Women Human Rights Defenders at RightsCon 2018

Last week, WRN attended its first digital human rights conference - RightsCon. Over 2000 techies, coders, hackers-for-good, human rights defenders, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders from 115 countries gathered in Toronto to answer the question, “how can we harness tech to shape a better future for human rights?” As you know, Women’s Regional Network (WRN) is not a tech organization. We don’t train girls to code or focus on securing people’s rights and freedom online. So, why were we at RightsCon? WRN is a network of women human rights defenders committed to securing the rights of women and women’s leadership to take action for gender justice, the rights of forcibly displaced people, and con

Meet Katy Tartakoff: Photographer for Social Reform

Photography gives us the ability to capture a moment to hold long after it’s time has passed. In an age of snapshot photography, Katy infuses her photography with meaning and emotion, communicating beyond what is immediately visible. In Fall 2017, she joined the WRN delegation in Antigua, Guatemala to consult with a group of activists from the Americas to document the international meeting of powerful women leaders, and served as the photographer at the University of Denver’s Inclusive Global Leadership Initiative (IGLI), which WRN member Abha Bhaiya participated in. Here, we explore her gift of seeing and how she uses her art form to build peace and empathy in her community and abroad – wh

Nimalka Fernando on Women’s Struggle for Rights in Post-War Sri Lanka

Nimalka Fernando is an attorney and eminent women’s rights activist from Sri Lanka. She is a Co-convener of Platform for Freedom and a member of the National Movement for a New Constitution in Sri Lanka - each a coalition of NGOs, trade unions and people’s movements involved in ongoing democratic reforms process in Sri Lanka. From her early days as a student, Nimalka has been involved in many people’s movement both inside Sri Lanka and across South Asian. She is President of the International Movement against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR) and the Women’s Political Academy in Sri Lanka. Nimalka is also a founding member of Asian Regional Exchange for New Alternatives (ARENA).

Coming Together: Early Days of WRN

Founding meeting in Kathmandu, Nepal in 2011. In August 2011, Patricia Cooper sent me an email asking if she could chat with me about a women’s peace network. Having been part of early Track Two initiatives in the 1990s, I was immediately intrigued and Pat did not really have to sell me the idea when we chatted. In October 2011, four women each from Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, and one from Nepal, as well as a small group of facilitators, met in Kathmandu. We were mostly strangers to each other. Over the four days, we learnt a little about each other, shared our priorities and pressing concerns, brainstormed the things we would like to do and debated vehemently the idea of this network—w

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