A Report on the Strategic Conversation
June 27-30, 2009
The Center for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL) is pleased to publish this report on the ongoing efforts being taken by the Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition (WHRD IC) and its allies to shed light on the unique challenges women human rights defenders face and to create new systems of advocacy on their behalf. The 2009 meeting of defenders was a collaborative effort between the WHRD IC and CWGL to bring together women working specifically on defenders’ rights. The strategic conversation on Addressing Gaps in the Defense of Women Human Rights Defenders was convened with the knowledge that more than a decade after the recognition of women’s rights as human rights at the 1993 UN World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna, Austria and subsequently at the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China, there continue to be many gaps in the integration of women’s concerns into the international human rights agenda. While the women’s movement has been steadfast in raising awareness of women human rights defenders’ issues, the fact remains that most women defenders still do not receive support from international human rights entities and are often unaware of such possibilities. Furthermore, defenders continue to confront challenges posed by the eroding of secular space, by the view of culture as a static concept, and the backlash against feminist and sexual rights organizing. The primary goal of the meeting, therefore, was to develop specific strategies, suggestions and solutions that the defender community could use for the protection and support of women human rights defenders. We hope that this publication will further continue discussion on women human rights defenders and advance implementation of meaningful action in their defense.