© collage by ISHR from participants' individual portraits


Celebrating 10 years of our HRDAP training programme with our 2024 cohort!

This year marks ten years of ISHR's flagship training, the Human Rights Defender Advocacy Programme (HRDAP), which engages defenders in intensive hybrid training on UN advocacy. We are pleased to welcome a new group to Geneva for the tenth edition of the programme!

Over the past 10 years, ISHR has been fortunate to host more than 200 human rights defenders from across the world through HRDAP. Today we welcome 16 accomplished defenders, who will later join this exceptional group of HRDAP alumni. In celebrating these past 10 years, along with ISHR’s 40th anniversary, we recognise the achievements of HRDAP alumni, both during and after their participation in the programme.

Alexandra Montgomery, currently the Director of Programmes at Amnesty International Brazil, informed State representatives and other expert stakeholders in 2016 on the violence land defenders face in Brazil. Linda RM Baumann from Namibia, alongside other members of the 2018 cohort, called for action to protect LGBTQI+ defenders during a Human Rights Council Interactive Dialogue. She is currently the Strategic Coordinator at the Namibia Diverse Women’s Association.

This year’s group of defenders come from a variety of backgrounds and work on a variety of issues:

  • A defender from Afghanistan, based in Germany, supports communities facing marginalisation and disadvantage.
  • In Benin, an environmental professional works on biodiversity conservation. He advocates for community access to resources like land and water.
  • A defender from China works against human trafficking and to hold the government accountable for human rights violations in China and Thailand.
  • A defender from Comoros trains their community in children’s ethics and protection, as well as peace and conflict resolution.
  • In El Salvador, a defender advocates for the rule of law and judicial independence to defend peoples’ collective rights and freedoms.
  • An investigative journalist from Germany documents human rights violations.
  • A human rights lawyer from Mexico is dedicated to analysing and improving legal strategies in serious human rights violations, business and human rights, and Indigenous peoples’ rights.
  • Two defenders from Nigeria work for the enjoyment of human rights by everyone in their country. One of them works on equality for LGBTIQ+ communities, and the other one for including young people in effective justice systems.
  • From Palestine, a defender advocates as an attorney for the rights of the Palestinian people.
  • An Afro-feminist activist from Panama advocates for Afro-Panamanian youth and activism.
  • A defender from Sierra Leone, based in Spain, works to provide safe spaces and communities for immigrants in Spain.
  • From Tibet and based in India, a coordinator and Doctor of Chinese Studies researches climate change in Tibet, China’s environmental policies toward Tibet, and relations between China and Tibet.
  • A paralegal professional from the United States of America works on advancing the rights of incarcerated people through a human rights framework.
  • From Venezuela, a journalist specialises in human rights digital campaign creation, social media, production, editing, and marketing.
  • A defender from Western Sahara advocates for gender equality, youth empowerment, climate justice, and denounces human rights violations in the region.

While in Geneva, participants will meet with Special Rapporteurs, Ambassadors, NGOs, and other key players in their causes. They will attend the Human Rights Council session (HRC56) in person and participate in advocacy meetings, a chance for them to use the advocacy toolbox they worked on with their coaches during the virtual portion of the training.

Not only is this programme important for their work with UN human rights mechanisms, but it is also key in developing solidarity networks between the defenders. Indeed, some participants have more experience than others and can thus share valuable and effective narratives about campaigns they brought to the UN. Those with less experience can bring a fresh perspective to their more seasoned colleagues. Peers connecting together with tips and advice is one of HRDAP’s valuable outcomes. ISHR teams are looking forward to engaging with these incredible human rights defenders!

Stay tuned by following us on Twitter / X and using the hashtag #HRDAP24.

This programme is made possible thanks to our generous donors. We extend our gratitude to the UK Mission and US Mission in Geneva and the Canton de Genève.

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