Women human rights defenders are crucial actors for positive social change, including in efforts to end violence against women. The MENA region has long suffered from authoritarianism and experienced increased restrictions on civil society activism as well as severe backlash against women human rights defenders. Unrest, transitions and conflict have complicated the environment in which WHRDs work and multiplied the threats they face. States have fallen short on their responsibilities to protect and facilitate the work of WHRDs. This session at NGO CSW65 Forum will explore pressures on WHRDs in MENA and how international systems can better support and protect WHRDs.