Challenges Facing Women Human Rights Defenders in Africa: Building Momentum for Mobilisation
On the 27 July 2011, a webinar was held on building momentum for mobilisation to address the challenges facing women human rights defenders in Africa.
After a March 2011 study conducted by CIVICUS on the challenges that women human rights defenders face in Africa, there was a clear need for follow-up advocacy efforts to address these challenges, with particular reference to “domesticating” international law to work on the ground in African nations, and strengthening the role of women in their communities, in organizations, and in civil society.
The webinar included presentations from Mozn Hassan, Founder and Executive Director of Nazra for Feminist Studies, and Tabitha Netuwa, Legal/Protection Officer, East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project. Unfortunately, a planned presentation with Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, General Secretary, World YWCA could not take place due to technical difficulties.
In addition to these speakers, Elizabeth Hira, Policy Intern at CIVICUS, gave an overview presentation of the CIVICUS Report, 'Challenges for women human rights defenders in Africa'. The presentation is available here.
About the presenters:
Ms. Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda
General Secretary, World YWCA
Ms. Gumbonzvanda is a human rights lawyer with over twenty years experience in women and children's human rights, with a special focus on crisis countries. At the World YWCA, Ms. Gumbonzvanda has focused on championing young women’s leadership, advancing peace with justice and addressing violence against women by making the YWCA a leader in community response to crises and conflict, and supporting the YWCA in promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment.
Ms. Gumbonzvanda’s many achievements include work on the integration of gender equality in the peace processes for the Sudan, Somalia and Northern Uganda, and taking a lead role in the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region that resulted in the adoption of the Protocol on Sexual and Gender Based Violence. Ms. Gumbonzvanda was also involved in the development of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa. Ms. Gumbonzvanda has a Master’s degree in Private Law with specialisation in Constitutional Property Law from the University of South Africa and she completed post-graduate work on conflict resolution at Uppsala University, Sweden.
Ms. Tabitha Netuwa
Legal/Protection Officer, East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project
At EHAHRDP, Ms. Netuwa is the focal person for human rights defenders who require support and protection. Among her many duties, Ms. Netuwa is responsible for the assessment of emergency cases of human rights defenders at risk, resource allocation for their assistance, and providing administrative and legal support to human rights defenders under the protection programme. Beyond her direct service work, Ms. Netuwa also monitors and provides analysis of legal and political developments, human rights and rule of law situations in the countries of the sub-region, and prepares reports on protection issues in the sub-region with proposals for intervention.
Ms. Netuwa holds a Law degree from Makerere University and a Postgraduate Diploma in Legal studies. She previously worked with the Refugee Law Project at Makerere University, where she was closely involved with refugees and internally displaced persons.