International Federation for Human Rights

FIDH (International Federation for Human Rights) is an international human rights NGO federating 192 organisations from 117 countries. Since 1922, FIDH has been defending all civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Our work

For FIDH, transforming societies relies on the work of local actors. Therefore, FIDH’s activities aim to reinforce their capacities and their influence.

It acts at national, regional and international levels in support of its member and partner organisations to address human rights abuses and consolidate democratic processes. Its work is directed at States and those in power, such as armed opposition groups and multinational corporations. Its primary beneficiaries are national human rights organisations who are members of FIDH, and through them, the victims of human rights violations. FIDH also cooperates with other local partner organisations and actors of change.

Our mandate: Protect all rights

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) is an international NGO. It defends all human rights – civil, political, economic, social and cultural – as contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Our commitment: Three pillars of action

FIDH acts in conjunction with its member and partner organisations. Its actions are founded on three strategic pillars: securing the freedom and capacity to act for human rights defenders, the universality of rights and their effectiveness.

Guiding principle: The accountability of all

FIDH’s work is directed at States as primary human rights guarantors. However, it also addresses non-State actors such as armed groups and multinational corporations. FIDH is committed to holding individual perpetrators of international crimes to account through the international criminal justice system.

Ethics: Independence and objectivity

FIDH is a non partisan, non sectarian, apolitical and not for profit organisation. Its secretariat is headquartered in France, where FIDH is a recognised NGO. FIDH’s independence, expertise and objectivity are the hallmarks of its credibility. It maintains this by acting with complete transparency.

Interaction: Local presence - global action

As a federal movement, FIDH operates on the basis of interaction with its member organisations. It ensures that FIDH merges on-the-ground experience and knowledge with expertise in international law, mechanisms of protection and intergovernmental bodies. This unique combination translates into joint actions between FIDH and its member organisations at national, regional and international levels to remedy human rights violations and consolidate processes of democratisation. It makes FIDH highly representational and legitimate.

A system of governance: Universality and transparency

FIDH’s structure and operations place its member organisations at the heart of the decision making process and reflect its principles of governance.

Proven expertise

FIDH using a wide range of methods that have proven successful: urgent responses, both public and confidential; investigative missions, judicial observation, and legal defence; political dialogue, advocacy, legal action, public awareness campaigns. The organisation relies on a network of international volunteer mission delegates and facilitates exchange among human rights defenders around the world in order to reinforce their expertise. It constantly evaluates its activities in view of becoming more efficient and regularly adjusts its short, medium and long term objectives as necessary.

Our history

Landmark achievements

  • 1922 - 1948

    1922: FIDH is founded by some twenty national organisations on the initiative of French and German member organisations. It is the first international human rights organisation. Its motto is: “Peace for human rights.

    1927: FIDH proposes the creation of an “International declaration of human rights” and an International Criminal Court.

    1936: FIDH adopts an additional declaration touching, in particular, on the rights of mothers, children and the elderly, the right to work and to social security, leisure and an education.

    1940: FIDH joins the fight against Nazism. Its chairman, Victor Basch, is assassinated by members of the Vichy government militia in Lyon.

  • 1949 - 1988

    Dispersed or forced underground during the Second World War, FIDH reforms after the war and develops its human rights activities. It launches its first fact-finding missions and judicial observation missions. FIDH’s positions are supported by accounts gathered from victims by its officials on mission. Two of its most eminent leaders, René Cassin and Joseph-Paul Boncour, help draft the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. During the 1980s, FIDH expands its field of activities, particularly within the United Nations. Its fact-finding missions become more diverse and are supplemented by more intensive activism within international organisations.

  • 1989 - 2010

    The 1990s:
    The fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War mark a major step forward in the development of national human rights NGOs across the world. FIDH supports this development within the framework of legal cooperation programmes in political transition contexts in Eastern Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and the Middle East, and Latin America. The number of FIDH member organisations increases from 66 to more than 100. In 1990, FIDH brings together, in Prague, for the first time, all of its members and partners from Eastern Europe, who are finally free from dictatorship. In 1997, it holds its first International Conference in a southern country, in Dakar. This conference underlines the urgent need to combat the flagrant human rights violations resulting from economic globalisation.

2001: FIDH holds its conference in Morocco. The application of the principle of responsibility to perpetrators of human rights violations, whether states, companies, institutions or individuals, lies at the heart of the movement’s actions. During this conference, the first chair of FIDH from a southern country - the Senegalese lawyer Sidiki Kaba is elected.

2002: The International Criminal Court enters into force. It is the culmination of one of FIDH’s longest campaigns.

2003: The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to Shirin Ebadi, an Iranian lawyer and long-standing partner of FIDH, honouring the day-to-day commitment to victims shown by human rights defenders.

2004: CCR, FIDH’s new American affiliate organisation, files a complaint in Germany against Donald Rumsfeld, former US Secretary of Defense, for torture and mistreatment at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib; the proceedings are to last 4 years and become one of FIDH’s landmark cases in the field of human rights compliance in the fight against terrorism.

2006: FIDH takes a public stand against the execution of the former Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, and deplores the fact that a historic opportunity to judge the crimes of Saddam Hussein according to the principles of a fair trial turned into a parody of justice.

2007: A complaint for torture and maltreatment in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib is lodged against the former American Secretary of State for Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, in an attempt to combat high-level impunity. The same year, Souhayr Belhassen, a Tunisian journalist and human rights defender, becomes the first woman (what’s more, an Arab/Muslim woman) elected as the chair of FIDH.

2008: The year 2008 is a turning point for the death penalty: the UN adopts a universal moratorium on the death penalty and it is abolished by Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. Togo is to follow their example in 2009, as a result of ongoing action by FIDH and its member organisations. In 2008, unprecedented events mark the campaign for international justice that FIDH has been fighting for years: FIDH and its Member Organisations win some great victories, such as the opening of the ICC’s first case involving the Central African Republic; new charges of gender-related crimes are filed against certain Congolese defendants by the ICC prosecutor; Senegalese law is aligned with the Statute of Rome and with international human rights conventions; a Tunisian vice-consul is convicted of acts of torture. But universal justice remains a challenge, as does the need to protect those exercising their rights in national and international courts. The conviction of Alberto Fujimori and the 2009 arrest warrant issued by the ICC against the Sudanese president are also key victories. 2008 also sees the adoption of the optional protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), which finally enables the victims of rights violations to seek individual remedy at the international level. This advance is the culmination of years of FIDH action in favour of full and fair recognition of economic, social and cultural rights for all. This step forward also comes at a time when economic globalisation is increasingly called into question and when debate is focused squarely on the responsibility of corporate actors, particularly multinational organisations. FIDH calls for economic relations to incorporate human rights and for all stakeholders, including Governments, businesses and financial institutions, to be held to account for their actions.

2008-2009: FIDH’s campaign for women’s rights also bears fruit, with the European Union adopting guidelines on women’s rights, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) ratifying the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa in February, followed by Cameroon in May. In April, Burkina Faso adopts a law on quotas, requiring lists of candidates for National Assembly and municipal elections to include at least 30% women and in December, Uganda adopts legislation prohibiting female genital mutilation.

2009: On 4 March 2009, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issues an arrest warrant for the Sudanese president, Omar al-Bashir. This decision marks a crucial stage in the development of international justice. It is, in fact, the first time since its creation in 2002 that the ICC has issued an arrest warrant against a sitting president. FIDH was particularly committed to this brief: by performing fact-finding missions and calling for the United Nations Security Council to bring the matter before the ICC, it helped ensure the opening of an enquiry and the issuing of arrest warrants against the most senior members of the Sudanese government - including President Bashir.

2010: For the first time FIDH holds its World Congress in the Caucasus, in Armenia. The governing bodies now comprise 19 nationalities from all continents, and over 40 % women. There are now 178 member organisations.>

  • 2011-2015

    Throughout the Arab Spring, FIDH does its utmost to defend the rights of those in the countries involved. In Libya, for example, it is responsible for ensuring that human rights are a central plank of the transitional regime’s reforms.

    2011: FIDH secures the release of political prisoners in Burma, and contributes to securing partial openness from the authorities.

    2012: FIDH celebrates its 90th anniversary. This year, it carries out 60 fact-finding missions, judicial observation missions and appeals. It welcomes the increasing number of victories it is winning throughout the world.

Our member organisations

FIDH brings together 192 national human rights NGOs, in 117 coutries, on 5 continents.

Being an FIDH member organisation means:

1/ Sharing the values enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; a code of ethics based on a commitment to independence, objectivity and rigorous factchecking methodologies;

2/ Uniting for greater strength and to cultivate alliances in order to generate changeat local, regional and international levels;

3/ Breaking isolation to better protect human rights defenders;

4/ Sharing experience, best practices and expertise among member organisations.

Farewell to our companion, the humanist and the tireless human rights defender, Louis Joinet

In France, Louis Joinet was at the origin of the creation of the syndicat de la magistrature, then of the Commission nationale informatique et libertés, an institution that has become a reference on the international scene in terms of protecting media pluralism and protecting personal data.

The FIDH has known him most of all since the mid-1970s, when he conducted fact-finding missions on his behalf in the Southern Cone of the Americas, Argentina, Uruguay and Chile, where he was the first to bring out lists of missing detainees from these countries.
The companionship then continued when he became a French member of the Sub-Commission on Human Rights in 1979, and throughout his thirty-three years of voluntary work as a United Nations expert.

He was the discreet mobilizer of the United Nations against the dictatorships of Chile, Honduras and Argentina, supporting the families of the disappeared, working for the release of political detainees in Bahrain, for the adoption of the first international condemnation of the repression of Tiananmen Square, or for the reconstruction of the rule of law in Haiti.
As a member of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, he was one of the first international experts to visit the infamous Evin prison in Tehran - in which human rights activists and political opponents were - and unfortunately still are - imprisoned -, but also of the "prisons" of Port Hedland, Maribyrnong, Perth, Womera, Baxter and Villawood, where Australia detained its migrants, in violation of international law.

He was the architect of the development of international human rights standards with a decisive impact, in particular through the adoption of the international principles for the protection of human rights through the fight against impunity, which took the name of the "Joinet principles" and which became a reference text in periods of political transitions and peace agreement negotiations.

His mobilization at the United Nations ended with the adoption of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. Throughout the three decades of his international work, he worked to fill the abyssal legal void in which victims of enforced disappearance found themselves while the crime was rampant throughout the world, without it being possible to prevent or punish it.

Not one of his field visits took place without asking FIDH for its contacts and privileged relations in the field. Our members will remember that. During these three decades, he witnessed the flourishing of the universal human rights movement, with the fall of the Berlin Wall, dictatorships in Latin American countries, and the consolidation of democracies around the world.

His action has inspired many of us, and we hope to keep the same determination that has gone through his life. His commitment, intelligence and mischief will be greatly missed. FIDH extends its condolences to his family.

Let us remember his words, those of the the poet he was, written in memory of Norma Scopise, a Uruguayan friend who disappeared through the Plan Condor.

DONDE ESTAN?
Was I from Cordoba?
From Dili of Jakarta
Conception or Bogota
My name is Norma
I was, I am
I am no longer
I don’t know.
I don’t know anymore.
Kidnapped disappeared
With impunity
Victim of a crime
Almost perfect
Of humanity’s prejudice
To be nothing more than a shadow
Of an imprescriptible crime
Disappeared in the heavens
From a flight of death
Remained mysterious
Wandering in this Palace
From room to room
From Nation to Nation
Companion of this diaspora
Forgotten faces
Invisible among you
But present at your side
Thank you, O living ones
For not forgetting me

OUR RIGHTS, OUR FIGHT, OUR FUTURE

UR RIGHTS, OUR FIGHT, OUR FUTURE

FIDH, meeting in Taipei (Taiwan) from 21 to 25 October 2019 for its 40th Congress

Almost 100 years since the creation of our federation, and more than 70 since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the universality of human rights has never been more questioned, both at the normative and at the political levels. The global human rights movement must thus mobilise to defend the promises found in the UDHR, and fight all attacks on universality. This is a duty for us.

1. Addressing crises

FIDH, meeting in Taipei (Taiwan) from 21 to 25 October 2019 for its 40th Congress

Almost 100 years since the creation of our federation, and more than 70 since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the universality of human rights has never been more questioned, both at the normative and at the political levels. The global human rights movement must thus mobilise to defend the promises found in the UDHR, and fight all attacks on universality. This is a duty for us.

1. Addressing crises

1a. Defending a human rights-driven multilateralism

The regional and international post human rights instruments and mechanisms have led to many advances and were vectors for the universalisation of human rights. They were essential in enabling human right defenders to make their voices heard and condemn violations.

But their effectiveness and impacts have been affected and the resources available to them have been greatly reduced.

The United Nations Security Council is hostage to the right of veto by of its five permanent members and no longer completely fulfils its obligations when faced with the increasing number of crises. This explains its inability to deal with the crises such as those in Syria, Crimea and Palestine in full regard to and for the benefit of human rights.

International courts are also having to face a large number of challenges, such as problems in deploying universally, in obliging the super powers to face their responsibility, and in dealing with the increasing number of hostile policies that obstruct international justice. The recent attacks by the Trump Administration on the ICC and its staff are only the latest example.

Economic governance is conducted outside of global multilateral forums and in contradiction to the international human rights commitments and obligations, while international initiatives to have economies consider human rights are difficult to implement.

Meanwhile, the world’s geopolitical map and relations between States are changing, as is the division of powers between the public and the private sectors. Various actors are consolidating their position at the global level, while their goal is to undermine the international order and the protection of human rights.

It is imperative to rethink, re-invest and strengthen multilateralism as a force that guarantees a global governance serving human rights.

1b. Promoting human rights and the rule of law in democracies in crisis

Democracies are electing leaders who promote conflicting, authoritarian and illiberal policies. Such policies impede liberties, question the universal and indivisible nature of human rights and limit the application of universal protection systems.

The instrumentalization and confiscation of democracy by the populist extreme right and post-fascist regimes creates new challenges for human rights defenders and activists. Resistance and resilience must be combined with the strengthening of the alliances between human rights defense organizations and social movements.

2. Expanding our horizons: broadening human rights reach and norms

Contemporary societies are confronted with a number of emerging issues which could only be addressed effectively when basic rights are used as a framework.

2a. Digital technologies

Digital technologies are becoming essential to serve the work of human rights defenders around the world and to give voice to oppressed and marginalized populations, to the extent that they have access to them. They are also used by authoritarian regimes, who use them to identify and repress dissenting voices. Similarly, advances in algorithms and artificial intelligence are opening up new horizons, particularly in the areas of medical care, transport or education, or, more problematically, as police auxiliaries or predictive justice. They can also threaten the functioning of democracies, human rights and the rule of law. Consequently, it is essential to carry out impact assessments on the human rights of these systems, to generalize digital education and to adopt binding international texts aimed at ensuring the right of access to the Internet for all, protecting privacy and protecting, promoting and defending human rights effectively in these new environments.

2b. Considering nature in terms of rights

Humanity faces a major challenge since the onset of global warming. The consequences are just as tangible from the viewpoint of human rights: inequalities and discriminations become more acute, migration grows, defenders are targeted and communities are severely impacted.
People have the right to a clean and safe environment and to be protected from threats to their life. Collective rights connected to environment, the right to land, the right to water should be further enhanced and recognised.

2c. Strengthening corporate accountability and obligations

Corporate regulations are growing stricter throughout the world and initiatives taken to oblige corporations to be accountable for human rights violations are growing in number. In addition to the adoption of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) in 2011, the OECD Guidelines and the increase in legislations obliging businesses to respect human rights in supply chains, that need to be fleshed out and made more effective, we also need to support the growing momentum designed to strengthen the accountability framework at international, regional and national levels. This includes negotiations at the United Nations on the preparation of a binding treaty on business and human rights.

3. Consolidating the roots of our movement: making the enjoyment of human rights a reality for all

Rights count if they only adress anyone. Otherwise, rights become privileges for some. Our movement must pursue its action to make human rights and social justice a universal reality.

3a. Defending the defenders

As agents of change throughout the world, human rights defenders are increasingly seen in the public debate as “threats to national security”, “terrorists, “traitors”, “enemies of the State, or “opponents to development” for opposing government policies or even merely denouncing the impact of economic activities and the expropriation of local communities.

Emboldened by their rhetoric, governments attack the actions of civil society through national and international terrorism control measures and impose restrictions on NGOs that curtail their capacity to act. In more and more parts of the world, human rights defenders are under major threat of their freedom and safety.

3b. Changing the narrative for migrants and refugees.

Global inequality and unequal distribution of wealth is a major source of migration. As long as inequal distribution of wealth becomes more acute, migration flows will only be rising.

