HRDs being interviewed by journalists


Collective Protection of Human Rights Defenders ǀ A collective approach to the right to defend human rights.

13 December 2018

13/12/2018, [Brussels]

Protection International launches its latest publication, Collective Protection of Human Rights Defenders ǀ A Collective Approach to the Right to Defend Human Rights, the flagship item of our global campaign #CommunitiesareHRDs.

With the recent 20th anniversary of the UN declaration on Human Rights Defenders, much attention is currently focused on the indispensable work carried out by communities of human rights defenders across the globe. In this context, it is important to consider that human rights defenders do not usually work alone, but in groups, in association with others, in social movements, building collective networks, and supporting each other. Nevertheless, protection mechanisms tend to choose an individual HRD, a practice that can limit the impact of measures to a very narrow number of defenders and also undermine the collective dimension of human rights defense work.

This publication aims to contribute to a shift in current prevailing narratives on the protection of human rights defenders. For protection to be effective, and sustainable and reach a greater number of human rights defenders, we shift towards a more collective mindset.

“Protection approaches should not just aim to provide security for individual defenders. We must further pursue structural changes leading to policies that guarantee a safe and conducive environment for all those who, individually or collectively, defend human rights.”

The publication identifies several problems that stem from the prevailing individualization of HRDs, highlighting that most protection programs, both at the international and national level, are based on sets of measures intended to provide security to a given individual, but fail to provide structural policy changes that are indispensable for the effective protection of all those defending rights.

The publication also provides ideas of key measures and actions that should be taken into account when developing collective protection strategies with communities or groups of HRDs.

“We need to rethink and expand current HRD protection mechanisms so that the protection of HRDs is provided both individually and collectively.”

Read the publication in English, Spanish, French, and Russian.