Annual Report | Serving defenders, protecting rights and achieving justice

All over the world people have risen and continue to strive, push and persevere to make human rights a reality for all of us! These people are human rights defenders. ISHR is proud to serve them, with the solidarity and support of people like you.

Together we made a significant contribution last year towards a world that is more fair, just and equal. A world where essential actors of change - human rights defenders - are better recognised and protected. Thank you for being such an important part of ISHR’s work. Today, ISHR is thrilled to invite you to discover our latest annual report, outlining our key impacts during 2018 and our bold vision for 2019 and the years ahead.

Human rights defenders are the lifeblood of the human rights movement. And they are at the heart of ISHR’s work. We contribute to their protection when they are at risk. We expand and strengthen their networks. And we provide them with powerful platforms from which to expose violations, demand accountability, and push for justice. 

What did we achieve in 2018?

Here are just a few examples of our collective impact in 2018:

  • We provided intensive training and strategic advocacy support to over 230 defenders from around the world, equipping them with the expertise and networks to use the international human rights system to achieve national-level change.
  • We strengthened national and international law and jurisprudence on the recognition and protection of defenders, including women human rights defenders and migrant rights defenders.
  • We focused attention on the situation of defenders in highly restrictive environments, such as China, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, increasing political pressure for the release of arbitrarily detained defenders, extracting a political cost for attacks and reprisals against them, and highlighting cases in the international and national press.
  • We met with the UN Secretary-General, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, heads of State and foreign ministers from across the world, pressing each of them to prioritise the recognition and protection of defenders.
  • We worked with powerful and influential multinational corporations to secure their high-level commitment to respect and protect defenders, even defenders who oppose and protest against their activities.
  • We partnered with national actors in a wide range of countries – from Guinea to Jamaica, from Colombia to Tunisia, and from Mali to Mongolia – to secure a safe and enabling environment for defender's vital work. 


What's next on our agenda?

With your support in 2019, we will press for the release of arbitrarily detained defenders in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and China. We will advocate to end systemic reprisals against activists in Burundi and Egypt. We will stand with those struggling against populism and rising authoritarianism, from Venezuela to Hungary, from the Philippines to Brazil. We will strengthen laws and mechanisms for the protection of women defenders, as well as defenders of the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people. We will resist the criminalisation of those who provide hope and humanitarian support to migrants and asylum seekers. And we will ensure that, even as democratic institutions and the rule of law are undermined at the national level, defenders are able to turn to credible and effective regional and international human rights mechanisms for justice.

Collective success

We would like to thank you for your support to ISHR and the defenders with whom we work. Your contributions are vital to our collective human rights impact and success.  


Thank you for supporting ISHR to help defenders achieve freedom, equality and justice. 
Phil Lynch - Executive Director
Lucia Nader - Chair of the ISHR Board

PS. We'd love you to share our annual report with friends and colleagues who share your passion for human rights and who might be interested in supporting ISHR to achieve human rights impact and change!


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