Tools and tactics for women human rights defenders

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This content is currently unmaintained and may be significantly out of date. Please do not rely on it.

This is a customisation of Security in-a-Box for Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRDs). By WHRDs we refer to women who are leading, campaigning for or otherwise working toward the promotion and maintenance of human rights in their communities. The case studies presented here show the complex interconnections between digital technology and activism on gender rights in order to identify the risks faced by WHRDs; the collection of resources within Security in-a-box are offered as guidance towards mitigating these risks.

Not all WHRDs use social media, nor do they all work on issues related to digital rights, internet access or technology. And not all experience surveillance either from governments or corporations or locally from within their own movements. Their work may involve community based activism on issues related to land rights, women's health, water, natural resources, transparency, anti corruption work, LGBTQ rights, and so on. The spaces they are trying to protect therefore extend beyond online identities and networks.

Many activists, some of who are profiled here, have to contend with infrastructural, political, socio-cultural and financial barriers associated with internet use. The sharing of devices, use of cyber-cafes, a reliance on legacy or 'dumb' phones, and an overall limited access to technology contribute to certain digital risks. Moreover, contextual issues contribute to creating specific patterns of harassment and harm, from the the use of social media as a social space as well as a political one, to geo-political tensions and local laws governing the internet. The case studies attempt to show how this happens and present select content from SiaB to address the digital component of the risks faced.

Read a more detailed background of the ideas informing this guide here.


These tactics guides cover digital security basics and identify tools related to each topic


Step-by-step guides on digital security tools for GNU/Linux


Step-by-step guides on digital security tools for Microsoft Windows


Step-by-step guides on digital security tools for Google Android


Guides to web-based services and using social networks safely