International community and civil society should work together to combat rights violations that lead to migrations, develop policies that secure migratory routes and fight against the criminalization of human rights defenders who help migrants. We also need to secure the rights of migrants in host countries by especially fighting hate speech and slavery and other forms of economic exploitation. Migrants’ integration can’t take place in conditions of segregation. Segregation feeds the extreme right narrative regarding migrants as invaders. Changing this narrative is a major challenge. Otherwise, rights and social cohesion are seriously threatened.

3c. Responding to the threats to the universality of women’s rights

Throughout the world, women’s rights are subject to restrictions and alienation because of the instrumentalization of cultural and religious heritage, ancestral traditions and discriminatory practices of patriarchal origin.

Women experience discrimination in the recognition and enjoyment of their rights within the family, their rights to health, their reproductive and sexual rights, their economic, social and political rights, on the basis of both equality in the law as equality before the law. They are victims of violence, trafficking and feminicides.

In contexts of dictatorial regimes, organized crime, conflict, and political regime change, women are also victims of sexual violence and feminicide. Rape has been used as a weapon of war and ethnic cleansing. They are subjected to extreme violence that violates their human rights, their citizenship and their dignity.

FIDH must continue to defend women’s rights in these particularly difficult contexts.

3d. Combating LGBTI+ discrimination

The universality of human rights is frequently questioned, especially when it comes to advocating for the rights of LGBTI+ individuals. In certain societies, such rights are argued to be “Western values” by many opponents. LGBTI+ people are then discriminated against and serve as alibis to create a scapegoat group, threatening the collectivity, its values and its particular traditions, often called national. Meanwhile, in many countries, the fight for equality for LGBTI+ individuals remains spearheaded by specialist organizations, and is only marginally integrated into the work of generalist human rights organizations. Yet, many countries have seen successes in reducing discrimination. The list of countries where same-sex marriage is legal continues to increase, and repressive legislation is being struck down. The goal is to better identify how and why these successes have happened, in order to replicate them.

3e. Fighting capital punishment

The right to life remains precarious, threatened by the use of capital punishment. Asia is home to the highest number of retentionist countries and the highest number of executions in the world. Principles of equitable justice, fair trial rights, and due process are cardinal principles that, if respected, can help reduce the use of the death penalty and get countries back on track to abolition.

3f. Justice, a tool for strengthening the universality of rights

In their search for justice, truth and reparation, the first step of victims of serious human rights violations and crimes under international law is to resort to national criminal courts, in the countries where those crimes were perpetrated. However, several factors can impede effective access at the local or national levels: lack of political willingness and/or ability of domestic justice systems, weakening or total collapse of legal systems, lack of independence, political obstacles or, absence of measures to protect victims or legal personnel for instance. Consequently, other methods for fighting impunity and holding perpetrators to account must be used. Our actions must continue to support victims of international crimes’ effective access to other accountability mechanisms, at national level using the principle of extra-territorial jurisdiction, at regional level or at international level, before hybrid courts or international courts like the International Criminal Court. These mechanisms too present specific and evolving challenges to be addressed, but also opportunities to leverage openings within the global justice architecture and empower local actors at every stage.

4. Reinstate human rights universality

Human dignity is the axiom of rights. Human beings have dignity because they are human and this can not be questioned. This is what universality is about. Human rights reflect the juridico-political response of the indignation provoked by the most tragic experiences to which humanity has been and continues to be confronted, starting with the two World wars of the 20th century. In addition to being immensely important from a legal standpoint, human rights reflect an intuition inherent in the universal refusal of injustice and threats to human dignity.

Whether the challenges to the realisation of rights are old or new, we can only deal with them if we have a universal response, based on a cosmopolitan governance that goes beyond state boundaries, and is free of economic interests.

The universality of human rights fits in perfectly with cultural, economic, social or even historical differences and disparities. Human rights provide a minimum of protection against the most basic interest interests of the human being. They give life to his/her dignity. International human rights conventions already include diversity to better define our common base. They prohibit discrimination, and look at the criteria that were used in the past for exclusion and marginalisation. They promote cultural rights, leave room for adjustments based on particular cultural characteristics and circumstances. Exceptions are made for certain absolute rights such as the ban on torture and inhuman and degrading treatment. These adjustments must be defined by law, and be precise, necessary, non-discriminatory and proportional to the goal being sought.

