NWI Fifth International Conference: Defending the Defenders

Building Support for Women Human Rights Defenders
24 April 2015
Location: The Hague, Netherlands


At the 5th Nobel Women’s Initiative biennial conference, the Laureates were joined by a gathering of 120 frontline activists from the Middle East, Africa and South America to discuss how the international community could protect women human rights defenders around the globe. Women human rights defenders are subjected to a wide range of violence – from verbal harassment to systemic rape, torture, and assassinations. They are targeted because they are defying traditional gender roles and represent a threat to the patriarchal status quo. Among the highest at risk are women campaigning against environmental destruction and those facing new threats from extremist groups like ISIS.


Mairead Maguire
Jody Williams
Shirin Ebadi
Leymah Gbowee

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Open Democracy Conference Blog Features

Marion Bowman | Security is not just CCTV: valuing ourselves is security

Yanar Mohammed | Iraq’s female citizens: prisoners of war

Karima Bennoune | Sabeen Mahmud: “I stand up for what I believe in, but I can’t fight guns.”

Jennifer Allsopp | Women human rights defenders: reigniting the embers

Mairead Maguire | Breaking the silence on Palestine

Brigid Inder | A tribute to Joan Kagezi: the murder of a human rights defender

Jody Williams | Defending the defenders: a daunting challenge

Ndana Bofu-Tawamba | At the margins of visibility: recognizing women human rights defenders

Sarah Marland | Women human rights defenders: protecting each other

Melina Laboucan-Massimo | Awaiting justice: Indigenous resistance in the tar sands of Canada

Audrey Huntley | “It starts with us”: breaking one of Canada’s best kept secrets.

Leila Alikarami | Iranian women human rights defenders: challenges and opportunities

Yifat Susskind | Shelters without walls: women building protective infrastructures against rape

Daysi Flores | Hope as a survival strategy for Defensoras in Honduras


At Risk: Women human rights defenders around the world


Defending the defenders: Building global support for women human rights defenders

Related articles

Women’s rights activists call for UN to protect them in their work (Guardian 18 March 2015)