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Women Human Rights Defenders Day 2020

November 29 is International Women Human Rights Defenders Day. On this day, we celebrate and pay tribute to courageous women from all over the world, who are at the forefront of the collective struggle for the protection and advancement of human rights.

To celebrate the work of women human rights defenders, we are offering you a collection of stories of six incredible women and changemakers. Let’s celebrate and support women human rights defenders each and every day. 

Kiruba, fighting caste cruelties in India

Kiruba Munusamy is the first Dalit woman lawyer from her state of Tamil Nadu to practice law at the Indian Supreme Court.

“The constitution says that equality prevails. Social laws say that inequality and the caste system prevail. The way courts deal with honour killing is a good example that something’s off here. That’s why we need to change the social laws.”

Read Kiruba's story here

Louisa, challenging gender-based violene in Nigeria

Louisa Ono Eikhomun is a women’s rights defender from Nigeria, who dedicates her work to ending violence against women.

“This challenge of women in conflict kept coming up, and I knew that I couldn’t run away from it. When the home becomes a danger zone, it’s as bad as being in armed conflict.”

Read Louisa's story here

Graciela and Lucía, inciting systemic change for missing persons in Mexico

Graciela Pérez Rodriguez (left) and Lucía Díaz (right) dedicate their lives to searching for the missing loved ones of family members and to fixing a flawed investigative system for disappeared persons in Mexico.

“I realised that nobody is going to look for them, so we need to do it ourselves.”

Read Graciela and Lucía's story here

Génesis, standing up for justice in Venezuela

Génesis Dávila is a human rights lawyer from Venezuela and founder for Defend Venezuela.

“The mission of Defend Venezuela is to bring justice to the victims of human rights violations in Venezuela and to denounce these violations before the international protection organizations. We bring the cases before the United Nations, the International Criminal Court, the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights.”

Watch a documentary about Génesis here

June, defending her right to stand up for others in Thailand

Sirikan “June” Charoensiri is a human rights lawyer from Thailand.

“I’m perplexed when people tell me I should be glad that I’m just being charged instead of ‘disappearing.’ They say it’s a sign that things are improving. But you cannot compare evil things with evil things. We shouldn’t falsely ameliorate something that hasn’t yet improved.”

Read June's story here