WAVE Statement on the exacerbation of women’s oppression and women’s human rights violations

The 21st December 2022 was not only the shortest and darkest day in Europe (winter solstice), but also symbolised the very dark days in the world for women’s rights and freedom. Women’s rights are under attack all over the world: from Iran to the USA, from Afghanistan to Ukraine, women face different forms of gender-based violence, which are further amplified by conflict and war. Such crises, be it political, economic, environmental or health crises continue to uphold patriarchal structures and exacerbate all forms of male and patriarchal violence.

With the killing of Mahsa Amini, which sparked a revolution in Iran with women across the country at the forefront, human rights violations have continued to prevail. Just recently, a young girl of 14 years-old was arrested for participating in a classroom demonstration on women’s freedom in Iran. She was raped by representatives of the Iranian state and died as a result of her injuries. In Afghanistan, next to the increasing violations to women’s freedom, autonomy and independence, a ban has been placed to prohibit women from studying. With the overturning of Roe v. Wade, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of women and girls have been attacked in the USA, which many countries around the world concerningly attempt to follow. Also the war on the Ukraine has showed how during conflicts, women, girls, and vulnerable groups are especially targeted, with rape and sexual violence being used as a tactic of war and with higher risks of human trafficking, domestic violence, exploitation, and sexual slavery. These are only a few of the countless violations of women’s rights and dignity happening all over the world.

The WAVE Network is alarmed by the enormous exacerbation of women’s oppression and women’s human rights violations, and dedicates its utmost solidarity to all the women affected by this violence. Through this statement WAVE expresses its outrage and demands that those holding political power, be it at a national or international level,  who should be the guardians of human rights, will finally react with concrete, credible and effective measures to stop these crimes against women’s humans rights, perpetrated by violent, misogynistic and patriarchal regimes.

Every attack on a woman in any corner of the world is an attack on all women, and WAVE will continue its fight against all forms of violence against women and girls.