April 15th: Input on the implementation of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders

Did you know that last year countries promised to implement a UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders? Let the UN Office on Human Rights know how they are doing and share the very real challenges that you are facing. We know that it’s becoming harder for many of you carry out your vital work, we need others to understand the realities and dangers that grassroots justice defenders and community paralegals face! You can feed into the process until April 15th.

If you wish to add your comments to the Justice For All comments, please reply to this post and we will collate information and submit on your behalf.

Information is available in English and in French/ L’information est disponible en Anglais et en Français

The implementation of human rights commitments remains the big challenge. The adoption of a consensus resolution on the implementation of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders by the UN General Assembly last year was, therefore, significant. In line with the resolution, OHCHR is now requesting input from civil society on maximizing implementation. Deadline for input - 15th April

The 20th Anniversary of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders sets the scene for an assessment of its implementation - where challenges lie as well as good practices. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has put out a call for analyses and recommendations in regard to measures taken by States, the value of technical support to States, and an audit of the UN’s own work on defenders. This is a follow up to the UN General Assembly 72nd sesssion resolution on human rights defenders.

‘This is an opportunity for civil society analyses and recommendations from across the globe to contribute to increasing pressure on States to fulfil their obligations to human rights defenders,’ said ISHR’s Tess McEvoy.

OHCHR’s call for input:

OHCHR is requesting input on three main areas:

  • Evaluating the UN’s work on human rights defenders, including in providing advice to States

  • Assessing the impact of technical assistance and capacity building provided to States in regard to fulfilling their obligations to human rights defenders

  • Making recommendations (to any relevant stakeholder) on how best to promote the Declaration and ensure its implementation

The full calls for input by OHCHR are here:

English: NGO letter HRD20 English.docx - Google Drive

French: NGO letter HRD20 French.docx - Google Drive

OHCHR have indicated that they will receive input in English and French. The deadline is: 15 April

‘The audit of the UN’s work on protection of human rights defenders is unique’, noted McEvoy. 'We hope that this process of reviewing the UN’s work and – more generally – driving forward implementation of the Declaration will get active support from the highest levels in the UN.’

What happens after the OHCHR reports are written?

A high-level event will be held in New York at the end of the year, during the 73rd session of the General Assembly, where good practice, challenges and recommendations related to implementation will be shared. Civil society participation in that event has yet to be defined.

‘Meaningful participation by human rights defenders in a UN event on human rights defenders is a no brainer,’ said ISHR’s Eleanor Openshaw. ‘We urge the current President of the General Assembly to work with the upcoming President to ensure such participation is enabled.’


Tess McEvoy: t.mcevoy@ishr.ch; Eleanor Openshaw: e.openshaw@ishr.ch

For more on the content of the Declaration on HRDs, see: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/SRHRDefenders/Pages/Declaration.aspx


I Congratulate Uganda for appearing with 3 languages Including Kiswahili.This shows how committed the HRDs are. May Justice and Peace Reign in Uganda and the World at Large.

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