Mental Health Functioning in the Human Rights Field: Findings from an International Internet-Based Survey
Amy Joscelyne, Sarah Knuckey, Margaret L. Satterthwaite, Richard A. Bryant, Meng Li, Meng Qian, Adam D. Brown, 2015
Human rights advocates play a critical role in promoting respect for human rights worldwide, and engage in a broad range of strategies, including documentation of rights violations, monitoring, press work and report-writing, advocacy, and litigation. However, little is known about the impact of human rights work on the mental health of human rights advocates.
Open Global Rights
What risks advocates face and how they might be mitigated? The mental health and well-being of advocates has often been neglected by human rights organizations, funders, and advocates themselves. Recently, however, activists and mental health professionals have begun giving the issue more attention, exploring what risks advocates face and how they might be mitigated. Human rights organizations increasingly want to bolster the resilience and creativity of their staff and constituents. Defenders increasingly see their own well-being as an imperative for sustainable movements.
University of York, 2017
Human rights defenders at risk often find it difficult to talk about their mental and emotional wellbeing, even when they are concerned about it. Cultures of human rights practice tend to emphasise self-sacrifice, heroism, and martyrdom. These norms inhibit defenders from expressing their anxieties and seeking help. How can we engage in discussions about wellbeing in human rights practice? How can we strengthen personal and collective strategies for wellbeing amongst defenders at risk?
Simone Cruz and Jelena Dordevic, 2020
Threats against feminists, LGBTQI+ people and black women in their diversity are becoming increasingly evident. This violence exposes civil society´s lack of preparedness to handle the considerable risks to human rights work, in the current political scenario. Therefore, it has become very important to act quickly, to guarantee the day to day safety of women defenders, but also to support sustainability and protection in the long term. The analysis presented in this article was produced based on the testimonials of nine women who are feminists and human rights defenders. This article is an appeal for the need to deepen reflection on developing protection mechanisms to respond to the way in which gender and race inequality operate in preventing women from claiming their human rights, from living free of violence and participating fully in democratic processes.
International Union for Conservation of Nature
Facing gender-based violence in defense of land, natural resources and human rights. Natural resources and ecosystem services directly support millions of people’s livelihoods, providing food and water, being part of cultural and communal identities and supporting rights to life. However, increased global demand for minerals, timber, palm oil and land threaten the sustainability of these resources and the ability of people to continue surviving on, living with and conserving them. In some cases, powerful state and non-state actors exploit weak or corrupt governance structures to extract natural resources with impunity, even when doing so directly harms communities and usurps their rights to lands and resources.
John H. Knox, 2017
Environmental human rights defenders (EHRDs) are individuals and groups who ‘strive to protect and promote human rights relating to the environment.’ They come from many different backgrounds and work in different ways. Some are lawyers or journalists, but many are ‘ordinary people living in remote villages, forests or mountains, who may not even be aware that they are acting as environmental human rights defenders.’ In many cases, they are representatives of indigenous peoples and traditional communities whose lands and ways of life are threatened by large projects such as dams, logging, mining or oil extraction.