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Women Human Rights Defenders Network Malawi

WHRDN Malawi

The Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRD) in Malawi is a network of women that exists to promote women’s rights, cognizant that women are disproportionately affected by gender inequality in all critical areas of political, economic, and social spheres. It also recognizes that women are oftentimes systematically excluded from participating in the work of human rights defenders. To achieve gender equality, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action acknowledge the key role women’s networks play in promoting gender equality alongside the government. WHRD Network Malawi was established in October 2022 as a network to address two key issues; lack of a structure and lack of legislation on women human rights defenders, despite the UN General Assembly having adopted resolution 68/1811. Since its establishment, the network has made significant progress.

Unlike any other gender activists and movements, the role of the WHRDs Network in Malawi is quite distinctive. It aims to protect or defend women whose lives are threatened by promoting women’s rights. It leverages on solidarity and cooperation of the network to provide security to WHRDs under threat but also works closely with other structures such as the Office of the Ombudsman, and the Human Rights Commission on key areas suggested as critical by the Council of Europe on the work of WHRDs.2

The mission of the WHRD Network in Malawi is to protect women human rights defenders to ensure that they can perform their work without fear for their security. The Network is registered under the Companies Act (Cap 46:03) of Malawi and intends in the next phase to register under the Trustees Incorporation Act Cap. 5:03.

The members are all women human rights defenders in Malawi. At the regional level, we are part of the African Women Human Rights Defenders Initiative, and we are working with WHRDs Networks in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda on mentorship and capacity building also with Front line Defenders

1 ‘A/RES/68/181’ < accessed 13 April 2023.

2 ‘Remove obstacles to the work of women’s rights defenders - Commissioner for Human Rights -’ (Commissioner for Human Rights) < accessed 17 April 2023.