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Bianca Jagger: ‘Ending Violence Against Women and Girls, and the Culture of Impunity: achieving the missing Millennium Development Goal target’

21st November 2013

“Good evening. Thank you, Jon, for your kind words. It means a lot to have you introduce me. Jon is one of my heroes. For years his courageous and insightful reporting has shone a light on issues of human rights, justice – and on every critical issue we are facing in the world. Jon is a voice of reason in the media.

I would like to thank the Longford Trust for inviting me to speak today. It’s a pleasure and a privilege to be delivering this lecture. The Longford Trust effects real change in people’s lives – it offers opportunities and hope. Lord Longford was a formidable man, a man of principle. I greatly admire his commitment to penal reform. He believed passionately that every individual is capable of reform, rehabilitation or, as he preferred to put it, redemption. “Once we stop believing that,” he said, “we are giving up on our own humanity”. And he was a champion of women: the husband of Elizabeth Longford, who was one of the first women to stand for Parliament in 1935, and the father of the talented high-achieving quartet of daughters, Antonia, Rachel, Judith and Catherine.

I have thought long and hard about the issue I will address today: “Ending Violence against Women and Girls and the Culture of Impunity”. I don’t want to recite an endless litany of shocking statistics at you, or offer glib solutions. I will outline the extent of the vast problem we face: the prevalence of violence against women and girls all over the world. I will also mention some current measures being implemented to address it. I will discuss the situation here in the UK. Lastly, I will share my vision of the future I want, where gender equality prevails, of a world free from gender based violence, and make some recommendations for how we might achieve this vision.

My own background

But first I would like to tell you a little about myself and the experiences which drove me to commit my life to speaking up for women’s rights. I was born in Managua, Nicaragua. My parents divorced when I was ten years old. My mother found herself single, without a profession, and with three small children to care for. I witnessed my mother being discriminated against because of her gender and her status as a divorced, working woman.

Divorce was rare in the Nicaragua of the 1960s. There was a stigma attached to it. During those difficult years she exhibited great courage and strength. She believed in women’s emancipation at a time when women were regarded as second-class citizens and were expected to devote themselves exclusively to home-making. My mother was my role model. I admired her independence and determination to achieve her goals. She never gave up.

Since then conditions have improved for women in Nicaragua and throughout the world. Women are excelling in many fields. We have almost achieved equal pay in some countries. We have different lives to those of our grandmothers and even our mothers. But gender equality is far from achieved. We still face unconscionable levels of discrimination and violence. The stark reality is that women are still a vulnerable group.

The Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation

For nearly three decades I have campaigned for human rights, social justice and environmental protection throughout the world. I have been speaking up for women’s rights for most of my adult life. I founded the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation (BJHRF) in 2006 to be a force for change, and a voice for the most vulnerable members of society. The BJHRF is dedicated to defending human rights, achieving social justice, speaking up for future generations and addressing the threat of climate change.

Pivotal moment

We are at a pivotal time for women’s rights and human development. Nicholas D. Kristof, Pulitzer Prize winning New York Times journalist, has written, “In the nineteenth century, the central moral challenge was slavery. In the twentieth century, it was the battle against totalitarianism. We believe that in this century the paramount moral challenge will be the struggle for gender equality around the world.” I couldn’t agree more.

How are we doing in tackling the “central moral challenge” of the 21st century? We have been talking about women’s rights, and ending violence against women and girls for a long, long time. The English reformer Caroline Norton, calling for reform of laws governing domestic violence against women in 1854, wrote: “I desire to prove, not my suffering or his injustice, but that the present law of England cannot prevent any such suffering, or control any such injustice…”

The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), the principal global policy- making body dedicated exclusively to gender equality and advancement of women was established in 1946. The first world conference on the status of women was convened by the UN in Mexico City to coincide with the 1975 International Women’s Year. In September 1981, the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women was ratified.

There have been three further conferences: Copenhagen in 1980; Nairobi in 1985; and Beijing in 1995. The Beijing Platform for Action laid out the measures for national and international action for the advancement of women; to enhance the social, economic and political empowerment of women, improve their health and their access to education and promote their reproductive rights. The action plan set targets, committing nations to carry out concrete actions in health, education, decision-making and legal reforms with “the ultimate goal of eliminating all forms of discrimination against women in both public and private life”. The conference resolved to address the “deeply entrenched attitudes and practices which perpetuate inequality… in all parts of the world”.

