8 March 2012

Africa: On International Women's Day, Protect Women Human Rights Defenders

press release

On International Women's Day, Front Line Defenders calls for increased protection and recognition of women human rights defenders around the world. On a daily basis, Front Line Defenders receives urgent appeals for help and emergency support from women human rights defenders who face threats, harassment, intimidation, violence and even killing as they go about their legitimate human rights work.

To mark International Women's Day, Mary Lawlor, Executive Director of Front Line Defenders, released a video statement calling attention to the situation faced by women human rights defenders. According to Ms Lawlor, "Gender inequality and sex discrimination is at the heart of continued violations against women human rights throughout the world. Women human rights defenders are particularly targeted because of their gender identity or sexual orientation, and they are targeted, often through violent means, in order to challenge and deny the universality of the rights for which they advocate."

In this week's Newsweek magazine, the feature article identifies "150 Fearless Women," 10 of whom Front Line Defenders has supported, including 2011 Nobel Laureate Tawakkol Karman (Yemen), Chiranuch Premchaiporn (Thailand), Hengfeng Mao (China), Irom Sharmila (India), Jingyan Zeng (China), Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera (Uganda), Sihm Bensedrine (Tunisia), Svetlana Gannushkina (Russia), Yoani Sanchez (Cuba), and Zainab Al-Khawaja (Bahrain). See profiles of the 10 here.

On February 29th, Front Line Defenders helped launch the Global Report on the Situation of Women Human Rights Defenders which details 43 case studies of women human rights Defenders who have faced violations of their human rights, 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, and articulates how best to respond to such challenges.

Front Line Defenders provides immediate protection and support to human rights defenders through security grants, emergency contact and response, international advocacy, training and rest and respite grants. Front Line Defenders also works to raise the profile of human rights defenders as a means of generating greater awareness of their work and struggles for respect of human rights. From March 19 - 27, Front Line Defenders will host Dr. Basma Abdelrahman from Egypt for a speaking tour in Ireland and the United Kingdom.

Copyright © 2012 Arabic Network for Human Rights Information. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.