Call for protection for women human rights defenders worldwide
Human rights defenders in many regions are facing worse restrictions and attacks. The Nobel Women’s Initiative has been following the alarming number of abductions and/or kidnappings of women human rights defenders all around the world these past weeks. These persistent events, together with the assassination of human rights activist Salwa Bugaighis last June in Benghazi (Lybia), impel to take action.
Since 28 May, Iranian journalist Saba Azarpeik is detained at an undisclosed location. She was arrested during a raid on the office of the Tehran-based weekly Tejarat-e Farda, for which Azarpeik is a correspondent, but formal charges against her are unknown. She has been allowed to contact her family only once since her arrest and, when she appeared in court on 21 and 22 July, she was reported to be in a bad physical and psychological condition.
On 17 July members of an armed group in eastern DRC abducted two women human rights defenders, Médiatrice Riziki and Angelica Navura, members of Ensemble pour la Paix et l’Encadrement des Femmes en Milieu Rural (EPEFMR), a human rights organization working with women farmers. They were released after four days, following intense negotiations. But as a condition for their release, their captors demanded that the organization cease all human rights monitoring activities in the region.
Also this month, armed men attacked and kidnapped Miriam Miranda, the coordinator of OFRANEH (Organizacion Fraternal Negra Hondurena), together with some other members of the Garífuna community in northeastern Honduras. Drug traffickers and organized crime in the territory felt threatened by these activists that peacefully claim their right to remain in the lands of their ancestors. Fortunately, the activists were able to reach the media, mobilize their own communities and gather fellow activists, so a few hours later they were released.