HRC52: Support consensus renewal of the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders

To: All UN Member States

Human rights defenders are people who act with humanity, serve humanity and who contribute to and bring out the best in humanity. They are key to our daily lives – they work so our governments are more transparent and accountable, our environment cleaner and safer, our schools and workplaces fairer, and our futures more sustainable. As human rights defenders confront power, privilege and prejudice, they frequently face a wide range of risks and threats, including against their organisations and their families, friends and loved ones. Despite their vital contribution, both some governments and non-State actors are still seeking to silence defenders as they expose injustices and demand accountability for all.

The mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders is integral to their protection and recognition, globally. It gathers and responds to information on the situation of defenders around the world, engages constructively with governments and non-State actors and provides expert recommendations to promote the effective implementation of the ‘Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms’ (The Declaration on human rights defenders).

2023 marks 25 years since the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration on human rights defenders. The adoption of the Declaration was a critical point in human rights history where it articulated how existing human rights law applies to the situation of human rights defenders, recognised the importance and legitimacy of human rights activity, and the need to protect it along with those who carry it out. It is apposite that this major anniversary coincides with the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, reflecting the integral role that human rights defenders play in the realisation of universal human rights.

In 2022, the Human Rights Council reaffirmed the importance of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and its full and effective implementation, and that promoting respect, support and protection for the activities of human rights defenders, including women human rights defenders, is essential to the overall enjoyment of human rights, including in conflict and post-conflict situations. In 2021, the General Assembly passed by consensus with 85 State co-sponsors a resolution acknowledging the important and legitimate role that human rights defenders played in the COVID-19 response, as well as the challenges faced as a result.

At the 52nd session of the Council, States will consider a resolution extending the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for three years. This is a key opportunity for States and the Council to demonstrate their support and recognition for the indispensable role human rights defenders play to ensure that all people enjoy freedom, dignity, justice and equality.

Our organisations therefore urge all States to support the resolution renewing the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders by:

participating positively in the negotiations on the resolution;

presenting early co-sponsorship of the text;

resisting any attempts to dilute the mandate or State obligations; and

supporting consensus renewal of the mandate.


ACAT Belgium

ACAT Germany (Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture)

ACAT Italia


ACAT Spain-Catalonia





ACAT-UK (Action by Christians Against Torture – UK)

Accion Solidaria on HIV/Aids

Action by Christians against Torture in Togo (ACAT TOGO)

Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture – Canada

action by Christians for the abolition of torture – Congo

Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture (ACAT) – Cameroon

Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture of Côte d’Ivoire

Action of Christians for the Abolition of Torture in Burundi (Acat-Burundi)

Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association

African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum

Agir ensemble pour les droits humains


Al-Haq, Law in the Service of Man


Alliance for Democracy in Laos

American Association of University Women (AAUW)

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

Amnesty International

Amnesty International Mongolia

Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)

Asian Legal Resource Center

Association for Progressive Communications – APC

Association For Promotion Sustainable Development

association for the respect of indigenous rights, sustainable development and human right

Association for women and Children at Risk

Association of balal

Association of Women for Awareness and Motivation (AWAM)

Aula Abierta

Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM)

Brot für die Welt

Burkina Faso Coaltion of Human Right Defenders (CBDDH)

Bytes For All, Pakistan

Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)

Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)

Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL)

Center to Alternatives to Development

Centre for Human Rights & Democracy in Africa (CHRDA)

Centro de Alternativas al Desarrollo (CEALDES) – Colombia

Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS)

Child Rights Connect


CIVILIS Human Rights

Collective of the Families of the Disappeared in Algeria (CFDA)

Committee for Free Expression (Comité por la Libre Expresión C-Libre)

Community Empowerment for Progress Organization

Community Resource Centre (CRC)

Coordiantion of Associations and Individuals for Freedom of Conscience

DefendDefenders (East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project)

Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR)

Emonyo Yefwe International

End Impunity Organization

Equipo de Estudios Comunitarios y Acción Psicosocial – ECAP

Euro-mediterranean federation against enforced disappearances

European Network Against Racism

Federal Association of Vietnamese Refugees in the Federal Republic of Germany

FIDH (International Federation for Human Rights), within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders

Forum Menschenrechte

Franciscans International

Freedom House

GALE, The Global Alliance for LGBT Education

Geneva for Human Rights – Global Training (GHR)

Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities

Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect

Global Human Rights Group

Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Global Observatory of Communication and Democracy (OGCD)

Gulf Centre for Human Rights

Habitat International Coalition

Hallmark Media

Human Rights Association (Insan Haklari Dernegi)

Human Rights Concern – Eritrea (HRCE)

Human Rights Council of Australia

Human Rights Defenders Fund

Human Rights House Foundation

Humanists International

Strategic Human Rights Litigation


ILEX Acción Jurídica

In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND)

Inclusive Bangladesh

Indigenous Peoples Rights International

Initiative for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services (IDEALS), Inc.

Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA)

International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI)

International Centre for Ethnic Studies, Sri Lanka

International Commission of Jurists

International Commission of Jurists Australia

International Dalit Solidarity Network

International Federation of ACATs (FIACAT)

International Planned Parenthood Federation

International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)

International volunteer organization for women education development

Intersex Society of Zambia

Ivorian Human Rights Defenders Coalition (CIDDH)

Journalists and Writers Foundation (

Judicial Reform Foundation Taiwan

Karapatan Alliance Philippines

KIOS Foundation

Law Society of England and Wales

Lawyers without Borders Canada

Maldivian Democracy Network

Mauritanian association for socio-educational development

MENA Rights Group

Mesoamerican Initiative of Women Human Rights Defenders (IM-Defensoras)

Mongolian Women’s Employment Supporting Federation

Namibia Diverse Women’s Association (NDWA)

Network of the independent Commission for Human rights in North Africa CIDH AFRICA


Organization Solidarity Development


Peace Brigades International

People Forum for Human Rights(People Forum)

PICUM (Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants)

Plateforme Droits de l’Homme

POS Foundation

Project on Organizing, Development, Education, and Research (PODER)


Protection International Mesoamérica

Public Verdict Foundation

Rainbow Pride Foundation

Red Dot Foundation

Refugee Council of Australia

Renewable Freedom Foundation

Riposte Internationale

Rivers without Boundaries

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights

Safety and Rights Society (SRS)


Scholars at Risk

SHOAA for Human Rights

Society for Threatened Peoples


Speak Up

Struggle to Economize Future Environment (SEFE )

Swedish Association for Sexuality Education (RFSU)


Syrians for Truth and Justice – STJ

The Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House

The Community Action Center at Al-Quds University

The Global Interfaith Network (GIN-SSOGIE)

The Kvinna till Kvinna foundation

The Norwegian Human Rights Fund

The Regional Coalition for WHRDs in MENA (WHRDMENA Coalition)

The William Gomes Podcast

Togolese Coalition of Human Rights Defenders

Tournons La Page

Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO)

Viet Tan

West African Human Rights Defenders Network

Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)

Women’s World Summit Foundation

World Justice Project

World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders

World Uyghur Congress (WUC)

WWF International

Yemeni Institute for Strategic Affairs

Youth Care Motivators

Youth Initiative for Human Rights Serbia

Zambia Climate Change Network (ZCCN)

Zo Indigenous Forum (ZIF)

Source: Amnesty International

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