Dear friends and colleagues
2018 the year of Human Rights Defenders.
When human rights defenders (HRD) are killed or forcibly disappeared with impunity, the signal given by the authorities is contempt for the human rights of everyone. Amnesty International Report: Deadly but preventable attacks
Amnesty International, has together with other non-governmental and community-based organizations estimated that around 3,500 human rights defenders have been killed worldwide since the adoption of the Declaration on Human Rights Defender´s in 1998. While governments tend to underreport such happenings the number is likely much higher.
This year we celebrate the 20-year anniversary of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders as well as the 70-year anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Since the beginning, the Universal declaration of Human Rights has been challenged, criticized and under attack. Nevertheless, the Declaration was the important beginning of the development and adoption of legally binding conventions, obliging ratifying states and to incorporate these into national law. The development we have been witness to, during these 70 years, is of vital significance to human rights and human dignity.
To stand up for these rights is of absolute priority. The term human rights defenders, referring to those who, individually or with others, act to promote or protect human rights, play a central role in the ongoing process of defending and respecting human rights. 20 years after the Declaration on the situation of these defenders, much of their work is done under serious hardships, even at the risk of the life and integrity of the defenders. This includes smear campaigns, allegations of criminal acts such as money laundering, death threats, public humiliations and arbitrary detention and even killings. The work of the defenders represents a deep necessity in a world where rights are being contested. This may also affect the mental health and wellbeing of the defenders, something which may be frequently neglected. We must never forget that many of the human rights defenders today are themselves survivors of serious human rights violations.
To honour the work of Human Rights Defenders everywhere we have made athematic page related to Human rights defenders where we present the main declarations, resolutions, documents and other publications that are relevant for HRD. We have also included some links that may be relevant from a point of view of mental health and well-being of the defenders. This thematic page on HRD is simultaneously a sneak peak for our new website. We would be very pleased if you could have a look at it and let us know what you think about it. Your comments and ideas are welcome.
In addition to our thematic page we would like to mention the HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS MEMORIAL This page commemorates those who were killed defending our rights.
In addition, we recommend the page “I defend rights”. Here you, as a defender, can share your story in 3 simple steps.
Sit at a computer with a working mic
Reply to three easy questions (audio only),
No preparation is necessary Hit SUBMIT (add photographs, if you want)
Listen to our board director Nora Sveaass sharing her story
Download the HHRI GBV manual
Download the manual Mental health and gender-based violence: Helping survivors of sexual violence in conflict for free. The manual is also available inArabic,Russian and Spanish. This training material has been written for those who provide assistance and support to women who survive gender-based violence and sexual trauma during disasters, wars and conflicts. Furthermore, we hope it may be helpful as well to those who work with gender-based violence survivors in other settings. Please share the manual and spread it among your colleagues, organizations or in your community.