Over 120 women – including Nobel peace laureates and frontline activists from the Middle East, Africa and Central America—will gather in the Netherlands from April 24-26 to discuss how the international community can protect women human rights defenders across the globe.

“Women activists are on the frontlines of some of the globe’s most pressing conflicts,” says Jody Williams, Nobel peace laureate (USA) and chair of the Nobel Women’s Initiative. “These women play an essential role in pushing back against those wishing to repress basic human democratic rights.”

Williams will be joined at the conference by sister Nobel peace laureates Shirin Ebadi (Iran), Mairead Maguire (Northern Ireland) and Leymah Gbowee (Liberia), as well as globally-known human rights experts.

Mairead Maguire speaking at "Defend  The Defenders Conference 2015"

Mairead Maguire speaking at “Defend The Defenders Conference 2015”

Women human rights defenders are targeted for a wide range of violence around the world—from verbal harassment to systematic rape, torture and assassinations. Often these women are targeted for violence because they are defying traditional gender roles and represent a threat to the “status quo”.

Among those at highest risk are women resisting mining and environmental destruction in their communities and women facing new threats from extremist groups such as ISIS. Women are at the forefront of creative and innovative nonviolent action. By listening, learning, and amplifying women’s voices, we hope to bring attention to incredible and important work being done by women front-line defenders, as well as strengthen networks for support and protection.

Stay tuned to #DefendingDefenders in the coming days on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and our Defending the Defenders Blog as we post photos, videos, facts and quotes and spotlight some of our extraordinary participants!


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