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The situation of defenders who are particularly at risk

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The situation of defenders who are particularly at risk

Some defenders can be exposed to a greater risk due to the nature of their activities (like defenders of lesbians, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex’s rights (LGBTI)), due to who they are (like women human rights defenders) or because they act in a sensitive context (like defenders acting in conflict areas)


Women human rights defenders are exposed to the same kind of reprisals than men, but also to different kind of pressures, due to their identity. Women human rights defenders are subjected to violence in the same way as men, but the form of violence they are facing is usually based on gender. For example, they are the objects of sexual violence threats that sometimes are materialized.


Workshop organised by UN-Women with women defenders from IndiaUN Women/Caroline Pankert/Flickr


Besides women human rights defenders, other human rights defenders can be exposed to greater risk du to their activity and the type of rights they promote.

This is the case, among others, of:

  • defenders working in favour of economical, social and cultural rights;
  • defenders working on minorities’ rights;
  • environmental defenders;
  • defenders of the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons;
  • defenders working on the issue of business and human rights;
  • defenders acting in a conflict area or in an area exposed to a natural disaster;
  • defenders living in isolated areas; defenders working on violations committed in the past;
  • or students, lawyers, journalists, bloggers who promote human rights. 


Public event with defenders working on land and environmental rightsCyberien94/Flickr


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