by Liz Ford, The GuardianNovember 2018

Rising misogyny and an increase in the restrictions placed on women’s freedom worldwide mean the work of campaigners who defend their rights is more important than ever, the head of UN Women has said.

In a statement to mark International Women Human Rights Defenders’ Day, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said: “Those who defend our rights in turn need our defence. Their brave and important work has provoked reprisals and attacks against civil society actors in all parts of the globe. Humanitarian, development and peace-building organisations are also increasingly facing access and funding restrictions, making the task of human rights defenders all the more precarious.”

Although men too face attack, women’s rights defenders – targeted not only for the work they do, but also simply for being female – are beset on multiple fronts. In countries that still have fixed ideas about women’s roles, activists encounter aggression both inside and outside their homes and communities.

This year’s day of remembrance for women’s rights activists comes as the family of Berta Cáceres awaits the verdict of her murder trial in Honduras. Cáceres, a Goldman environmental prize winner, was killed in her home in March 2016. She had been fighting to protect indigenous land rights.

Each year, the Association for Women’s Rights in Development updates its tribute to slain women’s rights defenders. More than 400 women from 80 countries are remembered. Click To Tweet

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