Resources for Human Rights Defenders

A Human Rights Defender (HRD) is a person or group that works on the front lines to promote and protect human rights. Because Defenders are directly challenging human rights abuses by governments and private parties, their own rights can be endangered. This resource sheet is designed specifically for Human Rights Defenders, providing information about safety and securityemergency assistance for at-risk Defenders, advocacy tools, and information about inter-governmental mechanisms concerned with Human Rights Defenders.


Emergency Grants:

General Emergency Grants

Targeted Emergency Grants

Advocacy Tools:

The Advocates for Human Rights

  1. Documenting and Reporting to the United Nations walks through the process of documenting human rights violations during protests and reporting them to the United Nations. 
  2. Navigating the online form for UN special procedures communications provides a step-by-step guide to submitting a communication to UN special procedures.

Amnesty International

Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development

  • Claiming Rights, Claiming Justice: A Guidebook on Women Human Rights Defenders (available in EnglishFrenchSpanish, Arabic and Thai) contains advocacy tools specifically tailored for women HRDs.

Global Voices Advocacy

Tactical Technology Collective

  • The Tactical Technology Collective offers several toolkits and guides to support a variety of advocacy strategies.

Inter-Governmental Mechanisms

UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders

  • The Special Rapporteur supports the implementation of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders by receiving and acting on reports of violations against HRDs. Send concerns to

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Rapporteurship on Human Rights Defenders

  • The Office of the Rapporteur monitors the security of HRDs in the Americas and encourages the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to protect threatened HRDs. Send concerns to

African Commission, Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders in Africa

  • The Special Rapporteur supports and protects HRDs in Africa. Send concerns to

Council of Europe, Commissioner for Human Rights

  • The Commissioner cannot act upon individual complaints, but supports HRDs and their work by acting upon information received and intervening in serious situations. Send concerns to:

The Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe

  • ODIHR’s Focal Point for HRDs and National Human Rights Institutions closely monitors the conditions for HRDs, identifies issues of concern, and seeks to promote and protect their interests. The Focal Point trains HRDs, supports HRD networks, and may address individual cases where appropriate. Send concerns to

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