Skip to content

Event: Strengthening protection networks for women defenders to combat discrimination

  • JASS

The UN Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice and JASS (Just Associates) invites you to the event

Strengthening Protection Networks for Women Human Rights Defenders to Combat Discrimination: challenges and opportunities in the current context



DATE: Thursday, 18 May 2017

TIME: 3.00-5.00 p.m

LOCATION: Room XVII, Palais des Nations, 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland


  • Alda Facio, Chair of the UN Working Group on Discrimination against Women
  • Michel Forst, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders
  • Alejandra Burgos, Mesoamerican Women Human Rights Defenders Initiative
  • Roseli Finscue, Indigenous authority, National Women Defenders Network in Colombia
  • Farah Salka, WHRD-MENA Coalition
  • Winnet Shamuyarira, JASS Southern Africa
  • Marusia López, JASS (Moderator) 

Bios available here. 


As noted in a statement issued on 25 November 2016 by a group of Special Procedures experts, including the Working Group on the issue of Discrimination against women in law and in practice (WGDAW) and the Special Rapporteur on the rights of human rights defenders, “women who work for the defence of human rights and to achieve equality face unique and growing challenges, driven by deep discrimination.” Several studies affirm that women human rights defenders are assaulted for their work in favour of justice and peace and, at the same time, have to face gender stereotypes which question their participation in public and political life, both in their families and organizations as in State institutions. 

Within this context, women human rights defenders have been organizing themselves around the world to develop their own protection strategies based on the elaboration of measures that take into account their specific needs in the context of discrimination and violence against women, and the creation of safety and self-care networks. These experiences have not only been conducive to the participation and security of women working for human rights, but have also led to a change in the approaches and strategies that were traditionally used in terms of protection, both by States and civil society organizations.

Last March marked the first anniversary of the assassination of the human rights defender Berta Cáceres. It is an opportune moment to open a space for dialogue on the challenges that women human rights defenders face in tackling discrimination and the strategies and approaches necessary to ensure an environment of protection and equality for the participation of women in the public and political sphere. In the framework of the WGDAW session and with the participation of the Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders, Mr. Michel Forst, we are organising this event with the participation of networks of women human rights defenders from different regions of the world and the presence of Member States, UN entities, and other civil society representatives.


  1. Highlight the main challenges that women human rights defenders face in combatting discrimination in different regions of the world.
  2. Exchange experiences and lessons learned from safety and self-care woman human rights defenders networks with respect to approaches and strategies to achieve gendersensitive protection that contributes to the elimination of discrimination.
  3. Formulate recommendations to States and United Nations entities to promote an environment of protection and equality for the participation of women.


The UN Working Group on discrimination against women and JASS (Just Associates) in coordination with the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), International Platform Against Impunity, Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID), Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition, Mesoamerican Women Human Rights Defenders Initiative, Women Human Rights Defenders Middle East and North Africa Coalition (WHRD-Mena Coalition), Women’s Human Rights Education Institute, and Peace Brigades International.

See formal invitation for NGOs and the public. 

Back To Top