Established by the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights which came into force on 21 October 1986 after its adoption in Nairobi (Kenya) in 1981 by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Unity (OAU.), the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights is charged with ensuring the promotion and protection of Human and Peoples’ Rights throughout the African Continent. The Commission has its headquarters in Banjul, The Gambia.
African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
31 Bijilo Annex Layout, Kombo North District
P. O. Box 673
Banjul, The Gambia
Email: [email protected]
Tel: (220) 4410 505 / 4410 506
Fax: (220) 4410 504
Official Site: http://www.achpr.org
International Service for Human Rights, Association for Justice Peace and Democracy, and Conectas Human Rights (2011)
The African Charter provides specific responsibilities to African Union (AU) Member States to give effect to the African Charter at domestic level. In particular, each State party shall submit every two years, from the date the Charter comes into force, a report on the legislative or other measures taken, with a view to giving effect to the rights and freedoms recognized and guaranteed by the Charter (Art. 62). It provides an opportunity to evaluate State actions to advance the rights protected in the ACHPR and its protocols, identify obstacles to the realization of these rights, and formulate recommendations for improving State practice. Civil society participation is critical to provide a counterpoint to government reports, ensuring that the Commission has an accurate picture of the situation on the ground. In general, States parties have shown insufficient engagement in the process: the majority of States parties are not up to date in their reporting; States fail to engage actively with the ACHPR; and the Commission lacks capacity to ensure appropriate follow up and implementation of its recommendations. Relatively few CSOs participate regularly in ACHPR’s sessions and those that do often do not focus on the State reporting procedure. In addition, available advice on CSO engagement with the ACHPR focuses relatively little attention on this procedure. This road map is an effort to address this gap and encourage CSOs to engage more extensively in the process. It provides basic information, describes challenges and share tips based on concrete experiences by CSOs working with the ACHPR.
The Rules of Procedure establish the guidelines for the day-to-day functioning of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights. This includes the composition of the Commission, its mandate, and reporting and subsidiary mechanisms.
The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Banjul Charter), which entered into force in 1986, is the most significant human rights instrument at the regional level.
Official Site: http://www.achpr.org/instruments/achpr/
French Link: http://www.achpr.org/francais/_info/charter_fr.html
Amnesty International (2006)
Human rights advocates and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Africa can enhance their work to hold governments to account by collaborating with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. This Guide to the African Commission is intended to help NGOs in Africa and other human rights defenders to access the African Commission in support of their work. It is a companion to the Guide to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
Official Link: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/IOR63/005/2007
Human Rights Centre at The University of Pretoria & ACHPR (2011)
The guide provides a brief history to the African Charter, takes stock of the accomplishments of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, its monitoring body, and reflects on future challenges. Although the African Commission has thus far been the primary human rights body in Africa, it has been complemented by the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. These bodies and their founding documents are also discussed to provide a holistic picture of the African human rights system.
Similar to the UN system of special procedures (working groups, independent experts and special rapporteurs), the AU also has thematic special procedures. This special rapporteur works on the issue of human rights defenders in Africa.
Official Website: www.achpr.org/english/_info/index_hrd_en.html
This resolution is the official document that creates the mandate for the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders.
Official link: http://www.achpr.org/english/_info/hrd_res_appoin_3.html
Support for human rights defenders is already a long established element of the European Union’s human rights external relations policy. The purpose of these Guidelines is to provide practical suggestions for enhancing EU action in relation to this issue. The Guidelines can be used in contacts with third countries at all levels as well as in multilateral human rights fora, in order to support and strengthen ongoing efforts by the Union to promote and encourage respect for the right to defend human rights.
Amnesty International (2008)
This booklet is designed for those directly involved in the implementation of the ‘European Guidelines on Human Rights defenders’. The purpose of the Guidelines “is to provide practical suggestions for enhancing EU action” in relation to human rights defenders. If fully implemented, the potential for bringing about change is significant. This document aims to reinforce recommendations made in Amnesty International’s 2007 report and to trigger increased, effective, systematic and consistent action to support and protect human rights defenders.
