Protection International aims to enable and protect the free exercise of the right to defend human rights. To achieve this, we promote a comprehensive approach to the protection of human rights defenders (HRDs). Our approach is multifaceted, interdisciplinary and ever-evolving. There are a few core elements that constitute the foundation for our interventions at the local, regional and international levels:
Explaining the Core Elements of Our Approach
To further explain the key elements of our approach to HRD protection, we are developing a series of concise and pragmatic publications.
The first one is “The Right to Defend Human Rights, From a Critical Approach”. In this publication, we explain our understanding of this right by emphasising the collective and diverse identities that the term “HRD” encompasses. The publication also proposes key elements for a renewed narrative that better reflects the different realities and experiences of human rights defenders.
This publication is intended for human rights defenders, organisations and key stakeholders who aim to promote wider, diverse and inclusive narratives about human rights defenders. It contains proposals for new narratives that can be useful for advocacy, communications and fundraising strategies linked to human rights defenders.
Some key messages from the publication:
The individual and collective exercise of this right requires an enabling environment that does not obstruct this right, but rather protects those who exercise it.
Relations of domination, discrimination and the imbalance of power all influence the visibility of defenders’ struggles and the support they receive. The defence of human rights must always be contextualised and cannot be depoliticised.
Human rights defenders are defined by their actions and the rights they are defending, regardless of whether or not they self-identify as human rights defenders.
We cannot reduce or simplify the identity of defenders. Several identities can be manifested within the same person or collective (e.g. woman, woman farmer, indigenous woman, woman trade unionist) and all should be recognised.
The publication “The Right to Defend Human Rights, From a Critical Approach” is currently available in English, Spanish and French.