11 Jan

By 15 January 2021, the UN Human Rights Council (the Council) is expected to elect the Council’s President for the 15th cycle in 2021 from the Asia-Pacific Group. The State Representatives who have put forward their candidacies are: Bahrain, Fiji and Uzbekistan. Our organisations* urge all members of the Council to elect the Council President based on Council membership criteria.

11 Jan

Here are some of the things we are most proud of; impacts that reflect and were made possible thanks to the creativity, solidarity and resilience of our partners, our staff and the human rights defenders we collectively serve.

05 Jan

In a joint reaction coordinated by Amnesty International, NGOs welcomed the report of the co-facilitators of the 2020 review of the treaty body system, Switzerland and Morocco. It remains to be seen whether the General Assembly will take any action in follow up to their report. So far, the President of the General Assembly has not re-appointed the co-facilitators to continue the process, nor communicated anything further on the subject. 

28 Dec

On 28 December 2020, Saudi Arabia’s Specialised Criminal Court (SCC) sentenced Saudi women human rights defenders Loujain Al-Hathloul and Miyaa al-Zahrani to 5 years and 8 months in prison.

18 Dec

ISHR and ILGA World have updated their factsheets on different UN experts – check out the references to LGBTI persons and recommendations that these Special Procedures have made.

IACHR | The US must keep funding human rights body


ISHR has joined fifty other civil society organisations and experts calling on the US not to cut funding for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.  

The U.S State Department is considering curtailing funding upon the request of nine US senators.

'Cutting funding to a body that works to prevent and address violations in the Americas is counter-productive. During such political and economic flux, now's the time to be investing in promoting the respect of human rights,' said ISHR's Eleanor Openshaw. 'We urge the State Department to boost not cut support to the Commission.' 


Full press release:  

NEW YORK, WASHINGTON D.C. – A group of fifty civil society organizations and experts are joining calls by Members of Congress and United States nominees and former commissioners of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to maintain strong U.S. support and funding to the IACHR as the hemisphere’s principal human rights organ. 

The call comes as the U.S. State Department considers curtailing funding for the IACHR, upon a request made by nine senators on December 21st, 2018.  The undersigned organizations are extremely concerned that cutting or eliminating US funding would put the IACHR at a severe disadvantage in uplifting core values in the American Hemisphere—democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.

The fifty organizations and experts echo previous letters sent to U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo in February by Members of Congressformer commissioners, and nominees. The IACHR leads on efforts to fight violence, corruption, censorship, and trafficking, and to promote victims’ rights and regional responses to refugee crises throughout the Americas.  The signatory organizations agree that it would be a severe misstep for the U.S. government to cut off funding to a respected organization that is mandated to protect democracy and human rights in the Americas.  

Created in 1959, the IACHR is an autonomous organ of the Organization of American States (OAS) that monitors and defends human rights. The IACHR considers petitions from individuals who claim that their rights have been violated by a Member State, and they cannot find justice in their own country. The IACHR can also take concrete measures to protect individuals and groups whose lives are in imminent danger. It is also its duty to monitor the human rights situation in the Member States.  

In the 1970s and 1980s, the IACHR challenged and reported abuses by repressive regimes, becoming instrumental in helping to facilitate the region’s transition to democracy. More recently, it has been a leading institution in developing human rights standards. 

The signatory organizations and individuals call on all OAS Member States, including the United States, to continue supporting the IACHR and ensuring it can meet its mandate. The IACHR’s continued leadership on human rights has importance beyond the region, and it must be safeguarded. 