Official Link: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/EUR01/009/2008/en
The UN Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (known in short as the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders) codifies the international standards that protect the activity of human rights defenders around the world. It recognises the legitimacy of human rights activity and the need for this activity and those who carry it out to be protected. Under the Declaration, human rights defender is anyone working for the promotion and protection of human rights. This broad definition encompasses professional as well as non-professional human rights workers, volunteers, journalists, lawyers and anyone else carrying out, even on an occasional basis, a human rights activity.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 10 December 1948, was the result of the experience of the Second World War. With the end of that war, and the creation of the United Nations, the international community vowed never again to allow atrocities like those of that conflict happen again. World leaders decided to complement the UN Charter with a road map to guarantee the rights of every individual everywhere
Official Site: http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/
The mandate on the situation of human rights defenders was established in 2000, by the Commission on Human Rights (as a Special Procedure) to support implementation of the 1998 Declaration on human rights defenders. In 2008, with resolution 7/8 and in 2011, with resolution 16/5, the Human Rights Council, decided to continue the mandate on human rights defenders for consecutive periods of three years. The current mandate-holder, Mrs. Margaret Sekaggya, was appointed by the Human Rights Council in March 2008. Mrs Sekaggya is a magistrate from Uganda and was the Chairperson of the Uganda Human Rights Commission from 1996 to 2008. Between 2006 and 2008 she was a member of the United Nations High Level Task Force on the Implementation of the Right to Development.
Official Link: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/defenders/index.htm
Complaints procedure: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/SRHRDefenders/Pages/Complaints.aspx
The ‘Commentary to the Declaration on human rights defenders’ is a 100-page downloadable document which maps out the rights provided for in the Declaration, based mostly on information received and reports produced by the two Special Rapporteurs on the situation of human rights defenders, Hina Jilani (2000-2008) and Margaret Sekaggya (since 2008), during the past eleven years.
From the rights to protection and freedom of opinion and expression, to the rights to communicate with international bodies and to access funding, the ‘Commentary’ analyses what these rights entail and what is needed to ensure their implementation. It also addresses the most common restrictions and violations faced by defenders, and provides recommendations to facilitate States’ implementation of each right.
Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission & British Irish Rights Watch (2011)
This is guide that will help NGOs, lawyers and individuals to find their way around the various human rights mechanisms of the United Nations. The mechanisms can seem complex to those who are not familiar with them but, as this guide shows, they are in fact accessible and simple to use. Although primarily aimed at readers in Britain and Ireland, much of the information and the insights contained in the guide will be useful to people in many countries around the world.
Guidelines have been drawn up for the embassies concerning Norwegian support for human rights defenders, in order to strengthen Norway’s bilateral support for this group. The main objective of the guidelines is to help the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Norwegian missions to systematise measures and intensify efforts to support human rights defenders and their work. A module on human rights defenders for the Foreign Service Institute’s e-learning course on human rights has also been developed, as a competence-building measure.
Protection International (2009)
The purpose of this new manual is to provide human rights defenders with additional knowledge and some tools that may be useful for improving their understanding of security and protection. It is hoped that the manual will support training on security and protection and will help defenders to undertake their own risk assessments and define security rules and procedures which suit their particular situation. This manual is the result of over 25 years combined experience of Protection International-PI- members in working with human rights and humanitarian law and in the protection of HRD and other vulnerable groups. PI members experience originates from their former involvement and participation in Peace Brigades International – PBI-field missions and structure. We have had the opportunity to learn from and share experiences and knowledge with hundreds of defenders in the field, as well as in workshops, meetings and discussions about security. Most of the manual’s contents have already been applied in practice, either in protection work or in training workshops with defenders. This manual is the fruit of all these exchanges, and we owe the defenders involved a huge thanks for their input.
Front Line (2011)
The Workbook on Security is designed to raise awareness about security issues and to help human rights defenders consider how to mitigate threats. The workbook takes human rights defenders through the steps to producing a security plan – for individuals and for organisations. It follows a systematic approach for assessing their security situation and developing risk and vulnerability reduction strategies and tactics.
Front Line & Tactical Technology Collective (2011)
Security in-a-box is a collaborative effort of the Tactical Technology Collective and Front Line. It was created to meet the digital security and privacy needs of advocates and human rights defenders. Security in-a-box includes a How-to Booklet, which addresses a number of important digital security issues. It also provides a collection of Hands-on Guides, each of which includes a particular freeware or open source software tool, as well as instructions on how you can use that tool to secure your computer, protect your information or maintain the privacy of your Internet communication.
