ISHR Event

Human rights defenders at risk: Challenges and lessons learned from Honduras

Wednesday 21 March 
Room XXV
Palais des Nations, Geneva

In November 2017, general government elections took place in Honduras. A series of irregularities led large sectors of the population to question the credibility of the process and to mobilise on the streets in defense of democracy. 

In response, the government declared a state of emergency and agents of the National Police, the Military Police of the Public Order and the Army were deployed throughout the country, using excessive force. Serious violations of human rights took place. During those days, human rights defenders, journalists and social communicators continued to work under high-risk conditions.

What were the facts? What challenges do human rights defenders currently face in order to recover the full exercise of their rights in conditions of security? What are the lessons learned for the countries of Central America and other regions of the world?

Based on the analysis of the facts (1), a conversation between international observers and human rights defenders who have experienced this situation directly seeks to answer these questions.


  • Anabella Sibrián, Director of the International Platform against Impunity


  • María Soledad Pazo, Representative of the OHCHR in Honduras
  • Hedme Castro, Director of ACI-Participa
  • Edy Tábora, Director of C-Libre and member of  Coalition Against Impunity
  • Helen Nolan, International Service for Human Rights

This event is organised by the International Platform Against Impunity. 
Languages: English and Spanish. Attendance with UN identification pass only.

[1] Naciones Unidas Derechos Humanos, Oficina del Alto Comisionado.  Las violaciones a los derechos humanos en el contexto de las elecciones de 2017 en Honduras. Tegucigalpa, 2018.

Photo by Sasha Maksymenko

Wednesday, March 21, 2018 - 15:30
Event Type: 

MAKING PROTECTION REAL: Implementing the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

4:30 to 6:00pm


Palais des Nations, Geneva

Dowload Flyer Here

 In the month of the International Women’s Day and in the year of the 20th Anniversary of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, this event will highlight the experience of women human rights defenders and the implementation of the Declaration.

 It will also share findings and recommendations related to a recent joint research on implementation carried out by the Colombian Commission of Jurists, the Tunisian League for Human Rights and ISHR.


  • Ana Maria Rodriguez – Colombian Commission of Jurists
  • Djingarey Maiga – Femmes et Droits Humains Mali
  • Curtis Peters – Permanent Mission of Canada


  • Pooja Patel - International Service for Human Rights


  • Colombian Commission of Jurists

We hope you can join us. Attendance with UN identification pass only!

Photo: Karla Cote


Tuesday, March 20, 2018 - 16:30 to 18:00
Event Type: 

The UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders at 20: Legitimating the work of Women Human Rights Defenders

March 16, 2018 13:15-14:30

Conference Room 11

UNHQ, New York

See event flyer here

The UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders is a landmark in human rights history, recognising that our freedoms depend on those who struggle for their protection. The Declaration has played an important role in expressly stating the right to defend human rights, and outlines the duties of States in this regard. As it forms the basis of key protection mechanisms, such as national and regional guidelines for the protection of human rights defenders, it has thus legitimated the work of human rights defenders. Twenty years on, women human rights defenders are marking this anniversary year to reflect on the significance of the Declaration to their work, movements and identities. Join us for this dynamic conversation on making women human rights defenders visible in the implementation of the Declaration!


  • Opening remarks by Ms Ine Eriksen Søreide, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Norway
  • Evdokia Romanova, Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights
  • Weaam Youssef, Gulf Centre for Human Rights
  • Alma Sinumlag, Cordillera Women’s Education Action Research Center
  • Lopa Banerjee, UN Women Civil Society Division
  • Closing remarks by Ms Neziha Labidi, Minister of Women, the Family and Childhood, Tunisia 
Friday, March 16, 2018 - 13:15 to 14:30
Event Type: 

HRC Side Event | Protecting the Human Rights of Migrants

Friday 2 March 2018

12:00 - 1:30 pm

Palais des Nations (Room XXIII)

Download flyer here

In the context of an increasingly restrictive environment which tends to consider migration as a security issue that takes precedence over rights' protection, the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT), in cooperation with the International Detention Coalition (IDC) and the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), and with the support of the Swiss Permanent Mission, convene a side event to discuss how to enhance the rights of migrants and of those defending their rights. The focus will be put on the on-going process to negotiate the Global Compact on Migration.

The reports of the Special Rapporteur on Torture and the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders respectively focus on torture and other ill-treatment in the context of migration and the experience of human rights defenders working in the context of people on the move. Their reports will be presented to the Human Rights Council in March.

In addition, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) will present to the Human Rights Council in March a report on the Principles and Guidelines, supported by practical guidance on the protection of the human rights of migrants in vulnerable situations. 

The side event will allow each expert's findings to feed into this process.


  • Nils Melzer, Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
  • Laurel Townhead, Representative, Human Rights and Refugees, Quaker United Nations Office
  • Michel Forst, Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights Defenders
  • Pia Oberoi, Advisor on Migration and Human Rights, Thematic engagement, Special Procedures and Rights to Development Division, OHCHR


  • Barbara Bernath, Chief of Operations, APT

We hope you can join us. Attendance with UN identification pass only!

Photo: Gémes Sándor/SzomSz

Friday, March 2, 2018 - 12:00 to 13:30
Event Type: 

Remedying, redressing and preventing attacks against defenders working on business & human rights

The event will combine roundtable discussions and moderated break-out groups for a substantive, interactive ‘working session’ on human rights defenders (HRDs). In particular, we will take into account the UN Working Group’s 30 November consultation in the context of its work to develop guidance for business on respecting and supporting HRDs in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Register here:



Tuesday, November 28, 2017 - 10:00 to 13:00
Event Type: 

Side Event: The cost of impunity


Wednesday, October 25, 2017 - 13:00
Event Type: 

GA Side Event | Human rights defenders & business : Respecting, protecting and supporting defenders

Wednesday, 25 October 2017
1:15 - 2:30 pm
Conference Room E
UN Headquarters, New York

Download flyer here

In his new report to the UN General Assembly, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Michel Forst, highlights that the work to defend human rights over ‘profits, privilege and prejudice’ can be dangerous and even deadly. States, business and investors must all contribute to a safe environment for human rights defenders.

This side event will allow the audience to hear from a range of stakeholders, engage with the topic and the recommendations of the Special Rapporteur, and discuss steps towards their implementation.


  • Michel Forst, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders
  • May-Elin Stener, Deputy Permanent Representative of Norway to the UN in New York
  • Tawanda Mutasah, Amnesty International
  • Bopha Phorn, former Editor-At-Large, Cambodia Daily, Cambodia
  • Juan Auz, Terra Mater, Ecuador
  • Anna Pot, APG Asset Management

A light lunch will be served from 12:40 to 1:10 PM by the Vienna Cafe. If you require a UN special pass to attend the event, please RSVP to by COB on 20 October. Download a flyer here.


Photo: Jonathan McIntosh via Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday, October 25, 2017 - 13:15 to 14:30
Event Type: 

GA Side Event | Treaty Body Strengthening Process - An assessment of developments and possible next steps

Friday, 20 October 2017
1:15 - 2:45 pm
Conference Room 12

UN Headquarters, New York

Download flyer here

Looking towards the 2020 review of the UN Treaty Body system, this side event will provide a space to
discuss developments related to strengthening treaty bodies and maximising their effectiveness, and look at
where to go from here.


  • Ambassador Juan Carlos Mendoza-García, Permanent Representative of Costa Rica to the UN
  • Suela Janina, Chair of the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances
  • Kyle Ward, Chief of Programme Support and Management Services, OHCHR
  • Christen Broeker, Deputy Director at the Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights

Opening and closing remarks:

  • Ambassador Jouni Laaksonen, Deputy Permanent Representative of Finland to the UN
  • Ambassador Marc Pecsteen de Buytswerve, Permanent Representative of Belgium to the UN

We hope you can join us.

Follow the event live on on UN Web TV:
Attendance with UN identification pass only!


Thanks to our event sponsors:

Photo: Mark Garten via UN Photos

Friday, October 20, 2017 - 13:15 to 14:45
Event Type: 

Human Rights in the Philippines


Friday, September 22, 2017 - 13:30
Event Type: 

Cambodia: a Human Rights Crisis


Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - 11:00
Event Type: