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Strategies Of Civil Society To Counter The Far-Right Backlash Against Human Rights

In recent years, human rights defenders have begun facing increasing challenges to human rights, including: growing laws and practices designed to suppress civil society; rollbacks to progress made on women's human rights; attacks and threats by private actors against human rights defenders; and growing public misunderstanding of their work and human rights overall. This backlash, carried out by actors referred to as anti-gender movement or far right, is networked, well-resourced, and globally networked, as documented in our 2021 report, A Rollback for Human Rights - The Istanbul Convention Under Attack. Yet in the face of such attacks, civil society has proven resilient, creative, and resourceful in its strategies to counter the anti-gender movement and continue safeguarding women's human rights.

This report describes the innovative strategies undertaken by civil society in response to anti-gender activity, including:
(a) re-thinking strategies on ratification of the Istanbul Convention;
(b) focusing on the training and education of new activists and supporters, as well wider stakeholders and actors;
(c) increasing visibility in creative ways;
(d) monitoring and data collection to protect women and counter disinformation;
(e) building coalitions as well as creating unconventional alliances;
(f) finding allies with smaller, sympathetic groups within the opposition;
(g) determining alternative, innovative ways to engage with politicians and navigate the political system;
(h) establishing new creative ways to counter harmful messaging from the anti-gender movement;
(i) considering alternative, more flexible ways for HRDs to incorporate and assemble; and
(j) staying resilient.

This report also describes the needs of civil society to continue working effectively and with enjoyment of freedom of association and assembly.