Help us protect the Brave today
Today, people across the world are taking enormous risks to stand up for our rights. They could be teachers, students, political opponents, factory workers, journalists, lawyers or so many others. They could be you, your friend or your relatives.
But they’re being harassed, tortured, jailed and even killed – just for daring to speak out for what’s right. Without their courage, our world would be less fair, less just and less equal. We must stand with human rights defenders worldwide – and do all we can to keep them safe from harm.
We can find the spark of courage in all of us to speak out for what’s right. We can tweet. We can protest. We can write letters. We can be a witness. And together we can act as one alongside human rights defenders, to fight injustice and build a fairer world.
Brave women under fire in the Philippines
A case in point is the prominent journalist Maria Ressa, editor and CEO of the news website Rappler, which has been publishing investigative reports about the “war on drugs.” She is facing numerous lawsuits. They include attempts to shut the website down for alleged tax evasion and violation of the country’s restrictions on foreign ownership. Each of the charges carries heavy fines and sentences of up to 10 years in prison, which could lead to her imprisonment for decades.
Amnesty International is also gravely concerned on the ongoing arbitrary detention of human rights defender and Senator Leila de Lima, now reaching its fourth year. Amidst the worsening human rights situation in the country, Amnesty continues to strongly urge the Philippine government to drop the politically motivated charges against her, order her immediate and unconditional release, and provide remedy for past and ongoing violations of her human rights, including by bringing to justice in fair trials those suspected of criminal responsibility for such violations.
These two women like many others, young and old, farmers, factory workers, teachers, tailors. They have regular jobs, high-powered jobs, cash-in-hand jobs, no jobs. Their identities are manifold and for many, the barriers even greater because of that. Still, they speak up and stand out.
Where they see wrong, they can’t help but want to make things right. Where they see unfairness, they want to make things equal. They’ve said #MeToo and called #TimesUp on violence and abuse against women. They act for social good, so that people can work without being assaulted, communities are free from racism, corruption is weeded out, lands are protected from pollution.
They face danger, so we don’t have to.
Yet some government leaders vilify them. They cut funding to birth control clinics. Degrade women publicly. Promote profit over the environment. Target indigenous communities. Roll back LGBTI rights. Where women defy the status quo they are increasingly abused – called whores and witches, terrorists and anti-nationalists. In this landscape poisoned by macho politics, women who resist are threatened, assaulted, raped, even killed.
But like a tide, these women still rise. They dare to have a voice and they use it. People call them brave. They say they’re doing what anyone would in their place. That they’re no different from the rest of us.
They’re right. These brave women are among us and are a part ofus. Now, we must join them to stamp out the fire that’s torching our hard-won rights. Now we, too, must be brave, and take a stand to defend the women who defend our rights.