Reinforcing mechanisms for the protection of Human Rights defenders

FIDH plays a key role in the development of the intergovernmental system of human rights defenders. In particular, it contributed to the negotiations which led to the adoption of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders in 1998. Since this declaration was adopted, several mechanisms for protecting human rights defenders have been created within the different existing intergovernmental organisations:

  • the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders within the United Nations Human Rights Council,
  • the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders in Africa within the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR),
  • the Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders within the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR),
  • the Commissioner for Human Rights within the Council of Europe,
  • the Focal Point for Human Rights Defenders and the national human rights institutions of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)
  • and various political levers within the European Union (EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders, the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights, etc.), as well as the International Francophone Organisation (Organisation internationale de la Francophonie - OIF) on the basis of the Bamako Declaration.

In 2008, through the Observatory, FIDH launched the first meeting to bring together all intergovernmental organisations equipped with tools and mechanisms designed to protect human rights defenders (the so-called ‘inter-mechanism’ process). This process is aimed at increasing the coordination and effectiveness of protection mechanisms.