Frontline defenders; WHRDs

RE: DRAFT RESOLUTION ON PROTECTING WOMEN HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS

We write to you as a group of African human rights defenders and civil society organizations located across the continent working at national, regional and international levels. We are following negotiations on the draft resolution on the protection of women human rights defenders currently being advanced in the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee, with great interest.  This is the first time a draft resolution has been put forward focusing exclusively on the protection of women human rights defenders.   It is a hugely significant and important initiative for African societies. 

Women who engage in the defence of all human rights and all those who defend the rights of women and work on issues related to gender equality make a vital contribution to democratic processes, securing and maintaining peace, and ensuring security, development and respect for human rights in our communities.   However, in doing this work, women human rights defenders can face a range of violations and abuses – including gender-based violence – at the hands of State and non-State actors.   States need to pay attention to the risks faced by women human rights defenders, acknowledge the value of their role, and commit to ensuring their protection. This is the time for all States to show leadership by supporting a resolution that seeks to do this globally. 

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