Human Rights Defenders build regional protection strategy

A participant makes a point at the workshop in Port Vila, Vanuatu (Photo: Supplied)

Pacific human rights defenders are building a regional protection strategy in the face of challenges ranging from inadequate judicial systems to colonial-era laws and heavy-handed law enforcement.

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Regional Representative, Heike Alefsen, notes that protection networks are key to the security of defenders and their ability to operate, particularly for women HRDs (human rights defenders) in the Pacific, “given the specific obstacles and threats they face, such as violence from sorcery-related accusations, discriminatory customary lawsand policies, restrictive legislation, gender-based violence, and sexualised online . . .

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