Guide and Guidelines for Women Human Rights Defenders

Resource produced by Equality Now as part of the Spotlight Initiative, Africa Regional Programme

This publication acts as an information resource and sets out the legal and policy framework that guarantees the rights of women human rights defenders and establishes obligations to respect, promote and fulfil these rights by African States. Importantly, it sets out opportunities and approaches that African States and the African Union human rights institutions could apply nationally and in regional deliberations and engagements to strengthen legal frameworks on the protection of women human rights defenders. It provides practical advice on steps that can lead to the adoption of effective measures for the protection of women human rights defenders through holistic, gender- responsive legislative, policy and administrative measures.

It is hoped that States can use the information provided in these Guide and Guidelines to design their own country-specific legal and administrative measures and strategies to fulfil their commitments to protect human rights defenders. In addition, the Guide also serves as a tool for human rights defenders and those who support their work, protection, and safety to inform their advocacy strategies to promote the implementation of State obligations towards the rights of women human rights defenders.

Considering the ever-increasing closing civic space globally, reprisals against human rights of women and other vulnerable groups, and the increase in restrictions, these Guide and Guidelines set out practical guidance to spur States to initiate the necessary processes for the adoption of measures needed for a holistic legal framework for the protection of women human rights defenders. The Guide and Guidelines include information on where support and cooperation with the African Union, regional mechanisms, international partners, and civil society can be leveraged to achieve their obligations under international and regional human rights law.

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