#HRC34 | Global NGO coalition calls for renewal of mandate of UN Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders

In a letter to member States of the Human Rights Council, a global coalition of leading civil society organisations has called for the consensus renewal of the mandate of the UN expert on human rights defenders. Read more about the renewal in ISHR’s Human Rights Council Alert.

7 March 2017

Your Excellency,

The undersigned civil society organisations, coming from all regions, urge your delegation to support the renewal of the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders.

The work of human rights defenders is vital to promoting human rights, upholding the rule of law, and achieving sustainable and inclusive development. Despite this critical role, the Special Rapporteur notes that defenders are under ‘unprecedented attack’ with ‘the number killed around the world continuously rising’.

In turn, the mandate of the Special Rapporteur is key to provide visibility of the situation of defenders and highlight the need for their protection. Since the creation of the mandate in 2000, successive mandate holders have made concrete contributions to the protection of those defending human rights and the dissemination and implementation of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. The mandate has also made significant contributions to acknowledging gender specific attacks targeting women human rights defenders and the need to develop intersectional responses.

During the Human Rights Council’s 34th session, States are considering a resolution extending the mandate for a further three years. The proposed renewal of the Special Rapporteur’s mandate provides a key opportunity for the HRC to strengthen the recognition of the crucial role defenders play in our societies, and towards the creation of a fair, just and equal world.

We call upon all States to show their commitment to human rights, peace and sustainable development through strong and unconditional support for the renewal of the mandate. The establishment of the mandate in 2000, and all its extensions, have always enjoyed consensus in the Commission on Human Rights and the Human Rights Council.

Such strong support will lay the basis – in this resolution and the future work of the HRC, the General Assembly and the Special Rapporteur – to further strengthen the protection of defenders.

Assuming the extension of the mandate, the Special Rapporteur has foreshadowed a range of much needed and important initiatives, including expert technical assistance, to support States to ensure the full and effective implementation of human rights defender related resolutions and recommendations at the national level.

We therefore urge your delegation to support the extension of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur by participating positively in the negotiations on the resolution, and in time co-sponsor the text.

Civil society and human rights defenders around the world look to the HRC and its Member States for support and protection, and we hope your delegation will stand with us.

Yours sincerely, 

  1. International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
  2. Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), Nigeria
  3. African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (ACDHRS),  
  4. Alkarama Foundation  
  5. Amnesty International, International
  6. Article 19, International
  7. Association for Advancement of Legal Right , Hong Kong
  8. Association for Progressive Communications (APC), International
  9. Association for promotion sustainable development, India
  10. AVAM – muva eej NGO, Mongolia
  11. Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID), Global
  12. Both ENDS, Netherlands
  13. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, International
  14. CAN Pakistan/ Search For Justice, Pakistan
  15. Canada Tibet Committee, Canada
  16. Center for Inquiry, United States
  17. Center for International Environmental Law, United States of America
  18. Centro de Análisis Forense y Ciencias Aplicadas (CAFCA), Guatemala
  19. Christian Development Alternative (CDA), Bangladesh 
  20. CIVICUS 
  21. Coalition Burkinabè des Défenseurs des Droits Humains, Burkina Faso
  22. Coalition Togolaise desv Défenseurs des Droits Humains , Togo
  23. CODDDHD, Niger
  24. Comisión Mexicana De Defensa Y Promoción De Los Derechos Humanos, Mexico
  25. Conectas Direitos Humanos, Brazil
  26. DefendDefenders (East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project), Uganda
  27. Earth and Human Rights of Mato Grosso, Brazil, Brasil
  28. East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN), USA
  29. Edmund Rice International, International
  30. Environmental Management for Livelihood Improvement Bwaise Facility (EMLI), Uganda
  31. Euipo de Estudios Comunitarios y Acción Psicosocial, Guatemala
  32. Evt sain khursh Foundation , Mongolia
  33. EXCUBITUS – Derechos Humanos en Educacion, Venezuela
  34. Executive Director, Argentina
  35. Facilitate Global, England
  36. FIDH, in the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, France
  37. Freedom House, United States
  38. Frente de Mujeres Defensoras de la Pachamama – Ecuador, Ecuador
  39. Front Line Defenders, International
  40. Global Initiative for Economic, Social & Cultural Rights,  
  41. Global Witness, International
  42. Heartland Alliance Global Initiatives for Human Rights, Argentina
  43. Help & Shelter, Guyana
  44. Human Concern, Inc/HUCON, Liberia
  45. Human Rights First, United States
  46. Human Rights House Foundation, Geneva
  47. Human Rights Mouvement “Bir Duino-Kyrgyzstan”, Kyrgyzstan
  48. Human Rights Watch, International
  49. Iniciativa Mesoamericana de Mujeres Defensoras de Derechos Humanos (IM-Defensoras), Región Mesoamericana
  50. Instituto Venezolano de Estudios Sociales y Politicos (INVESP), Venezuela
  51. International Accountability Project, International
  52. International Alliance on Natural Resources in Africa, South Africa/International
  53. International Commission of Jurists, International
  54. International Humanist and Ethical Union, Belgium
  55. International Rivers, International
  56. International Women’s Development Agency, Australia
  57. Ireeduin Bosgo NGO, MONGOLIA
  58. Convergencia por los Derechos Humanos, Guatemala
  59. JASS (Just Associates)
  60. Justiça Global, Brazil
  61. Justice Connect, Australia
  62. Justice for All/Burma Task Force, USA
  63. Labour, Health and Human Rights Development Centree, Nigeria
  64. Mini Global Hetavad Skills Networks, Nigeria
  65. MiningWatch Canada, Canada
  66. Mongolian Women’s Employment Supporting Federation, Mongolia
  67. Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI), Kenya
  68. Omega Research Foundation, United Kingdom
  69. One World Platform, Bosnia Herzegovina
  70. Oyu Tolgoi Watch, Mongolia
  71. Partnership For Justice Nigeria, Nigeria
  72. Peace Brigades International, International
  73. Plataforma Colombiana De Derechos Humanos Democracia y Desarrollo, Colombia
  74. Plataforma Internacional contra la Impunidad, Central America
  75. Proyecto de Derechos Económicos, Sociales y Culturales (ProDESC), Mexico
  76. Reseau Ouest Africain des Défenseurs des Droits Humains/West African HumanRights defendersNetwork, Togo
  77. RFSL, the Swedish Federation for LGBTQ Rights, Sweden
  78. Rivers without Boundaries International Coalition, International
  79. Rivers without Boundaries Mongolia, Mongolia
  80. Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, United States
  81. Salesian Missions, International
  82. Seguridad en Democracia (SEDEM), Guatemala
  83. Social Justice Connection, Canada
  84. Unidad de Protección a Defensoras y Defensores de Derechos Humanos – Guatemala, Guatemala
  85. Union Internationale des Avocats (UIA – International Association of Lawyers), International
  86. Unión Latinoamericana de Mujeres – ULAM, Perú
  87. Unión Nacional de Instituciones para el Trabajo de Acción Social-UNITAS, Bolivia
  88. Urgewald, Germany
  89. We Women Lanka, Sri Lanka
  90. World Assembly of Youth, Malaysia
  91. World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), in the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, International
  92. Yemen organization for Defending Rights & Democratic Freedoms, Yemen
  93. Zo Indigenous Forum, India


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