsorship programs, awards, solidarity and monitoring visits, trial observation), resources for local action (legal assistance, medical and psychosocial counselling, stress management programs, and safe houses, among others) and support for relocation and other grants.

Read also:
*Self-Care & Self-Defense Manual for Feminist Activists* developed by Artemisa, Elige and CREA

*Commentary to the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders* written by UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

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*Freedom of association and assembly*
The right to freedom of association and assembly ensures that people are able to meet and interact freely. Any limitations on this right must be clearly defined in law and only for specific purposes. Freedom of association and assembly is guaranteed in Article 20 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and defines the duty of states to actively protect peaceful assembly, protests and association, without interference and discrimination of any kind. Yet women and LGBTI are often prevented from exercising their rights to peaceful assembly and association because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or socio-cultural norms.

*Women human rights defenders*
Women human rights defenders or WHRDs include women and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activists active in human rights defence who are targeted for who they are as well as all those active in the defence of women’s and sexual rights who are targeted for what they do. The right to defend human rights, including women's rights, is protected internationally by the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.

To understand unfamiliar ICT or gender terms visit the Jargon section:

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In this GenderIT.org edition we are introducing two partners participating in APC's "Connect Your Rights! Internet rights are human rights" campaign. As the part of this campaign, APC aims to document violations of freedom of expression and association of women's human rights defenders on the internet, as well as build their capacity to respond to security threats.

*Violence is Not our Culture Campaign*
The Violence is Not our Culture (VNC) Campaign was founded in 2007 and is a global network of organisations and individuals committed to end all forms of discrimination and violence against women (VAW) being justified in the name of culture and/or religion. Such forms of gender-based violence include stoning, whipping/lashing, forced marriage, child marriage, female genital mutilation and “honour” killings. The Campaign is now present in Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

*Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition*
The Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition (WHRD IC) is a worldwide resource and advocacy network for the protection and support of women human rights defenders (WHRD). Created out of the international campaign on WHRD launched in 2005, the coalition asserts that the gender and the nature of the work of those advocating for women's human rights has made them a clear target of attacks, requiring “gender-sensitive mechanisms for their protection and support”, as they state. Coalition is currently composed of 25 members.

See also:
*UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders*

To find out more about key stakeholders in the field of ICTs, visit the Who's Who in Policy's directory:

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*South African users debate how tech is changing gender-based violence*
Lebo Legoabe shares with the GenderIT.org readers how Women's Net and its partners in South Africa advocate for the end of violence against women through a seminar and a Tweet-up. The seminar was part of the MDG3 Fund/APC Women project. Women's Net is the South Africa partner.

*Philippine law enforcers face new challenges in responding to violence against women*
"New spaces made available to women in the digital world are also becoming spaces for violence against women to occur", notes Lenlen Mesina in her Feminist Talk. In her article, she outlines some of these new emergent forms of violence against women in the Philippines, in the hope of raising awareness and engendering appropriate responses from all stakeholders.

To read more Feminist Talk's posts and debates visit:

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*2011 APC Women's Networking Support Programme (APC WNSP). Except where
otherwise noted, content in this newsletter is published by GenderIT.org, a
project of the APC WNSP, and licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. You are free to
share, republish or remix so long as you attribute GenderIT.org and the
author clearly as the original source.
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Write to: mailto:genderit@apcwomen.org
Twitter: @GenderITorg #genderit
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