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Backstroke on women’s rights is a sign of extremism, according to UN

The UN Secretary General, António Guterres, warned on Friday that a setback in women’s rights is often one of the first signs that point to the spread of extremism.

“It is not surprising that a sudden and extreme regression of women’s rights is often one of the first signs that warns of the spread of violent extremism,” Guterres told the group of countries for the prevention of violent extremism, established by Jordan and Norway in 2017.

“Groups such as the IS (Islamic State), Boko Haram and others have systematically subjugated hundreds of thousands of women to slavery, sexual exploitation, kidnapping, trafficking and other horrible practices,” said the United Nations secretary.

According to Guterres, all these groups share the rights of women as targets and, on many occasions, persuade or coerce women to join these violent and extremist groups and to participate in the fighting or carry out suicide attacks.

For the UN Secretary General: “It is crucial to ensure that our efforts to prevent extremism include the voices and experiences of women.”

“The work of the UN in Asia and in Africa has shown that women are more willing than men to work in prevention,” he said.

Guterres also defended the recruitment of more women for the “application of the law” and in security agencies, as a possible factor to reduce the increases in violence.

In addition, he said that, given the increase in speeches and hate crimes, he has requested the creation of a team at the UN to strengthen the response to this phenomenon, define a broad strategic system and present a global plan for action.

“An essential part of this work will be to integrate a gender vision and identify hate speech that specifically targets women,” he added.

Finally, he insisted on the need to defend the rights of the victims of terrorism and help them to rebuild their lives, in addition to providing platforms for them to be heard, both in their countries and beyond their borders.

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