Saturday, 21 March 2015

#idefend – Making sure civil society has its voice

An initiative of the Delegation of the European Union to the UN in Geneva in partnership with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Permanent Missions of Brazil, the Republic of Korea and Tunisia to the UN in Geneva.

Every day in every part of the world, NGOs, human rights defenders and other civil society representatives contribute to the promotion, protection and advancement of human rights. They are also an integral part of the UN Human Rights Council, where it is their voices and stories that provide States with essential information on human rights violations. Yet, civil society advocates across the globe, including those who attend the Human Rights Council, are too often exposed to harassment and intimidation.

The #idefend campaign takes a firm public stance to support the voices of civil society. #idefend aims at expressing solidarity with all those human rights defenders and civil society actors, whose dedication and everyday work improve the human rights of people in every corner of the world. Join the campaign and help empower those who speak up for human rights!

“Human rights defenders are not violent seditionists, criminals, nor bloody revolutionaries, as so many governments like to portray them. They are the best of us, all of us. And they have a message. To all governments, we say: focus on their message. Listen to what they are saying. Understand the message, talk to them about it, be persuaded or persuade, without violence, instead of silencing them, punishing them, their families, and their communities.”

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

“Sadly, over the past years, we have observed a worrying trend at the Human Rights Council: Human Rights Defenders and civil society representatives are hampered from speaking at the Council, sometimes they are harassed upon their arrival to Geneva, or subject to reprisals in their home country upon their return. This is not acceptable.”

Peter Sørensen, Head of the EU Delegation to the United Nations Office and other international organisations in Geneva.



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