Today, nearly 20 years later, how many of those targets have been accomplished? Have we rid ourselves of these “deeply entrenched attitudes and practices”? Sadly, I don’t believe we have. I suppose you could argue that we have achieved gender equality on paper in the developed world. We can vote, we can own property, we can own and run businesses, we can be elected to parliament. What more do we want? But there is a difference between non-discrimination and achieving gender equality. In human rights terminology, non-discrimination is defined as “the absence of a discriminatory legal framework, and that policies are not discriminatory in effect”.

Achieving gender equality, however, is another matter. What The United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) calls “substantive equality” goes much further. It is overcoming entrenched gender bias in society. “Substantive equality is concerned with the effects of laws, policies and practices to ensure that they do not maintain or reinforce existing disadvantages.”

The missing MDG target

When the international community convened in 2000 to establish the Millennium Development Goals, they left out one critical target. They failed to address the global pandemic of violence against women and girls. UNIFEM refers to the elimination of violence against women and girls as the “missing MDG target”. The BJHRF has launched a global campaign calling on world leaders to achieve that “missing MDG target”: ending violence against women and girls and the culture of impunity; to address the systemic problems of discrimination; and to achieve gender equality. I hope that you will support the BJHRF’s efforts.

Violence against women is one of the most prevalent human rights violations in the world. It happens in every country, at every level of society. The 2005 World Health Organisaton (WHO) report, Addressing Violence against Women and Achieving the Millennium Development Goals, states: “Until recently, most governments have considered violence against women to be a relatively minor social problem. Today… violence against women is recognized as a global concern. One of the most pervasive violations of human rights in all societies, it exists on a continuum from violence perpetrated by an intimate partner to violence as a weapon of war. Violence against women is a major threat to social and economic development”.

Today, eight years after that WHO report, “violence against women continues to undermine efforts to reach the MDG targets”’ according to the UN. The failure of governments to protect the rights of women continues to hinder the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women all over the world.

The WHO also states that eradicating violence against women is particularly critical to achieving MDG number seven – namely to ensure environmental sustainability. “Open[ing] useful avenues for designing interventions which, in addition to preserving the environment, can empower and protect women in both rural and urban settings”.

The consensus is clear. Our capacity to achieve the eight MDG targets by 2015 is inextricably linked to our ability to tackle the missing target. Our failure to address it will prevent us from achieving the other MDGs.

The 57th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women in March 2013 “affirm[ed] that violence against women and girls is rooted in historical and structural inequality in power relations between women and men, and persists in every country in the world as a pervasive violation of the enjoyment of human rights.”  These “pervasive” human rights violations are grave injustices and they hold us back as a society.

Governments are preparing a new framework to follow the MDG targets in 2015, and they intend to include the missing MDG in this new framework. But can we afford to wait until 2015? No. I don’t believe we can, we must act now.

I will now briefly outline the situation we face. Each one of these statistics is shocking, together they are horrific.

Global violence against women

The United Nations Development Fund for Women estimates that at least one in every three women in the world has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused. In some countries the rate is as high as 70 per cent. Globally, violence is a greater threat to women aged aged 15-44 than cancer, traffic accidents, malaria and war combined.

Every 6 hours, a woman is killed by her partner in South Africa.

574 women and girls were murdered in Guatemala during 2012. Conviction rates for these murders are between less than 1 per cent and 4 per cent.

Rife with drug and gang crime, Ciudad Juarez in Mexico has been called the murder capital of the world. Between 1993 and 2012, 1,234 women were reported murdered (no-one knows how many murders have gone unreported). According to the New York Times, the women’s bodies are often dumped in mass graves outside the city, mutilated, showing signs of torture and sadistic sexual assault.

In some countries the murder of women is enshrined in law. In Iran, Sudan and Saudi Arabia, among others, women can still be punished for the “crimes” of adultery, or sex outside marriage by beheading, stoning and hanging under Sharia law.

Who can forget the shocking and sickening video which emerged in 2012, showing a woman in an Afghan village being shot nine times in the back with an AK47 as dozens of men look on cheering? A man reads verses from the Koran condemning adultery, saying: “We cannot forgive her. God tells us to finish her.” The gunman continues to fire shots into her body after she falls to the ground.

In Jamama, Somalia a young woman, accused of “having out-of-marriage sex”, was stoned to death in a football stadium in 2012.

