In the words of Attorney Tonieh Wiles: ‘Gender-based violence is a threat to the development of women, and we must stop it now.’
Safeguarding the Unsung Heroes: Attorney Tonieh Wiles Sheds Light on the Women’s Human Rights Defenders Network of Liberia.
Attorney Tonieh Wiles is the Chairperson of the Women’s Human Rights Defenders Network of Liberia, a network established to provide safe space for women and girls who advocate and fight for the rights of other women.
The network collaborates with various human rights organisations and institutions, including the United Nations, human rights groups, and other international non-governmental organisations to provide security, protection, and human rights monitoring.
As the world commemorates the 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence, Attorney Wiles spotlights the work of the women’s human rights defenders’ network.
“The network supports women who face gender-based violence, need legal aid or are under threat.
We have experienced human rights violations of women rights defenders, including cyber threats, physical violence, and security threats. In these critical moments, relocating them and providing safe space for these women’s rights defenders becomes essential. Many women are very appreciative of the space that we provide.
With support from the United Nations, the network developed and designed a strategies for protecting human rights defenders, and providing a safe space for young women.
Investing and supporting women’s human rights defenders is vital because this work is always urgent. Most of the time, when women are faced with violence, they are under threat, and they don’t have anywhere to go.
As we observe the 16 Days of Activism, I am urging all our partners, including the UN and other international organisations, to support and invest in this work to enable us provide safe spaces, self-care, and undertake different kinds of training. We plan to organize training for human rights defenders to enhance their skills on how to document their work and tell their stories to inform the public about what is happening. Another training is planned for young women to have a safe space where they feel comfortable doing this kind of work.
Gender-based violence is a threat to the development of women, and we must stop it, and we must stop that now.”
The 16 Days of Activism campaign provides us with an opportunity to celebrate the women’s human rights defenders for their unwavering commitment to protecting the rights of women and girls in Liberia.