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NGO letter on renewing the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders

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.  


Read the full letter in English / version française
Full list of signatories available on ISHR’s website.


Human Rights Defender of the month: Pamela Angwench Judith

For most of her life, Pamela Angwech’s existence has always been a defiant and simultaneous act of survival and resistance. In 1976 when she was born, the anti-Amin movement was gathering pace, and her family was one of the earliest victims of the then dictatorship’s reprisals in Northern Uganda. Her father, a passionate educationist in Kitgum district was one of the most vocal critics of the dictatorship’s human rights excesses, which made him an obvious target of the state’s marauding vigilantes.