World Summit pledges to protect Human Rights Defenders

To develop a plan of action for how to protect and promote the work of activists fighting for rights, human rights defenders from across all corners of the world gathered this week in Paris for the Human Rights Defenders World Summit.

Secretary General of Amnesty International, Kumi Naidoo said, “The level of danger facing activists worldwide has reached crisis point. Every day ordinary people are threatened, tortured, imprisoned and killed for what they fight for or simply for who they are. Now is the time to act and tackle the global surge in repression of human rights defenders.”

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, who spoke at the opening ceremony said, “What human rights defenders teach us is that all of us can stand up for our rights and for the rights of others, in our neighborhoods, in our countries and all over the world. We can change the world.”

The Summit discussed calls on Governments, corporations, international financial institutions, donors and others, including the adoption of national governmental action plans, implementation of legislation to legally uphold the UN declaration, protecting defenders as a priority in foreign policy and prioritizing the protection and work of women human rights defenders, LGBT+, indigenous rights defenders and other marginalized defenders.

Amnesty International’s Secretary General, Kumi Naidoo, said, “The level of danger facing activists worldwide has reached crisis point. Every day ordinary people are threatened, tortured, imprisoned and killed for what they fight for or simply for who they are. Now is the time to act and tackle the global surge in repression of human rights defenders.”

The closing ceremony took place at the Palais de Chaillot, where the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed 70 years ago. The 150 defenders gathered together to set out the Action Plan and pay tribute to the men and women who work tirelessly to defend human rights around the world.

Among those in attendance over the last three days were Alice Mogwe, Secretary General of FIDH and the Director of Botswana Ditshwanelo; Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Matthew Caruana Galizia, who is calling for justice after his mother, Daphne Caruana Galizia, was assassinated one year ago in Malta; Anielle Franco, who is bravely campaigning on behalf of her sister, Marielle Franco, a Brazilian activist and elected councillor who was shot dead in her car seven months ago.

President of OMCT, founder of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, and the first UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Hina Jilani said , “States have never given us space. It is because of human rights defenders that there is space for civil society. Seeing you all here engaged in defending human rights, I am not too pessimistic. As a movement, we have never been as global as we are now. But we have to be clear to states: you need to live up to the challenge and speak out for defenders. Human rights don’t come for free.”

After three days of discussions and strategy development spanning regional and global issues, environmental rights and women human rights defenders and the increasing attacks on human rights defenders everywhere, the momentum culminated in the presentation of a landmark action plan which will be presented to the UN in December.

  • Sake Mathieu says:

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    We need now strategic partners and donors to suport our work starting the biggining of the year 2019 and hope that you will be the first to come and work with us. We need to learn from others and others need to learn from us too!If you want to know us, please send an email to us at [email protected] at [email protected],gmail.com
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    Thank you for your interest in us.

  • Wilson Bwambale says:

    this is a leap forward. the struggle to level the world against the gullible and vulnerable continues to get stronger.

  • Kefa amollo says:

    How can I can be able to access grant or fund that can help me finance my operation as a human right defender

  • Kebba.O Jobe says:

    We are an agent that sensitized people on their fundamental human rights.How can we access the fun from you to strengthen our activities in this noble job?

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