Exclusive conference coverage from openDemocracy 50.50: Sarah Marland writes Women human rights defenders: Protecting each other for our Defending the Defenders conference.
In 2012 the Women Human Rights International Coalition released a report on the growing threats faced by women around the world working to defend human rights. The rise of fundamentalisms, militarism and conflict, globalization and neoliberalism, crises of democracy and governance, patriarchy and heternormativity, are the key contexts that overlap and combine to put women human rights defenders at particular risk. In 2015, these risks have increased dramatically across the world, but systems to keep women human rights defenders safe are lagging far behind.
At the 59th Session of the Commission of Status of Women (CSW) in New York last month, a persistent theme raised in panels was that in the absence of protection from the UN, regional bodies and national governments, it is the networks of women human rights defenders themselves that provide protection. These networks have become vital in both raising international awareness and drawing attention to the issue, but also for the women themselves in recognition of their work and for building solidarity with global movements.
Without these networks, change is impossible.
openDemocracy 50.50 has been covering the Nobel Women’s Initiative biennial conferences since 2007 in articles written by participants and openDemocracy’s own authors. Visit their website for more coverage of our 2015 International Conference: Defending the Defenders.