2023 Navaratri Women Human Rights Defenders Campaign: Hindus for Human Rights

In a unique nomination exercise, the Hindus for Human Rights (HHR) a US-based advocacy group has announced a Navaratri Women Human Rights Defenders Campaign that extends solidarity to women from South Asia
Image: Hindus for Human Rights

Observing Navaratri in a unique way, Hindus for Human Rights have extended solidarity and celebrated the struggles of nine women human rights defenders around the globe who are fighting for human rights. The organisation has  paired each human rights defender with a form of the goddess Durga, whom we honor during these nine nights of Navaratri, or Durga Puja.

Here is the statement of solidarity with the women of South Asia:

“Navaratri, or Durga Puja, is the Hindu festival celebrating the goddess Durga, the goddess of strength and protection. HHR dedicates these nine nights to Mother Durga and her nine forms: Shailaputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Kushmanda, Skandamata, Katyayani, Kalaratri, Mahagauri, and Siddhidatri. Each form of Durga represents the strength and power of the divine feminine, reflected in the strength and power of the women of the world. The organisation honours Durga and pray for the victory of good over evil in our world.”

Invoking Durga in the work for equality, justice, liberation, and human rights, the HHR states that this Navaratri, they wish to highlight the courage of women human rights defenders around the world and stand in solidarity with the women of South Asia, from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh to Nepal, Sri Lanka and India – women who are fighting for their rights and the rights of others, as their governments and other actors attempt to silence them into complacency.

From India’s Olympic women wrestlers fighting to bring attention to the sexual harassment they faced from the head of the Wrestling Federation of India and BJP Member of Parliament, the women of Manipur protesting the ethnic conflict in India’s easternmost state, the pro-democracy women fighting Hindutva in India, the women in Pakistan fighting for women’s rights, to the women and girls fighting for education and economic rights in Afghanistan, the women fighting for gender equality and refugee rights in Bangladesh, and the women of Iran who, for over a year have been protesting the brutal regime’s crackdown on their rights, these women serve as an inspiration to all.

In a statement issued today, HHR states that as the world sees an increase in the suppression of free speech, free press, and the rights of minoritised groups all around the world, women are leading the revolution for equality, justice, and liberation. Their spirit and sacrifices, and extend to them and their movements our unwavering solidarity.



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