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JOINT NORDIC BALTIC STATEMENT, 8 June

Mr. President,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Nordic-Baltic States: Denmark, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Sweden and my own country Finland.

We highly appreciate the achievements of the Working Group and share the Working Group’s concern about the serious backlash against women’s enjoyment of human rights.

We are particularly concerned about increasing attempts to limit and prevent the work of women human rights defenders and those defending women’s full enjoyment of human rights at country level and on the international arenas. All human rights defenders should be able to conduct their work safely, without fear and harassment. Their work is an essential contribution to gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Working Group makes an important recommendation to States to apply a gender lens to the good practices framework for the creation and maintenance of a safe and enabling environment for civil society. This framework was developed by the High Commissioner to ensure adequate focus on the unique position and challenges faced by human rights defenders promoting the rights of women. In your view, what are the most urgently needed steps by States to this end?

An important way to support women human rights defenders is to strengthen the cooperation between the UN and other international organisations. With this in mind, we would like to enquire about possible joint activities by the Working Group and the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences on women human rights defenders?

I thank you, Mr. President.