International Service for Human Rights



We Must Protect Women Human Rights Defenders!


25.11.2013 - An open letter from two of the world's leading human rights defenders and members of 'The Elders' to Member States of the United Nations.

The UN General Assembly votes this week on a resolution to protect women human rights defenders.

This vote recognises the courageous women who defy patriarchy every day, everywhere in the world, to champion human rights. They hold communities together in times of war – and hold the key to building peaceful communities when the guns go silent. In so many male-dominated institutions, they campaign for women’s voices to be heard. They stand with men in public squares to challenge autocratic leaders.

These women embody the commitment made by the international community in 1948 when the world enshrined the equal rights of all human beings “without distinction of any kind” in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The UN recognises and protects the vital role played by human rights defenders. But there is a growing consensus that women who choose to challenge human rights abuses face particular risks and need particular protection. They can be harassed and verbally abused.  They face gender–based violence including rape. Their children and their families may be targeted. Often, they come up against entire systems of laws and cultural values designed to silence them.

In the past, resolutions on human rights defenders have passed in the UN General Assembly by consensus. But we are very concerned that not all countries are prepared to support this week’s vote.

To be clear, a vote to protect women human right defenders is a vote for human rights.

On the other hand, a vote against the bravery, sacrifice and determination of millions of women worldwide is a vote against the values to which we aspire. It is a vote against dignity and hope.

We urge all Member States of the General Assembly to do the right thing and vote in favour.

Gro Harlem Brundtland is a former Prime Minister of Norway and former Director-General of the World Health Organization. Hina Jilani is a lawyer and pro-democracy campaigner from Pakistan. She was UN Special Representative on Human Rights Defenders from 2000-2008.

Both are members of The Elders (www.theElders.org), a group of independent global leaders, brought together by Nelson Mandela, working for peace, justice & human rights worldwide.

A further open letter from the Nobel Women’s Initiative, a group of women Nobel Peace Prize Winners, is available here.

The draft text of the resolution is available here.

An open letter signed by over 70 non-governmental organisations from across Africa calling on African States to support the draft resolution is available here.



----- Original Message -----

From: WUNRN ListServe

To: WUNRN ListServe

Sent: Thursday, September 19, 2013 5:15 PM

Subject: The Philippines - Video Tribute to Women Human Rights Defenders






Tanggol Bayi is an association of women human rights defenders in The Philippines dedicated to advance women's rights as human rights.


Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgfyciFjJ0M


Video Tribute to Filipina

Human Rights Defenders