Photo: UN Web TV


HRC 43 | Fiji must act to improve protections for human rights defenders

Human rights defenders in Fiji face harassment, intimidation, and restrictive laws and policies. During the adoption of Fiji's third Universal Periodic Review report, ISHR called on Fiji authorities to take steps to create a safer and more enabling environment for defenders.

On 12 March the Human Rights Council adopted the report from Fiji’s third Universal Periodic Review (UPR). During the session, ISHR delivered a joint statement with Rainbow Pride Foundation highlighting critical actions Fiji must take to ensure all human rights defenders are able to fully enjoy their fundamental rights.

The statement recognised that since its last UPR, Fiji has made significant progress in expanding civic space. However, as ISHR and Rainbow Pride Foundation underscored in a joint briefing paper ahead of the UPR, more needs to be done.

‘Not only do laws and policies continue to restrict the fundamental rights of freedom of expression, assembly, and association, but human rights defenders are also all too frequently intimidated and harassed with impunity,’ said ISHR Programme Manager and Legal Counsel Tess McEvoy. ‘This is particularly true for defenders working for the protection and promotion of the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons,’ McEvoy added.

The joint statement therefore urged Fiji to:

  • Ensure human rights defenders can freely carry out their legitimate activities, including by implementing the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders at the national level;
  • Repeal the sections of the Public Order Act Amendment Decree, the Media Industry Development Decree, the 2014 Electoral Decree and the Online Safety Bill that restrict the freedom of expression, assembly, and association;
  • Enhance efforts to combat acts of discrimination and violence against LGBTI persons and guarantee that all such acts are investigated and punished by incorporating sexual orientation into antidiscrimination laws; and
  • Take measures to reduce the targeting and harassment of LGBTI human rights defenders.

Watch our statement here:



Related articles

UN adopts resolution on elections and democratic processes that includes persons of all sexual orientations and gender identities

ISHR and Outright International celebrate the adoption by United Nations Third Committee Member States today of a resolution on elections and democratic processes that, for the second time, specifically includes sexual orientation and gender identity as prohibited grounds of discrimination in people’s right to participate in public affairs.

Guatemala at critical juncture, urged to re-engage meaningfully with UN rights bodies

The Guatemalan government rejects 40% of recommendations at crucial UN human rights review. Amidst a delicate electoral context, NGOs urge the government to cooperate in good faith with UN bodies and implement key recommendations to address attacks against human rights defenders, justice officials, and discrimination against Indigenous Peoples, women, and LGBTIQ+ persons.

Protection mechanism crucial to implementation of law on defenders in Niger

On 15 June 2022, the National Assembly of Niger passed a law on the rights and duties of human rights defenders. This makes Niger the fourth African country to adopt such a law. However, for the law to produce the desired effects, it must be widely known and understood by all stakeholders. The establishment of an independent and inclusive protection mechanism will ensure the full implementation of the law.

Stay in the loop!

Would you like to be informed of future events, news, updates on our work, invitations and appeals? Please enter your email address below!