New Fund for Women Human Rights Defenders in Asia Pacific Launched

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

24 October 2017
Colombo, Sri Lanka

Over one hundred women’s human rights advocates will gather in Colombo, Sri Lanka this evening to celebrate the launch of Urgent Action Fund – Asia Pacific as an independent Sister Fund of the Urgent Action Fund Sister Funds. Urgent Action Fund – Asia Pacific becomes the first rapid response mechanism for women human rights defenders headquartered within the Asia Pacific region.

Urgent Action Fund – Asia Pacific joins Urgent Action Fund – Africa, Urgent Action Fund – Latin America & the Caribbean, and Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights in comprising the Urgent Action Fund Sister Funds, a global network of rapid response mechanisms for women human rights defenders worldwide.

With this launch, Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights, founded in the United States in 1997, will discontinue its rapid response grant-making program in Asia and the Pacific. Since 1997, this program provided over $4 million in rapid response grants funds to over 600 women and transgender human rights defenders across 23 countries in the region. Following the launch of an independent Sister Fund for Asia and the Pacific, Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights will expand its support to human rights defenders in the Middle East, Europe, and North America.

“The vision of our founders was that women and transgender human rights defenders around the world receive rapid support for their activism and that this support be provided by others in their movements, working alongside them for a more just, peaceful, and equal world” noted Kate Kroeger, the Executive Director of the Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights.

“That vision is alive and well, as UAF Asia Pacific joins its Sister Funds in a global network of organizations dedicated to supporting courageous frontline activists, whose work is more critical than ever before. We wish them well on this important day and look forward to our collective work in years to come.”

 Urgent Action Fund – Asia Pacific is to be Co-Directed by Virisila Buadromo of Fiji and Mary Jane Real of the Philippines. Kamala Chandrakirana of Indonesia has been named Chairperson of the Board. It is registered as a charitable organization in the Philippines and in Australia.

Virisila Buadromo is Fijian human rights activist and previously served as Executive Director of the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement.

 Mary Jane Real is a founding member and former Coordinator of the Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition. Previously, she served as Regional Coordinator of Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development.

Kamala Chandrakirana is feminist human rights defender and current member of the United Nations Working Group on discrimination against women in laws and practice. Previously, she founded and served on Indonesia’s National Commission on Violence Against Women.

 Speaking from Sri Lanka, Virisila Buadromo shared “As a Pacific feminist and a former grantee of Urgent Action Fund, my former organization and I received much needed support during one of the most difficult times in our organisation’s herstory. Rapid response grants for women human rights defenders and non-binary human rights defenders located in Asia and the Pacific means that support is closer to the defenders on the ground.”

 Mary Jane Real added  “We look forward to growing Urgent Action Fund – Asia Pacific in order to support and resource resilience in Asia and Pacific. As a fund embedded in the local women’s movement – we look forward to collaborating with women human rights defenders in the region as well as with philanthropists and social entrepreneurs to recreate cultures of social justice and giving in the region.”

 

Media Contact – UAF:

Caitlin Stanton
Director of Partnerships
caitlin@urgentactionfund.org