ISHR Event

Asylum rights at the U.S. border

Wednesday, March 13, 2019 - 15:00
Event Type: 

Egypt: The Price of Silence

Thursday 7 March


Room XXV, Palais des Nations. Geneva

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The current human rights situation in Egypt continues to worsen. Eight years after the 2011 uprising almost all forms of dissent have been repressed while arbitrary detention and torture continue to be reported. An NGO law has greatly reduced the capacity of independent civil society organizations to operate. Human rights defenders and individuals who have cooperated or have attempted to cooperate with the UN have been subjected to human rights violations and reprisals by the government to silence criticism. Egyptian authorities are increasingly using counterterrorism and state-of-emergency laws and courts to prosecute journalists, activists, and critics for their peaceful activities.

Chair and speakers: 

  • Bahey Eldin Hassan, Director,  Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
  • Andrea Rocca, Deputy Director, Front Line Defenders
  • Amr Magdi,  Middle East and North Africa Researcher, Human Rights Watch
  • Shymaa Aboelkhir, Media and Advocacy Officer, Committee for Justice (CFJ)

Access with UNOG pass only.

Thursday, March 7, 2019 - 12:00 to 13:00
Event Type: 

Can there be peace and security without women human rights defenders? 

Tuesday 12 March 2019

10:00 - 11:15 am

CR12, UNHQ, New York

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Women human rights defenders dedicate their lives to challenging inequalities and violations that can lead to and occur during conflict. At this event, women human rights defenders from three conflict and post-conflict contexts will make the case that sustaining peace is not possible without those that defend rights.  

Opening remarks: 

  • Dag-Inge Ulstein, Minister of International Development, Norway
  • Ambassador Gustavo Meza-Cuadra, Permanent Representative of Peru to the UN
  • Representative of Cote d’Ivoire (tbc)

Civil society speakers: 

  • Diana María Salcedo Lopez, LIMPAL, Colombia 
  • Gistam Sakaeva, Doveriye Trust, Chechnya
  • Safa Al Ahmad, journalist and filmmaker, on Yemen 

Intervention from:  Ivana RadačIć, Chair of the Working Group on Discrimination in Law and Practice

Closing remarks:  Ambassador Karen Pierce, Permanent Representative of the UK to the UN

In attendance: Her Royal Highness Countess of Wessex


We're hoping to have a lively debate, please join us!  

You'll need a UN or CSW pass to attend.


Follow the discussion on Twitter: #CSW63 #WHRDsworkforpeace

Photo: UN Photo / Eric Kanalstein


Tuesday, March 12, 2019 - 10:00 to 11:15
Event Type: 

Saudi Arabia - Time for Accountability

4 March 2019


Room XXII, Palais des Nations, Geneva

See the flyer here

Saudi Arabia – Time for Accountability seeks todraw on the ndings of the reports of the Special Rapporteurs on Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights Defenders on the current human rights situation in Saudi Arabia. The panellists will re ect on the impact of disproportionate counter-terrorism measures on fundamental freedoms. Focus will be placed on the Saudi human rights defenders who have been unjustly prosecuted, tortured, ill-treated and arbitrarily detained in recent years, with a particular emphasis on women human rights defenders. The panellists will also discuss ways to engage the international community, as well as the role of Special Procedures, in ensuring that the Saudi authorities are held to account.


  • Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism
  • Michel Forst, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders
  • Johannes Mosskin, Right Livelihood Award Foundation
  • Julia Legner, MENA Rights GroupYahya Assiri, Saudi human rights
  • defender and Executive Director of Alqst
  • Zaynab Al-Khawaja, Gulf Centre for Human Rights
  • Omaima al-Najjar, Saudi blogger and human rights defender
  • Gerald Staberock, OMCT

Photo: ISHR

Monday, March 4, 2019 - 11:00
Event Type: 

Uncensored: Views on Law and Practice of Freedom of Expression in China

Wednesday 13 March


Room XXIII, Palais des Nations, Geneva

Download the flyer here


In November 2018, China underwent its Universal Periodic Review, a peer review by UN Member States about progress and challenges in protecting human rights. In this process, governments made many recommendations aimed at supporting the promotion and protection of freedom of expression in the country, both online and off.

At the March 2019 session of the Human Rights Council, China will report back in Geneva, to tell the world what recommendations it will accept. Given limited dialogue in the Council room, this public side event will elevate the views of civil society actors who are committed to seeing improvements in the protection of freedom of expression in China.


  • Judith Lichtenberg, Director of Lawyers for Lawyers
  • A 1989 student and democracy activist
  • A representative of Uyghur PEN
  • Steve Butler, Asia Programme Coordinator at the Committee to Protect Journalists
  • Sarah M Brooks, Asia Advocate at the International Service for Human Rights

Access with UNOG pass only.

