Posts Tagged ‘Women Human Rights’

Honoring some of the many women human rights defenders on International Women’s Day

March 9, 2014

Yesterday, 7 March 2014, saw many expressions of solidarity with women human rights defenders at the occasion of International Women’s Day.

The ISHR picked the following cases as examples that stand out:

You can find many more cases via the Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition [] which brings together women activists and those committed to the advancement of women human rights and those working on gender issues, to advocate for better protection of women human rights defenders.

via Honouring women human rights defenders on International Women’s Day! | ISHR.

Two Women human rights defenders in Saudi Arabia sentenced to imprisonment and travel bans

June 21, 2013

On 15 June 2013, women human rights defenders Wajeha Al-Huwaider and Fawzia Al-Oyouni were sentenced to ten months imprisonment to be followed by a two-year travel banhumanrightslogo_Goodies_14_LogoVorlagen Read the rest of this entry »

Arbitrary arrest and judicial harassment of 13 Women Human Rights Defenders in Kolkata, India

June 17, 2013

On 17 June, 2013 the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders [joint programme of the World Organisation Against Torture and the International Federation for Human Rights] issued a statement on the fate of 13 women human rights defenders in India.OMCT-LOGOlogo FIDH_seul Read the rest of this entry »

Attempted assassination of Fidelina Sandoval of Honduras draws ire of Women Human Rights Defenders

April 18, 2013

The Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition (WHRD IC) strongly condemns the attempted assassination of the Honduran journalist Fidelina Sandoval, who was shot at outside the television and radio station Globo TV where she works on the morning of 8 April, 2013. Fidelina Sandoval was crossing Boulevar Morazán on her way to work when a grey van with two men sitting in the front caught her attention. She turned her face so as not to be looking directly at them, but seconds later heard a shot fired from a gun. The WHRD IC is disturbed by this attack and expresses its concern for the well-being of Fidelina Sandoval, her family and her colleagues, who have also been targeted.  Globo TV alone has experienced multiple attacks including raids and the destruction of equipment, as well as threats, persecution, intimidation and other forms of rights violations and violence against the numerous staff members.women human rights defenders

The WHRD IC is further disturbed by the escalating violence against WHRDs and widespread impunity in Honduras since the coup d’état in June 2009.  As highlighted in a case study on Honduras in the WHRD IC’s Global Report <> , repression and denial of rights are not isolated cases but rather demonstrate a general policy of terror and abuse enacted with impunity – particularly towards women.

Supporting human rights defenders stays top priority for the Netherlands says new Minister in Geneva

March 1, 2013

Frans Timmermans, Minister for European Affair...

It is well-known that the Netherlands give a high priority to support of human rights defenders and their organisations. In his address to the high-level segment of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations in Geneva on 25 February, the new foreign minister Frans Timmermans confirmed that this is indeed one of his main priorities.‘Human rights defenders and organisations are having to deal with more and more obstruction and being treated as criminals,’ Mr Timmermans said. ‘In many more parts of the world, repression directed against bloggers, journalists and members of the public is increasing. This is simply unacceptable.’ Women’s rights are another of  Mr Timmermans’ priorities. The Netherlands takes a stand against every form of violence against women – from rape to honour killing and human trafficking. It is also actively promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights and the participation of women in society. ‘Men must be less self-centred and give women more rights,’ Mr Timmermans continued. ‘This helps the world to move forward – and men benefit from it.’ A third Dutch priority is to promote the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders LGBT. In about 80 countries, same-sex relations are a criminal offence and in seven countries, punishable by death. ‘There are three things we need to do,’ said Mr Timmermans. ‘Promote acceptance, fight discrimination and stop the criminalisation of gay people.’ Mr Timmermans also met with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Navanetham Pillay and discussed ways of opposing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.  In addition the Minister had talks with NGOs actively involved in promoting LGBT rights.

via Top priority for the Netherlands: supporting human rights defenders | News item |

JASS: feminist network supports Women Human Rights Defenders

February 11, 2013

JASS is an international feminist organization founded in 2003 by activists, popular educators, and scholars from 13 countries.  Working with women and diverse organizations and social movements in 27 countries, JASS trains and supports activist leadership and grassroots organizing and builds and mobilizes alliances amplified by creative media strategies to influence change in discriminatory institutions, policies and beliefs. On its website JASS devotes attention to women Human Rights Defenders. It reads in part:

“The insecurity and backlash that women face around the world transcend national boundaries and test the limits of established NGO and civil society responses prompting a demand for fresh alternatives and stronger, more agile alliances and strategic action. States can no longer be relied upon to protect citizens; transnational, non-state actors are exerting increased but often behind-the-scenes influence; and violence is perpetuated by widespread impunity.

