Adapted from Kim Nguyen for Fine Acts x OBI (CC-BY-NC-SA)


Director's update: The remarkable human rights comeback

In the face of existential threats, human rights and multilateralism are making a remarkable comeback. Advocates and activists around the world are turning to international human rights laws and systems to seek justice, equality and accountability - and they are starting to win.

In 2022, we are proud to have worked together and in solidarity with dedicated activists around the globe to make a difference in people’s lives and achieve some significant human rights wins!

  • With the Taliban adopting systematic policies and practices of gender apartheid, our work with partners to convene an Urgent Debate at the UN provided a powerful platform for women from Afghanistan to share their stories and articulate their demands for international support and accountability.
  • We worked closely with Iran partners and  joined the call for a special session of the Human Rights Council, which resulted in the establishment of an independent international investigation into Iran’s ongoing crackdown on popular protests.
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In 2022, together with activists around the globe, we made a difference in people’s lives!

  • Together with Uyghur organisations and advocates, and following sustained NGO advocacy, we secured the release of a landmark OHCHR report on the human rights crisis in Xinjiang, and urged governments to take  significant steps – which they did in September and October – of addressing the situation at the UN’s Human Rights Council and General Assembly.
  • We played a key role in building, coordinating and resourcing a diversity of coalitions with human rights defenders at their centre, including the UN Anti-Racism Coalition which works to combat systemic racism and achieve racial justice.
  • Our systemic advocacy and individualised advice helped to finally open the UN’s doors for nine previously excluded NGOs, including the International Dalit Solidarity Network and the Gulf Centre for Human Rights, bringing their crucial experience and expertise to international policy makers. 
  • Throughout the year, we worked intensively with human rights defenders from Venezuela and Nicaragua to secure the establishment and continued operation of independent international mechanisms to investigate, report and promote accountability for grave human rights violations in those countries, and to accelerate progress for change. 
  • High-level political support and public advocacy can show solidarity with defenders and help ensure their safety and freedom. Our work to end reprisals against activists who engage with the United Nations gained momentum as we launched a database compiling cases of intimidation and reprisals documented by the UN since 2010. Our campaign to #EndReprisals was a significant success, with a record number of States speaking out to secure accountability for individual cases of reprisals.
  • After seven years working in partnership with local civil society organisations, we finally secured the enactment of a human rights defender protection law in Niger! With your support we will work to ensure its effective implementation, together with that of human rights defender laws we have previously secured in countries including Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Mali and Mongolia. 

We thank all our donors and supporters for fostering the human rights comeback and contributing to these inspiring wins. Together we can make 2023 a year of transformative change!

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