Declaration on Women Human Rights Defenders

The Declaration applies to all Human Rights Defenders, or anyone who, individually or in association with others, promotes and strives for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms.[1] The Declaration only requires that, to be considered as such, a human rights defender must accept and respect two principles: the principle of universality and the principle of non-violence. A person cannot be considered a human rights defender if s/he violates the rights of other groups and individuals. An activist who espouses violence also cannot be covered by the Declaration. [2]

Women Human Rights Defenders are not specifically referred to in the Declaration. However, as long as they meet the two conditions mentioned above, they can seek protection under the Declaration. In fact, women Human Rights Defenders should use and invoke the Declaration in order to ensure that its interpretation is not gender blind, but integrates a gender perspective.

[1] The Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, (the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders), Article 1.

[2] Defending Human Rights Defenders: A Short Guide, International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), p.4

Responsibility for the information and views set out in this Toolkit lies entirely with the authors.