Peaceful human rights defenders and activists are at the the forefront of the ongoing struggle for social justice, often placing themselves at extreme risk in the process as they become targets by state authorities or non-state actors. The struggle of human rights at grassroot level often requires rapid responses to ensure that activists are protected.

However, based on personal experience at the UN Human Rights Council, the process of human rights advocacy with states is painstakingly slow, with many suggesting long term courses of action (such as raising violations during the offending states next UPR cycle, which happens every 4 years), and for them, human rights is a discourse, something that is more talked about, than is action based. On other occasions, political and commercial alliabces will also intefere with a states willingness and ability to raise certain human rights issues with other states.

Thus, the field of human rights can be a deeply frustrating one, with many of the key influencial actors taking a reactive, as opposed to proactive role, oftensomething  which is merely talked about. In the meantime….. Human rights defenders and activists pay the price with deprivation of their liberty, often for many years, torture and ill treatment, unfair trials and even death sentences.

Advertisements