20 December 2018, Bangkok – Protection International, together with the Canadian Ambassador to Thailand and 20 Thai women human rights defenders, celebrate today International Women Human Rights Defenders Day by launching the Women Human Rights Defenders Quilt, a craft and artistic project carried out by human rights defenders from Thailand accompanied by Protection International and the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI).
With the objective of strengthening cooperation, skills and safety of community-based women human rights defenders in Thailand, Protection International created a space for them to tell their stories, learn from and connect with each other through the collective development and production of hand-sewn quilts. Inspired by the arpilleras (colorful quilts used in rural areas in the Andes Mountain as a mean of protest), the “quilting exercise” allowed defenders to exchange on their struggles and those of their families and communities. Women also have a secured space to exchange of their knowlege of individual and collective protection with other communities or networks.
Women HRDs in Thailand continuously face threats and attacks as a direct result of their human rights-related work but they are also exposed to gender-based violence and gender-specific risks, such as sexual assaults. The specificity of the risks that women HRDs face is fundamental to understand the nature of the discrimination they suffer, like the denial of women’s fundamental right to land in Thailand. Since quilting is a creative work, rich in tradition, women were able to let their ideas and inspiration flow, create bonds between communities, and together develop collective quilt design.
In his project Quilts of Resistance, Bangkok-based British photographer Luke Duggleby has portrayed each of the 20 defenders in a beautiful and inspiring photo that honours their work and their fights.
Have a look at their artwork!