It is not easy to assume the responsibility of defending human rights, because human rights often conflict with the private interests of powerful and influential players, who will not hesitate to take violent action against those who stand in the way of their personal interests. Women human rights defenders are however clear that rights must not be violated, and that collective rules for living together are above all to the benefit of the entire society.
Historically, many women human rights defenders have abandoned their work of defending rights because of the threat to their families if they were to be harmed. Further, in the patriarchal society in which we live, women human rights defenders will not enjoy much support from the ommunity; especially because of the roles constructed for them within the home setting. These factors and considerations shall therefore be embodied in the text of this handbook, towards formulating responses to risks which take into account the particular vulnerabilities of women human ights defenders.
This booklet aims to offer guidance on how to mitigate risks associated to possible threats and risks attendant following actions by these ‘powerful players’ and by the patriarchal political and social system.