May 29, 2024

U.S. Celebrates International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, Honors Courageous Women Defenders

First Lady Jill Biden greets attendees during a Women’s History Month reception Wednesday, March 22, 2023, in the East Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Erin Scott)

The United States has recognized and honored the remarkable efforts of women and girls worldwide who have fearlessly championed human rights and fundamental freedoms within their communities.

The recognition came on International Women’s Human Rights Defenders Day, which is celebrated on November 29 each year.

In a statement, Mathew Miller, US Department of State Spokesperson, said that despite facing significant personal risks, these exceptional individuals have played an indispensable role in holding governments accountable and advocating for human rights for all.

Women human rights defenders have consistently stood on the frontlines, confronting gender-based violence, threats, intimidation, online harassment, imprisonment, and various other forms of adversity. Their unwavering commitment to building inclusive and accessible societies has been a testament to their resilience and dedication.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed, “Defending the rights of women and girls is rooted in our democratic values of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all. And when we advance equality and defend the rights of women, we improve life for everyone.”

Earlier this year, the United States reintroduced the annual Global Human Rights Defender Awards, lauding the bravery of five remarkable women human rights defenders. These honorees have stood at the forefront, confronting and exposing human rights abuses by both governments and businesses. They have rallied action to safeguard the environment, enhance governance, and demand accountability.

The United States says it remains steadfast in its support of these courageous advocates, particularly as the world commemorates the 75th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 25th Anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.

The renewed commitment extends to the removal of barriers that have prevented women and girls from participating fully in public life, promoting their efforts to defend fundamental rights, and advancing their leadership on a global scale.

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