NGOs call on the UN Human Rights Council to adopt a robust resolution on human rights defenders

As the UN Human Rights Council opens its 49th session (HRC49), a group of over 30 NGOs, including DefendDefenders, call on states to adopt a robust resolution on human rights defenders (HRDs) operating in conflict and post-conflict situations — the focus of this year’s resolution. 

“It is important for the Council to adopt a resolution that reflects the gravity and the reality of the situation defenders face every day and is tailored to addressing the specific protection needs they face,” the signatories write. 

We ask states to actively support the drafting of a resolution that recognises the essential work of HRDs operating in conflict and post-conflict situations, outlines means to ensure their work is enabled despite the situation of conflict and uncertainty that may prevail, and formulates concrete asks of states, companies and all other actors with the power to protect and promote the right to defend rights.

As international conflict has resumed in Europe with Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, and as many HRDs around the world are forced to operate in conflict and post-conflict situations, including in the East and Horn of Africa, DefendDefenders highlights the importance of this resolution and urges states to support its development and adoption. 


Read the full letter


Human Rights Defender of the month: Esther Tawiah

In Ghana, Esther Tawiah is one of the loudest voices for women empowerment and gender. It is also why she is one of the most loathed. Born and raised in New-Tafo in the country’s eastern region, Esther grew up surrounded by a culture that frowned at the idea of women participating in public affairs, and witnessed firsthand, the backlash those who dared to challenge that cultural norm faced.

“I grew up in a society where ageism and sexism were so entrenched. As a young person, you weren’t supposed to give your opinion on public issues, especially if you were a woman. Women who dared to speak up were caricatured and branded as frustrated, unmarriageable prostitutes, all designed to shut them up,” she says.