Press release

Activities of the Observatory

The Observatory is an action programme based on the belief that strengthened co-operation and solidarity among defenders and their organisations will contribute to break the isolation they are faced with. It is also based on the absolute necessity to establish a systematic response from NGOs and the international community to the repression against defenders.

With this aim, the Observatory has developed:

a) a mechanism of systematic alert of the international community on cases of harassment and repression against defenders of human rights and fundamental freedoms, particularly when they require an urgent intervention;

b) the observation of judicial proceedings, and whenever necessary, direct legal assistance;

c) international missions of investigation and solidarity;

d) a personalised assistance as concrete as possible, including material support, with the aim of ensuring the security of the defenders victims of serious violations;

e) the preparation, publication and world-wide diffusion of reports on violations of the rights and freedoms of individuals or organisations working for human rights around the world;

f) sustained action with the United Nations (UN) and more particularly the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Human Rights Defenders, and when necessary with geographic and thematic Special Rapporteurs and Working Groups;

g) sustained lobbying with various regional and international intergovernmental institutions, especially the African Union (AU), the Organisation of American States (OAS), the European Union (EU), the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the Council of Europe, the International Organisation of the Francophonie (OIF), the Commonwealth, the League of Arab States and the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

The Observatory’s activities are based on the consultation and the cooperation with national, regional, and international non-governmental organisations.

With efficiency as its primary objective, the Observatory has adopted flexible criteria to examine the admissibility of cases that are communicated to it, based on the “operational definition” of human rights defenders adopted by OMCT and FIDH: “Each person victim or at risk of being the victim of reprisals, harassment or violations, due to his compromise exercised individually or in association with others, in conformity with international instruments of protection of human rights, in favour of the promotion and realisation of the rights recognised by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and guaranteed by several international instruments”.

To ensure its activities of alert and mobilisation, the Observatory has established a system of communication devoted to defenders in danger.

This system, known as the Emergency Line, is accessible through:
Email :
Tel : + 33 (0) 1 43 55 55 05 / Fax : + 33 (0) 1 43 55 18 80 (FIDH)
Tel : + 41 22 809 49 39 / Fax : + 41 22 809 49 29 (OMCT)

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