Human rights are indivisible and are thus the law and the common good shared by all humanity. Rights serve both the safety of our communities and individual dignity.

Death of Maître Daniel Jacoby, former FIDH President

Dear Friends,

We were sad to learn of the death of Mr Daniel Jacoby, a lawyer at the Paris Court of Appeal. In the 1960s, Mr Jacoby and Mr. Michel Blum, gave new life to FIDH. Mr. Jacoby was the FIDH President for 9 years, from 1986 to 1995.

FIDH wishes to express its affection and sympathy for the family and friends of Daniel Jacoby in this painful moment.

We will pay tribute to him at a later date, when circumstances so allow.

Alice Mogwe
FIDH President

Celebrating 100 years human rights advances, FIDH prepares for challenges of the century ahead

#FIDH100 / www.FIDH100.org

It is no accident that FIDH’s motto, at its founding, is “Peace through human rights.” In the aftermath of World War I, Europe was devastated and in shock. The national human rights organisations of 20 countries, including the organisations from France – the Ligue des droits de l’Homme – and Germany – Bund Neues Vaterland – gathered in Paris to found FIDH, to promote peace through human rights and cooperation between countries so the atrocities of World War I would not happen again.

The founding organisations came from Armenia, Belgium, Bulgaria, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

This cooperation between human rights organisations worldwide is possible thanks to FIDH’s federative model. With cooperation and solidarity central to its way of operating, FIDH has always been ahead of its time and has accomplished remarkable achievements in its first hundred years, calling for a World Declaration of Human Rights and a permanent International Criminal Court as early as 1927. These campaigns finally succeeded with the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948 and the creation of the International Criminal Court in 1998.

As decades passed, this federative model grew stronger. African human rights organisations joined the Federation in the 1970s following decolonisation and independence, like the Tunisian Human Rights League in 1978. FIDH kept growing, boasting 178 member organisations in 2010, and no fewer than 192 in 117 countries today.

Again and again, the need for cooperation and solidarity proved to be an absolute necessity over the years. At Poland’s emblematic Poznań riot trials, FIDH denounced the abuses of the communist regime, which wielded violent repression against peaceful protesters demanding better wages. FIDH was present again to document the crimes of dictatorships all across Latin America in the 1960s and 1970s and to take part in the trials. Standing with victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity and litigating in cases such as the Rwandan genocide in 1994, the atrocities perpetrated by the Khmer Rouge between 1975 and 1979, and the crimes committed by Bashar El Assad’s regime in Syria, FIDH remains resolutely committed to its federative philosophy and its motto.

Not only does this model promote and defend human rights worldwide; it is also a guarantee for human rights defenders everywhere that they do not face authoritarian regimes and threats alone. Each time a human rights defender is threatened, arbitrarily arrested, judicially harassed, tortured, or forcibly disappeared, FIDH conducts advocacy, raises awareness, investigates abuses, and provides legal assistance. The recent case of Salah Hammouri, a Palestinian lawyer and human rights defender, epitomises how FIDH’s federative nature supports human rights defenders worldwide by providing legal assistance: the organisation filed a complaint against NSO Group, which infiltrated Hammouri’s phone with its spyware Pegasus, and recently made a new submission to the International Criminal Court detailing the harassment by Israeli authorities he has been enduring for years.

While solidarity benefits individuals, it benefits organisations, too! In the same way that FIDH stands up for human rights defenders, it also stands up for its member organisations when they are threatened and prevented from carrying out their legitimate human rights activities. In Belarus for instance, the authorities shut down 275 human rights organisations in 2021 alone and arbitrarily imprisoned seven human rights defenders from FIDH’s member organisation Viasna in 2020. FIDH has been actively working to free Viasna’s members, defend the organisation’s essential work, and denounce the repressive regime in Belarus.

As we know all too well, human rights must never be taken for granted and many challenges await us for the century to come. The war in Ukraine and climate crises are bitter reminders of this truth. But if we’ve been able to achieve a century of victories thanks to solidarity, cooperation, and our federative model, another 100 years of victories is well within reach!

Here’s to 2122.

1922⁠–2022: FIDH turns 100!

Paris, 10 May 2022 — One-hundred years ago, in 1922, against the backdrop of the post-WWI period, the French and German human rights associations and 20 other national associations joined forces to found the International Federation for Human Rights. Over its rich, century-long history, FIDH has fought to build a fair and equitable world.

