A panel discussion organized by MARTA took place at the NGO Forum and Civil Society Meeting in New York last week. The NGO forum took place from March 5-17 in parallel with the meeting of the 67th UN Commission on the Status of Women. At this event, the MARTA Center provided a safe space to hear the empowering stories of activists and women's rights defenders from Latvia, Ukraine, Afghanistan, and the United States, sharing their personal challenges, and professional achievements, and expressing the need for activism to continue.
Women's human rights defenders are at high risk of gender-based violence and other abuses, particularly during conflicts and disasters. They face prejudice, discrimination, defamation, gender-based verbal abuse online and offline, marginalization, stigmatization and even threats to their lives. It is our responsibility to protect human rights defenders as they protect the rights and lives of other women by providing aid and vital support services outside the borders of big cities.
Below you can watch a video with a speech from panellist Basira Taheri (Afghanistan):
The following speakers participated in the panel discussion: Anastasija Nenka (Ukraine) is a trainer and one of the first participants of the "Empowering Education" project. The project advocates gender education based on the philosophy of non-violence and has been successfully developed in 10 countries around the world. Previously, she worked in the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine. Anastasia has 20 years of experience in leading successful communication and conflict transformation training. Since 2018, she has been actively involved in the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325.
Taina Bien-Aimé (USA) has thirty years of experience advocating for the rights of women and girls at national and global levels. She is currently the Executive Director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW), one of the oldest international organizations dedicated to ending the trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of women and girls as a practice of gender-based violence and discrimination. Prior to this position, Tina was involved for twenty years with Equality Now, a global organization working to advance the human rights of women and girls, first as a founding board member and then for ten years as its executive director. She was also director of business affairs for Home Box Office and practiced international corporate law at the Wall Street law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton. Tina holds a Juris Doctorate from New York University School of Law and a Political Science degree from the International University in Geneva. Tina has extensive experience in the media and has received several awards for her campaigns for equality for women and girls around the world. She was included in Forbes' first 2021 "50>50 Women of Social Impact" list.
Iluta Lāce (Latvia) has been a social worker, trainer and feminist - activist active in women's organizations. She has founded the center MARTA, which implements various programs for the promotion of women's human rights and gender equality. With the support of Iluta, a special program was launched for the rehabilitation of women victims of human trafficking, as well as women victims of domestic violence in Latvia. She also promotes amendments to legislation on violence against women, prevention of human trafficking and promotion of gender equality. Iluta has worked on the development of youth programs on the prevention of violence and gender discrimination, which are widely used in Latvia and other countries. She has facilitated the establishment of women's advisory groups in Uzbekistan and other services in the field of violence prevention, human trafficking and gender equality in various countries, including Ukraine.
Basira Taheri (Afghanistan) is a civil society activist and women's rights defender who has been active in the field of women's equality and rights protection in Afghanistan since 2013. Basira believes that women's rights in Afghanistan have been neglected for many years and that there is a need to fight for equality. Violence against women and human rights violations in Afghanistan led Basira to create the "Women Leaders Network" in cooperation with many women in Herat - Afghanistan. She has a master's degree in international law. From 2013 to 2021, she was the principal of "Spineh Addy School for Girls" in Herat; since 2017 - head of the Herat branch of the youth civic organization "New Thinker"; since 2019 - head of the litigation committee of the "Women's Leaders Network". In 2019 and 2020 - member of the consultative Loy Jirga for peace in Afghanistan; In 2020, she was the founder of the Afghan Women's Movement, and her activities are still ongoing.
Moderator of the panel discussion: Madara Mazjāne (Latvia), head of MARTA youth programs.
Article posted by Beata Jonite
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