In 2008 Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow, a rape victim, was stoned in Somalia to death in front of a thousand spectators for “adultery”. She was 13 years old. Amnesty International has said that the killing of Aisha Duhulow, “demonstrates the cruelty and the inherent discrimination against women of this punishment”

Across India 8,391 dowry death cases were reported in 2010 – that means a bride was burned every 90 minutes, according to statistics recently released by the National Crime Records Bureau in India.

These numbers indicate a culture of impunity, of tolerance of violence against women all across the world – sometimes sanctioned by the state. It is abhorrent that in the 21st century such killings are allowed to continue.

National judicial systems often lack adequate financial and human resources to handle sexual assault and violence against women. And there is often a lack of will to do so. “Women rarely have the same resources, political rights, authority or control over their environment and needs that men do,” the Independent Experts Assessment for UNIFEM writes, in Women, War and Peace. They do not have access to assistance, protection and support.

Violence feeds on the widespread, insidious cultural perception that women are inferior. As the recent report by the House of Commons International Development Committee states: “priority must be accorded to interventions that focus on changing social norms that condone violence against women and girls…”

My friend Amartya Sen, Professor of Economics and Philosophy at Harvard, showed the devastating consequences of the neglect women face all over the world in his revolutionary paper, “More Than 100 Million Women Are Missing”.

He writes: “The higher rates of disease from which women suffer, and ultimately to the relative neglect of females, especially in health care and medical attention… These numbers tell us, quietly, a terrible story of inequality and neglect leading to the excess mortality of women”.

Foeticide, India

An estimated 50 million women are “missing’ from the Indian population having been lost through infanticide, abortion, or child neglect. Fifty million. In certain regions of India the practice of sex selective aborting or killing girl

babies in favour of boys is a shockingly familiar one. The deadly preference for male offspring is already having an effect on the population: the boy/girl ratio has changed across the country. In 1991, the census figure was 947 girls to 1000 boys. Ten years later it had fallen to 927 girls for 1000 boys. Today it stands at 914 girls to every 1,000 boys, and it’s still sinking.

Tragically this attitude is not unique to India. More and more girls and women are disappearing every year – in India, Pakistan, China, many countries in Africa and other parts of the world – because they are considered less valuable, less culturally and economically useful than men. Women acquiesce, or are forced to be complicit in these femicides across the world.

Rape and Sexual Assault

Rape and sexual assault are endemic in our societies. Globally, 60 million girls are sexually assaulted on their way to school each year. Many of you may have heard of the tragic case of Nirbhaya in India last December. A 23-year-old student returning home from the cinema one evening, she was violently and repeatedly gang raped on a bus, sustaining horrific internal injuries. Afterwards she was thrown, naked and unconscious, from the moving vehicle. The student was nicknamed Nirbhaya, meaning “Fearless”, in the Indian press for her determination to live and see her attackers prosecuted. Nirbhaya died of her injuries on December 29th 2012.

Something changed in me the day I learned about Nirbhaya. I felt sick and revolted when I read of her suffering. It reaffirmed my determination to speak out against violence against women.

I was encouraged by the reaction to Nirbhaya’s case in India. It galvanised public opinion. Women and men stood up, demanding legislation to protect women.

The Indian Committee on Amendments to Criminal Law, headed by Justice JS Verma, produced a remarkable report, containing comprehensive analysis and recommendations not only for improving response and procedures for sexual assault in India, but overall strategies to improve the status of women. The report reveals corruption in the police and the government, an institutionalised apathy towards violence and deeply ingrained misogyny. It states unequivocally that, “the police are involved in trafficking of children”, and that, “authentic figures of missing children in India are not available for obvious reasons of the complicity of law enforcement agencies. Children have been driven into forced labour, sex abuse, sexual exploitation as well as made victims of illegal organ trade.” The report condemns the demeaning and inhumane treatment rape victims sometimes receive in India at the hands of the police and doctors.

This report is a call to action. It proposes transformative amendments to the law to better protect women and girls, and to promote gender equality. It calls for the criminalisation of marital rape, and for the government to bring sexual crime by members of the armed forces under the jurisdiction of criminal law. It makes recommendations to address the deeply entrenched gender bias in the Indian police force. It overhauls medical and forensic procedure for victims of sexual assault and suggests provision for trafficked children and vulnerable women.

