40th FIDH Congress

Press release
en es fa fr zh

What is the FIDH Congress?
FIDH holds its congress every three years—a global event which amplifies the voices of human rights defenders the world over. The congress provides a forum to discuss issues of mutual concern and determine the most effective means of strengthening the fight for greater protection of human rights.

The 40th Congress will take place October 21-25, 2019 in Taipei, Taiwan, bringing together 450 representatives of local, regional and international civil society, experts, diplomats, representatives of international institutions, Taiwanese political authorities, and our financial partners.

Why Taiwan?

Taiwan, a democracy with a vibrant civil society, stands in stark counterpoint to many of its regional neighbors. Taiwan has made steady progress in respecting and promoting human rights and democratic values, becoming one of the most democratic and progressive countries in Asia.
In recent years, Taiwanese civil society has played a key role in supporting human rights defenders in Mainland China and Hong Kong.
This year Taiwan became the first Asian nation to legalize same-sex marriage.

A dual structure:

• The Congress begins with a two-day forum for discussions, open by invitation to members of local, regional and international civil society.

• The following three days comprise the internal Congress, which is focused on governance of the organization and is closed to the public.
This moment is a key occasion for representatives of the Federation’s 184 member organizations to reflect on FIDH’s strategic vision and critical issues related to the respect for and promotion of human rights around the globe. A new president, 15 vice presidents, and five secretaries general will be elected for three-year terms.

Forum: Our rights, Our fight, Our future – Reclaiming the universality of human rights

The Forum is the heart of the Congress. Experts, witnesses and activists will debate and exchange expertise on a wide array of human rights issues. It will take place in Taipei on October 21st and 22nd.

Universality of human rights implies that human rights apply to all human beings – they concern all of humanity.

Almost 100 years since the creation of FIDH (founded in 1922), and more than 70 since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the universality of human rights has never been more compromised and called into question. This is even the case in many democracies, becoming a dangerous trend.

To respond to this challenge, it is essential that human rights defenders gain insights from each others’ experiences. Solutions exist. This forum aims to give a platform to these defenders to share effective and impactful practices.


Proximity, interaction, and responsiveness: the discussion formats of this Congress are adaptable and participatory:

Centered on two to four speakers and facilitated by a moderator, the agoras and discussions are debates on a specific topic, dissected and debated by our experts and enriched by questions from the audience.

One speaker has 20 to 30 minutes to present an issue. The speaker—a member of FIDH, a partner, or a human rights actor—will pitch to the audience an initiative or a successful mode of action that has contributed to making the universality of human rights a reality.


Thanks to our partners who supported the 4Oth FIDH congress



Read more