Who are Human Rights Defenders?

“Human rights defender” is a term used to describe people who, individually or with others, act to promote or protect human rights. It is a broad term. To be a human rights defender, a person can act to address any human right (or rights) on behalf of individuals or groups. Human rights defenders seek the promotion and protection of civil and political rights as well as the promotion, protection and realisation of economic, social and cultural rights.


What do we understand by protection?

Protection is a set of actions that individuals defending human rights, activists, communities, organisations and institutions develop in order to create more safe and healthy environments for living and working. They include the different strategies and actions that one can take in cases where there is a possible threat to the physical, emotional and collective integrity of a community.

We understand protection to mean not just the absence of threat, but the setting in place of certain circumstances that ensure the overall wellbeing of individuals, communities and groups, covering all aspects of their lives.

ANSUR Colective

What protection needs have human rights defenders got?

During 2016 and 2017 we undertook an investigation on the protection needs of human rights defenders which involved the participation of Basque social organisations, experts on protection, institutions and human rights defenders at risk. The findings were then used to produce a document that aims to outline those needs within four main categories: organisational priorities, relationships, security measures and psychosocial support.

Would you like to read more on our research and findings?
Read our research