American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

American Jewish World Service (AJWS)

Amnesty International

Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR)

Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, University of California Hastings College of the Law

Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law at American University Washington College of Law

Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA)

Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL)

The Center for Reproductive Rights

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment

Columbia Global Freedom of Expression

Due Process of Law Foundation (DPLF)

Human and Civil Rights Clinic, Howard University School of Law

Human Rights Clinic, University of Miami School of Law

Human Rights Clinic, University of Texas at Austin, School of Law

Human Rights & Gender Justice Clinic, City University of NY Law School

Human Rights Institute, Columbia Law School

The International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights

The International Justice Resource Center

Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti

International Human Rights Law and Practice Clinic, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law

International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)

Latin America Working Group (LAWG)

LatinoJustice PRLDEF


New Mexico Environmental Law Center


Open Society Justice Initiative

Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy at the Northeastern University School of Law  (PHRGE) 

The Promise Institute for Human Rights, UCLA School of Law

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights

Santa Clara Law - International Human Rights Clinic

Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center, Howard University School of Law

US Human Rights Network

Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) 

Women Enabled International

Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC)

Woodhull Freedom Foundation


Individual sign-ons, with affiliation listed for identification purposes only:

Susan M. Akram, Clinical Professor and Director, International Human Rights Clinic, Boston University School of Law

Douglass Cassel, Emeritus Professor Notre Dame Law School

Constance de la Vega, Madison Professor of Law, University of San Francisco

Margaret Drew, Associate Professor UMass Law School

Claudia Flores, Associate Clinical Professor of Law, Director of International Human Rights Clinic, University of Chicago Law School

Denise Gilman, Clinical Professor, Director, Immigration Clinic, University of Texas School of Law

JoAnn Kamuf Ward, Director, Human Rights in the U.S. Project, Human Rights Institute, Columbia Law School

Rebecca Landy, Human Rights Funders Network (HRFN)

Bert Lockwood, Director, Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights, University of Cincinnati College of Law

Sarah H. Paoletti, Practice Professor of Law, Director, Transnational Legal Clinic, University of Pennsylvania School of Law

Naomi Roht-Arriaza, Albert Abramson ’54 Distinguished Professor of Law at UC Hastings

James Silk, Binger Clinical Professor of Human Rights, Yale Law School

Photo: CIDH Pro




HRC40| NGO side events



El gobierno de López Obrador ha estado utilizando selectivamente el respaldo y apoyo de ciertas agencias de la ONU para emprender proyectos e implementar políticas de manera contraria a sus obligaciones internacionales en materia de derechos humanos.

Browse our articles:






ISHR commences work to develop an international Declaration on the Rights of Human Rights Defenders


ISHR publishes first Human Rights Monitor, connecting human rights defenders on the ground with international human rights systems and developments


ISHR facilitates global civil society engagement with the Second World Conference on Human Rights, which leads to the strengthening of women’s rights, the affirmation of universal rights, the adoption of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action and the establishment of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights


ISHR provides training, technical assistance and support to its 1000th human rights defender


After 14 years of ISHR lobbying, advocacy and negotiation, the UN General Assembly adopts the landmark Declaration on Human Rights Defenders


UN Secretary-General appoints Hina Jilani as inaugural UN Special Representative on Human Rights Defenders, strengthening protection of human rights advocates at risk worldwide.


ISHR leads a successful campaign for the appointment of a Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights


ISHR co-founds and supports a range of international and regional human rights coalitions, including the Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition, the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project and the West African Human Rights Defenders Network


ISHR contributes to the establishment and institution building of a new global peak body for human rights issues, the UN Human Rights Council


ISHR leads and coordinates the development of the Yogyakarta Principles on sexual orientation and gender identity, strengthening legal recognition and protection of LGBT rights worldwide


ISHR’s sustained advocacy on the issue of reprisals and intimidation faced by human rights defenders leads to adoption of landmark UN Human Rights Council resolution condemning and strengthening protections against reprisals


Working with key NGO partners such as Amnesty International, ISHR leads civil society efforts to strengthen UN human rights treaty bodies, prevent their weakening and better connect their work with victims and human rights defenders on the ground


Working with supportive states and NGOs, ISHR advocacy leads to adoption of historic Human Rights Council resolution calling on all States to review and amend national laws to respect and protect the work of human rights defenders