Women human rights defenders

This academic article, published on Sur, contextualizes and analyzes women-led resistance to patriarchy, capitalism, and racism in Central America. In the shadow of Central America's historical violence, JASS authors Ardon and Flores look to feminists and indigenous women as the front line defenders of human rights for themselves, their communities, and the world. Read more to see how women have organized against backlash, repression, and systematic violence, creating an alternative model for survival in the face of an ever-changing landscape.
Throughout the world, many feminists and other women activists working for social justice or gender equality are reluctant to recognize themselves as human rights defenders either because they believe their work goes beyond the human rights framework; because they feel that by naming themselves as such, their political identity as feminists becomes blurred; because they think that the term is too focussed on the law or too dangerous in their particular contexts; because they fear retaliations by the State or other groups; or simply because the term does not appeal to them or sometimes  beca
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Violence against women activists continues to rise. Unfortunately, despite considerable effort, responses to this violence are coming up short. Given the urgency of the situation, JASS and allies are questioning the underlying assumptions guiding activist safety, and bringing a feminist and movement building perspective to rethinking the approach.
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JASS' WInnet Shamuyarira reflects on a Cross Movement Dialogue that brought together women activists from Zimbabwe, Malawi and South Africa to identify and map the key actors, politics and policies driving the “closing space for civil society” and increased backlash against women activists in Southern Africa.
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Italia Mendez refuses to be known the rest of her life as “one of the Atenco victims”. So instead she has become an outspoken global crusader against sexual torture by the state. In May of 2006, Mexican police rounded up Italia and more than two hundred other protestors in a violent crackdown in the village of Atenco, Mexico State. They were taken into custody and driven more than 150 kilometers (about 93 miles) to a state prison. During the hellish ride, the police sexually tortured the 47 women. The torture continued even after arriving at the prison.
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I spoke to Berta Cáceres the day she was murdered. I never imagined that later this year I would be in a demonstration along with almost a thousand women in Honduras asking for justice for her murder. Sometimes, I still can hear her voice.
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We are MOBILIZING HOPE during this year's 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence! Join us every day as we feature 16 women activists who at the forefront of many justice efforts. They will inspire and give you hope -- a true testament to the power of organizing, even in the most dire of times.
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Thousands of Southeast Asian women and men will join together in solidarity with women human rights defenders at risk during JASS Southeast Asia’s regional One Day, One Voice Campaign, which coincides with the global 16 Days of Activism to End Violence Against Women. This year’s theme – “Stand Up For Women Human Rights Defenders” – will include a series of art performances, media events, peace marches, dialogues, bazaars, and film screenings to honor the brave women of Southeast Asia who are defending human rights and precious land and resources.

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