ISHR Event

HRC47 Side Event - Rights at Risk: Time for Action

13 July 2021 

2:00-3:30 PM CEST

Register here

We are pleased to invite you to ‘Rights at Risk: Time for Action,’ a side event for the 47th Session of the Human Rights Council, taking place on July 13 at 2:00 - 3:30 PM CEST.

Join us for an exciting dialogue among UN and civil society panelists to hear how nationalist and fundamentalist trends worldwide are concretely manifesting as backlash against rights related to gender and sexuality in human rights systems. We will highlight the new Observatory on the Universality of Rights (OURs) Trends Report, Rights at Risk: Time for Action as a tool for action and explore strategic opportunities that civil society, UN mandate holders and States can leverage to stem the anti-rights tide within the UN.

The event will be in English with simultaneous interpretation in Spanish and French. Closed captioning will be available in English. This event is co-organized by the Permanent Mission of Sweden to the UN in Geneva, the Observatory on the Universality of Rights (OURs), the Center for Reproductive Rights, ILGA World, the International Service for Human Rights and International Planned Parenthood Federation.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021 - 02:00
Event Type: 

"No Justice, No Peace" The UN’s role in enhancing accountability for police violence against Africans and people of African Descent

7 July 2021 

4:00-5:30pm CEST

Online event

Register here

Download the flyer in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese

The 47th session of the Human Rights Council will mark one year since the historic urgent debate on “current racially inspired human rights violations, systemic racism, police violence and violence against peaceful protests”. Resolution 43/1 that resulted from the debate mandated the High Commissioner to prepare a report on systemic racism, human rights violations against Africans and people of African descent by law enforcement globally including in the United States, and governments' responses to anti-racism protests. 

In May 2021, 171 families of victims of police violence in the United States and over 270 civil society organisations from more than 40 countries called on the UN High Commissioner and the Africa Group to ensure the Council’s role in effective accountability and follow-up to Human Rights Council's Resolution 43/1 on systemic racism and police violence against Africans and people of African descent globally.

The High Commissioner’s report will be presented at the 47th session of the Human Rights Council, on 12 July 2021. 


This event aims to ensure that the voices of families of victims of racialised police killings are at the centre of the debate around the follow-up to Resolution 43/1. It will bring their concerns directly to the attention of States and other UN actors.

It will also urge States to act in support of maintaining the issues related to structural and systemic racism and police violence globally on the agenda of the Human Rights Council, including by effectively following up on the Resolution 43/1 and the report by the High Commissioner.

Last but not least, speakers from different countries will discuss how the UN can contribute to enhancing accountability for violations and killings against Black people and advance normative standards in the field of police reform, taking into consideration the High Commissioner’s report.

This event will be held online in English with simultaneous interpretation in French, Spanish and Portuguese. In order to attend the event, please RSVP here.

Opening remarks: 
  • Leigh Toomey, member of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention
  • Jamil Dakwar, ACLU (USA)
  • Collette Flanagan, Mothers Against Police Brutality (USA)
  • Anielle Franco, Instituto Marielle Franco (Brazil)
  • Esther Mamadou-Blanco, Implementation Team for the International Decade for People of African Descent (Spain)
  • Ana Margarita Gonzalez, ILEX (Colombia)


  • Sheila de Carvalho, Coalizão Negra por Direitos
Photo: Flickr/Ivan Radic
Wednesday, July 7, 2021 - 16:00 to 17:30
Event Type: 

Human Rights Council Elections 2021: discussions of candidate States’ visions for membership - ONLINE EVENT

Wednesday 8 September 2021

9:00 am - 11:30 am (New York time)
15:00 - 17:30 (Geneva time)



To attend this online event, please register here.

In advance of the Human Rights Council elections that will take place this autumn for the membership term 2022-2024, Amnesty International and the International Service for Human Rights will hold an online pledging event for candidate States on 8 September 2021.

It is intended to give candidates an opportunity to present their visions for Council membership and to respond to questions from a range of stakeholders on how they propose to realise the pledges and commitments they may have made in seeking election.

State representatives, civil society, national human rights institutions (NHRIs) and other key stakeholders are invited to participate actively in the event and pose questions to candidate States. 

