All UN member States are bound by International Human Rights Law and have a specific commitment to the protection of defenders. Civil authorities and the police force of each country bare the greatest responsibility for the protection of human rights defenders. What UN member States can do by virtue of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted on December 9, 1998 by the UN General Assembly is the following

  • Implement the Declaration
  • Disseminate the Declaration
  • Ensure that there is a real protection of defenders
  • Create prizes to reward the defenders in danger
  • Draw attention to the role of local authorities
  • Co-operate with the Special Representative
  • Study the instructions of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Some useful documents

What EU missions can do in order to support and protect human rights defenders:

  • Closely collaborate and share information relating to the defenders, including those in danger
  • Maintain adequate contacts with the defenders, notably by receiving them within the Missions and by visiting their work place
  • To grant, when and where it is useful, a visible acknowledgement of defenders by means of an adequate promotion as well as visits or invitations
  • Attend defenders’ trial where appropriate
  • Actively reinforce the work of defenders
  • Take urgent-actions when defenders are threatened or arrested

Members States of the African Union have also adopted some commitments in


Useful links
Eu Guidelines on Human Rights