Background - Defending Human Rights Defenders

Human Rights Defenders in many parts of the world risk their livelihoods and even their lives out of commitment to social justice.  Many have been murdered, ‘disappeared,’ assaulted, persecuted or unlawfully detained for defending the rights of the oppressed.  Protecting these defenders is a crucial challenge.

 In February 2012, the Haldane Society of Socialist LawyersAmnesty International and European Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights which brought together over 150 delegates to attend the Defending Human Rights Defenders Conference in London over three days in February 2012

Download the 2012 Conference Report here.

download here

download here


Lawyers, journalists and activists from seven countries detailed the abuses suffered by themselves and their colleagues in BelarusChechnyaColombiaDagestanTurkeyPalestine and the Philippines. 

 Mike Mansfield QC and Jeremy Corbyn MP welcomed the HRDs, who shared their experiences and joined in strategy discussions on how to protect defenders engaged in human rights struggles.

 The Conference highlighted targeting of human rights campaigners through:

Extra-judicial killings, “disappearances” and death threats

* Politically motivated arrests, detentions, prosecutions and sentences

* Double oppression of Women HRDs

* Abuse of Media to demonise and criminalise HRDs

* Land Grabs and Environmental Devastation by Non-State Actors

* Travel Bans and Censorship

 Following that conference, the Haldane Society set up this website in order to provide practical solidarity to human rights defenders around the world. We concentrate primarily on the seven countries represented at the Conference. We are also involved in solidarity activity with lawyers and other human rights defenders under attack in Kazakhstan and Tunisia.

 This website is part of our commitment to providing practical solidarity to human rights defenders. We have separate pages for each country, containing an overview of the human rights position and particular cases that we support. We regularly write letters of protest to the relevant governments and we would urge our readers to do the same.

Conference was organised by:

Conference was supported and endorsed by: