It has been over 20 years since the United Nations unanimously adopted the Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognised Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, commonly known as the “UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders”. Yet still today Human rights defenders (HRDs), and women HRDs in particular, face unique challenges when participating in the public space and stereotypical and discriminatory attitudes, violence and harassment.
According to information from Human Rights NGO Protection International, between the period 2014-2019, over 225 community and rural-based Women Human Rights Defenders have been the target of judicial harassment due to their outspoken roles in the defence of the environmental, land rights and equal access to natural resources.
Women HRDs in Thailand are frequently subjected to systematic violence and discrimination due to their identities and unyielding struggles for rights, equality and justice. It is the informal networks of women human rights defenders themselves that provide protection. These individuals and informal networks have become vital in both raising awareness and drawing attention to the issue, but also for the women themselves in recognition of their work and for building solidarity with local and global movements.
The underlying need is to raise awareness of the many struggles and challenges Women Human Rights Defenders face in their daily work to promote social justice and universally recognised human rights, and their outstanding tenacity and courage. In Thailand, women really form the backbone of these resistances and without their participation, in many cases there would simply be no struggle at all. As part of this body of work, the photographer in collaboration with Human Rights NGO Protection International, wants to highlight the vital contribution of women human rights defenders from across the country, from all walks of life, standing empowered, standing proud and standing defiant.