Advocacy Trainee Tatiana Antoni

Acvitists still work in climate of fear 25 years after UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders

News 16.03.2023

Right Livelihood raised concern about governments’ increasing use of intimidation, torture, and arbitrary detention to stop activists from defending human rights during the 52nd session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

You can read the full statement here.

Despite the fact that the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders has recognised activists’ freedom of opinion and expression, association, and peaceful assembly for the past 25 years, those who are violating these freedoms are not being held accountable. This leaves brave people risking their lives to fight for justice and equality, including many Right Livelihood Laureates, facing greater danger than ever before.

The fight for human rights is not an easy one, we told the Council. It requires dedication, persistence, and bravery, which Right Livelihood Laureates and human rights defenders across the globe exemplify every day. However, the challenges they face continue to increase in sophistication and severity.

Because of this, we called on the Council to take urgent action to hold governments and companies accountable for the violence faced by defenders on the frontlines. This includes human rights defenders but also the land, environmental, and indigenous defenders, who often face an even greater risk for their activism.

Every recipient of the Right Livelihood Award has devoted themselves to achieving social change. To honour their work and ensure their safety, we urged the Council to acknowledge their achievements and provide them with a supportive legal, institutional, and financial environment worldwide. 

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