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Human rights defenders and experts share priorities for High Commissioner Volker Türk

High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk took up his mandate on 17 October 2022. We are keen to ensure that his priorities and approach are informed by the expertise and perspectives of human rights defenders and, for this purpose, compiled a collection of views to help shape a human rights defender agenda for his mandate. Read on!


A draft was initially prepared by civil society and based on the Model Law, but was then revised by a Parliamentary Working Group in a process that had few opportunities for civil society input. The Bill that was adopted shortly afterwards in 2021, became the first human rights defenders law in Asia, however, it contains some articles which could limit human rights defenders’ rights. The Bill states that the National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) must create the protection mechanism.

80 States speak out on reprisals at UN General Assembly

On 14 October 2021, the UK delivered a cross-regional statement on behalf of 80 countries, condemning intimidation and reprisals, and calling on States to prioritise and support the meaningful participation of civil society at the UN.

HRC48: Key issues on agenda of September 2021 session

The 48th session of the UN Human Rights Council, from 13 September to 8 October 2021, will consider issues including intimidation and reprisals, arbitrary detention, racism, enforced disappearances, climate change and the right to a healthy environment, water and sanitation, and the rights of indigenous peoples and people of African descent, among others. It will also present an opportunity to address grave human rights situations in States including Afghanistan, Burundi, China, Ethiopia, Libya, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Syria and Venezuela, among many others. Here’s an overview of some of the key issues on the agenda.