A panel of human rights experts from across Asia gathered in a live streamed, online conference, organized by the Christian Conference of Asia on 15 December, to discuss emerging challenges around gender equality and growing religious extremism.
Headlined “The Impact of Growing Religious Extremism on Women in Asia,” examples were shared by the participants on how women from minority groups in different Asian countries have been victims of physical violence, sexual violence, psychological abuse, abductions, forced conversions and marriages, and honour killings.
Panellists underscored the importance of empowering women to stand up against extremism and to challenge patriarchies where oppressive ideologies are allowed to flourish.
The panellists represented the United Nations and the Asian Human Rights Commission, and also included leading human rights defenders, activists, and academicians from across Asia.
Christian Conference of Asia general secretary, Dr Mathews George Chunakara, who moderated the conference, pointed out that the relationships between men and women within communities are governed not by laws but by systematic subordination, all-pervasive patriarchy, and economic disparities, and that the rise of extremist movements is creating dangerous fault-lines within communities, with terrible implications.
Emphasising the need for developing a human rights culture in addressing the issues related to growing religious extremism and violence against women, he pledged to continue the Christian Conference of Asia’s engagement in combating growing religious hatred and intolerance.