Risks faced by WHRD

AS Fijians joined others around the world to mark the International Day for Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRD) yesterday, the We Rise Coalition has called upon duty bearers and States across the Pacific to recognise and ensure protection of WHRD.

In a statement issued yesterday, the coalition, which is made up of four Pacific feminist organisations including Diverse Voices and Action (DIVA) for Equality Fiji, femLINKPacific, Fiji Women’s Rights Movement and International Women’s Development Agency (IWDA), said the contributions of WHRD in our communities were often overlooked at and their lives were at times at risk because of the threat posed against them for their commitment to women’s human rights.

DIVA for Equality political adviser Noelene Nabulivou said the organisation stood in solidarity with Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRD) in Fiji, the Pacific and across the world working for universal human rights, to end all forms of violence and discrimination and for all to access social, economic, ecological and climate justice.

“We stand with WHRDs in every community, government and non-government institution and social movement working for feminist futures of a healthy and sustainable planet, freedom and human rights for all,” Ms Nabulivou said.

FemLINK Pacific said women’s voices were pivotal towards creating a peaceful society and highlighting the issues of the most marginalised.

FWRM executive director Nalini Singh said women’s human rights defenders were at the frontlines and their stories were vital and they must be supported.

“We continue to strengthen this commitment and look forward to the next convening of Pacific Feminists in May 2019.

“We also pay tribute to the women’s human rights defenders who have passed on and thank them for the contributions they have made to the movement,” Ms Singh said.

IWDA chief executive officer Bettina Baldeschi said they were privileged to work in partnership with Women Human Rights Defenders in the Pacific and commended women leaders for standing up to demand gender equality.

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