This guide is written for citizens in the Middle East and North Africa, who want to use technology safely to communicate, organize, and share data (news reports, information, media etc ), but it can be used by anyone online anywhere who wants to protect their privacy and security. It is written for a wide audience with average computer literacy who would like to know what steps they can take to be safer online and when using mobile devices. This guide has tips and tools for reducing surveillance and monitoring, protecting privacy, and dealing with censorship. It covers: secure use of email and chat, good password habits, how to keep your computer free of viruses and spyware, how to get around censorship online while remaining anonymous, tactics for using mobile phones safely, and has links to more in-depth resources.
Humanitarian Practice Network (2010)
Since the publication of the first edition of Good Practice Review 8 on Operational Security Management in Violent Environments a decade ago, the global security environment has changed significantly. New conflict contexts have created new sources of threat to international humanitarian action. Increasing violence against aid workers and their operations, including more kidnappings and lethal attacks, has had serious implications for humanitarian relief work in insecure contexts. Meanwhile, agencies themselves have become much more conscious of the need to provide for the safety and security of their staff. To reflect these changes, the Humanitarian Practice Network has published a new version of GPR 8. The new edition both updates the original material and introduces new topics, such as the security dimensions of ‘remote management’ programming, good practice in interagency security coordination and how to track, share and analyse security information. The new edition also provides a more comprehensive approach to managing critical incidents, in particular kidnapping and hostage-taking, and discusses issues relating to the threat of terrorism.
This report asks the hard questions about how to protect and empower those who attempt to expose injustices through video. It provides specific recommendations for immediate and future actions that can reduce danger for those risking their lives. This report is an important step to understanding how we can harness the power of video and technology to empower activists to protect and defend human rights. This is the age of transformative technology.
Protection International (2009)
In recent years several governments have developed specific national mechanisms to protect defenders, all of them in countries seriously lacking in protection for human rights defenders. These mechanisms (laws, action policies, offices) have been established under pressure from (and with the cooperation of) national and international human rights organisations, with essential legal support from the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.
At Protection International, this development has led us to study these national initiatives: what are they and what do they consist of? How did they come about, how do they work and what is their impact on the protection of defenders? We set up a study group (made up of protection lawyers and experts) and carried out a large number of interviews with men and women defenders as well as government officials in 16 countries on three continents. We also embarked on a process of compiling and analysing legal enforcement instruments at the national level (while examining existing universal and regional ones). During the study we only found national non-governmental initiatives of this type in Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico and Peru (Central and South America), in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (Africa) and Nepal (Asia). While there may be several organizations working on protection-related matters and making important contributions, only Guatemala (UDEFUGUA), Uganda (EHAHRDP) and Colombia (Somos Defensores Programme) have three defender units specifically set up by civil society. They are pioneers in the field and together with the Protection Desks established by PI and supporting organizations (such as Peace Brigades International), are among those civil society groups whose sole mission is the protection of defenders on the ground.
Protection International (2009)
This second volume, “Protection Programmes for Defenders”, analyses the practical aspects of protection programmes: the measures they include, how they are structured, and their results. The book focuses on the three countries whose protection programmes were examined, namely Brazil, Guatemala and Colombia.
The Journalists in Distress (JiD) Network is an informal forum for sharing information on journalists in distress and developing joint initiatives for emergency response. It was formed in 2006 to allow international organisations with freedom of expression mandates to more easily discuss specific cases, coordinate joint efforts, and avoid duplication. The Network does not engage in advocacy or media development.
Advocacy for Child Relief under the Irish Embassy Fund (2020)
We supported the design and development of comic books for Advocacy for Child Relief (ACR) with help from the Irish Embassy in Uganda under DefendDefenders’ Ttaala Program in 2020. ACR is a Human Rights Organization based in , Uganda that advocates for the protection and defense of children’s human rights. The comic books will enhance the capacity of ACR to sensitize children to one of the biggest issues that ACR has identified in the district. One of the biggest issues in is school dropouts caused by sexual assault of children, especially by the people meant to protect them.
