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Photo: Gita Simonsen.Photo: Gita Simonsen

«Defending women human rights – effective strategies and challenges across regions. »

Last updated: 13.03.2014 // The Permanent Mission of Norway and The permanent Mission of Pakistan hosted the side-event on «Defending women human rights – effective strategies and challenges across regions. » The event was held on the occasion of the international Women’s day March 8.

There was a screening of the Emmy Award winning documentary about “honor killings”, “Banaz – a love story”. The screening was followed by a discussion with Deeyah Khan – human rights defender and director of the movie Banaz – A love story, Margaret Sekaggya – Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights Defenders, and was moderated by Ms Flavia Pansieri, the Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The Norwegian Ambassador to the UN Mr. Steffen Kognstad stated that “Violence against women is still disturbingly widespread and needs to be fought. So-called “honour killings” are among the worst examples of attacks against women. They happen across the world and across cultures. “

He also stated that “States have responsibilities at several levels: to ensure the rights and the security of its citizens, including women. And to make sure that those who work to promote and protect the rights of women – human rights defenders and civil society, filmmakers and artists – can rely on safe and enabling environment in which they can operate.”

In the follow-up discussion Ms. Deeyah Khan stated that “This was a personal stand for me, I could no longer bear witness to what these girls are going through. I also made this so that police forces can understand the signs and know when to help.”

The discussion brought up the problematic situation for artists as human rights defenders, and how they often stand without any protection. Ms. Deeyah Khan, who also have experienced severe threats because of her art, stated that "Artists are prosecuted everyday. They experience torture, imprisionment and even death."

Margaret Sekaggya continued “We must include artists as defenders that need protection and recondition. They are defenders at risk.”

See the Emmy Award winning documentary "Banaz - A love story" here

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