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26 Nov

This December, ISHR will raise money to provide invaluable skills and resources to courageous activists from around the world so they can share their hopes and agenda for a better world.

27 Nov

The expertise, insights and efforts of women human rights defenders are key to achieving a sustainable and effective response to conflict, says ISHR in a new report providing recommendations to the UN Security Council on how best to ensure such input is sought, heard and acted upon. 

05 Dec

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26 Nov

Three exceptional women are the finalists for the 2020 Martin Ennals Award, a demonstration of the leading position now occupied by women in the defence of human rights. The 2020 Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders will be presented to one of them on 19 February during a ceremony hosted by the City of Geneva which, as part of its commitment to human rights, has for many years supported the Award.

28 Nov

En République du Congo, protéger les droits humains peut s’avérer être un réel défi. La société civile travaille dans un environnement où règnent les menaces, l’auto-censure et la peur des représailles. Un cadre juridique spécifique protégeant les défenseur.es serait une première étape importante vers la garantie d’un environnement de travail plus sûr.

Philippines | Calling for accountability for violations against human rights defenders

14.05.2019

The Philippines is one of the most dangerous countries for human rights defenders. They persevere under harsh conditions, fighting against repression and corruption to make a better society for all. They continue their work so the most vulnerable are protected and their voices are heard.  

On 8 May ISHR – along with CIVICUS, Frontline Defenders, FORUM Asia, FIDH, and the World Organisation Against Torturereleased a joint statement denouncing recent death threats addressed to Karapatan Secretary General, Cristina Palabay, and urging the Philippine Government to respond to the threats against human rights defenders by taking genuine and effective measures for their protection.

‘These threats and wider attacks against human rights defenders, journalists and civil society signify the further constricting of civic space and silencing of dissent in the country,’ say the organisations.

The statement urged the international community to call for restrictive policies to be reversed. It also urged the UN Human Rights Council to advance accountability for human rights violations by adopting a resolution establishing an independent international investigation into extrajudicial killings in the government's 'war on drugs', and to call for a halt to the attacks on human rights defenders, independent media, and democratic institutions.

This follows a recent statement by organisations within the country. On 16 April 2019, a group of human rights organisations in the Philippines - including Karapatan, Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, Ibon Foundation, alternative learning centers for indigenous children - released a statement seeking support from the Government to halt the series of vilification and smear campaigns against human rights defenders and organisations.

The latest smear campaign has been led by the ‘National Task Force’ (NTF) that was created by President Duterte by Executive Order No. 70 on 4 December 2018 to ‘end local communist armed conflict.’

In meetings with the UN and other high-level government officials and agencies, the NTF has maligned human rights organisations, calling them ‘terrorists’ or ‘fronts for the Communist Party of the Philippines’, accused them of presenting ‘false narratives’ and ‘trying to destroy [the] government’. It has also called on States to ‘stop the release of funds to these groups,’ and states that ‘correct information on human rights in the Philippines could only come from the government.’

These smear campaigns ‘have resulted in the killings of human rights defenders, criminalisation of their work and beliefs, illegal arrests and detention, torture and other violations of the people’s right to uphold and defend rights, to form organisations and to conduct human rights work,’ according to the statement from national NGOs.

Human rights defenders in the Philippines are a light against a repressive regime. Without them, countless stories from vulnerable populations might not be heard or have their rights protected. The international community must call for an end to these harmful campaigns against human rights defenders.

For more information contact: Sarah Brooks, s.brooks@ishr.ch or Tess McEvoy, t.mcevoy@ishr.ch

Photo: Le Montage

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Read this article in English                                                                                                                           Lea este artículo en español aquí

Par Armel Niyongere, avocat  défenseur des droits humains, leader de la société civile burundaise pendant plusieurs années. Armel Niyongere représente souvent la société civile du Burundi dans la préparation et la présentation des rapports alternatifs devant les organes de traités.

Les organes de traités ont démontré leur capacité à prendre les bonnes mesures dans des situations de crise comme au Burundi. La coordination avec les instances supérieures des Nations Unies comme le Conseil de sécurité ou le Conseil des droits de l’Homme est nécessaire dans de telles situations.

Cet article a été initialement publié sur OpenGlobalRights le 27 novembre 2019.

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1984

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

1988

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

1993

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

1994

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

1998

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

2000

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

2004

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

2005

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

2006

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

2007

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

2011

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

2012

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

2013

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