Cover of the comic book created in partnership with Advocacy for Child Relief and the Irish Embassy, Uganda under the Ttaala Program
Monitoring and Investigating Political Killings
Amnesty International & CODESRIA (2000)
An application of general principles for monitoring and documentation specified to the conditions of following-up a suspected case of a political killing.
Amnesty International & CODESRIA (2000)
This Handbook and the accompanying booklets were developed in response to a call for a more effective, professional and locally-grounded approach to human rights monitoring, documentation and fact-finding in Africa. The collection seeks to facilitate monitoring, documentation and fact-finding by human rights organisations and individual activists and to do so on the basis of the best practices and experiences of African human rights defenders.
Frontline Defenders has published a manual on the International Criminal Court for human rights defenders. This manual contains important information about how the Court functions, how it is accessible, and how an individual can use the Court.
New Tactics in Human Rights (2004)
All around the world and at all levels, in small villages and in national governments as well as at the highest levels of international justice, people are creating and using innovative tactics to make their work more effective. The New Tactics in Human Rights Project captures these tactical innovations and shares them with others striving to advance human rights.
Article 19 (2006)
This checklist has been specifically designed for civil society organizations in Africa and elsewhere who wish to conduct a thorough analysis of the implementation status of the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in any African country. The checklist allows civil society organizations working on issues relating to freedom of expression and access to information to establish the deficiencies in terms of concrete provisions for the fulfilment and protection of freedom of expression. For this reason some of the questions cover areas broader than the issue of freedom of expression itself. The checklist interprets each article of the Declaration in a comprehensive manner, providing substantial details on how freedom of expression should be fulfilled and provided for.
Article 19 (2000)
The guide is aimed at monitoring state-sponsored violence in Africa and, in particular, what we call “informal repression”: covert activities in which the hand of government is hidden or disguised. However, most of the skills can be used in a variety of different situations. Although it is geared to human rights activists in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, we hope it will be of use in training monitors throughout Africa and possibly elsewhere. Human rights activists should feel free to simplify or adapt parts of the guide to fit their specific needs, including translation into local languages.
Front Line (2003)
Front Line commissioned SERAC (the Social and Economic Rights Action Center) to produce an on-line manual specifically focused on Economic, Social and Cultural rights.
Front Line (2003)
Front Line commissioned Human Rights Consultants to produce an online interactive manual for human rights defenders working on Civil and Political Rights.
International Council on Human Rights Policy (2002)
The purpose of this report is to discuss the difficulties of reporting human rights issues and establish what lessons can be drawn from different experiences so as to make sound recommendations to the journalistic profession, policymakers, and human rights advocates. The objective is to improve the quality and consistency of work in this area.
Association for Women’s Rights in Development
AWID and the Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition reviewed a broad range of urgent responses available to Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRDs) at risk around the world. This report describes the types of resources and strategies available to respond to urgent situations of violence against WHRDs as well as some of the organizations that offer them.
Association for Women’s Rights in Development
The compilation lists research materials dealing with the security and protection of defenders, resources that women activists can consult concerning their wellbeing and self-care, manuals dealing with how to document and monitor violations of women’s rights, as well as manuals on the rights and mechanisms available to women human rights defenders at risk. The list also provides reference materials that address specific themes particularly relevant to women defenders, such as sexual orientation, religious fundamentalisms and conflict.
The WHRD IC is a resource and advocacy network for the protection and support of women human rights defenders worldwide.
Claiming Rights, Claiming Justice: A guidebook for women human rights defenders
A Guidebook on Women Human Rights Defenders is aimed to help women human rights defenders name the specific risks, violations and constraints they face in their work. It presents a practical discussion of the useful mechanisms developed by the state and also the civil society to provide redress and remedy, and to protect women human rights defenders. It is intended to be used by human rights and other organisations to further a gender perspective in the monitoring and documentation of human rights.
Amnesty International (2004)
A guide to states’ obligation to make women’s rights a reality – to implement their obligations under treaties and customary international law to respect, protect and fulfil human rights in law and practice.
International Consultation on Women Human Rights Defenders (2005)
A collection of papers presented at the plenary sessions of the International Consultation on Women Human Rights Defenders held in Colombo, Sri Lanka between 29 November – 2 December 2005. The articles are arranged in five parts: an explanation of the context and rationale of the campaign, historical and conceptual background of terminologies, critical issues facing women human rights defenders, recommendations for protective strategies, and accountability for women working in the quest for justice.
This draft document outlines concrete suggestions1 for EU Missions (including embassies and consulates of EU member states and European Commission delegations) in implementing “Ensuring protection – the European Union Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders” (EU Guidelines). It is specifically aimed to ensure due support and protection of women human rights defenders.
Urgent Action Fund (2008)
Resiste brings us the voices of women human rights defenders (WHRDs) from all over the world. Each woman speaks from her personal experience of combating violence and discrimination in complex contexts – in situations of overt or hidden conflict, organized armed violence as well as rising fundamentalisms in Iran, Colombia, Nepal, Burma, Thailand, Algeria, Tunisia, Bosnia, Serbia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Resiste is a journey and an exhilarating celebration of resilience. The astonishing strategies that enable WHRDs to survive, thrive and succeed – despite the challenges and risks of the work, and the extremely limited resources and support. Resiste introduces the concept of ‘integrated security’ – coined by Colombian activists and echoed by other WHRDs across the world: a concept that challenges us all to redefine the militarized, disconnected concept of ‘security’ and recognize that integrated security is about feeling safe in all aspects of our lives – from our ability to feed our families to speaking freely about our governments.
Below are links to a guide to accessing US embassies. This guide is intended as a manual for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) activists and NGOs to help you understand how U.S. embassies work; how to call on U.S. diplomats to support your human rights goals; how to access U.S. support, including both technical and financial support; and how to frame requests in ways that will appeal to strategic U.S. priorities.
This curriculum is intended to further thoughtful examination and responsible action among high school students about LGBT issues. Unlike other curricula, however, this discussion is not in the context of civil or political rights but in the broader context of human rights. These rights, as defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, include, among others, the right to education, identity, security, assembly, expression, employment, health, and familyóall relevant to the current discussion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights.
Protection International (2010)
Protection International has been working in the protection of human rights defenders for some years. To date our work has focused mainly on mainstream human rights defenders working in situations of open conflicts. In conversations with various defenders working on SOGI rights it became evident that we needed to expand our focus and our work to include the specifics faced by this sector of the human rights community. Many discussions as to what kind of format this would take happened over a period of several months that involved conversations with a whole range of defenders both mainstream and “non-mainstream”. PI worked with the comments and criticisms that had been made about its previous manuals for the protection of defenders and began to look at how it would address the need to highlight the specifics. Through its work with LGBTI defenders in Nepal and confirmed by other defenders around the globe it began to identify common issues that affected our community and those that defend it. Extensive research was carried out, both primary and secondary sources consulted and PI began to adapt its framework for mainstream defenders to suit.
The manual is a result of the input of many people not only the research and training unit of PI. It is designed to be practical, it is designed to challenge, to generate a debate within organisations and perhaps more ambitiously within our umbrella as a whole. What does it mean to include more and more acronyms with out adapting our discourses and agendas and more over adapting our security measures to ensure that the umbrella really does its job of protection? The manual has been tested, it has been adapted and PI hopes that it will continue to evolve and hopefully remain relevant in its content for the LGBTI community. It can only do that if LGBTI defenders engage with this process that has begun.
Amnesty International (2005)
The purpose of this document is to provide basic guidance on how non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can use the United Nations (UN) Treaty Monitoring Bodies (referred to as the “Treaty Bodies”) and the Special Procedures of the UN Commission on Human Rights (the Commission) to raise cases concerning the promotion and protection of the human rights of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). This document provides practical advice on how to use these bodies to raise individual cases as well as general situations of violations of the human rights of LGBT people.
In 2006, in response to well-documented patterns of abuse, a distinguished group of international human rights experts met in Yogyakarta, Indonesia to outline a set of international principles relating to sexual orientation and gender identity. The result was the Yogyakarta Principles: a universal guide to human rights which affirm binding international legal standards with which all States must comply. They promise a different future where all people born free and equal in dignity and rights can fulfil that precious birthright.
