Protecting human rights defenders

Protests against rising cost of electricity in Yerevan, Armenia. © Front Line Defenders, July 2015

Switzerland supports the work of human rights defenders (HRD) and aims to improve their protection on the ground from arbitrary treatment, threats and violence.  The FDFA's guidelines on the protection of human rights defenders serve as a framework for the Swiss representations abroad.

Switzerland's representations abroad support HRD in documenting human rights violations. They also intervene if HRDface restrictions on their freedom of expression or in cases of extrajudicial killing and enforced disappearance. In such instances, the representations work together with the relevant state bodies as well as representatives of like-minded countries, non-governmental organisations and international initiatives.

Swiss Guidelines on HRD

Mohnas’ human rights mission in Nepal, FDFA Youtube

Interview with Colombian lawyer Luz Estella Romero, FDFA Interactive blog

UN standards on the protection of HRD

Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive peacefully for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels. States have a duty to protect these people.

The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on this matter in 1998, establishing the first-ever international standards on the protection of HRD.

The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of HRD carries out regular country visits and acts as a contact point for complaints.

UN Declaration on the Protection of HRD, OHCHR

Who is a HRD, OHCHR

Webpage of the Special Rapporteur on the situation HRD, OHCHR