Top Women Human Rights Defenders

Top Women Human Rights Defenders

November 29 is the International Day of Women Defenders, approved in 2005 in Sri Lanka during the First International Consultation of Women Defenders

The International Day of Women Defenders meant the first global public recognition of the valid, necessary, and legitimate work of many women.

On the one hand, human rights defenders around the world are subjected to innumerable risks for the good of their community, surroundings, and environment, among others. However, the fact of being a woman adds additional risks, such as being exposed to gender-based violence, sexual and discrimination due to their condition as women.

In The Woman Post, we want to praise the work of these women and their value in making the world a better place for everyone

Cristina Auerbach and Sandra Alarcón- Mexico

Cristina and Sandra Alarcón, two women human rights defenders from the states of Coahauila and Guerrero

Cristina Auerbach of the Pasta de Conchos Families Organization is a well-known defender of the rights of miners in the state of Coahuila. She works on the case of the Pasta de Conchos mine where 65 miners died after an accident in that mine in 2006, whose bodies to date have not been rescued

Sandra Alarcón

She is a lawyer and works with the organization Tlachinollan, Center for Human Rights of the Mountain in the state of Guerrero. Sandra has accompanied the processes of seeking truth and justice in the cases of the forced disappearance of the 43 students of the Normal Rural “Raúl Isidro Burgos” of Ayotzinapa and the two indigenous women survivors of sexual torture Inés Fernández Ortega and Valentina Rosendo Cantu. Despite the difficulties in obtaining justice in these cases, Sandra has continued to fight for the recognition of victims of serious human rights violations and respect for human rights in the state of Guerrero.

Johana Izurieta Montesdeoca- Ecuador

She is part of the organizations that we accompany in the regional program for the rights of women developed in Latin America.

This Ecuadorian woman (Guayaquil, 1970) is part of Oxfam Intermón’s Avanzadoras project, an initiative to empower women around the world.

This empowerment implies achieving the full participation of women within decision-making spheres, that is, a greater intervention in political life, and this feminist activist has been working for this goal for years.

She belongs to the first feminist movement in Ecuador, Ruptura 25, and is currently the General Coordinator of the Yerbabuena Foundation, which she joined in 2000 and which is part of the Marcha de las Putas (called SlutWalk or mobilization in protest against sexual violence against women) and the Sexual and Reproductive Rights Network.

María Teresa Blandón- Nicaragua

This 52-year-old Nicaraguan has been involved, since the 1980s, with women’s organizations. She is currently a professor at various universities and directs the La Corriente Feminist Program, which since 1994 has worked to defend and promote women’s rights and equality. She articulates feminist organizations and networks capable of promoting collective action and the ability to influence.

She was born in Nicaragua (Matiguás 1961) and is a recognized activist for women’s rights. Concerned about the exoneration of sexist violence and the lack of reproductive and sexual rights of women, she is also part of the Avanzadoras initiative.

At the age of 17, she joined the Nicaraguan revolution as a guerrilla. Her participation in the conflict helped her adopt a feminist identity and begin her commitment and fight for women, reflecting on the harassment, abuse, or violence they suffered and that prevented them from exercising their rights.

She is in charge of the La Corriente Feminist Program, an organization that promotes and defends the advancement of women’s rights and gender equality, through research, training, or campaigns for non-discrimination.


Indira Ghale completed university studies as a teacher at the Tribuvan University in Kathmandu, and dedicated herself to teaching in her hometown of Dhankuta, in eastern Nepal. Due to the problems of clashes between the different sides as a result of the Civil War in Nepal, especially in the populations of rural areas and remote areas, Indira was caught up in a conflict between the Maoist side and the Government, for which she had to leave their home and flee to Kathmandu.

Once there, she started working at the NGO Protection Desk Nepal and the Human Rights Protection Office Nepal.

After four years of working in both organizations, she decided to start working on her own, discouraged to see how the most disadvantaged continued without receiving the help they needed.

She found that “there are little things that have to be done that can bring change within society and sustain the lives of people in Nepal, mainly those who have no hope such as minority groups, the disabled, orphans, those whom they are trafficked and sexually exploited.” 9 years ago she began to help these groups.

Ninfa Cruz – Colombia

Ninfa Cruz has been, for sixteen (16) years, a great human rights defender and Colombian social leader who today is part of the Board of Directors of the Social Corporation for Community Counseling and Training (Cos-pacc). He made this decision to defend human rights when, at the end of the 1990s, the peasant movement gathered in the Departmental Association of Peasant Users of Casanare (Aduc) was exterminated by the military forces, state security agencies, and paramilitary groups[1 ]. As she recounts, dozens of leaders were forced to flee due to the risk of suffering a fate like that of Carlos Mesías Arreguí, a trade unionist and member of the Anuc, assassinated in April 1995, in circumstances that are unknown until now[ two]. As a social leader, she has suffered five displacements and one attempted disappearance, the latter in Bogotá.

The work of women human rights defenders is often seen as a threat to the status quo and a challenge to traditional notions of family and gender roles. This can lead to stigmatization, ostracism, exclusion, and hostility from state and non-state actors, including community leaders and family members who see their work as threatening to religion, honor, or culture.

Women human rights defenders are all women and girls who work on any human rights issue (“defenders” and “defenders”), and people of all genders who work to promote women’s rights and related rights. with gender equality.

It also includes all civil society actors who do not self-identify as human rights defenders or work in non-traditional human rights fields (journalists, health workers, environmental activists, peacebuilders, private actors, development, humanitarian, etc.). It includes lesbian, gay, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) activists, as issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity are part of achieving gender equality. Individuals may use many other terms to identify themselves and their work in these areas for a variety of reasons, including those related to the context and/or languages ​​in which they work, where translations may vary.

In addition, the work itself, their participation in feminist movements, or what they are trying to achieve – for example, the realization of women’s rights or other rights related to gender equality – also makes them a target of attacks, trying to discourage WHRDs, individually and collectively, from carrying out their work.

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