Honouring women human rights defenders on International Women’s Day!


The work of women human rights defenders is critical to challenging deep inequalities in our societies and promoting respect for human rights for all.


The work of women human rights defenders is critical to challenging inequality, disrupting the status quo and promoting respect for human rights for all. All women who defend rights, and all those that promote women’s rights and sexual rights can be targeted because of the work they do, because of who they are, and because of the example they give to others to stand up for rights.

On International Women’s Day we’d like to send this message of appreciation to all those women defenders we have the honour to work with. Several have shared with us what informs their work, and spoken of their experience in defending rights.

  • Masa Amir - an Egyptian women human rights defender
  • Huy Luong - a Vietnamese LGBT rights activist
  • Lucia Nader - Executive Director of Conectas in Brazil
  • Ilwad Elman - a Somali women human rights defender

We encourage you to read and share their inspiring and courageous stories.

We also recall with great warmth Sunila Abeysekera a prominent Sri Lankan women human rights defender, and former ISHR Board member, who passed away last year. You can read our tribute to Sunila here.

ISHR is a proud member of the Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition which brings together women activists and those committed to the advancement of women's human rights and sexual rights, and those working on gender issues, to advocate for better protection of women human rights defenders. The Coalition and its members have been instrumental in raising awareness of the situation of women human rights defenders and achieving concrete advances related to the protection of women defenders, including within UN and regional human rights mechanisms.

On this day, we’d like to wish our colleagues on the International Coalition a very happy International Women’s Day!