Legislative Protection

The legal recognition and protection of human rights defenders is crucial to ensuring that they can work in a safe, supportive environment and be free from attacks, reprisals and unreasonable restrictions.

However, there is a significant implementation gap between the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and national laws and policies to support and protect defenders. There is also a proliferation of national laws which restrict and criminalise defenders’ work.  

ISHR works to ensure that international and regional human rights mechanisms make stronger standards, resolutions and recommendations on the protection of defenders, and that States enact national laws and policies to give effect to these norms.

Key activities in this regard include:

  • developing a Model National Law on the Recognition and Protection of Human Rights Defenders in several languages;
  • providing legal and technical guidance and advice to civil society actors and States regarding the development and implementation of human rights defender laws and policies, as well as in relation to campaigns and strategies to amend or repeal restrictive legislation;
  • advocating with international and regional mechanisms to strengthen resolutions and standards in relation to human rights defenders and related issues.

Read more about our impact and vision in strengthening the legal protection of human rights defenders.