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

On the initiative of the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), 16 ACATs and FIACAT signed a joint letter to all Member States asking them to support the renewal by consensus of the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders at the 52th Human Rights Council.


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.



Signatories :

  1. ACAT Belgium
  2. ACAT Germany (Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture)
  3. ACAT Italia
  5. ACAT Spain-Catalonia
  7. ACAT-France
  8. ACAT-Liberia
  9. ACAT-Switzerland
  10. ACAT-UK (Action by Christians Against Torture – UK)
  11. Accion Solidaria on HIV/Aids
  12. Action by Christians against Torture in Togo (ACAT TOGO)
  13. Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture – Canada
  14. action by Christians for the abolition of torture – Congo
  15. Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture (ACAT) – Cameroon
  16. Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture of Côte d’Ivoire
  17. Action of Christians for the Abolition of Torture in Burundi (Acat-Burundi)
  18. Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association
  19. African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum
  20. Agir ensemble pour les droits humains
  21. AlertaVenezuela
  22. Al-Haq, Law in the Service of Man
  24. Alliance for Democracy in Laos
  25. American Association of University Women (AAUW)
  26. American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
  27. Amnesty International
  28. Amnesty International Mongolia
  29. Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
  30. Asian Legal Resource Center
  31. Association for Progressive Communications – APC
  32. Association For Promotion Sustainable Development
  33. association for the respect of indigenous rights, sustainable development and human right
  34. Association for women and Children at Risk
  35. Association of balal
  36. Association of Women for Awareness and Motivation (AWAM)
  37. Aula Abierta
  38. Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM)
  39. Brot für die Welt
  40. Burkina Faso Coaltion of Human Right Defenders (CBDDH)
  41. Bytes For All, Pakistan
  42. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
  43. Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)
  44. Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL)
  45. Center to Alternatives to Development
  46. Centre for Human Rights & Democracy in Africa (CHRDA)
  47. Centro de Alternativas al Desarrollo (CEALDES) – Colombia
  48. Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS)
  49. Child Rights Connect
  51. CIVILIS Human Rights
  52. Collective of the Families of the Disappeared in Algeria (CFDA)
  53. Committee for Free Expression (Comité por la Libre Expresión C-Libre)
  54. Community Empowerment for Progress Organization
  55. Community Resource Centre (CRC)
  56. Coordiantion of Associations and Individuals for Freedom of Conscience
  57. DefendDefenders (East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project)
  58. Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR)
  59. Emonyo Yefwe International
  60. End Impunity Organization
  61. Equipo de Estudios Comunitarios y Acción Psicosocial – ECAP
  62. Euro-mediterranean federation against enforced disappearances
  63. European Network Against Racism
  64. Federal Association of Vietnamese Refugees in the Federal Republic of Germany
  65. FIDH (International Federation for Human Rights), within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders
  66. Forum Menschenrechte
  67. Franciscans International
  68. Freedom House
  69. GALE, The Global Alliance for LGBT Education
  70. Geneva for Human Rights – Global Training (GHR)
  71. Global Alliance for Tibet & Persecuted Minorities
  72. Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  73. Global Human Rights Group
  74. Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
  75. Global Observatory of Communication and Democracy (OGCD)
  76. Gulf Centre for Human Rights
  77. Habitat International Coalition
  78. Hallmark Media
  79. Human Rights Association (Insan Haklari Dernegi)
  80. Human Rights Concern – Eritrea (HRCE)
  81. Human Rights Council of Australia
  82. Human Rights Defenders Fund
  83. Human Rights House Foundation
  84. Humanists International
  85. Strategic Human Rights Litigation
  86. IFEX
  87. ILEX Acción Jurídica
  88. In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND)
  89. Inclusive Bangladesh
  90. Indigenous Peoples Rights International
  91. Initiative for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services (IDEALS), Inc.
  92. Interamerican Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA)
  93. International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI)
  94. International Centre for Ethnic Studies, Sri Lanka
  95. International Commission of Jurists
  96. International Commission of Jurists Australia
  97. International Dalit Solidarity Network
  98. International Federation of ACATs (FIACAT)
  99. International Planned Parenthood Federation
  100. International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
  101. International volunteer organization for women education development
  102. Intersex Society of Zambia
  103. Ivorian Human Rights Defenders Coalition (CIDDH)
  104. Journalists and Writers Foundation (
  105. Judicial Reform Foundation Taiwan
  106. Karapatan Alliance Philippines
  107. KIOS Foundation
  108. Law Society of England and Wales
  109. Lawyers without Borders Canada
  110. Maldivian Democracy Network
  111. Mauritanian association for socio-educational development
  112. MENA Rights Group
  113. Mesoamerican Initiative of Women Human Rights Defenders (IM-Defensoras)
  114. Mongolian Women’s Employment Supporting Federation
  115. Namibia Diverse Women’s Association (NDWA)
  116. Network of the independent Commission for Human rights in North Africa CIDH AFRICA
  118. Organization Solidarity Development
  120. Peace Brigades International
  121. People Forum for Human Rights(People Forum)
  122. PICUM (Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants)
  123. Plateforme Droits de l’Homme
  124. POS Foundation
  125. Project on Organizing, Development, Education, and Research (PODER)
  127. Protection International Mesoamérica
  128. Public Verdict Foundation
  129. Rainbow Pride Foundation
  130. Red Dot Foundation
  131. Refugee Council of Australia
  132. Renewable Freedom Foundation
  133. Riposte Internationale
  134. Rivers without Boundaries
  135. Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights
  136. Safety and Rights Society (SRS)
  137. SAHR
  138. Scholars at Risk
  139. SHOAA for Human Rights
  140. Society for Threatened Peoples
  141. SOS-Esclaves
  142. Speak Up
  143. Struggle to Economize Future Environment (SEFE )
  144. Swedish Association for Sexuality Education (RFSU)
  145. Swedwatch
  146. Syrians for Truth and Justice – STJ
  147. The Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House
  148. The Community Action Center at Al-Quds University
  149. The Global Interfaith Network (GIN-SSOGIE)
  150. The Kvinna till Kvinna foundation
  151. The Norwegian Human Rights Fund
  152. The Regional Coalition for WHRDs in MENA (WHRDMENA Coalition)
  153. The William Gomes Podcast
  154. Togolese Coalition of Human Rights Defenders
  155. Tournons La Page
  156. Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO)
  157. Viet Tan
  158. West African Human Rights Defenders Network
  159. Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)
  160. Women’s World Summit Foundation
  161. World Justice Project
  162. World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders
  163. World Uyghur Congress (WUC)
  164. WWF International
  165. Yemeni Institute for Strategic Affairs
  166. Youth Care Motivators
  167. Youth Initiative for Human Rights Serbia
  168. Zambia Climate Change Network (ZCCN)
  169. Zo Indigenous Forum (ZIF)