Dhaka, Oct 10 (UNB) – UN human rights experts have applauded the energy and sense of urgency, as well as courage and intellect, that girls and young women have brought to recognizing and confronting many of today’s struggles from climate change and gender equality to poverty and violence.
In a joint statement, on the occasion of the International Day of the Girl Child that falls on Friday, the experts say adolescent girls need to be supported by everyone who cares about human rights and a sustainable future.
“We call upon States to take every step to fulfil their human rights obligations and national and international policy makers to hear their voices loud and clear,” they said on Thursday.
UN experts are Elizabeth Broderick, Alda Facio, Ivana RadacIc, Meskerem Geset Techane (Chair), Melissa Upreti, Karima Bennoune, Koumbou Boly Barry, David R Boyd, David Kaye, Dainius Puras, Michel Forst, Felipe Gonzalez Morales, Fernand De Varennes, Maud De Boer-Buquicchio, Urmila Bhoola, Victor Madrigal-Borloz, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, Dubravka Simonovic and Leo Heller.
The special rapporteurs, independent experts and working groups are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council.
The UN experts said youth activism, spearheaded by girls, has brought fresh energy and a renewed sense of urgency to tackling issues fought by generations before them.
“They have shown that no one is too young to act for human rights, and no one is too small to make a difference. These young human rights defenders are initiating, joining and spearheading movements with insistence and courage, confronting backlashes and attacks.”
These girls and young women are increasingly being recognized, said the UN experts.
Malala Yousafzai became the youngest Noble Prize laureate at the age of 17 in recognition of her fight for girls’ right to education, 16-year-old Greta Thunberg was this year invited to address world leaders at the global climate summit, and Autumn Peltier, the 13-year-old indigenous girl has been nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize.
There are many others who are actively engaged for social justice.
They should be supported by everyone who cares for human rights and sustainable future. Different generations need to join forces in pursuit of social justice, the UN experts said.
“It is deeply troubling that some of these brave young girls and women have been subjected to harassment and abuse and sometimes hateful attacks on social media,” reads the joint statement received from Geneva.
Attacks on young human rights defenders should not be tolerated. States have obligations to ensure enjoyment of rights by girls and boys, including their right to privacy, freedom of thought, expression and association, said the joint statement.