Who is a defender?


Published on: 09-06-2019

Who is a defender?

“Human rights defender” is a term used to describe people who, individually or with others, act to promote or protect human rights.

Human rights defenders are identified above all by what they do and it is through a description of their actions (section A below) and of some of the contexts in which they work (section B below) that the term can best be explained. [1]The examples given of the activities of human rights defenders are not an exhaustive list.

 

A. What do human rights defenders do?

 

1. All human rights for all

To be a human rights defender, a person can act to address any human right (or rights) on behalf of individuals or groups. Human rights defenders seek the promotion and protection of civil and political rights as well as the promotion, protection and realization of economic, social and cultural rights.

 

Human rights defenders address any human rights concerns, which can be as varied as, for example, summary executions, torture, arbitrary arrest and detention, female genital mutilation, discrimination, employment issues, forced evictions, access to health care, and toxic waste and its impact on the environment. Defenders are active in support of human rights as diverse as the rights to life, to food and water, to the highest attainable standard of health, to adequate housing, to a name and a nationality, to education, to freedom of movement and to non-discrimination. They sometimes address the rights of categories of persons, for example women’s rights, children’s rights, the rights of indigenous persons, the rights of refugees and internally displaced persons, and the rights of national, linguistic or sexual minorities.

 

2. Human rights everywhere

Human rights defenders are active in every part of the world: in States that are divided by internal armed conflict as well as States that are stable; in States that are non-democratic as well as those that have a strong democratic practice; in States that are developing economically as well as those that are classified as developed. They seek to promote and protect human rights in the context of a variety of challenges, including HIV/AIDS, development, migration, structural adjustment policies and political transition. read more..

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