Monday, August 1, 2011

UN launches guide for human rights activists

Jul 29, 11 5:39pm In reaction to the continuous violation of human rights, the United Nations (UN) has launched a guide for human rights activists to help them understand their rights and the dangers they face. “Despite the efforts to implement the (UN) Declaration (on Human Rights Defenders), activists continue to face numerous violations.“I hope that this essential guide, the new 'Commentary to the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders', will contribute to the development of a safer and more conducive environment for defenders to be able to carry out their work,” UN special rapporteur Margaret Sekaggya said. The 100-page guide, compiled by another UN special rapporteur, Hina Jilani, and continued by Sekaggya, is a downloadable document that maps out the rights in the declaration. The declaration adopted in 1998 is a code of rights and responsibilities of international standards for activists to promote and protect universally recognised human rights and fundamental freedom. Sekaggya said the declaration on human rights defenders is an instrument that is not sufficiently known and she wants to build on the efforts to raise awareness about it.“This guide also offers a comprehensive reference document for journalists covering the situation of human rights defenders in their countries, their regions of the world,” she said.The guide analyses what is needed to ensure their implementation of rights, common restrictions and violations faced by defenders, and recommendations to facilitate states' implementation of each right.The document is arranged in 10 sections, and addresses each right in the declaration namely:the right to be protected,the right to freedom of assembly,the right to freedom of association,the right to access and communicate with international bodies,the right to freedom of opinion and expression,the right to protest,the right to develop and discuss new human rights ideas,the right to an effective remedy,and the right to access funding. Click here to Download document.