Sharing Knowledge About the Collective Protection of Black Women Human Rights Defenders

14 June 2021

On June 5, Protection International and the Institute of Black Women – GELEDÉS presented the guidebook “Sharing knowledge about collective protection of black women human rights defenders”, a publication resulting from the series of virtual meetings “Voices of women” which were held in 2020. The booklet compiles information and insights from more than 20 black women human rights defenders who lead important processes for the defense and vindication of human rights associated with gender and ethnic-racial equality in the city of Sao Paulo. This project is the result of the strategic alliance between Protection International and GELEDÉS.

During the launch event, about 25 women defenders from different regions of Brazil talked about the ongoing violations of the right to defend human rights in Brazil and the specific protection needs of women, black youth, and non-binary persons. They also shared their experiences about raising awareness for collective protection with an ethnic-racial approach. Members of UN Women in Brazil also participated in the presentation.

“My activism is a voice that activates other women,” said one of the women defenders who participated in the launch, and she explains that defending human rights and collective protection “is to take care of your own but also others, even if you haven’t given birth to them”.

The booklet highlights a number of critical elements, including the meaning of the exercise of defending rights for black women, which for women is a relational, collective, affective, and a resistance-based exercise. The book is divided into the following topics:

  1. The activism of black women in defense of human rights associated with equality of gender, race, and ethnicity;
  2. The collective protection of human rights defenders from a gendered, ethnic-racial perspective
    The implementation of collective protection in participatory risk and threat analysis exercises;
  3. Basic measures that can be useful for self-protection amidst the COVID-19 pandemic;
  4. The document also outlines coping strategies, elements to analyze in the construction of protocols and protection plans, and practical suggestions on topics such as psychosocial care and digital security.

Protection International and GELEDÉS hope that this guidebook will provide useful tools for women in Brazil, with an emphasis on black women and their organizations and collectives.

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