Growing levels of influence by organized crime and other non-state actors, along with devastating economic policies have deepened the global crisis, leaving women activists largely unprotected and constantly under threat. State institutions would rather invest in militarization and wartime policies than harness the political will to defend women’s rights. Not only are women activists victims of slander and backlash from outside perpetrators, but also suffer violence from within their own communities and movements. Doubly at risk, their protection is particularly complex.

Despite the risks, women have mobilized around the world, leading struggles against impunity and repression. Suffering threats, intimidation and even death in reprisal for their work, these women activists, many of whom have never identified themselves as human rights defenders, continue to fight on the frontlines of social justice, democracy and rights battles. Women defenders span all levels of activism, joined together by their mutual concerns for justice. They are diverse, from community leaders, teachers, mothers, union members and LGBTI activists who defend social and economic rights to indigenous women, feminists, lawyers, journalists, and academics to advance political and civil rights.”

Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico top the list of reported cases of violence against women, journalists and activists. As a response, JASS is a founding member of the Mesoamerican Women Human Rights Defenders Initiative JASS facilitates dialogue, joint action and capacity building among diverse women activists; it publicizes their contributions to human rights, supports strategy development for protection and self-care, and mobilizes resources for their workAs of 2012, JASS’ program with women human rights defenders is largely being driven by the work of JASS Mesoamerica. However, interest in this work is evident throughout the organization. For example, JASS Southern Africahas begun discussions on how to integrate heart-mind-body strategies into a women human rights defenders approach to support safety, wellbeing and self-care.

Threats against women’s rights advocate Denis Mukwege in DRC mobilize medical community

October 30, 2012

I am referring to this blog post by Dr Jocalyn Clark because it is so good to see that the medical community comes out to support a Human Rights Defender in DRC and considers the attack on him as “another wake-up call for us all”.

Last Thursday evening, as many of you will have seen via media reports, a true hero of women and human rights Dr Denis Mukwege narrowly escaped death during an assassination attempt on his life that killed his security guard. Amnesty International is now rightly calling for a full investigation and asking whether his recent criticisms of the Congolese government played a role. Attacks against human rights defenders and humanitarian workers are said to be increasing in DRC, where conflict has raged for years. Denis Mukwege, winner of many international accolades including the UN Human Rights Award, has long championed the rights of women and highlighted to the world the extent and the brutality of systemic rape against women in the conflict zones of DRC…”

Threats against women’s rights advocate Denis Mukwege are another wake-up call for us all | Speaking of Medicine.

Women Human Rights Defenders Concept Papers

July 2, 2012

The Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRD) program is issuing a series of concept papers that aim to introduce the notion of WHRDs: who they are, what they do, and why they should be considered as a distinct group of human rights defenders. The categories of WHRDs analyzed in the concept papers include: vocational women (doctors, nurses, and teachers); students; political candidates; civil society activists; protesters; and workers (industrial and agrarian sectors). The focus on WHRDs dos not aim at setting WHRDs as a separate category, but to highlight the risks and challenges they face because of their gender so as to develop responsive strategies. 

The concept papers emphasized the fact that although the activities that the latter categories of women engage in in the defense of human rights vary, they are all targeted for who they are and what they do. In the case of workers such as Amal al-Saed, for example, she was beaten and sexually harassed, stripped of her headscarf and jacket, as a punishment for protesting against the administration of the Gazl and Nasseg factory at al-Mahalla factory. In cases in which violations are not gendered, they have gendered consequences. In the example of female workers, Wedad al-Demerdash testifies to an incident in which a female worker involved in the negotiations with Hussein Megawer, president of the Egyptian Federation of Trade Unions, was forced to quit her job by her husband.

The concept papers do not only shed light on the nature of violations faced by WHRDs, but also the ways in which they challenge norms that forbid their human rights defense. In the case of university students, for example, Kholoud Sabir, Professor at Cairo University College of Arts, testifies to a sit-in in which female students resorted to excluding themselves from the rest of the sit-inners and read Quran. Reading the Quran publicly was an attempt at showcasing their belief that, although they are spending the night outside their homes, they are still “respectable”, religious women who deserve respect, not admonition.

The Papers thus offer a bird eye view of the situation of WHRDs in Egypt as a whole, what kinds of violations they face, the ideas upon which such violations are based on, and the ways that WHRDs attempt to fight back, not just the violations, but also cultural norms that dictate what is acceptable of WHRDs as women.


source: Women Human Rights Defenders Concept Papers | Nazra for Feminist Studies.