"Celebrating our centenary means laying the groundwork for our next 100 years.”

Alice Mogwe, FIDH president

"Our strength lies in our ability to remain relevant: by adapting to changes without ever straying from our mission," declared Alice Mogwe, FIDH president. "Our tenacious commitment to universal respect for human rights – driven by passionate people from all over the world – is firmly rooted in each and every one of the organisations which make up our Federation. This once-in-a-century celebration is an opportunity to pay them the tribute they so richly deserve and to project ourselves into our future: conceiving and defending the rights of tomorrow."

A centenary resolutely focused on the future
Climate change, growing inequalities, threats to democracy and to our personal data, discrimination against vulnerable populations: the challenges of this new century are already very real. What new rights are needed to meet these new challenges? And how to implement them? FIDH will tackle these issues by engaging young people through an online platform, #AskTheFuture, which will receive proposals from people from all over the world.

This platform will complement a major academic initiative undertaken in partnership with the universities of Sceaux Paris Saclay, Paris Panthéon Sorbonne 1, the Law Clinic of Geneva and the University of Geneva. From 20 May to 8 December, a dozen lectures will be held in Paris, Brussels and Geneva. They will be hosted by leading academics, FIDH experts, and other speakers who think, fight and, together, redefine human rights.

In culmination of the celebrations, a gala at the City Hall of Paris will take place on 23 October at the invitation of Mayor Anne Hidalgo, in the presence of European dignitaries and over 150 human rights defenders from around the world.

On 24 October, FIDH World Congress will open with a full day of round tables – again at the Paris City Hall. This four-day congress will bring together activists from every continent on the major issues of tomorrow: universalism of rights in the light of human diversity, extreme poverty, common goods for the benefit of humanity, and the intersection of rights and the climate crisis.

FIDH is active on a worldwide scale and, as such, is associated this year with the Fortnight of International Solidarity in Brussels at the beginning of October, as well as with Geneva’s Human Rights Week at the end of November.

On this occasion, FIDH is organising a travelling photo exhibition developed with the Magnum agency, the screening of films produced by the Mobile Film Festival, and consultative workshops for young people, in collaboration with the Brussels and Paris city halls. Several major events are also planned in Africa and Eastern Europe.

Finally, major art installations will be exhibited in Brussels and Paris with the generous support of artists from the MTART agency.

"Our centenary programme reflects FIDH and the diversity of its values: boldness, creativity, solidarity, the emphasis on civil society, and our federative model – key to our unique approach among the major international organisations.”

Eléonore Morel, FIDH executive director

"We are thrilled to be accompanied by so many actors who share this vision and who value our commitment to human rights," concluded Eléonore Morel, the organisation’s executive director.

Learn all about the centenary, including FIDH’s history, on the dedicated website: https://fidh100.org/

Dedicated partners
To carry out its work, FIDH has enlisted the support of many institutional, public and private partners, all of whom are motivated by a concern for the common good and the unconditional defence of human dignity.
You can find the complete list of our partners here.

Note to editors
Alice Mogwe, FIDH’s president, is available for interviews in English.
Eléonore Morel, FIDH’s executive director, is available for interviews in French.

FIDH’s history includes:
- participation in drafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948;
- calling for the creation of the International Criminal Court;
- support to the victims of Rwandan, Cambodian genocides and victims of Syrian war criminals;
- resistance to the anti-democratic abuses of Russia and China, and those of other countries that do not respect fundamental rights;
- support for communities affected by environmental hazards in Brazil, Chile, Italy, and Ecuador;
- unwavering mobilisation on major international trials and milestones of international justice.

About FIDH
With 192 member organisations from around the world, FIDH has been fighting impunity for a century and working to protect victims from powerful actors such as States, the primary guarantors of human rights, but also armed opposition groups and multinationals. The Federation acts for the freedom of action of human rights defenders and the defence of the universality of rights.

FIDH was founded in 1922 in the aftermath of the First World War — the first international NGO dedicated to the defence of human rights. The organisation investigates and documents human rights violations and advocates for states to adopt policies that respect human rights.

In 1948, two of FIDH’s most prominent leaders, René Cassin and Joseph Paul-Boncour, participated in drafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations. FIDH is committed to the defence of all civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights as defined in this seminal, groundbreaking text.