External event

Global Forum on Human Rights and Development 2018

Friday 23 November

followed by a reception)

Swiss Press Club, Geneva

2018 is a critical year for human rights. It commemorates the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, 25th Anniversary of the Vienna World Conference on Human Rights, 25th Anniversary of the Paris Principles and the 20th Anniversary of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.

To mark this special year, Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) is organising an event on 23 November 2018 in Geneva, to discuss the challenges we face today and how we can collectively work together to shape the future.

This event is supported by ISHR and other civil society organisations.

Admission free, please confirm your participation by email to events@forum-asia.org by Monday, 19 November 2018

Friday, November 23, 2018 - 08:30
Event Type: 

Being a human rights defender in 2018 - opening event of Geneva's Human Rights Week

Tuesday 13 November


Uni Dufour, room U300

2018 marks the 20th anniversary of the UN Declaration on human rights defenders and the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In this particular context, the panel opening the Human Rights Weeks will be the occasion to address questions such as:

Who are human rights defenders? What are the challenges they typically face in 2018? Do the internet, new technologies, social media, etc modify who should be considered a human right defender?

Civil society is obviously not a monolithic group, how can diversity be promoted and voices heard? Have new technologies helped to give women and other groups a voice?

What are the main challenges in terms of civic space, in particular on-line? How are they evolving?

What is the role of Switzerland and UN member states in relation to human rights defenders and civic space? What role does the UN Office for human rights play in relation to human rights defenders?

Panel discussion moderated by Romaine Jean. Following initial questions and answers by the panelists, an open discussion between the panelists and the audience will take place. 

Organised by: Global Studies Institute (GSI)


  • Romaine Jean 


  • Kate Gilmore, United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights
  • E. Tendayi Achiume, United Nations Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance
  • Anriette Esterhuysen, Director of Global Policy and Strategy, Association for Progressive Communications
  • Pooja Patel, Programme director, International Service for Human Rights
  • Valentin Zellweger, Ambassador, Permanent representative of Switzerland to the United Nations and the other international organisations in Geneva

Admission free

Tuesday, November 13, 2018 - 18:30 to 20:00
Event Type: 

Conflicted in Identity: Freedom of Religion in Malaysia

Wednesday, 7 November 2018 
13:00 – 14:00 
Room XXVII, Palais des Nations, Geneva

Download flyer here

Ahead of Malaysia's upcoming UPR to be held on November 8, Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER), the Coalition of Malaysian NGOs in the UPR Process (COMANGO), ABA-ROLI, with the support of the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), will hold a side event focused on the situation of freedom of religion in Malaysia including the situation of human rights defenders working on the issue. 

The event aims to share the findings of civil society's UPR reports regarding freedom of religion in Malaysia with permanent missions  attending the 31st Session of the Universal Periodic Review.


  • Ms. Honey Tan Lay Ean - Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER)
  • Ms. Majidah binti Hashim - Sisters in Islam (SIS)
  • Mr. Ryan Chua Yumin - Pusat KOMAS


  • Mr. Rizal Rozhan - Advocacy Officer, Monitoring UPR Recommendations for Malaysia, project by EMPOWER, co-secretariat of The Coalition of Malaysian NGOs in the UPR Process (COMANGO).

Food and beverages will be provided at the event. 

Attendance with UNOG pass only!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018 - 13:00 to 14:00
Event Type: 

How to respond to challenges facing civil society organisations working on human rights?

Monday, 25 June 2018 

12:30 – 14:00 

Palais des Nations, Room XI 

Download the flyer

 Challenges to the work of civil society organisations exist in every part of the world and take a variety of forms. Based on recent reports on civil society space of the OHCHR and the EU Fundamental Rights Agency, this event gathers various stakeholders, including NGOs, governments, UN agencies and other intergovernmental organizations, to reinforce the importance of civil society engagement, and address the many challenges which hinder its effective functioning. 

