Brave women under fire
They are women young and old. Farmers, factory workers, teachers, tailors. They have regular jobs, high-powered jobs, cash-in-hand jobs, no jobs. Their identities are manifold and for many, the barriers even greater because of that. Still, they speak up and stand out.
Where they see wrong, they can’t help but want to make things right. Where they see unfairness, they want to make things equal. They’ve said #MeToo and called #TimesUp on violence and abuse against women. They act for social good, so that people can work without being assaulted, communities are free from racism, corruption is weeded out, lands are protected from pollution. They face danger, so we don’t have to.
Yet some government leaders vilify them. They cut funding to birth control clinics. Degrade women publicly. Promote profit over the environment. Target communities of colour. Roll back LGBTI rights. Where women defy the status quo they are increasingly abused – called whores and witches, terrorists and anti-nationalists. In this landscape poisoned by macho politics, women who resist are threatened, assaulted, raped, even killed.
But like a tide, these women still rise. They dare to have a voice and they use it. People call them brave. They say they’re doing what anyone would in their place. That they’re no different from the rest of us.
They’re right. These brave women are among us and are a part ofus. Now, we must join them to stamp out the fire that’s torching our hard-won rights. Now we, too, must be brave, and take a stand to defend the women who defend our rights.
Help protect these Brave women today
MY MOTHER DESERVES JUSTICE AND IT’S IMPERATIVE WE SHED LIGHT ON THE CONSPIRACY THAT TOOK PLACE. IT’S FUNDAMENTAL IF WE ARE TO PREVENT FURTHER KILLINGS.Bertha Zuñiga
BRAVE IS AN ORDINARY PERSON WITH A HEART
SMEARS, SURVEILLANCE AND SILENCING DISSENT
People who speak out against injustice are under attack. Governments, companies, armed groups, groups advocating hate and discrimination and others in power are doing all they can to shut them up and close their work down.
They portray those who challenge them as criminals, terrorists, unpatriotic, corrupt or even “foreign agents”. Then the attack goes further – smearing reputations, locking people up and even using violence to silence dissent.
People in power portray those who challenge them as criminals, terrorists or even ‘foreign agents’.
At the same time, unions are disbanded and newspapers are closed down. Social media is banned. Digital activity is unlawfully monitored. And peaceful protestors are met with violence. Speaking out for human rights has become difficult and dangerous.
But that’s why we need human rights defenders more than ever. They’re brave enough to speak up for free speech. Challenge racism and sexism. Condemn torture. And ultimately hold our leaders to account.
I AM ALWAYS THINKING ABOUT BEING KILLED OR KIDNAPPED. BUT I REFUSE TO GO INTO EXILE. I AM A HUMAN RIGHTS FIGHTER AND I WILL NOT GIVE UP THIS FIGHT.Berta Cáceres, a human rights defender who was shot dead in Honduras in 2016.
BRAVE: IN NUMBERS
LET’S STAND WITH THE BRAVE WORLDWIDE
We want a world where people can speak out for what’s right without being attacked, threatened, jailed and more. Countries need to put laws in place which keep human rights defenders safe from harm, and scrap repressive laws, for example which attack free speech.
They need to release people who have been locked up just for challenging injustice. And they need to stop using spurious charges such as national security as an excuse to silence those who disagree with them.
Law makers, business leaders, government officials and other influential people should also make a public pledge to speak up for the brave, everywhere. By recognising human rights defenders as committed, courageous people creating a fairer society, we can protect them from further attacks.