11 Apr 2022

Defending Human Rights Defenders: a new interactive resource for NHRIs

This resource guides NHRIs on how they can work with and protect the rights of human rights defenders. Its also features a database with inspiring examples of NHRIs promoting, protecting and supporting defenders and civil society.

The work of human rights defenders faces increasing challenges in Europe. Their freedom of expression is often restricted and they can face strategic lawsuits preventing them from informing the public and reporting on matters of public interest. In some cases, they can even be victims of physical attacks. Through their broad human rights mandate, NHRIs can support human rights defenders at risk and help build an enabling environment for their work.

With this in mind and through a collaborative effort with its members, ENNHRI has created the interactive ‘Defending Human Rights Defenders’ resource. It provides guidance to NHRIs who wish to find more effective ways to work with human rights defenders and better protect their rights.

This resource is divided into two parts. The first one brings together informative material on human rights defenders. It covers topics such as who are human rights defenders, how NHRIs can contribute to the protection of their rights, and relevant international and regional instruments. Through ‘challenge yourself’ sections, NHRIs can assess their knowledge and identify new ways of addressing issues relevant to their work.

The second part of the resource is a database of good practices shared by ENNHRI members and classified by topic, NHRI function, and country. By sharing these examples, NHRIs can both showcase their work defending human rights defenders and draw inspiration from each other.

A series of cases studies is also included and allows NHRIs to explore some of these good practices in more depth.

We encourage all ENNHRI members who would like to share their good practices to send their contribution via the dedicated form.