OCTOBER 29, 30, 31

Palais de Chaillot | Espace Niemeyer

Human rights defenders (HRDs) are people of all genders, ages and identities acting peacefully in defence of human rights. They are individuals and groups challenging all discriminations, working to advance fundamental rights and create more just and inclusive societies.

Today, conflict and fear are increasingly used to spread violence, division and silence civil society throughout the world. Countries are turning their backs on solidarity and justice and the human rights defenders are increasingly the targets of attacks, harassment, intimidation, surveillance, censorship, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances and even killings – just for standing up for what is right.

In light of the extent of the current backlash facing HRDs, the Summit will provide an international platform for HRDs voices to be heard, facilitate HRDs efforts to strategise and create new actions, and promote HRDs’ call to the international community and its wide range of stakeholders to significantly increase its commitments to protect and promote HRDs’ work around the world.

Join the global call to protect
Human Rights Defenders

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A human rights defender is somebody who demands justice and dignity for us all. Some expose corruption and call for those in power to face justice. Some demand basic services, such as health, education, housing to be widely available. Some defend the right for anyone to live according to their own gender and sexual orientation. Some are women who defend the right of every woman to choose their own life freely, without being forced into marriage or maternity. Some are farmers and communities that want to protect their land from pollution and from businesses that bleed the land dry of precious resources like water and forests. They are brave – but regular – people. And they’re under attack.

Those in power, such as governments and large companies, are trying to silence human rights defenders – unfairly branding them as criminals, terrorists or “foreign agents”. Human rights defenders are locked up for speaking up. They are threatened, attacked and even murdered in horrifying numbers.

Enough is enough. It’s time we do something so bold that the governments can’t ignore us.

20 years ago, governments around the world signed a declaration, promising they would protect human rights defenders. This December, those governments will hold a special meeting at the UN to discuss the situation.

With your help, we can show that the world is watching the outcome of this meeting. Human rights defenders will hand in all your signatures and demand real protection, not just lip service.

Sign your name now, and call on governments to:

• Celebrate and protect human rights defenders, especially those who are marginalized and under attack because of their gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity and race, religion, status, ability, age, class.

• Stop attacking, smearing and stigmatizing those who fight for human rights to become a reality for every person in the world.

For this global call, we all need to join forces. Together, and with your support, our voices can be louder than ever.

Three days of meetings, panel discussions,
networking and workshopping

With the participation of

European Union Special Representative for Human Rights

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Secretary-General Amnesty International

UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights Defenders

Secretary-General FIDH

Get involved in the global conversation and
take action for Human Rights Defenders


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The Summit in images

Human Rights Defenders World Summit 2018. Day 1 (29/Oct/2018)

Human Rights Defenders World Summit 2018. Day 2 (30/Oct/2018)

Human Rights Defenders World Summit 2018. Day 3 (31/Oct/2018)

Human Rights Defenders World Summit. Stunt and closing ceremony (31/Oct/2018)

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The Human Rights Defenders Summit 1998

In 1998, as the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, the first Human Rights Defenders Summit gathered HRDs from all over the world in Paris and outlined a vision to guarantee the application of the declaration and strengthen the human rights defenders work and solidarity.

The Human Rights Defenders Summit 1998 put the issue of the safety and protection of HRDs on the map for governments, donor agencies, international NGOs and regional mechanisms. Since 1998, the world of support for HRDs has expanded profoundly and institutional space has been created to address HRD issues, including the establishment of the mandate for the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders and similar regional mechanisms, within national governments and institutions, and among the international human rights movement.

The 1998 Summit helped create the world in which both HRDs work and in which an array of institutions, foundations and organisations engage with HRDs.