Protection International celebrates the 13th anniversary of the UN Declaration on human rights defenders (HRDs) by issuing a video interview of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Ms Margaret Sekaggya.
Human rights defenders play a crucial role in implementing human rights standards: documenting and denouncing human rights violations, pressuring governments to respect their legal obligations, requesting truth, justice and compensations for the victims of abuses and informing and educating societies on human rights issues.
Human rights defenders are risking their lives to defend the rights of others.
In 1998, after 14 years of negotiations with governments and under continuous pressure of human rights associations, the international community finally recognized the need of human rights defenders for a better protection.
Adopted on December 9 1998, the UN Declaration on human rights defenders is the main international instrument to protect individuals, groups and organs of the society promoting and protecting universally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms.
To support the implementation of the Declaration, the Commission on Human Rights called on the Secretary-General to appoint a Special Representative on human rights defenders, which was established in 2000. This Special Procedure was renewed in 2008 by the Human Rights Council, which appointed Mrs. Margaret Sekaggya as Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders.