A new human rights report: How can the UK government protect human rights defenders

In International Advocacy Program by CIHRS

The unprecedented surge in attacks against human rights defenders around the world is the focus of a human rights report issued on February 10, 2021 by Amnesty International UK and the Centre for Applied Human Rights, working with eleven other UK and international organizations. Its recommendations and findings are supported by 37 non-governmental organizations, including the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS). The report outlines the violations to which human rights defenders are most at risk, and presents a set of recommendations to the government of the United Kingdom to protect defenders against these threats.

The report is centered on interviews with 82 human rights defenders in seven different countries: Egypt, Colombia, Russia, Zimbabwe, the Philippines, Afghanistan, and Libya. It highlights the importance of doing more to support, protect and fund human rights defenders, proposing a strategy that should be adopted by the UK government for this purpose.

For many years, NGOs and charities have been urging the UK government to develop a strategy to guide its global work on human rights defenders. This report outlines why a strategy is needed, what it could look like, how it would help the UK achieve its foreign and development policy objectives, and crucially, the impact it would have for human rights defenders themselves.

The strategy proposed in this report reflects the strategies of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office that effectively guided the UK’s work on the death penalty and torture in the past. It is based mainly on efforts to counter the increasing repression of human rights defenders around the world, with recommendations from the defenders themselves on how the UK government can best support them.

Read the report here

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