Europe: Action for Women Human Rights Defenders

Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRDs) is a term referring to women who individually or with others, act to promote and protect everyone’s human rights and any individual working specifically to promote women’s rights.
This sub-category of defenders has been singled out because they face risks particular to their gender committed by both state and non-state actors, including their families and communities, especially when they confront and challenge cultural, religious or social norms about the role of women and their status in their societies. Consequently, WHRDs are often the ones who require the utmost support and protection.

In 2004 the European Union adopted Ensuring Protection - European Union Guidelines on Human Rights defenders (the Guidelines). The Guidelines acknowledge that it is “important to apply a gender perspective when approaching the issue of human rights defenders”. While the Guidelines are addressed to EU member states, EU Missions, and relevant EU bodies, it is also intended to influence the conduct of governments outside the EU regarding the protection of WHRDs and the promotion and realisation of their rights.
Recommendations for Gender-Specific Implementation of the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders