On the 2nd December, Luis Enrique Eguren and Champa Patel (Board Members of Protection International) presented their views on human right defenders (HRDs) at the event “Critical perspectives on the Security and Protection of Human Rights Defenders”, at the University of London, organised by the Human Rights Consortium, CAHR, Amnesty International and the Human Rights and Social Justice Research Institute (London Metropolitan University) in collaboration with the the Human Rights Research Network, with the participation of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, Michel Forst.

 

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Eguren and Patel presented their article, published in the International Journal of Human Rights, on a critical approach to defining who is or who acts as a defender, according to the UN Declaration but also to the reality and challenges that defenders face everyday. From their point of view HRDs become relational agents, bringing together international norms with local norms and cultures, building bridges between state authorities and civil society entities, but also they are affected by local power dynamics at play. All this shape HRD practice in very different ways. The UN Special Rapporteur Michel Forst, intervened to express his concern about a trend to narrow down the definition of who is a defender, and Patel and Eugene agreed to this concern and expressed their views on the need to consider that defenders are at the end of the day citizens who are concerned about issues around human rights, justice, environment, etc.

 

A podcast filmed during the event will be available to view HERE.

To read more about the Special Issue of the International Journal of Human Rights, please click HERE.