The undersigned 85 civil society organisations, coming from all regions, urge your delegation to support the renewal of the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders. 

The work of human rights defenders is vital to promoting human rights, upholding the rule of law, and achieving sustainable and inclusive development. Despite this critical role, the Special Rapporteur notes that defenders are under ‘unprecedented attack’ with ‘the number killed around the world continuously rising’.

In turn, the mandate of the Special Rapporteur is key to provide visibility of the situation of defenders and highlight the need for their protection. Since the creation of the mandate in 2000, successive mandate holders have made concrete contributions to the protection of those defending human rights and the dissemination and implementation of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. The mandate has also made significant contributions to acknowledging gender specific attacks targeting women human rights defenders and the need to develop intersectional responses.

During the Human Rights Council’s 34th session, States are considering a resolution extending the mandate for a further three years. The proposed renewal of the Special Rapporteur’s mandate provides a key opportunity for the HRC to strengthen the recognition of the crucial role defenders play in our societies, and towards the creation of a fair, just and equal world.

We call upon all States to show their commitment to human rights, peace and sustainable development through strong and unconditional support for the renewal of the mandate. The establishment of the mandate in 2000, and all its extensions have always enjoyed consensus in the Commission on Human Rights and the Human Rights Council.

Such strong support will lay the basis – in this resolution and the future work of the HRC, the General Assembly and the Special Rapporteur – to further strengthen the protection of defenders.

Assuming the extension of the mandate, the Special Rapporteur has foreshadowed a range of much needed and important initiatives, including expert technical assistance, to support States to ensure the full and effective implementation of human rights defender related resolutions and recommendations at the national level.

We therefore urge your delegation to support the extension of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur by participating positively in the negotiations on the resolution, and in time co-sponsor the text.

Civil society and human rights defenders around the world look to the HRC and its Member States for support and protection, and we hope your delegation will stand with us.

Yours sincerely,

International Service for Human Rights

Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), Nigeria

African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (ACDHRS), 

Alkarama Foundation, 

Amnesty International, International

Article 19, International

Association for Advancement of Legal Right , Hong Kong

Association for Progressive Communications (APC), International

Association for promotion sustainable development, India

AWID, International

Both ENDS, Netherlands

Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, International

CAN Pakistan/ Search For Justice, Pakistan

Canada Tibet Committee, Canada

Center for Inquiry, United States

Center for International Environmental Law, United States of America

Centro de Análisis Forense y Ciencias Aplicadas (CAFCA), Guatemala

Christian Development Alternative (CDA), Bangladesh


Coalition Burkinabè des Défenseurs des Droits Humains, Burkina Faso

Coalition Togolaise desv Défenseurs des Droits Humains , Togo


Conectas Direitos Humanos, Brazil

DefendDefenders (East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project), Uganda

Earth and Human Rights of Mato Grosso, Brazil, Brasil

East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN), USA

Edmund Rice International, International

Environmental Management for Livelihood Improvement Bwaise Facility (EMLI), Uganda

Euipo de Estudios Comunitarios y Acción Psicosocial, Guatemala

Evt sain khursh Foundation , Mongolia

EXCUBITUS - Derechos Humanos en Educacion, Venezuela

Executive Director, Argentina

Facilitate Global, England

FIDH, in the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, France

Frente de Mujeres Defensoras de la Pachamama - Ecuador, Ecuador

Front Line Defenders, International

Global Initiative for Economic, Social & Cultural Rights, 

Global Witness, International

Heartland Alliance Global Initiatives for Human Rights, Argentina

Help & Shelter, Guyana

Human Concern, Inc/HUCON, Liberia

Human Rights First, United States

Human Rights House Foundation, Geneva

Human Rights Mouvement "Bir Duino-Kyrgyzstan", Kyrgyzstan

Human Rights Watch, International

Independant, New Zealand

Instituto Venezolano de Estudios Sociales y Politicos (INVESP), Venezuela

International Accountability Project, International

International Commission of Jurists, International

International Humanist and Ethical Union, Belgium

International Rivers, International

Convergencia por los Derechos Humanos, Guatemala

JASS (Just Associates), 

Justiça Global, Brazil

Justice Connect, Australia

Justice for All/Burma Task Force, USA

Labour, Health and Human Rights Development Centree, Nigeria

Mini Global Hetavad Skills Networks, Nigeria

MiningWatch Canada, Canada

Mongolian Women's Employment Supporting Federation, Mongolia

Muslims for Human Rights (MUHURI), Kenya

Omega Research Foundation, United Kingdom

One World Platform, Bosnia Herzegovina

Oyu Tolgoi Watch, Mongolia

Partnership For Justice Nigeria, Nigeria

Peace Brigades International, International

Plataforma Colombiana De Derechos Humanos Democracia y Desarrollo, Colombia

Plataforma Internacional contra la Impunidad, Central America

Proyecto de Derechos Económicos, Sociales y Culturales (ProDESC), Mexico

RFSL, the Swedish Federation for LGBTQ Rights, Sweden

Rivers without Boundaries International Coalition, International

Rivers without Boundaries Mongolia, Mongolia

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, United States

Salesian Missions, International

Seguridad en Democracia (SEDEM), Guatemala

Social Justice Connection, Canada

Unidad de Protección a Defensoras y Defensores de Derechos Humanos - Guatemala, Guatemala

Union Internationale des Avocats (UIA - International Association of Lawyers), International

Unión Latinoamericana de Mujeres - ULAM, Perú

Unión Nacional de Instituciones para el Trabajo de Acción Social-UNITAS, Bolivia

Urgewald, Germany

We Women Lanka , Sri Lanka

World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), in the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, International

Yemen organization for Defending Rights & Democratic Freedoms, Yemen

Zo Indigenous Forum, India