Human rights defenders (HRDs) are people who act with humanity, serve humanity, and bring out the best in humanity. Despite their vital contribution, both governments and non-state actors are still seeking to silence them.
In a letter released today as the UN Human Rights Council opens its 52nd session (HRC52), over 150 human rights organisations around the world call on states to renew the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders.
The Special Rapporteur’s mandate, they write, “is integral to their protection and recognition, globally. It gathers and responds to information on the situation of defenders around the world, engages constructively with governments and non-State actors and provides expert recommendations to promote the effective implementation of the ‘Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms’ (The Declaration on human rights defenders).”
2023 marks 25 years since the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration on human rights defenders. At HRC52, states will consider a resolution extending the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for three years. This is a key opportunity for States and the Council to demonstrate their support and recognition for the indispensable role HRDs play to ensure that all people enjoy freedom, dignity, justice and equality.