Women Human Rights Defenders

Women human rights defenders include women active in the defence of human rights who are targeted for who they are as well as those who defend women's rights who are targeted for what they do.

“As women, we must manage the social and cultural context in which we are brought up. We run the home, we have children and we need to promote human rights. We need to harmonise all of this.” Julienne Lusenge, DRC

“Our struggle is not against one but several systems. Against colonialism. Against neo-liberalism. Against Western and traditional patriarchal systems.” - Lorena Cabnal, Guatemala

(For more videos, please visit the Women Human Rights Defenders playlist)

Front Line Defenders is a member of the Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition (WHRD IC), a resource and advocacy network for the protection and support of women human rights defenders (WHRDs) worldwide. The Coalition calls attention to the recognition of women human rights defenders. It asserts that those advocating for women's human rights - no matter what gender or sexual orientation they claim - are in fact human rights defenders. Their gender or the nature of their work has made them the subject of attacks, requiring gender-sensitive mechanisms for their protection and support. The Coalition involves women activists as well as men who defend women's rights and lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender (LGBT) defenders and groups committed to the advancement of women's human rights and sexual rights.

Front Line Defenders contributed to the Global Report on the Situation of Women Human Rights Defenders. The Global Report gives a contextual analysis of the environment in which WHRDs work and the violations they face because of their gender and/or work defending women's rights and sexual rights. While WHRDs face a number of similar violations as other defenders, it is essential to recognize the gendered consequences of violations for WHRDs. The risks faced by WHRDs are increased because there is no systematic documentation of the gender-specific nature and manifestations of the violence and violations of their rights. The Global Report draws on individual and collective analysis of organisations working with WHRDs. The analysis is informed by five key phenomena – fundamentalisms; militarization and situations of conflict; globalization; crises of democracy or governance; and heteronormativity. At a time when WHRDs receive little attention in the human rights arena, the Global Report on the Situation of WHRDs aims to advance the recognition of WHRDs.

Front Line Defenders organses a team to participate in the 2013 Flora Women's Mini Marathon each year, to support the organisation's work with WHRDs. Join us in supporting WHRDs.