With human rights defenders, we work for a world that is more just, equal and sustainable for all.

About us

We support human rights defenders. Here’s how.

Through our programmes, we support and act in solidarity with human rights defenders, contributing to a world that is fair, just and peaceful, in which all people can live free and equal, in communities that are diverse and inclusive.

Supporting defenders

Latest updates

HRC47 l High Commissioner should start public reporting on China

The 47th session of the UN Human Rights Council was marred by politicisation: a joint statement of 45 countries on the human rights crisis in China, while China fired back with targeted attacks via its diplomatic allies. The message from NGOs and many States was clear: High Commissioner Bachelet has an essential role to play to provide the Council with objective information by starting remote monitoring and public reporting.

France | Authorities urged to ensure justice for Adama Traoré and end judicial harassment of human rights defender Assa Traoré

For over five years, Assa Traoré, the sister of Adama Traoré, a black French man who was killed at the hands of the police, has faced judicial harassment for campaigning for a transparent investigation to establish the responsibility of the gendarmes, a name given to the paramilitary police officers in France, for the death of her brother and for them to be brought to justice. ISHR joined with the Adama Committee to call on the French Government to urgently put an end to the judicial harassment of Assa Troaré. This harassment diverts the public attention from the justice that is expected for Adama’s death and appears intended to dissuade Assa from continuing her struggle.

HRC 47 | Human Rights Council adopts agenda for transformative change for racial justice and equality

ISHR welcomes the Council’s historic consensus decision, led by the Africa Group, to adopt a resolution mandating an independent international expert mechanism to address systemic racism and to promote racial justice and equality for Africans and people of African descent. The adoption of this resolution is testament to the resilience, bravery and commitment of victims, their families, their representatives and anti-racism defenders globally.

Helping human rights defenders strengthen their advocacy skills with the UN

ISHR Academy is ISHR's e-learning space, helping human rights defenders strengthen their advocacy skills with the UN for greater impact on the ground. Our learning modules demystify the UN human rights system and build capacity to push for change. Discover new tools, insider tips, defender stories, and more!

Visit ISHR Academy

Human rights defenders' stories

"I remember to be hopeful... because I believe in my own power."

Our priorities

Women's rights

Women human rights defenders have historically been at the forefront of human rights progress relating to gender and equality, creating and implementing campaigns for change.

LGBTQI+ rights

LGBTQI+ rights defenders work toward enhanced respect, dignity, equality and a world free from violence and discrimination for their communities, for everyone!

Business and human rights

Responsible business should support human rights and people who defend them. Companies can take concrete actions to protect defenders and the 'shared space' in which both operate!

Land, climate and environment

Land, climate and environmental rights defenders work against the clock to address the climate crisis and help us all live on a healthy, sustainable planet.

Where we work

ISHR has permanent offices in Geneva and New York, enabling us to build and leverage our distinctive expertise and networks at the UN and among key diplomats for the benefit of defenders. ISHR establishes presences in strategic locations from time-to-time as is appropriate and necessary to best enable achievement of our goals. As is the case with our office in Abidjan in Cote d’Ivoire, such presences may include the co-location or secondment of ISHR staff with key national and regional human rights defender organisations or networks or the relocation of staff to provide enhanced access to key decision-makers.

Global support

Our impact

We support defenders, strengthen laws and systems for their protection and contribute to a safe and enabling environment for them at the national, regional and international levels.

  • 4517

    Number of people accessing information and support through the ISHR Academy.

  • 350

    Number of human rights defenders to whom ISHR provided training or advocacy support in 2020.

  • 86%

    Percentage of recommendations made by ISHR and taken up by States in the Universal Periodic Review.


© Lorena Rossi

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