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On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, we celebrate the struggle of women human rights defenders across the world. From India to Nigeria, from Uganda to Georgia, they are standing up to stop and prevent gender-based violence, to defend women's reproductive rights, and to build a society where women don't have to be afraid to speak up. 

HRDs: 
Ruth Komuntale
Hauwa Haruna
Baia Pataraia

In 2012, civil war broke out in Northern Mali. Despite a peace agreement reached in 2015, the situation remains unstable and violence is spilling over into the central and southern regions. In this challenging context, human rights defenders play a crucial role in documenting human rights violations committed by armed groups and State forces, fighting against impunity, and working to build a more democratic and stable society. Because of their work, they are often threatened and attacked.

HRDs: 
Mody Samba Touré
Fatimata Touré
Fatouma Harber

Front Line Defenders, Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin hosted lawyer and WHRD Hauwa Ibrahim to give the 2017 Front Line Defenders Annual Lecture, held at the Royal Irish Academy on 27 March. Hauwa spoke about her current work "Mothers Without Borders: Steering Youth Away from Violent Extremism" as well as her experience as a prosecutor, defense lawyer and human rights defender.

HRDs: 
Hauwa Ibrahim

Across the world, women human rights defenders (WHRDs) are bringing about radical changes in their communities. They face immense risks to make their voices heard, to defy oppressive governments, to struggle for justice, and to resist racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and all forms of oppressions. On International Women's Day, we honour their struggle.

HRDs: 
Ana Maria Belique
Lorraine Kakaza
Angélica Choc

An infographic video accompanying the Front Line Defenders report: Victim Blaming: Bangladesh’s Failure to Protect Human Rights Defenders. As a result of killings, impunity, and the authorities’ refusal to protect HRDs who report threats, more than 45 of the most prominent Bangladeshi human rights defenders and writers are now dead, in exile, or have ceased writing completely.

HRDs: 
Sultana Kamal

Between February 2013 and June 2016, at least 14 HRDs, secular writers and activists were murdered in Bangladesh. HRDs who write about women’s rights, indigenous peoples’ rights, freedom of religion, and other human rights issues have been targeted by extremist groups. The authorities have so far failed to conduct thorough and transparent investigations into the murders of activists. See: Victim Blaming: Bangladesh’s Failure to Protect Human Rights Defenders.

HRDs: 
Sultana Kamal

Between February 2013 and June 2016, at least 14 HRDs, secular writers and activists were murdered in Bangladesh. HRDs who write about women’s rights, indigenous peoples’ rights, freedom of religion, and other human rights issues have been targeted by extremist groups. The authorities have so far failed to conduct thorough and transparent investigations into the murders of activists. See: Victim Blaming: Bangladesh’s Failure to Protect Human Rights Defenders.

HRDs: 
Sultana Kamal

Gladys Lanza Ochoa was Coordinator of the Movimiento de Mujeres por la Paz Visitación Padilla (Honduran Women's Committee for Peace "Visitación Padilla"), a collective of women HRDs from across Honduras who work on issues such as gender violence and women's participation in public life, in addition to advocating for democracy and human rights in Honduras. She passed away in September 2016.

HRDs: 
Gladys Lanza Ochoa

Khalid Bagirov is the face of a group of threatened and persecuted human rights lawyers in Azerbaijan. When the Azeri government began an unprecedented crackdown on civil society in 2013, lawyers taking on the cases of prominent human rights defenders and journalists became targets of government persecution themselves. For his bold work defending some of the most prominent and targeted HRDs in the country, Bagirov was disbarred in 2015.

HRDs: 
Khalid Bagirov

Ana Mirian Romero is a land rights and indigenous rights defender in Honduras. She is a member of Movimiento Indígena Lenca de La Paz Honduras – MILPAH (Lenca Indigenous Movement of La Paz, Honduras) and the Consejo Indígena San Isidro Labrador (San Isidro Labrador Indigenous Council). She has been active in opposing the installation of the Los Encinos hydro-electric dam on indigenous land near the Chinacla river. In early 2016 her home was burned down.

HRDs: 
Ana Mirian Romero

Phyoe Phyoe Aung is the General Secretary of the All Burma Federation of Student Unions (ABFSU), and has led widespread protests for academic freedom across the country. She spent three years in prison for peacefully participating in the “Saffron Revolution” in 2008, and was again arrested in 2015 with more than 100 other students – many of whom were tortured. Phyoe Phyoe was released on presidential pardon in April 2016.

HRDs: 
Phyoe Phyoe Aung

Mohammed Khatib is a human rights defender working on the right to self-determination in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. He is Palestinian lawyer and one of the founders of the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee (PSCC), which connects peaceful protests in different villages across Palestine. In his 11 years as a human rights defender, he has been targeted with harassment, detentions and abuse by the Israeli military, and physical assault by Israeli settlers.

HRDs: 
Mohammed Khatib

Ingrid Vergara Chavéz is a land rights defender working with the Movement of Victims of State Crimes (MOVICE) in Sucre, Colombia. Ingrid and her colleagues demand justice and an end to impunity for government and paramilitary crimes, and advocate for the return of lands to displaced peasant and indigenous communities In response, she and her daughters have been threatened with weapons, public pamphlets, phone and email messages, and surveillance.

Rights: 
HRDs: 
Ingrid Vergara Chavéz

Across the world, women human rights defenders (WHRDs) face extreme risks - and highly gendered violence - to promote and protect the rights of their communities. The attacks they face are often more sexualised and stigmatised than those faced by male defenders. When women human rights defenders are killed, local authorities and media outlets tend to dissociate their murder from their human rights work. WHRDs also encounter severe barriers to justice following attacks.

HRDs: 
Berta Cáceres
Soni Sori