Women defenders, male advocates

In a region where formal mechanisms to address violence against women and service for survivors are limited, the Nazareth Centre for Rehabilitation in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville works with and through women human rights defenders and male advoc

These women and men raise awareness and respond to family and sexual violence and gender inequality.

Assessments of the project have revealed that women human rights defenders play many roles; they are educators, defenders, advocates and activists.

A valuable lesson learned from the project is that when male advocates work alongside women’s human rights defenders, it gives women an opportunity to work closely with male traditional leaders and in turn, change traditional norms around the role of women in leadership positions.

This will increase opportunities for women in local communities to be heard, respected and be safe.

Many human rights defenders report that this project has brought positive changes to their communities.

These include changes in attitude about gender-based violence and more respect for women, along with non-acceptance of violence.

Carolyn Ure