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Recognise and protect Women Human Rights Defenders

Recognise and protect Women Human Rights Defenders: The We Rise Coalition

29 November 2018

November 29 marks the International Day for Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRD) to acknowledge the work of women human rights defenders and celebrate their contributions to human rights, gender equality, social, economic and ecological justice, peace and democracy.

The We Rise Coalition celebrates WHRDs and call upon duty bearers and States across the Pacific to recognise and ensure protection of WHRD. Too often their contributions in our communities are overlooked and lives threatened because of their commitment to women’s human rights.

The We Rise Coalition is made up of four diverse Pacific feminist organisations including Diverse Voices and Action (DIVA) for Equality Fiji, femLINKPacific, Fiji Women’s Rights Movement and International Women’s Development Agency (IWDA).

“We stand in solidarity with women human rights defenders (WHRD) in Fiji, the Pacific and across the world who are out on the front lines working for universal human rights, to end all forms of violence and discrimination and for all to access social, economic, ecological and climate justice. WHRD work to end patriarchy everywhere including in homes, schools and workplaces; corporate and elite capture of communities and societies; development States and their institutions; macro, meso and microeconomics; faith communities and more. We stand with WHRDs in every community, government and non-government institution and social movement working for feminist futures of a healthy and sustainable planet, freedom and human rights for all,” said the DIVA for Equality Political Adviser Noelene Nabulivou.

“This is an important time to celebrate the feminist and women’s movement and reflect on the importance of their work. Women’s voices are pivotal towards creating a peaceful society and highlighting the issues of the most marginalised in society,” said a representative of femLINKpacific.

“Now more than ever, women’s human rights defenders are at the frontlines. Their stories are vital and they must be supported,” said FWRM Executive Director Nalini Singh.

“We also recognise the work of the We Rise Coalition and our partners towards mobilising and amplifying Pacific women’s voices.”

In 2016, the Coalition was pivotal in bringing together over 100 women human rights defenders from across the region for the inaugural Pacific Feminist Forum (PFF). The PFF outcomes document enshrines the commitment to protect women’s human rights defenders including trans human rights defenders.

“We continue to strengthen this commitment and look forward to the next convening of Pacific Feminists in May 2019. We also pay tribute to the women’s human rights defenders who have passed on and thank them for the contributions they have made to the movement,” said Ms Singh.

“We are privileged to work in partnership with Women Human Rights Defenders in the Pacific – they’re leadership, resilience, courage and commitment is worthy of the world’s recognition,” Bettina Baldeschi, IWDA CEO said.

“We thank these women leaders for standing up to demand gender equality.”


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