If the recommendations in this ground-breaking report were implemented, they could improve the lives of millions of women and girls. They could lay the foundations for a systemic change in Indian society and institutions. I can think of many other countries which could benefit from the recommendations of the Indian Committee on Amendments to Criminal Law. Unfortunately, the Indian government has so far failed to adopt many of these recommendations. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his government must take immediate action.

Closer to home

It’s common misconception that sexual violence on this scale happens only in the developing world. I’m afraid to say that sexual violence against women is a global crisis and the developed world is not exempt. Last year in the UK around 60,000 women were raped, over 400,000 women were sexually assaulted, 1.2 million women suffered domestic abuse, according to the Home Office. But shockingly, according to the Crown Prosecution Service, there were only 5,651 prosecutions for rape and 111,891 for domestic violence in England and Wales. Why are such a small proportion of rape and sexual assault cases prosecuted?

There is a culture of silence and shame surrounding sexual assault – only 1 in 10 is reported in the UK. The victim is often the only witness, and almost always has to go to court. Many women are afraid to speak out in cases of rape and domestic abuse. Most rape victims cannot face the process of a trial.

Accountability on the part of states and societies for crimes against women means more than just having legal mechanisms available to punish perpetrators. We have to enforce them. Impunity weakens the foundation of societies.

Rape as a Weapon of War

We live in a world where rape has long been used a weapon of war. And violence against women in conflict has reached epidemic proportions. In 1993, I went to the former Yugoslavia to document the mass rape of Bosnian women by Serbian forces as part of their campaign of ethnic cleansing. Nothing in my experience as a human rights campaigner had prepared me for the horror and suffering I witnessed, and the testimonies I heard. UNIFEM estimates that during the Bosnian war up to 50,000 women were systematically raped. To date there have only been 30 convictions for those rapes.

During the 1994 Rwandan genocide it is estimated between 250,000-500,000 women were raped. Rape is used as a weapon of war to humiliate, to punish, to demean: to break communities and families apart. Women have become the biggest victims of war. The UNIFEM Independent Experts Assessment writes in Women, War and Peace, “the extreme violence that women suffer during conflict does not arise solely out of the condition of war; it is directly related to the violence that exists during women’s lives during peacetime”.

Global sexual assault

Under Sharia law, rape victims in Afghanistan have also been jailed for adultery. In one case in 2011, a woman was forced to marry her rapist. Every year 800,000 people are trafficked across national borders, the majority for sexual exploitation, modern-day slavery and prostitution. 79 per cent of them are women and girls. If trafficking within countries is included in the total world figures, estimates indicate that 2 to 4 million people are trafficked each year.

Conviction for rape can require either a confession or the testimony of four adult male witnesses.

Domestic violence

Being assaulted by a partner is the most common kind of violence experienced by women. Nearly 40 per cent of women killed worldwide are slain by an intimate partner, according to the UN. Those who perpetrate violence against women should be prosecuted with the full weight of the law.

But how much weight does the law carry? Not much, in many parts of the world. Domestic violence is acceptable, even legal in some countries. More than 600 million women live in countries where domestic violence is not considered a crime, according to the UN. The highest court in the United Arab Emirates ruled in 2010 that under Sharia law a man is permitted to beat his wife and children, as long as he leaves no marks.

A judge in Saudi Arabia stated in 2009 that a man has the right to hit a wife who spends money wastefully. Even in countries where violence against women is illegal, spousal abuse, rape and sexual violence are often ingrained in the culture. In Turkey, where domestic violence is illegal but widespread, a hospital survey showed that 69 per cent of the female and 85 per cent of the male medical staff agreed that wife beating was justified.

Accepted justifications included women lying to, or riticising the male partner, and not taking sufficient care of children. The numbers aren’t encouraging. The more I learn about the issue the more appalled and disturbed I am by the global failure to address the problem of violence against women and girls. It is systemic and institutionalised.

When I spoke on violence against women at the Google Zetigest conference in London earlier this year, the organisers tried to censor my speech. They wanted me to soft pedal the statistics. They said the audience was mainly men, and they weren’t ready for the shocking facts. But I believe that men are ready to look the facts in the face.

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

100 to 140 million girls all over the world, predominantly in Africa, have been subjected to female genital mutilation. A 2007 analysis estimates more than 66,000 women in the UK have undergone FGM, with some 24,000 girls at risk. Yet, in the UK, there has been not a single conviction for FGM in the 30 years since it was made illegal. I welcome the upcoming Home Affairs Select Committee enquiry into the lack of convictions for FGM in the United Kingdom. It is urgent and long overdue. We can be sure that all of these numbers are only the tip of the iceberg. Much violence against women goes unreported.

Discrimination and Gender Bias

What is the cause of this global pandemic of violence against women and girls? It iis caused by deeply entrenched societal norms. In some countries discrimination against women is enshrined in law. And it persists in other, supposedly egalitarian nations – veiled and underhand, unspoken.

Education is critical to emancipating women and girls from poverty, in achieving gender equality, and towards the creation of a free and equal world. It is the golden key to unlocking potential, and creating equal opportunity. All countries must achieve gender parity in education.

Equal Pay

The Sex Discrimination and Equal Pay Acts came into force in the UK in 1975. Today women in this country are paid on average 15 per cent less than their male counterparts. The hourly rate of pay for men is £26.54 and for women £18.32, with the disparity even wider in part-time jobs.

2013 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the passing into law of the Equal Pay Act by John F Kennedy in the USA. We have yet to achieve economic justice for women who are still paid less than men in the US, in the UK, and everywhere else in the world. Discrimination is not merely a moral evil.  it is explicitly against the law. Institutions and business – employers everywhere, those who are in the greatest positions of responsibility – have a duty to observe the law, to ensure equal pay for women. I urge business leaders to make the workplace fair.

Gender equality and equal pay are enshrined in national and international law, but they are not the everyday reality for women all over the world. It’s time to eliminate discrimination and ensure women employees are fairly treated; and lastly, but by no means least – to employ more women.

Women in Position of Power

Worldwide, education is fraught with gender bias. 70 million girls each year are denied the right to the most basic education. 64 per cent of the 774 million illiterate adults worldwide are women. No one knows this better than Malala Yousefzai, who risked her life speaking out for women’s education in Pakistan. Her commitment and vision have earned her the Sakharov Prize at the age of 16. I can think of no one more deserving.

There are too few women in positions of power today. Of the 190 heads of state in the world, 17 are women. Of all the people in parliament in the world, 21 per cent are women. In the UK there are 147 female MPs – and 503 male MPs. In the corporate sector only 16 per cent of those at boardroom level are women. We are deluding ourselves if we think we have eradicated discrimination from the so-called developed world.

The Media

I fear that under the surface of our Western democratic, egalitarian societies, embedded deep in our cultures, still lurks an institutionalised belief that women are inferior. In the words of the Beijing Platform, which I mentioned earlier, there lurk “deeply entrenched attitudes and practices which perpetuate inequality and discrimination against women, in public and private life, in all parts of the world”. And too often, those attitudes and practises are perpetuated by the media. I was astonished recently when many UK newspapers including the Times, the Telegraph and the Daily Mail carried headlines stating that Andy Murray was the first British winner of the Wimbledon Tennis Championship in 77 years. Have they forgotten that there were four other British singles champions in the past 77 years? Dorothy Round Little won the women’s singles in 1937; Angela Mortimer won in 1961; Ann Haydon-Jones in 1969; and Virginia Wade in 1977. Apparently, as women, our victories don’t count. Is there a wish to diminish us – to ignore our achievements, to belittle us?


I am about to become a great grandmother. This begs the question – what do I want the world to look like for my granddaughters and great grandchild? What can we do in the next decades to ensure that, when my great grandchild is grown, gender violence a thing of the past? I have a vision for the future I want. In this future we have achieved gender equality, ended violence against women and girls and the culture of impunity. We have achieved the missing MDG target. We live in a democracy where justice prevails -an inclusive society, based on the principles of equality, freedom and security, where women are a political force in every country, at the negotiating tables, and their voices count in peace processes, judicial and civil infrastructure. They have equal opportunity in all sectors and at every level of society and are paid the same as men. In my vision, we have reviewed our civil and labour laws and introduced land reforms to eliminate discrimination against women.

Empowering women will make a material difference to our lives. It will reduce poverty and hunger – for instance women farmers make up about half of the agricultural workforce in developing countries, and this number is increasing. But they suffer discrimination and lack access to resources. If we give these women farmers access to seeds, equipment and resources, if we empower them, we could end hunger for 150 million people worldwide, according to UN Women.

I am not only calling on women to achieve this vision. We need men and women to work together to create a world where we walk hand in hand.

