Essential guide to the right to defend human rights

03 August 2011

 Commentary to 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 ‘Commentary to the Declaration on human rights defenders’ is a 100-page downloadable document which maps out the rights provided for in the Declaration, based mostly on information received and reports produced by the two Special Rapporteurs on the situation of human rights defenders, Hina Jilani (2000-2008) and Margaret Sekaggya (since 2008), during the past eleven years.

From the rights to protection and freedom of opinion and expression, to the rights to communicate with international bodies and to access funding, the ‘Commentary’ analyses what these rights entail and what is needed to ensure their implementation. It also addresses the most common restrictions and violations faced by defenders, and provides recommendations to facilitate States’ implementation of each right.

“More than 12 years after its adoption, the Declaration on human rights defenders is an instrument that is not sufficiently known and I would like to build on the efforts to raise awareness about it and the crucial role of human rights defenders,” Ms. Sekaggya said. “This essential guide also offers a comprehensive reference document for journalists covering the situation of human rights defenders in their countries, their regions and the world.”
For ease of reference the ‘Commentary’ is arranged in 10 sections, each addressing a right in the Declaration, namely: the right to right to be protected, the right to freedom of assembly, the right to freedom of association, the right to access and communicate with international bodies, the right to freedom of opinion and expression, the right to protest, the right to develop and discuss new human rights ideas, the right to an effective remedy and the right to access funding. A final section addresses permissible derogations to these rights.

Click here to download the document