A UK-based, not-for-profit organisation advocating for every person to enjoy all of the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights standards.
Official Link: http://www.amnesty.org
A UK-based not-for-profit organisation advocating for the freedom of expression as stipulated in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration for Human Rights.
Official Link: http://www.article19.org
ASF intervenes in countries where human rights are not respected, where political violence and armed conflict reign, and where legal rules are flouted. Justice in those countries, too often arbitrary, does not guarantee the security of the population. Conflicts are not satisfactorily resolved before the local courts. People whose rights have been abused tend to resort to vigilante justice, which evolves into the law of the strongest or richest, and contributes to a climate of violence.
Official Link: http://www.asf.be/
The Committee to Protect Journalists is an independent, non-profit organization promoting press freedom worldwide by defending the rights of journalists to report the news without fear of reprisal.
Official Link: http://www.cpj.org
The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) is an independent, non-partisan, international non-governmental organisation, mandated to ensure the practical realisation of human rights in the countries of the Commonwealth. In 1987, several Commonwealth professional associations founded CHRI. They believed that while the Commonwealth provided member countries a shared set of values and legal principles from which to work and provided a forum within which to promote human rights, there was little focus on the issues of human rights within the Commonwealth.
Official Link: http://www.humanrightsinitiative.org/
ECDPM helps to reduce the ‘asymmetries’ in policy making between Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) and the European Union. This is done by reinforcing the capacities of public, private and non-profit organisations in ACP countries to better manage their own development policies and international cooperation. ECDPM also works with governments and organisations in Europe to make their development policies and instruments more effective.
Official Link: http://www.ecdpm.org/
Front Line was founded with the specific aim of protecting Human Rights Defenders, people who work, non-violently, for any or all of the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Front Line is the International Foundation for the protection of human rights defenders. We work to provide fast and effective action to help protect human rights defenders at risk so they can continue their work as key agents of social change.
Official Link: www.frontlinedefenders.org
Human Rights First believes that building respect for human rights and the rule of law, will help ensure the dignity to which, every individual is entitled and will stem tyranny, extremism, intolerance, and violence. Human Rights First has a web page on human rights defenders that features cases, reports and country profiles.
Official Link: http://www.humanrightsfirst.org/
HRF also has a human rights defenders programme that concentrates among other things on supporting persecuted human rights defenders and human rights defenders at risk:
We protect, empower and support human rights organisations locally and unite them in an international network of Human Rights Houses.
Official Link: http://humanrightshouse.org/
Human Rights Watch is an independent, non-governmental organization, supported by contributions from private individuals and foundations worldwide. Human Rights Watch is dedicated to protecting the human rights of people around the world. Human Rights Watch posts information and statements on the situation of human rights defenders throughout the world.
Official Link: www.hrw.org/
Interights aims to enforce human rights through law, providing protection and redress, in particular regions and on issues of strategic focus; and to empower legal partners and promote their effective use of law to protect human rights. It supports lawyers, judges, NGOs and victims on the ground by tailoring activities in response to the needs of each group and region. It works across the developing and developed world.
Official Link: http://www.interights.org
The International Commission of Jurists is dedicated to the primacy, coherence and implementation of international law and principles that advance human rights. The ICJ provides legal expertise at both the international and national levels to ensure that developments in international law adhere to human rights principles and that international standards are implemented at the national level.
Official Link: http://www.icj.org
FIDH is an international NGO defending all civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It acts in the legal and political field for the creation and reinforcement of international instruments for the protection of Human Rights and for their implementation.
Official Link: http://www.fidh.org
The International Lesbian and Gay Association is a world-wide network of national and local groups dedicated to achieving equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) people everywhere. Founded in 1978, ILGA is to this day the only international non-profit and non-governmental community-based federation focused on presenting discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation as a global issue.
Official Link: http://ilga.org
The International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) is an international association serving human rights defenders. It promotes the development, strengthening, effective use and implementation of international and regional law and mechanisms for the protection and promotion of human rights.
Official Link: http://www.ishr.ch
Since 1999, the New Tactics in Human Rights Project has worked to provide resources to human rights advocates that offer innovative tactical solutions for confronting specific local challenges. These resources enable activists to map the unique challenges specific to their site of intervention, identify approaches that have worked in other contexts in order to adapt and implement these tactics locally.
Official Link: http://www.newtactics.org/
Protecting human rights defenders is a main priority in Norway’s human rights policy. The overall objective is that efforts to promote and defend human rights in all parts of the world can be carried out without restrictions or threats to human rights defenders or their families. At the UN and other international organisations, Norway actively promotes efforts to support human rights defenders.
At national level, many Norwegian diplomatic missions are in charge of various measures and joint campaigns with other international actors to support their work. Human rights defenders are important cooperation partners for our diplomatic missions.
Official Link: http://www.regjeringen.no/en/dep/ud.html?id=833
The International Foundation for Human Rights (FIDH) created the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, jointly with the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The Observatory has a two-pronged approach: intervention to prevent or find solutions in repressive situations and a contribution to international mobilisation to acknowledge human rights defenders’ activities and the need for their protection at both regional and international levels.
Human Rights Defenders are one of the main actors fighting against impunity in the name of justice; they are essential markers in constructing and consolidating peace and democratisation. They find themselves on the receiving end of attacks and intimidation on a regular basis. PI contributes to reinforcing the security and protection of HRDs by mobilising the national and international community (parliaments, governments, the UN, ordinary citizens, the media) and by providing the concerned parties and beneficiaries with the knowledge and necessary tools to integrate protection on the ground into work plans and programmes. This programme will also facilitate the exchange of experiences locally and foster best practices between HRDs.
Official Link: http://www.protectioninternational.org/
Reporters Without Borders defends journalists and media assistants imprisoned or persecuted for doing their job and exposes the mistreatment and torture of them in many countries, fights against censorship and laws that undermine press freedom gives financial aid each year to 300 or so journalists or media outlets in difficulty (to pay for lawyers, medical care and equipment) as well to the families of imprisoned journalists, and works to improve the safety of journalists, especially those reporting in war zones.
Official Link: http://en.rsf.org
The Urgent Action Fund is the only international women’s fund in the world designed to respond on short notice. One of their key areas of engagement is the protection of women human rights defenders.
Official Link: http://www.urgentactionfund.org/
Africa branch (Nairobi): http://www.urgentactionfund-africa.or.ke/
Tel: (+254) 020 2301740
Fax: (+254) 020 2301740
Office cell: +254 726577560
WITNESS is an international nonprofit organization that uses the power of video and storytelling to open the eyes of the world to human rights abuses. It was co-founded in 1992 by musician and human rights advocate Peter Gabriel, Human Rights First and the Reebok Human Rights Foundation.
Official Link: http://witness.org/
Based in Geneva, OMCT’s International Secretariat provides personalised medical, legal and/or social assistance to hundreds of torture victims and ensures the daily dissemination of urgent appeals across the world, in order to protect individuals and to fight against impunity. Specific programmes allow it to provide support to specific categories of vulnerable people, such human rights defenders. In the framework of its activities, OMCT also submits individual communications and alternative reports to the special mechanisms of the United Nations, and actively collaborates in the development of international norms for the protection of human rights.
Official Link: http://www.omct.org
DefendDefenders regularly engages with the UN Human Rights Council (HRC). In this paper, entitled “The UN Human Rights Council: What is it? How can it help human rights defenders? How to engage with it?,” we provide HRDs and partners with basic information on the HRC, the ways in which it can help HRDs and strengthen their work at the national level, and how to engage with stakeholders and contribute to the work of the HRC.
Section 1 presents basic information about the HRC, its mandate, responsibilities, membership, and functioning. It also discusses HRC elections, regional group dynamics, and the HRC’s own bodies and mechanisms, including the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), special procedures, and investigative mechanisms.
Section 2 analyses how the HRC can help HRDs, including through its resolutions, investigations, engagement with States, and States’ statements and initiatives. The section also discusses civil society advocacy at the HRC – the Council is the UN body in which the space for civil society is the broadest.
Section 3 provides insights as to how to engage with the HRC and contribute to meaningful outcomes. It discusses various advocacy objectives, interventions, and dimensions and the tools HRDs can use to engage with the Council.
Download the paper.