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Photo: "Action on Human Rights Defenders Martyred in 2019", Friends of the Earth International, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 (

To: All UN Member States

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.


  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. Idheas. 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)