Who is a defender?

Updated: Dec 4, 2019

According to the OHCHR, “Human rights defender” is a term used to describe people who, individually or with others, act to promote or protect human rights. Human rights defenders are identified above all by what they do and it is through a description of their actions and of some of the contexts in which they work that the term can best be explained.

Yerling Aguilera et Fidel Ernesto Narvaez

The term “human rights defender” has been used increasingly since the adoption of the Declaration on human rights defenders in 1998. Until then, terms such as human rights “activist”, “professional”, “worker” or “monitor” had been most common. The term “human rights defender” is seen as a more relevant and useful term.

The examples given of the activities of human rights defenders are not an exhaustive list.

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