News

22 Mar

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), and the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) welcome UN independent experts’ condemnation today of the US’ threats and attacks against the International Criminal Court (ICC) including recent policy to deny and revoke US visas to the ICC’s personnel.

21 Mar

The Human Rights Council has adopted a strong consensus resolution recognising the critical role of environmental human rights defenders in protecting vital ecosystems, addressing climate change, attaining the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and ensuring that no-one is left behind. 

19 Mar

Guatemala faces a grave crisis as efforts to hold the powerful to account following decades of conflict are being undermined.  Key achievements must be safeguarded and the rights of defenders protected, said ISHR in a statement to the Human Rights Council.  

15 Mar

At all stages of conflict women human rights defenders seek to secure a sustainable peace.  Documenting violations, supporting victims, demanding solutions grounded in the respect of rights: women defenders are essential actors.  At a packed side event at the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York, three defenders spoke of working in conflict and post-conflict contexts and demanded backing for their and colleagues’ work.  

12 Mar

We all want to breathe clean air, drink safe water, and to be able to provide sustenance and a healthy, dignified life for our families. Human survival and well-being rests on a biodiverse and healthy environment and a safe climate. Environmental human rights defenders help us to achieve that - they defend the planet and their communities from the impact of harmful resource extraction or pollution by unscrupulous companies or governments. Their work is essential to attaining the sustainable development goals and ensuring that no-one is left behind.  

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IACHR | The US must keep funding human rights body

01.03.2019

ISHR has joined fifty other civil society organisations and experts calling on the US not to cut funding for the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.  

The U.S State Department is considering curtailing funding upon the request of nine US senators.

'Cutting funding to a body that works to prevent and address violations in the Americas is counter-productive. During such political and economic flux, now's the time to be investing in promoting the respect of human rights,' said ISHR's Eleanor Openshaw. 'We urge the State Department to boost not cut support to the Commission.' 

 

Full press release:  

NEW YORK, WASHINGTON D.C. – A group of fifty civil society organizations and experts are joining calls by Members of Congress and United States nominees and former commissioners of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) to maintain strong U.S. support and funding to the IACHR as the hemisphere’s principal human rights organ. 

The call comes as the U.S. State Department considers curtailing funding for the IACHR, upon a request made by nine senators on December 21st, 2018.  The undersigned organizations are extremely concerned that cutting or eliminating US funding would put the IACHR at a severe disadvantage in uplifting core values in the American Hemisphere—democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.

The fifty organizations and experts echo previous letters sent to U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo in February by Members of Congressformer commissioners, and nominees. The IACHR leads on efforts to fight violence, corruption, censorship, and trafficking, and to promote victims’ rights and regional responses to refugee crises throughout the Americas.  The signatory organizations agree that it would be a severe misstep for the U.S. government to cut off funding to a respected organization that is mandated to protect democracy and human rights in the Americas.  

Created in 1959, the IACHR is an autonomous organ of the Organization of American States (OAS) that monitors and defends human rights. The IACHR considers petitions from individuals who claim that their rights have been violated by a Member State, and they cannot find justice in their own country. The IACHR can also take concrete measures to protect individuals and groups whose lives are in imminent danger. It is also its duty to monitor the human rights situation in the Member States.  

In the 1970s and 1980s, the IACHR challenged and reported abuses by repressive regimes, becoming instrumental in helping to facilitate the region’s transition to democracy. More recently, it has been a leading institution in developing human rights standards. 

The signatory organizations and individuals call on all OAS Member States, including the United States, to continue supporting the IACHR and ensuring it can meet its mandate. The IACHR’s continued leadership on human rights has importance beyond the region, and it must be safeguarded. 

 

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

American Jewish World Service (AJWS)

Amnesty International

Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR)

Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, University of California Hastings College of the Law

Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law at American University Washington College of Law

Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA)

Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL)

The Center for Reproductive Rights

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment

Columbia Global Freedom of Expression

Due Process of Law Foundation (DPLF)

Human and Civil Rights Clinic, Howard University School of Law

Human Rights Clinic, University of Miami School of Law

Human Rights Clinic, University of Texas at Austin, School of Law

Human Rights & Gender Justice Clinic, City University of NY Law School

Human Rights Institute, Columbia Law School

The International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights

The International Justice Resource Center

Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti

International Human Rights Law and Practice Clinic, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law

International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)

Latin America Working Group (LAWG)

LatinoJustice PRLDEF

MADRE

New Mexico Environmental Law Center

OXFAM

Open Society Justice Initiative

Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy at the Northeastern University School of Law  (PHRGE) 

The Promise Institute for Human Rights, UCLA School of Law

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights

Santa Clara Law - International Human Rights Clinic

Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center, Howard University School of Law

US Human Rights Network

Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) 

Women Enabled International

Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC)

Woodhull Freedom Foundation

 

Individual sign-ons, with affiliation listed for identification purposes only:

Susan M. Akram, Clinical Professor and Director, International Human Rights Clinic, Boston University School of Law

Douglass Cassel, Emeritus Professor Notre Dame Law School

Constance de la Vega, Madison Professor of Law, University of San Francisco

Margaret Drew, Associate Professor UMass Law School

Claudia Flores, Associate Clinical Professor of Law, Director of International Human Rights Clinic, University of Chicago Law School

Denise Gilman, Clinical Professor, Director, Immigration Clinic, University of Texas School of Law

JoAnn Kamuf Ward, Director, Human Rights in the U.S. Project, Human Rights Institute, Columbia Law School

Rebecca Landy, Human Rights Funders Network (HRFN)

Bert Lockwood, Director, Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights, University of Cincinnati College of Law

Sarah H. Paoletti, Practice Professor of Law, Director, Transnational Legal Clinic, University of Pennsylvania School of Law

Naomi Roht-Arriaza, Albert Abramson ’54 Distinguished Professor of Law at UC Hastings

James Silk, Binger Clinical Professor of Human Rights, Yale Law School

Photo: CIDH Pro

Pages

Opinion:

The relationship between any State and its civil society should be one of collaboration and protection, in the interest of all citizens. Yet, it is not easy being a human rights defender or civil society organisation in Nigeria,  as the government continues to interfere with the work of defenders and NGOs through restrictive legislation.

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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