Basic Principles of Women Human RIghts Defenders

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Introduction

Women and girls working on any human rights issues and all people in gender diversity, working together defending women’s rights and gender equality are women human rights defenders. Like many others, women human rights defenders in Africa work daily to defend human rights standards and principles where justice for all must be realised. Many WHRDs often neglect to focus on their own protection because their purpose is to defend the rights of others. However, precisely because WHRDs are on the frontline defending other people’s rights, WHRDs are targets of persecution. If there is no security and visibility of organisations safeguarding WHRDs to undertake their legitimate work, then there will be no effective protection for the rights of anyone.

As part of our work, we provided a two (2) day capacity building training workshop to WHRDs working on risk environments drawn from KwaZulu Natal, Gauteng, and the Eastern Cape Provinces. This simplified booklet is based on the outcome of the Physical and Digital Protection of WHRDs Report and serves as an advocacy tool whilst still carrying the WHRDs, Mme Charlotte Maxeke’s legacy by walking in her footsteps.

“Kill that spirit of self and do not live above your people but live with them and if you rise bring someone with you”

Methodology

The simplified booklet aims to provide Women Human Rights Defenders operating in risk environments with protective human rights mechanisms adopted by international and regional human rights systems. The simplified booklet is developed out of the capacity building workshop for WHRDs working in risk environments in KwaZulu Natal, Gauteng, and the Eastern Cape Provinces. The booklet intend to provide human rights defenders at risk with practical tools on how to deal with the attacks they face in their work, as well as empower them with safeguarded functions as WHRDs. This is to strengthen their roles to effectively claim their guaranteed rights at the local level.
countable for failing to protect WHRDs working in risk
environments.

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