Fighting for rights, while battling stereotypes
They are women and girls, in every corner of the world, who actively work to defend their own rights and the rights of others, as well as a range of other activists of all sexualities who also defend the rights of women.
Throughout history, women have won successes in every area of human rights, and their role in these successes is being recognised at the international level like never before.
Some WHRDs are active as part of an organised collective, while some fight virtually alone – unsupported and even abused by their family or their community because of their human rights work.
As they fight for human rights, they also battle against gender stereotypes that invalidate their role as leaders of the community.
Women human rights defenders struggle continually against the idea that a woman’s role should be restricted to the private and domestic spheres.
The forming of WHRDIC
In 2005 many of the women human rights advocates and activists who went on to form WHRDIC came together for a powerful consultation in Sri Lanka. They created a women human rights defenders international committee, and this committee was formalised as WHRDIC in March 2008.
Since then, WHRDIC has contributed to some impressive successes: Special Rapporteur for Human Rights Defenders Ms. Margaret Sekaggya’s 2010 annual report
focused on women human rights defenders and, in 2011, the Human Rights Council issued its first ever report
on LGBT people.
These developments have led to systematic monitoring of women human rights defenders, and various mechanisms and policies protecting the rights of human rights defenders at the national, regional and international levels. Some of these pay special attention to gender issues and to the gender dimensions of the work of human rights defenders.