ISHR's flagship Human Rights Defender Advocacy Programme (HRDAP) continues with its in-person component - after an interactive online course - from Wednesday 14 June, with sixteen inspiring human rights defenders from around the globe traveling to Geneva to learn how to use the UN mechanisms for even greater impact on the ground.
All along, the activists expanded their understanding of the UN system, and networked with one another through peer check-in sessions and with human rights experts and advocates, Special Rapporteurs, Diplomats, Treaty Bodies Experts and members of Commissions of Inquiry. They received individual and group coaching sessions and developed advocacy strategies, using the interactive and participative methodology.
HRDAP23 coincided with the 53rd Session of the Human Rights Council. This meant that participants were able to build networks in Geneva and around the world, advocate with UN member States and UN staff, learn from each other’s wealth of experience, and even deliver statements and provide testimonies at the Human Rights Council itself.
What did they achieve?
Amongst their many achievements and activities, a number stand out:
- Defenders from South Africa, Madagascar and Colombia participated in a unique side-event to deepen their experience and realities in light of the 25th anniversary of the Declaration on UN Human Rights Defenders.
- Defenders engaged in dynamic and informal discussions during an evening with six UN Special Procedures: Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, Special Rapporteur(s) on the situation of human rights defenders, freedom of assembly & association, climate change, working group on discrimination against women, and business and human rights.
- The defender from Zambia shed light on the situation of defenders in his country and delivered a joint statement calling on Zambia to revise its legal instruments and adopt an adequate legal framework to ensure defenders can work in a safe environment without fear of reprisals.
- In light of Pride Month, and through an energising video, LGBTIQ+ defenders told us more about their inspirations, their dreams and talked about the changes they contribute to in their countries. They also delivered a joint statement during the Interactive Dialogue with the Independent Expert on SOGI.
- During the programme, the media and defenders could learn more about the deteriorating situation in Angola, which has enacted an unfair law for defenders.
- We recorded powerful stories from several countries here.
- Defenders from South Sudan and other countries asked for justice and accountability for crimes committed in Libya. They put the spotlight on the global patterns of deaths and torture and other grave human rights violations at international borders for people on the move.
98% of the participants were either extremely satisfied or very satisfied with the programme. Watch one testimony below: