On 21 April 2021, ISHR together with the HRD Hub at the Centre for Applied Human Rights, University of York, launched a new study on the ‘Desirability and Feasibility of a Global Network of ‘Human Rights Defenders Focal Points’.
A new ISHR study found that, while the appointment of a UN senior official on intimidation and reprisals led to an increase in resources and better reporting and follow up, there is still room to strengthen the UN’s response.
In order for the international human rights system to function to its fullest potential, human rights defenders must be able to share crucial information and perspectives, safely and unhindered. However, many defenders still face unacceptable risks and are unable to cooperate safely with the UN.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights denounced today the situation for human rights defenders in Colombia, Guatemala, and Honduras. The absence of the state, legal restrictions, and ineffective practices were highlighted as obstacles that must be urgently tackled by governments.
In a joint statement, ISHR and partners welcome the High Commissioner's recognition of the disproportionate impact of the COVID pandemic and the asssociated economic crisis on LGBTI communities, and call for national and international responses to be developed in consultation with civil society.
The UN Secretary-General released his annual report today on reprisals and intimidation against individuals and groups seeking to cooperate with the UN on human rights. Once again, the report identifies a very concerning number of threats and attacks aimed at silencing human rights defenders in retaliation for engaging with the UN, with evidence that a number of States have a strategy or systematic approach to obstructing and punishing those who give information, evidence or testimony in relation to human rights.
In 2020, the United Nations will review the functioning of the ten human rights treaty bodies. OpenGlobalRights and ISHR are publishing a series of op-eds to stimulate more discussion on ways to improve the work of the treaty bodies. Eleven of these op-eds are collated in a publication.
In order for the African human rights system to function to its fullest potential, human rights defenders must be able to share crucial information and perspectives regarding situations on the ground. However, many defenders still face unacceptable risks and are unable to cooperate safely with the African human rights system.
Human rights defenders must be able to access and communicate with the UN freely and safely so that the UN can do its crucial work to monitor countries’ compliance with human rights obligations and protect victims from abuse. Some defenders are afraid of even attempting to engage with human rights mechanisms, yet the scale of this problem is unclear, and solutions to address it elusive. To respond to these challenges, ISHR launched a new study on the methodological challenges and opportunities inherent in measuring the impact of intimidation on engagement with the UN human rights system.
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.