Protecting human rights defenders: UN expert launches survey to identify best practices

Human rights activists face increasing risks, UN human rights expert Michel Forst said today as he launched a worldwide survey* to identify effective practices in protecting human rights defenders.

Geneva, November 04, 2015.- “In countless countries, across every region of the world, defenders are targeted, threatened, arbitrarily detained, tortured or killed,” said Mr. Forst, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders. He highlighted that violations are perpetrated by States as well as non-State actors, such as religious and armed groups or transnational companies.

“It is important to expose the abhorrent violations against defenders, but it is also important to showcase good practices that support and protect activists,” the independent expert told the Dublin Platform for Human Rights Defenders.

“The aim of the survey is to demonstrate to sceptical governments that there are encouraging and supportive ways they can defend activists better,” said Mr. Forst, who has heard the testimonies of hundreds of defenders.

The survey will be used to generate a discussion at the UN Human Rights Council in March 2016 on concrete actions needed to disseminate good practices, which are in place in some countries and could be duplicated in others.

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