News Releases

Women's Day 2023: An event to celebrate the strong women who defend human rights

News release

Geneva, 28 February 2023 – Everywhere in the world, brave women risk their lives to defend human rights. To mark this year's International Women's Day, the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the City of Geneva invite you to meet five of these inspiring women.

Whether they are journalists, whistleblowers, protesters or lawyers, women defenders relentlessly campaign for our rights. As the voice of the most vulnerable, they are under extreme pressure from governments who want to silence them. And they resist. On this 8 March, we want to celebrate their strength and learn from their courage.

Five leading activists from Iran, Russia, Chad, Colombia & Tunisia will share their stories with the public at the Palais Eynard in Geneva. The discussion will be led by Ruth Dreifuss, the first female President of the Swiss Confederation, and Hina Jilani, the first UN Special Representative on Human Rights Defenders and the OMCT's President.

The OMCT has long been involved in the defense of women’s rights. Our work is reflected in significant initiatives such as the report “Women Break the Silence - Gender-based Torture in Asia”, published in 2022, or the historic victory of our partner Spravedlivost, with our support, before the United Nations, which condemned Kyrgyzstan for gender-based violence against a woman in prison in 2020.

This year we aim to raise 100,000 Swiss francs to implement the recommendations of our report on violence against women in Asia. Your presence and your support will contribute to this important cause.

Join us on 8 March 17.30 at the Palais Eynard in Geneva, to celebrate the real heroines of human rights, and get inspired by their stories.

The panelists are: Delphine Djiraibé (prominent human rights lawyer in Chad), Azin Mohajerin (Lead Human Rights officer at Miaan), Ana Maria Rodriguez (Director of Comisión Colombiana de Juristas, member of the OMCT’s Network), Najla Talbi (Director of the SANAD victims' centre at the OMCT's Tunis office), and Olga Sadovskaya (Deputy Director of the Russian member of the OMCT).

The evening will conclude with a concert by the sisters Julie and Camille Berthollet.

All information is available here.

The World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) is the largest global NGO group actively standing up to torture and protecting human rights defenders worldwide. It has more than 200 members in 90 countries. Its international Secretariat is based in Geneva, Switzerland.

For more information, please contact:

Claire-Marie Germain, Digital Communications Manager (for media related queries)

Teresa Cal, Development Adviser for Individual Giving (for event related questions)