This year 19 States are running for 18 seats:

  • Africa Group: Cameroon, Eritrea, Gambia, Benin, Somalia (5 candidates for 5 seats: closed slate)
  • Asia and the Pacific Group: Qatar, UAE, Kazakhstan, India, Malaysia (5 candidates for 5 seats: closed slate)
  • Latin America and the Caribbean Group: Argentina, Ecuador, Paraguay and Honduras (4 candidates for 3 seats: competitive slate)
  • Western Europe and Others Group: Luxembourg, Finland, USA (3 candidates for 3 seats: closed slate)
  • Central and Eastern Europe Group: Lithuania and Montenegro (2 candidates for 2 seats: closed slate)

The list of candidate States who will participate in the event will be available in due time.

To attend this online event, please register here. The event will also be livestream on YouTube in English, French and Spanish.

Have a question? Follow the event and submit questions to candidates via Twitter:  @ISHRglobal #HRCelections2021

Photo: UN Photo /Jean-Marc Ferré


Wednesday, September 8, 2021 - 09:00
Event Type: 

Business and human rights defenders: the next decade and the role of businesses in protecting the shared civic space

6 July 2021

10:00-11:00 ET / 16:00-17:00 CEST

Online event
Register here


Business and human rights defenders operate in and benefit from a “shared civic space” defined by common, fundamental elements. The rule of law and freedom of expression, association, assembly and public participation are essential to the realisation of all human rights, to good governance and accountable institutions. These elements are also critical to stable, profitable and sustainable business environments in which companies thrive and economies, communities and people prosper.

The UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights just launched the Guidance on the role of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights for engaging with, safeguarding and ensuring respect for the rights of human rights defenders. 

What are the necessary steps to get to a stage in which human rights defenders and businesses can build trust and enable cooperation? Can we reshape the pervasive narratives surrounding human rights defenders and businesses?

These are just some of the questions we will discuss at this online event - join us and register now!


  • Anita Ramasastry, Member of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights.  
  • Debbie Stothard, Coordinator and Founder, Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma.
  • Crispin Conroy, Permanent Observer of the International Chamber of Commerce to the United Nations Office at Geneva.
  • Rémy Friedmann, Senior Advisor, Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Human Security and Business.


  • Andrés Zaragoza, Programme Manager - Business and Human Rights, International Service for Human Rights.


Illustration: Cover of the September 2018 report "Shared Space under Pressure"

Tuesday, July 6, 2021 - 16:00 to 17:00
Event Type: 

Assessing the National Security Law in Hong Kong: The First 365 Days

1 July 2021

7:30 am EDT / 1:30 pm CEST / 7:30pm HKST
(Duration: 90 minutes)

Online event

Register here



On 30 June 30, 2020, Beijing imposed the National Security Law (NSL) on Hong Kong.  This legislation has been wielded by both PRC and Hong Kong authorities to silence dissent, arrest people expressing pro-democratic views, stifle protests, and reinterpret the working of Hong Kong’s judiciary.  To date, 100 people have been arrested under the NSL, with 56 being formally charged.  Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal has declared that not only does the Beijing-imposed NSL override Hong Kong’s Basic Law and its human rights protections, but that it is also not open to judicial or constitutional challenges in an open court, which clearly risks undermining Hong Kong’s judiciary.  On 1 July 2020, the UK’s Foreign Secretary reported to the UK Parliament that the National Security Law constitutes a clear and serious breach of the legally binding Sino-British Joint Declaration.

The event

This 90-minute event will bring together Hong Kong activists in exile and human rights experts to discuss the human rights implications of the National Security Law, including on Hong Kong’s legal system and democratic processes, and on Hong Kong residents.  Human Rights Council Member States and observers, along with civil society participants, will have an opportunity to conduct an open dialogue with voices from Hong Kong's exiled political and legal community regarding the degradation of individual rights and freedoms since the implementation of the NSL, and to think critically about policy approaches for promoting and protecting human rights and the rule of law in Hong Kong given this new reality. 

This event will be held online, and is open to participation from all stakeholders, including States, civil society organisations and journalists. In order to register for the event, please RSVP here. Individual Member States and NGOs may make 60 second interventions, and Member States and NGOs speaking on behalf of a group may make 120 second interventions. Those wishing to present interventions should inscribe on the speakers list here.

