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International accountability

ISHR provides solidarity and support to defenders working in highly restrictive or repressive environments, and undertakes lobbying, advocacy and litigation to promote both State and non-State accountability for widespread and systematic threats, attacks, restrictions and reprisals against defenders.

For many human rights defenders, international and regional human rights laws and mechanisms have the potential to protect and amplify their work and impact on the ground. Indeed, for many defenders working in restrictive or repressive national contexts – such as China, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela – regional and international mechanisms may be among the only platforms available to demand justice, push for accountability, and contribute to positive change. 

Civil society and diplomatic allies can also use such mechanisms to increase international pressure for change, such as the release of arbitrarily detained defenders, the repeal of restrictive laws and policies, or accountability for acts of intimidation and reprisals against defenders. 

Through this programme, ISHR provides solidarity and support to defenders working in highly restrictive or repressive environments, and undertakes lobbying, advocacy and litigation to ensure that defenders are safe and free and to promote both State and non-State accountability for widespread and systematic threats, attacks, restrictions and reprisals against defenders.

Latest updates

Read our latest news on international accountability.

In letter to China, UN expert condemns targeting of human rights lawyers

A newly-released confidential letter by a UN Special Rapporteur documents the disbarment of human rights lawyers in China and the tightening ideological control over lawyers and law firms. The UN expert denounces disappearances, closed-door trials, harassment of relatives, travel bans, and other abuses targeting human rights lawyers.

China: immediately release lawyer Yu Wensheng and activist Xu Yan

13 April 2024 marked one year since the Chinese authorities arbitrarily detained prominent human rights lawyer Yu Wensheng and his wife, woman defender Xu Yan. As their health steadily deteriorates, 30 rights groups and the European Union have renewed their call for their prompt release.

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