The history of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders: its genesis, drafting and adoption

by Petter Wille, Special Adviser to the National Human Rights Institution of the Kingdom of Norway and JANIKA SPANNAGEL, RESEARCH ASSOCIATE, GLOBAL PUBLIC POLICY INSTITUTE Blog, Blog, By invitation, International human rights institutions, mechanisms and processes

Introduction Human rights defenders have been on the agenda of the United Nations (UN) for several decades. After more than 13 years of negotiations, the UN General Assembly adopted the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders in 1998 . This was a historic achievement. It was the first UN instrument to particularly recognise the importance and legitimacy of the work of human rights defenders, as well as their …

Moving from pledge to practice – Australia’s efforts to support civil society at the Human Rights Council

by Ms Elizabeth Wilde, Deputy Permanent Representative of Australia to the UN in Geneva Blog, Blog, By invitation

When Australia presented its candidacy for election to the Human Rights Council in 2015, we acknowledged the crucial role that a strong and robust civil society plays in preserving and advancing human rights. We pledged that, if elected, we would promote civil society participation opportunities at the Council, and advocate for the protection of journalists, human rights defenders and civil society …

Where are African voices in support of human rights defenders?

by Florian Irminger, Head of Advocacy, Human Rights House Network and the URG team Blog, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

Earlier in November, Norway introduced a draft resolution on the protection of human rights defenders at the UN General Assembly. This important draft text was tabled at a time of shrinking civil society space in many parts of the world and against a backdrop of an increasingly threatening climate for human rights defenders. Unfortunately the draft resolution has become subject …

The environment is the new battleground for human rights – we must protect those on the frontline

by Oliver Courtney Blog, By invitation, Contemporary and emerging human rights issues

Imagine waking up one morning to be told by a man from the government that new laws mean the street your family has lived on for generations is being sold to developers. Your land is to be ‘converted’ into flats in the name of national economic development; bulldozers will soon be moving in to flatten your house and rip up …