News

20 May

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) has given significantly less attention to economic, social and cultural rights than to civil and political rights. Addressing this imbalance is essential if the Human Rights Council is to fulfil its mandate to promote the indivisibility and interdependence of all human rights, as well as to play a meaningful role in monitoring implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, writes Ignacio Saiz.

18 May

NGOs and human rights defenders have until 24 May to submit cases of reprisals to the UN Secretary-General's report, covering the period June 2015 to May 2016.

17 May

Ruki Fernando recalls a decade of desperation and emergency in Sri Lanka, when local human rights defenders needed the international system to address gross and systematic human rights violations in the country - but the international system would not have taken action if human rights defenders hadn’t pushed for it.

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Opinion:

From the perspective of many Chinese human rights defenders and independent non-governmental organisations, the difficulties and risks associated with engaging the Human Rights Council (the Council) outweigh the benefits. Engagement is nearly inconceivable because of accessibility problems and the threat of State reprisals, including torture. But there are meaningful actions the Council could take to improve access, and prevent and respond to reprisals, say Linda Wang and Alex Beck.

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Mechanism

1984

ISHR commences work to develop an international Declaration on the Rights of Human Rights Defenders

1988

ISHR publishes first Human Rights Monitor, connecting human rights defenders on the ground with international human rights systems and developments

1993

ISHR facilitates global civil society engagement with the Second World Conference on Human Rights, which leads to the strengthening of women’s rights, the affirmation of universal rights, the adoption of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action and the establishment of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

1994

ISHR provides training, technical assistance and support to its 1000th human rights defender

1998

After 14 years of ISHR lobbying, advocacy and negotiation, the UN General Assembly adopts the landmark Declaration on Human Rights Defenders

2000

UN Secretary-General appoints Hina Jilani as inaugural UN Special Representative on Human Rights Defenders, strengthening protection of human rights advocates at risk worldwide.

2004

ISHR leads a successful campaign for the appointment of a Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights

2005

ISHR co-founds and supports a range of international and regional human rights coalitions, including the Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition, the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project and the West African Human Rights Defenders Network

2006

ISHR contributes to the establishment and institution building of a new global peak body for human rights issues, the UN Human Rights Council

2007

ISHR leads and coordinates the development of the Yogyakarta Principles on sexual orientation and gender identity, strengthening legal recognition and protection of LGBT rights worldwide

2011

ISHR’s sustained advocacy on the issue of reprisals and intimidation faced by human rights defenders leads to adoption of landmark UN Human Rights Council resolution condemning and strengthening protections against reprisals

2012

Working with key NGO partners such as Amnesty International, ISHR leads civil society efforts to strengthen UN human rights treaty bodies, prevent their weakening and better connect their work with victims and human rights defenders on the ground

2013

Working with supportive states and NGOs, ISHR advocacy leads to adoption of historic Human Rights Council resolution calling on all States to review and amend national laws to respect and protect the work of human rights defenders