Protecting human rights defenders through the development of national laws: a human rights defenders national law


Monday 24 October
Kairaba Beach Hotel

View the event flyer here

You are invited to attend the lauching of ISHR's Model National Law on the protection of human rights defenders (HRDs). Defenders will share their West African experiences and lessons learnt of ongoing initiatives of national protection laws. The Ivorian case will illustrate how women HRDs are also protected in their law.

As the African Union celebrates the year of human rights - with a particular focus on women's rights, it is pertinent to recognise that the legal recognition and protection of HRDs is a key element contributing to a safe and enabling environment for their work. In order to encourage States to enact national laws in line with the Declaration on HRDs, a national Model Law for the promotion and protection of HRDs was developed in consultation with over 500 defenders and endorsed by 27 of the world's leading human rights experts. It rovides authoritative technical guidance to policy makers and legislators and is a powerful advocacy and accountability tool for advocates. 


The side event aims to launch the Model Law at the African level and to provide space for HRDs from countries where the HRD protection law has been enacted or in the process of enactment to share their experiences. 


  • Commissioner Reine Alapini-Gansou, Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders
  • Ms Marthe Pedan Coulibaly, Coalition Ivoirienne des Défenseurs des Droits Humains (CIDDH)
  • Mr Wodjo Fini Traoré, Vice-president of the National Human Rights Commission of Côte d'Ivoire (CNDHCI)
  • Ms Mary Pais Da Silva, Assistant legal adviser, Africa Programme, Intenrational Commission of Jurists 
  • Mr Clément Voule, African advocacy director and programme manager (States in transition), ISHR 

French/English interpretation 

Follow the event on Twitter: #ACHPR59 @ISHRglobal 

Light refreshments will be served

Photo: Multimedia Photography