Focus topics

Our work focuses on those human rights defenders who are most at risk or face marginalisation, where our support can protect and strengthen them as agents of change.


At ISHR, we work to protect and promote people who defend the rights of women and rights related to gender and sexuality, LGBTIQ+ persons, migrants and Indigenous communities. We work with progressive companies to make sure that human rights defenders are included in decisions that affect them and benefit from the civic space they share with businesses. We support defenders who fight racial discrimination and those who promote democratic freedoms and accountability, especially in restrictive and/or transitioning environments. 

We provide these leaders of change with a comprehensive range of tools and support, including access to high quality research and analysis, tailored training and capacity building services, legal advice and strategic litigation assistance, and advocacy and networking support.


Business and human rights

One of the most crucial opportunities for responsible business is to support human rights and people who defend them.

Women's rights

Women human rights defenders have historically been at the forefront of human rights progress relating to gender and equality, creating and implementing campaigns for change.

LGBTIQ rights

Despite being one of the most vulnerable groups of defenders, LGBTIQ rights defenders continue to work toward enhanced respect, dignity, equality and a world free from violence and discrimination for their communities, for everyone!

Land, climate and environment

Climate, land and environmental rights defenders work against the clock to address the climate crisis and help us all live on a healthy, sustainable planet.

Freedom of expression, association and assembly

Protection of the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly is essential for human rights defenders to do their vital work to ensure freedom, dignity, equality and justice for all.

Success stories and leaders of change

Human rights defenders are leaders of change. They are people who are trying to make the world a better place - and they succeed, too! Discover some of their stories and achievements.

Migrant and refugee rights

No matter where we are born, or what papers we hold, fundamental human rights don’t disappear at the border.


Everyone has the right to unhindered access to, and communication with, international bodies on matters of human rights and fundamental freedoms — free from intimidation and reprisals.


Everyone has the right to equality and to be free from all forms of discrimination.

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