Questions to be addressed include: What are the major challenges facing civil society organisations? What are some examples of emerging good practices? How can we ensure that the needs of underrepresented parts of civil society are taken into account? What is the role of the Human Rights Council in ensuring a safe and enabling environment? Can we identify ways forward and concrete next steps? 

  • Ambassador Michael Gaffey, Permanent Representative of Ireland to the UN in Geneva 
  • Michael O’Flaherty, Director of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) 
  • Lopa Banerjee, Director of UN Women’s Civil Society Division 
  • Peggy Hicks, Director of the Research and Right to Development Division of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) 
  • Phil Lynch, Director of International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) 

Moderator: Hilary Power, Amnesty International 



Monday, June 25, 2018 - 12:30 to 14:00
Event Type: 

Human Rights in a Changing World

The Martin Ennals Award is 25 years old. Since 1994, we have drawn attention to Human Rights Defenders who work at considerable risk. The award is selected by representatives from ten human rights organizations – our Jury, and the award ceremony is hosted by the City of Geneva. To mark this occasion, leaders from the ten MEA Jury organizations will gather in Geneva to discuss a series of priority issues, and we invite the public to attend a discussion on:

Human Rights in a Changing World

Panel 1 (35 Min)- The rising influence of autocratic states  

Kenneth Roth, Executive Director, Human Rights Watch

Debbie Stothard, Secretary-General, International Federation for Human Rights

Sam Zarifi, Secretary-General, International Commission of Jurists


Panel 2 (35 Min)- Populism as a threat to human rights

Elisa Massimino, President and CEO, Human Rights First

Gerald Staberock, Secretary-General, World Organization Against Torture

Friedhelm Weinberg, Executive Director, HURIDOCS

Julie Verhaar, Senior Director, Amnesty International


Panel 3 (35 Min)-  Effective human rights action in today’s environment


Julia Duchrow, Head of Human Rights, Brot Für die Welt

Andrew Anderson, Executive Director, Front Line Defenders 

Vincent Ploton, Director, Treaty Body Advocacy, Int’l Service for Human Rights


Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights - Jury Organizations

30 May 2018  –  18:30-20:30  –  Uni-Dufour (24 rue du Général-Dufour, Geneva)

Please register at http://www.martinennalsaward.org/human-rights/

Facebook Event    https://www.facebook.com/events/1340777752691227/

Wednesday, May 30, 2018 - 18:30
Event Type: 

GA Side Event | Expanding civic space at the UN

Tuesday, 17 October, 1:15pm - 2:30pm
72nd Session of the UN General Assembly – Third Committee
UN Headquarters, New York, Conference Room E

Download flyer here

The side event, organised by CIVICUS, will bring together the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, State representatives, UN bodies and civil society to discuss how each, individually and collectively, can more effectively promote and protect civic space in the UN system through the development of responsive and inclusive UN mechanisms and processes.  Eleanor Openshaw, Head of the New York Office of ISHR has been invited as a panelist.

Permanent Missions of Chile and Ireland, ARTICLE 19, CIVICUS, ECNL, ICNL, INCLO, International Service for Human Rights, Solidarity Center and the World Movement for Democracy

Professor Annalisa Ciampi, UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association

  • H.E. Mr. Cristián Barros Melet, Ambassador of Chile - Opening Remarks
  • Craig Mokhiber, Director, New York Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
  • Eleanor Openshaw, Head of NY Office, International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
  • Simon Steyne, Senior Adviser on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work (FPRW), International Labor Organization
  • Orsolya Bartha, Senior Advisor on Sustainable Development, Human Rights and Gender Related Issues, The International Disability Alliance

To attend please RSVP by email to tor.hodenfield@civicus.org and jeffery.huffines@civicus.org

Attendance with UN identification badges pass only!

25 Owl Street
JohannesburgGauteng 2092
South Africa

Tuesday, October 17, 2017 - 13:15 to 14:30
Event Type: 

Save the date - Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders


Tuesday October 10, 2017

Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders

The City of Geneva and the Martin Ennals Foundation are honored to invite you to the 2017 Martin Ennals Award Ceremony:

October 10, 2017, 6.00 pm, at Uni Dufour, Geneva

during the opening day of the Human Rights Week hosted by the University of Geneva from October 11 to 12 and with the support of the Republic and canton of Geneva. 

The 2017 finalists

The laureate will be selected from among three 2017 finalists:
Karla Avelar (El Salvador) is a transgender woman who defends the rights of LGBTI persons. She suffered discrimination, exploitation, and rape.

FreeThe5KH (Cambodia) are five senior staff members from the Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC) who have been in pre-trial detention for over one year. 

Mohamed Zaree (Egypt), from the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, is a legal scholar coordinating research to challenge laws designed to limit NGOs activities working on human rights.

The jury

The finalists and laureate are selected by the Jury of the Martin Ennals Award, made up of ten of the world’s leading human rights organizations: Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Human Rights First, FIDH, World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), Frontline Defenders, the International Commission of Jurists, EWDE-Germany, the International Service for Human Rights, and HURIDOCS.

Screening of documentaries on the finalists and reception

Short documentaries on the life of these finalists will be screened for the first time, giving a glimpse of their fight and the particularly difficult conditions in which they work. The evening will conclude with a reception hosted by the City of Geneva, allowing the 2017 finalists, the Geneva community of human rights and the public to exchange in an informal setting.

Last year’s film portraits can be seen here.

The City of Geneva has been supporting this award since 2005 as part of its commitment to the promotion of peace and human rights.

Save the date in your agenda. An invitation and the detailed programme of the evening open to the public will follow at the beginning of September.

Register now on the Martin Ennals Award’s website.

External Affairs Office

City of Geneva

Tuesday, October 10, 2017 - 18:00
Event Type: 

2014 Martin Ennals Award ceremony

Tuesday, 7 October 2014, 6.00 pm

Uni-Dufour, Jean-Piaget auditorium, U-600

The ceremony will be held in French and in English

A live broadcast will be given in the Charles-Rouiller auditorium, U-300, located in the same building.

The City of Geneva, in partnership with the Martin Ennals Foundation, will host the 21st ceremony of the Martin Ennals Award for human rights defenders.

This event is part of the Human Rights Week, organized from 7 to 9 October 2014 at the University of Geneva and focused on the rights of the child. 

The Martin Ennals Award is given to Human Rights Defenders who have shown deep commitment and face great personal risk. Its aim is to highlight their work and protect them through increased visibility. Each year, the nominees are selected by a jury comprised of ten of the most important non-governmental human rights organisations, including International Service for Human Rights.

For this edition, Mr Zeid Ra'ad Al-Hussein, United Nations High-Commissioner for Human Rights, will hand out the award to one of the three nominees below :

Ms Cao Shunli (China) who lost her life on March 14th, 2014, had vigorously advocated since 2008 for access to information, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, encouraging strengthened domestic implementation of international mechanisms.

Mr Adilur Rahman Khan (Bangladesh) has worked since the 1990's on a wide range of humain rights issues, such as illegal detention, enforced disapearances, extra-judicial killing, and elections monitoring with his non-governmental organization, Odhikar.

Ms Alejandra Ancheita (Mexico) founder and Executive Director of ProDESC, has worked for more than 15 years with migrants, workers, and indigenous communities to protect their land and labour rights vis a vis transnational mining and energy companies. 

For more information visit the website: http://www.martinennalsaward.org

Download the flyer here.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014 - 18:00
Event Type: 

17th session of the Universal Periodic Review Working Group

17th session of the Universal Periodic Review Working Group (21 October - 1 November, Geneva)

Monday, October 21, 2013 - 15:30 to Friday, November 1, 2013 - 15:30
Event Type: