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Human Rights Defenders

Websites/Multiple Documents

Title: human rights defenders mechanisms - information and coordination website
Language: English
Source/publisher: human rights defenders mechanisms
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 01 December 2014

Title: Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders
Description/subject: "...The mandate on human rights defenders is broad and stipulates that the Special Rapporteur’s main roles are: seek, receive, examine and respond to information on the situation of human rights defenders; establish cooperation and conduct dialogue with governments and other interested actors on the promotion and effective implementation of the Declaration; recommend effective strategies better to protect human rights defenders and follow up on these recommendations; integrate a gender perspective throughout her work ..."
Language: English (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, Spanish also available)
Source/publisher: UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 01 December 2014

Title: The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders
Description/subject: " The main objectives of the “Human Rights Defenders” Programme are: To focus the international community’s attention on cases of harassment and repression of human rights defenders. Thanks to the Observatory and in collaboration with other OMCT programmes, the “defenders” programme maintains a system of “urgent interventions”. Every time the Observatory receives a report concerning the repression of a defender, information is verified with its OMCT and/or FIDH partners, and an action is launched as soon as possible in the form of an urgent appeal, a press release or a letter to authorities, on a case by case basis. Between 1997 and 2001, the Observatory prepared more than 600 urgent interventions concerning approximately 1,000 defenders in more than 60 countries. These interventions have enabled the release of certain defenders and the improvement of the situation of many of whom were victims of harassment. To offer concrete and personalised assistance via international fact-finding missions, judicial observation and support missions, solidarity missions, and the granting of material assistance to defenders and defender organisations. Since the creation of the Observatory, more than 40 international fact-finding missions and judicial observation and support missions have been conducted. Fact-finding missions aim to collect information on the situation of defenders in a given country, and to make them public. Legal observation missions must bring support to defenders that are the object of often-arbitrary prosecution, so that all the guarantees of a just and equitable trial be respected, and to alert the international community if need be. Material assistance enables the evacuation of defenders who are in grave danger and provides support for organisations that risk disappearing because of a lack of means (e.g., following the destruction of their working material during a raid). To mobilise civil society and international opinion through the elaboration, the publication and the diffusion of reports on the violations of the rights and freedoms of people or organisations working for human rights in the world. The Observatory publishes an annual report that includes all the urgent interventions conducted during the year, follow-up and thematic analysis on the situation of human rights defenders. This work is presented during the Human Rights Council’s session in Geneva. A monthly bulletin, which presents a summary of all the actions undertaken in the previous month, is also widely diffused and available on the Web site in three languages (French, English and Spanish). To promote and reinforce international and regional mechanisms aimed at protecting defenders with various intergovernmental, regional and international bodies, such as the United Nations, the Organisation of American States, the African Union, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Council of Europe and the European Union." .
Language: English
Source/publisher: OMCT, FIDH
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 01 December 2014

Individual Documents

Title: How to Defend the Defenders? A Report on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders in Burma and Appropriate Protection Mechanism
Date of publication: July 2015
Description/subject: Executive Summary: "Section 1 of the Report – the Introduction – explains the background to the issue of HRDs in Burma, and outlines the current political situation in the country. In brief, since early 2011, when President Thein Sein’s quasi-civilian government came to power, Burma has undergone a series of reforms that gave many hope that the situation of HRDs would improve – in terms of their freedom to pursue their valuable and legitimate human rights work. However, testimony and reports from inside the country paint a very different picture and, as the 2015 national elections draw ever closer, the democratic and civil society space within which HRDs can operate has started to contract alarmingly once again. Those who try to defend human rights now seem to be operating in as dangerous environment as ever..... Section 2 outlines the objective, scope and methodology of the Report. In particular, the research involved organizing 75 interviews and two focus group discussions (“FGDs”), conducted with a spectrum of HRDs, and across diverse areas within Burma. This broad scope of research allowed AAPP and BP to identify inter- and intra-sectoral trends across a range of human rights work. The objectives of the Report are to outline the specific risks and challenges that HRDs in Burma face in 2015, and to set out some practical protection mechanisms and policy recommendations that might improve the situation of HRDs. The long term aim is an improvement not only in the lives of the HRDs themselves, but also in the human rights situation in Burma as a whole – to the benefit of all those living in Burma..... Section 3 first highlights the international legal framework intended to protect HRDs and their legitimate work. It then goes on to set out the domestic legislation that poses a threat to the work or lives of HRDs in Burma – or indeed is actively used to target them – while in the process highlighting high profile cases, reported in the media, which demonstrate how the legislation in question is being used. It finishes by analyzing the role of various important Burma institutions, in the context of the current repression of HRDs and the stifling of their work..... Section 4 sets out and analyzes the findings of the interviews and FGDs, and groups them into thematic areas. Each sub-section focuses initially upon the nature of the various challenges and risks that different types of HRDs face in Burma, identifying trends and patterns of abuse, dangers and threats – whether real or perceived – before going on to highlight existing and potential protection mechanisms..... Section 5 then captures all of the practical solutions and policy recommendations, addressed to a variety of key actors and stakeholders, which directly draw upon the experiences and perspectives of the HRDs interviewed. It is hoped that these recommendations will in turn improve the situation of HRDs in Burma, and allow them to better conduct their valuable and legitimate human rights work..... Section 6 – the Conclusion – states that even in 2015, HRDs in Burma are subjected to a whole range of attacks and abuses, and are therefore in dire and urgent need of protection. If the Burma Government were to start protecting HRDs, and respecting their rights and their valuable and legitimate work, the overall human rights situation in Burma would improve – to the benefit of all people in Burma."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma Partnership, Assistance Association for Political Prisoners
Format/size: pdf (1.2MB-reduced version; 1.56MB-original)
Alternate URLs: http://www.burmapartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/HRD-Report.pdf
Date of entry/update: 31 July 2015