Non-Governmental Organisations working on Human Rights Defenders

The aim of our campaign is to bring sustained and coordinated pressure on the Colombian government to achieve a positive, lasting and significant change for the country’s human rights defenders.

Areas of focus:

– Impunity in cases involving defenders.
– Misuse of state intelligence against defenders.
– Systematic stigmatization of defenders by government officials.
– Unfounded criminal proceedings brought against defenders.
– Problems with the protection program for defenders at risk.

The East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project (EHAHRDP) seeks to strengthen the work of human rights defenders (HRDs) throughout the region by reducing their vulnerability to the risk of persecution and by enhancing their capacity to effectively defend human rights.
EHAHRDP focuses its work on Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia (together with Somaliland), Sudan (together with South Sudan), Tanzania and Uganda. As of 2008 it also includes Rwanda and Burundi into its scope given their recent adhesion to the East African Community.
Many countries in this sub-region have experienced massive human rights abuses, long-term and large-scale impunity, single-party and military dictatorships, civil wars, and in the case of Somalia, a collapsed state; such situations and contexts render both the work and lives of human rights defenders particularly challenging.
This project was established following extensive field research in the region, which identified the most pressing and unmet needs of human rights defenders in order to seek to overcome some of the resulting challenges. The key areas identified as needing to be addressed were:

– Insufficient collaboration amongst human-rights organizations, especially among neighboring countries
– Resource constraints (notably material) which greatly undermine the effectiveness of the work carried out by human rights defenders
– Knowledge gaps, in particular regarding international human rights instruments and mechanisms as well as crisis management.

The East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Network was established in 2005 and currently brings together more than 65 non-governmental organizations active in the protection of human rights throughout the region. Its objectives evolve from its vision of a region in which the human rights of every citizen as stipulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) are respected and upheld, and is further emphasized in its mission to maximize the protection of Human Rights Defenders working in the region and to enhance the awareness of human rights work through linkages with national, regional and international like-minded entities. Its declared objectives are:
– To protect and defend HRDs in the region
– To build the capacity of HRDs in the region, and
– To advocate and raise public awareness and profiles of HRDs in the region

To reach these objectives, the activities of the Network will focus on a threefold strategy along the following lines:
• Protection
• Capacity building
• Advocacy

Created in 2001, in Luxembourg, the European Bar Human Rights Institute (IDHAE) has as its objective:
– the monitoring of human rights protection particularly under the European Convention of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of November 4th, 1950 and its Protocols as well as the Charter of Fundamental rights of the European union.
– the training of lawyers in international human rights law particularly relating to the rights of the defence before the international jurisdiction and criminal courts.
– interventions, regardless of the limitations of borders, in favour of freedom and the fundamental rights of lawyers.
– the organisation of workshops, symposia and seminars related to publications on international human rights law.
– the presentation of a European Human Rights Prize to a lawyer.

Special page on Human Rights Defenders; around the world, Human Rights First seeks to protect human rights defenders, all too often both the champions of progress as well as the victims of repression.

The Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders, created in 1993, is granted annually to someone who has demonstrated an exceptional record of combating human rights violations by courageous and innovative means. The prize aims to encourage human rights defenders who are in need of protection. The value of the award is 20,000 Swiss Francs, to be used for further work in the field of human rights.

The WHRD IC is a resource and advocacy network for the protection and support of women human rights defenders worldwide. An international initiative created out of the international campaign on women human rights defenders launched in 2005, the Coalition calls attention to the recognition of women human rights defenders. It asserts that those advocating for women’s human rights – no matter what gender or sexual orientation they claim – are in fact human rights defenders. Their gender or the nature of their work has made them the subject of attacks, requiring gender-sensitive mechanisms for their protection and support. The Coalition involves women activists as well as men who defend women’s rights and lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender (LGBT) defenders and groups committed to the advancement of women’s human rights and sexual rights. The Coalition is currently composed of the following 21 members:

Amnesty International (AI)
Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD)
Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (Forum Asia)
Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID)
Baobab for Women’s Human Rights
Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR)
Center for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL)
Coalition of African Lesbians (CAL)
Front Line International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (Front Line)
Human Rights First
Information Monitor (Inform)
International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH)
International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific (IWRAW‐AP)
ISIS‐Women’s International Cross‐Cultural Exchange (ISIS‐WICCE)
The Latin American and Caribbean Committee for the Defense of Women’s Rights (CLADEM)
MADRE (International Women’s Rights Organization)
Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights (UAF)
Women’s Initiative for Gender Justice (WIGJ)
Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML)
World Organization against Torture (OMCT)

Page dedicated to the defence of lawyers