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[Event] Keeping Hope Alive: Risking it All to Defend Human Rights in Asia’s Crisis Areas

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Keeping Hope Alive: Risking it All to Defend Human Rights in Asia’s Crisis Areas

 United Nations Human Rights Council 52nd Session side-event

13 March 2023, 13.00 – 14.00

Palais des Nations, Room XXII

The ongoing crises in many countries in the region, in particular in situations of conflict, exacerbate the already dire situation for HRDs. Defenders working in conflict situations face further risk and operate in highly unsafe working environments. Defenders who called out atrocities committed by those in power have been arbitrarily arrested, tortured, and even killed, as seen often Myanmar and Afghanistan. In protracted crisis areas like India-administered Kashmir, defenders face systematic harassment, including surveillance and judicial harassment, as emblematic in the case of Khurram Parvez. Furthermore, defenders working in conflict situations are even more exposed to negative narratives, and often labeled as terrorists or threats to national security by authorities.

Despite such a hostile context and risks, HRDs operating in conflict situations across Asia continue to struggle for the protection of human rights. Their important work in documenting violations, raising public and international awareness about the situations they work in are often the main source of hope for justice, accountability, and peace for victims, survivors and those living in conflict situations. As we mark the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the 25th anniversary of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders in 2023, it is crucial to reflect and discuss how to better support those working in increasingly hostile contexts.

We cordially invite you to a side event organized by FORUM-ASIA, in collaboration with CIVICUS, International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), Front Line Defenders (FLD), and World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT). The event will provide a platform for HRDs operating in conflict areas in Asia to share their experiences, discuss challenges and successes, and identify recommendations and good practices for the international community and other stakeholders to better support them and the human rights movement in the region.

For more information, contact United Nations Advocacy Programme: [email protected]