Photo: Badiucao

Wednesday, March 13, 2019 - 13:30 to 14:30
Event Type: 

Women human rights defenders resist! Ending the global backlash against their human rights work

March 1, 2019

Room XXVPalais des Nations, Geneva

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Women human rights defenders are on the front lines of struggles to attain peace, security, dignity and sustainable development for all. They work diligently to advance justice, freedom and equality to meet the ultimate goals of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Yet, State and non-State actors, in the majority of cases involving violations against these defenders, have experienced widespread impunity including at the international level. Women human rights defenders met in New York at a high-level event at the UN Headquarters in July 2018 to send a strong message: “we’ve had enough!”

Join us in Geneva parallel to the 40th session of the UN Human Rights Council where women human rights defenders will present how the shortcomings and gaps of the UN system with regards to women human rights defenders protection can be filled.


  • Michel Forst, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders
  • Brenda Valladares, WHRD from USA
  • Lucy Mazingi, WHRD from Zimbabwe
  • Cindy Aung, WHRD from Myanmar
  • Alda Facio, member of the UN Working Group on discrimination against women in law and practice

Moderator :

Veronica Vidal, Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID)

Spanish-English interpretation provided

Light refreshments and drinks

Follow the event on Twitter at: #HRC40

Cosponsors: ISHR, Amnesty International, Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID), Gulf Centre for Human Rights, Mesoamerican Initiative for Women Human Rights Defenders (IM-Defensoras), Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights and Just Associates (JASS). All are members of the Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition.

Photo: Karla Cote


Friday, March 1, 2019 - 11:30 to 13:00
Event Type: 

Human Rights Defenders: Implementation of Commitments to Ensure their Protection


Tuesday 23 October 


UNHQ Conference Room 7

Download event flyer here

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the UN Declaration on human rights defenders. 

The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders will report to the 73rd session of the General Assembly on 23 October 2018. His report will focus of the situation of human rights defenders in the world, outlining trends, the challenges faced as well as achievements. This report will be complemented and informed by a comprehensive country-by-country analysis of their situation and it will update the 2006 report of the former Special Representative Hina Jilani (E/CN.4/2006/95/Add.5), titled ‘Compilation of developments in the area of human rights defenders’.

Last session Norway presented a resolution to the 72nd session of the GA, focusing on the implementation of previous resolutions and recommendations of the Special Rapporteur. The event will also be an opportunity to reflect on key ideas put forward in the resolution and look towards the outputs of that resolution. 


Opening remarks delivered by Deputy Permanent Representative Mari Skare

  • Michel Forst, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders
  • Julia Cruz, Conectas Human Rights, Brazil

Moderator: ISHR

The event is co-sponsored by member States Norway and the Bahamas.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018 - 03:00 to 06:00
Event Type: 

Ending reprisals: Discussion with human rights defenders and experts

Wednesday 19 September


Room XXIV, Palais des Nations 

This event seeks to provide a space for human rights defenders and experts to shed light on the nature and extent of reprisals and intimidation against those cooperating with the UN; discuss and expand on the Secretary-General’s report; and to consider efforts to date to address reprisals and intimidation against those cooperating with the UN as well as ways to further develop and strengthen policies and practices to prevent and address reprisals. 


  • Andrew Gilmour, Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights 
  • Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples 
  • National human rights defenders 

Moderator: Phil Lynch, Director of ISHR 

The event is co-sponsored by member States of the core group on reprisals (Fiji, Ghana, Hungary, Ireland and Uruguay). 

Wednesday, September 19, 2018 - 16:00 to 17:30
Event Type: 

Shared Space under Pressure: Launch of guidance document on business support for civic freedoms and human rights defenders

Monday 17 September 2018
Room XXVII, Palais des Nations, Geneva


Defenders and organisations who expose the risk of abuse by companies in their operations and supply chains are under particular attack.
The time is now for responsible business to act to defend civic freedoms and protect human rights defenders.
This event will serve to launch a new Guidance Document, and provide an opportunity for States, civil society and business to engage in a critical discussion on its recommendations. 
• Khin Ohmar, HRD from Myanmar
• Christian Frutiger, Nestlé   
• Bennett Freeman, author of the guidance document 
Moderator: Michael Ineichen, Programme Director, ISHR


Monday, September 17, 2018 - 13:30 to 14:30
Event Type: 

Human Rights Council Elections 2018: discussions of candidate States’ visions for membership - GENEVA

Tuesday 11 September 2018


Palais des Nations, Room XXII,  Geneva


Download the event flyer here


In advance of the Human Rights Council elections that will take place this autumn for the membership term 2019-2021, Amnesty International and the International Service for Human Rights will hold a pledging event for candidate States in Geneva on 11 September 2018.

The event is co-sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Albania, Canada, Chile, Mongolia and Senegal, and is intended to give candidates an opportunity to present their visions for Council membership and to respond to questions from a range of stakeholders on how they propose to realise the pledges and commitments they may have made in seeking election.


Can’t make it or have a question? Follow the event live and submit questions to candidates via Twitter: #HRCpledging

Follow the event live: 


A mirror event was held in New York on 5 September. 


You will require a UN Ground Pass to attend the event.  If you do not have a UN Grounds Pass, please RSVP by Monday 3 September, 10 AM (CEST time).

Tuesday, September 11, 2018 - 12:45
Event Type: