Because of their work in defense of human rights, women human rights defenders challenge the traditional gender roles of the patriarchal society that keeps women in the domestic sphere. Consequently, women human rights defenders often suffer from serious public defamation campaigns that aim to damage their reputation, accusing them, among others, of neglecting their family or of being in search of sexual partners. In addition, women human rights defenders are often targets of attacks, threats and harassment, also of a sexual nature.
"Whenever a Pasta de Conchos memorial comes up, people seek me out to speak to me and I tell them again why I collect rubbish... As if I did it for fun. My son lived with me and was the one who sustained me... Because of the authorities, I have been working in a rubbish tip since my son died. I leave at six in the morning after drinking a cup of coffee with biscuits. I take a tin of tuna, tortillas or whatever I can eat in the rubbish tip... I get home in the afternoon...
2018 has been a challenging year for human rights across the world. Many of those defending human rights have been threatened, attacked and undermined, despite the celebration of 20 years of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. PBI remains committed to protecting the space in which human rights defenders continue their arduous work in steadfast conviction that only when this protection is truly guaranteed will peaceful and democratic societies advance across the world.
Every day more women all over the world are taking action to promote equality, peace and justice. It is these women who, whether they mean to or not, are transforming traditional gender roles and power structures, by dedicating their lives to defending fundamental human rights. More and more, these extraordinary women are identifying themselves as human rights defenders. In general, it is said that women are doubly vulnerable, for being women and for defending human rights, however, they are strengthened by their determination to create positive change in our societies.
There are brave and extraordinary women throughout the world, fighting against the patriarchy that in many countries has women silenced, marginalised, threatened and harassed. PBI has the priviledge of accompanying women human rights defenders that fight for a fairer world, a world where rights are the same for everyone and a world where social justice is a reality.
"An important strategy for the protection of women human rights defenders is to be articulated, to be in contact, to meet eachother and reflect on the violence and mechanisms that we come up against"
- Flor Goche, National Network of Women Human Rights Defenders, Mexico
"Mountain, you are our refuge and strength, in you we rest our collective spirit. Your vigilant hills protect us from the reach of enemies of our people. In this source of resistance, our struggle strengthens and immerse ourselves in this whirlwind of hope"
The mountainous region of the State of Guerrero is an unstoppable source of resistance. Abel Barrera Hernández, director and founder of the Human Rights Center of the Mountain Tlachinollan, expressed this on the 24th anniversary of the organisations, celebrated on the 6th October in the municipality of
The Committee for the Integral Protection of Human Rights Gobixha (Código-DH) is an organization located in Oaxaca de Juárez, which works to contribute in the re-installation of human and community rights from indigenous and Afro-mestizo groups; it also offers free legal counseling, health and psychological care to victims of human rights violations, and fosters access to justice and promotes the fight against impunity.
The past few months have witnessed significant change in Mexico given the election of a new President and the promises and commitments his new government have already laid out.