Document Type: Policy Makers Tools

FOCUS Report 2013: “Public Policies for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders: The State of the Art”

31 December 2013

Protection International (PI) is pleased to present its FOCUS Report 2013. This first FOCUS Report is part of a global observatory on public policies for human rights defenders’ protection.

This publication is intended to provide detailed monitoring of developments in the field of national public policy associated with the protection of human rights defenders around the world.

To commemorate the 15th Anniversary of the UN Declaration on the right and responsibility of individuals, groups and institutions to promote and protect universally-recognized human rights and fundamental liberties, the report includes results from our research on public government policies to protect human rights defenders (HRDs) internationally.

As part of our mission, PI analyzes and promotes discussion on the development of public policy meant to protect human rights defenders. While acknowledging advances that have clearly enhanced existing regional and international mechanisms, we have adopted a critical approach since we realize that States are ultimately responsible for protecting Human Rights Defenders, starting with governments.

We are aware of the as-of-yet unresolved debate between advocates for these policies and those who demand the State as a whole to fulfill its obligation in guaranteeing protection of Human Rights Defenders. Nevertheless, in PI we are encouraged by willingness expressed by many governments and international, regional and non-governmental organizations to continue exploring this area.

We hope this report will contribute to the discussion on how to improve existing public policies and spur discussion between civil society organizations and governments of countries where protection of human rights defenders is far from being ensured.

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