How to achieve it

How do we get there? There are minimum standards we need to meet in order to achieve my vision. We must:

• Establish the legal mechanisms that will ensure the protection of women from violence, sexual violence and promote gender equality around the world. We must develop the mechanisms to enforce the law, to bring the culprits to justice, and end the culture of impunity;

•Eliminate all forms of discrimination against women in political, economic, public and private life;

• Empower more women. Increase women’s leadership and participation in every sector of society. Recognise them in the corridors of power – get them to the negotiating table and make sure their voices are heard;

• Ensure equal rights of women to own and inherit property, sign a contract, register a business and open a bank account;

• Eliminate discrimination from the media and institutions: governmental, academic, financial, legal… from all sectors and promote gender equality at all levels;

• Enforce stringent equal opportunities and equal pay legislation;
• Ensure gender parity in education;
• Increase women’s access to economic empowerment and opportunities;

• Increase funding and budgets for initiatives which prevent violence;

Ridding our social and legal institutions of bias will be a painfully slow process, but we must do it. We’re not doing enough, and we’re not doing it fast enough. It means ensuring funding and access for women to media and communications technology, giving them a forum for their points of view. It means revolutionising the way women are presented in all forms of media. There is currently an ingrained gender bias towards women, a tendency to reduce us to stereotypes, sexualise us, infantilise us, dehumanise us and condemn us. We have long accepted it but I don’t think we should.

I have just returned from Warsaw, Poland, where I spoke on two panels at COP19, the UN climate conference. One was “Vision 50/50: Women for Action on Climate Change”, moderated by Cristiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, with Helen Clark, UNDP administrator and former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland, Tarja Halonen, Former President of Finland, and Lakshmi Puri, Deputy Executive Director, UN Women. Formidable, powerful, accomplished women, leaders in their fields. They have expertise, wisdom, knowledge and compassion: qualities we need in our leaders.

The UN Women position paper, “A transformative, Stand-alone Goal on Achieving Gender Equality, Women’s Rights and Women’s Empowerment”, finds that the shortage of women in power “has its roots in unequal power relations in the family and community”. Which brings me to my point: opinions, attitudes and prejudice are learned at home. It is family that first influences a child’s view of the world. We women cannot blame the patriarchy for all the wrongs of the world. We also raise our sons and daughters. We influence their perceptions of the roles that men and women should play.

We must teach our children respect for human rights, respect for women’s rights, the meaning of gender equality. We have the opportunity and the power to counter centuries of age-old misogyny and prejudice. When I look back at my mother, I realise what a pivotal role she played in shaping who I am today.


This is a global problem, but we can make a difference. Together, we have great collective power. I call on women across the world to embark upon a non-violent revolution: to rid our world of the scourge of gender based violence. I hope that all men of conscience will join us. Together we can end violence against women and girls and the culture of impunity. Together we can tackle deeply ingrained pervasive institutional discrimination. It will not be easy. We will need each and every one of you.

What is clear is that we can’t ignore the problems of violence against women and girls any longer. We owe it to women all over the world who are suffering violence, persecution and injustice to stand up for their rights. It is a crime against each and every one of us. It is not only we, but our daughters and granddaughters who will suffer. By doing nothing, we jeopardize their future. Let’s make our voices heard.

Twitter is a great tool for social justice and it’s an invaluable tool in my human rights and environmental campaigning. If you witness injustice, you can say something. Tweet about it. I am on Twitter, @BiancaJagger. I would like to invite you to follow me.

I would like to leave you with Abigail Adams advice to her husband, US President John Adams, in 1776: “…remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.”

Thank you

Bianca Jagger is the founder and chair of the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation. She is a Council of Europe Goodwill Ambassador, a member of the Executive Director’s Leadership Council of Amnesty International, USA, a IUCN Plant A Pledge Ambassador, a member of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court, and a trustee of the Amazon Charitable Trust.

For over three decades she has been a voice for the most vulnerable members of society, campaigning for human rights, civil liberties, peace, social justice and environmental protection throughout the world. Her work has been recognised by the 2004 Right Livelihood Award, the 1998 American Civil Liberties Union Award, the 1997 Amnesty International USA Media Spotlight Award for Leadership, and the 1994 United Nations Earth Day International Award.

The 2013 Longford Lecture is sponsored by the Daily Telegraph newspaper.