Remarks at a UN Side Event on Enhancing the Protection of Women Human Rights Defenders and Journalists: Survivors’ Perspectives Meeting

Ambassador Chris Lu
U.S. Representative for UN Management and Reform
New York, New York
April 12, 2022


Thank you so much for having me. Madam Vice President, we are honored by your presence, and I applaud your commitment to this issue. And then,congratulations to Jineth Bedoya. Lima, I look forward to hearing your comments.

As our Vice President, Kamala Harris, has said, “the status of women is the status of democracy” – to ensure women’s political participation and leadership, we must foster an environment in which they can succeed and be heard.

As authoritarian powers are increasingly finding ways to repress civil society, spread disinformation, and undermine confidence in democratic institutions, women activists, journalists, and peacebuilders are often disproportionately targeted and impacted. And they are targeted in ways unlike their male counterparts, through gendered and sexualized threats of violence, coercive messages to expose and abuse them and their children and families.

In every corner of the world, these women are coming under threat, risking their lives to support democratic processes and advance the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all citizens. Too often speaking out and being heard comes with a price. Online harassment and abuse have a chilling effect on women, girls, and other underrepresented or marginalized groups. It can lead to self-censorship or disengagement altogether. Despite these numerous, these women continue to demonstrate leadership, resiliency, and flexibility in their efforts to support their communities.

We cannot afford to lose this diversity of viewpoints or women’s voices, perspectives, or leadership. That’s one of the reasons why these voices of human rights defenders and journalists are so important. We must stand with these defenders and journalists, and speak out wherever and whenever human rights are being violated or abused.

I’m proud to be here today because the United States remains determined to support human rights defenders. The Global Partnership for Action on Gender-Based Online Harassment and Abuse, announced at the Summit for Democracy and launched during the 66th Commission on the Status of Women, demonstrates our continued commitment to address gender-based online harassment and abuse in the long term. In launching this multinational coalition, we issued a roadmap for action in which we define this complex, global challenge — and underscore how gender-based online harassment and abuse can be an added dimension of violence in political and ethnic conflict. We invite other member states who share these values to join us.

As Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield often says, the United States’ goals are clear: we stand with human rights defenders and speak out against violations and abuses of human rights everywhere.

Thank you.