Moderator: Victor Mallet, Financial Times

Opening remarks:

  • Deputy Assistant Secretary Jonathan Fritz, Bureau for East Asian Pacific Affairs, U.S. Department of State
  • Ambassador Simon Manley, Permanent Representative of the UK to the UN and Other International Organizations in Geneva
  • Ambassador Andrius Krivas, Permanent Representative of Lithuania in Geneva

Panel segment I: 

  • Clément Voule, Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association
  • Mary Lawlor, Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders

Panel segment II: 

  • Nathan Law, activist
  • Glacier Kwong, activist 
  • Victoria Tin-bor Hui, University of Notre Dame

This event is co-sponsored by the governments of Australia, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the United States. This event is co-sponsored by the following NGOs: Article 19, CIVICUS, Human Rights Watch (HRW), International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), Independent Diplomat, International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), Lawyer’s Rights Watch Canada (LRWC), and World Organization Against Torture (OMCT).


Photo: Flickr/Studio Incendo (CC-BY-2.0)

Thursday, July 1, 2021 - 13:30 to 15:00
Event Type: 

Launching "A Seat At The Table" | A guide to crafting effective narratives at the UN about human rights and the people who defend them

30 June 2021

1:00 - 2:30 PM CEST
online event

Register here

The stories and narratives that are told about human rights defenders at the UN have a major impact on how they are understood and supported on the ground. 

Over the past 9 months, we have explored perceptions and views that diplomats working at the UN have about human rights and people who defend them. Our objective was to understand the messages that best increase support for human rights defenders and to craft more effective human rights narratives, particularly as they relate to people who defend human rights. 

Today, we're really thrilled to share our findings with you and launch our new practitioners' guide "A Seat At The Table"! We hope that this guide will be helpful for anyone working within or engaging with the UN system to promote and protect human rights, whether they be advocates with organisations, diplomats or frontline community activists and leaders. 

This event will be held online. In order to attend the event, please RSVP here.


  • Ambassador Marc Bichler, Permanent Mission of Luxembourg


  • Tom Clarke, human rights campaigner, communications specialist and guide co-author
  • Sophie Mulphin, human rights communications specialist and guide co-author
  • Mary Lawlor, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders
  • Ambassador Nazhat Shameen Khan, President of the Human Rights Council
  • Ilze Brands Kehris, Assistant Secretary-General for human rights
  • Guadalupe Marengo, Amnesty International
  • Thomas Coombes, human rights strategist and communications expert, founder of hope-based communications


  • Marianne Bertrand, International Service for Human Rights


This event is hosted with the kind support of the Permanent Mission of Luxembourg.

Illustration: Monique Jackson for Fine Acts (CC-BY-NC-SA)

Wednesday, June 30, 2021 - 09:00 to 18:30
Event Type: 

Voices of Uyghur camp survivors: A conversation with Gülbahar Jalilova

25 May 2021 

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM CET

Register here

Over a million Uyghurs and Turkic people are held in internment camps in the Uyghur region, exposed to harsh detention conditions, sexual violence, and the suppression of culture and religious practice. Gülbahar Jalilova was arbitrarily detained for sixteen months: now in exile, she has decided to speak out on what she has been through as a woman detainee, despite the very high risks she faces.

Last February, ten UN independent experts wrote to the Chinese government about her case, raising grave concern about violations of international human rights and requesting explanations. What is the impact of this letter? What can the United Nations do to push for greater documentation, accountability, and justice for victims?

This event will be held in English, with Uyghur and French interpretation.

In order to attend the event, please RSVP here.


  • Gülbahar Jalilova
  • Elizabeth Broderick, Chair of the UN Working Group on discrimination against women and girls
  • Zumretay Arkin, Programme & Advocacy Manager, World Uyghur Congress


  • Raphael Viana David, International Service for Human Rights


Photo: Gülbahar Jalilova

Tuesday, May 25, 2021 - 11:00 to 12:00
Event Type: 

High-level virtual event on the situation of Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslim minorities in Xinjiang

Wednesday 12 May 2021

10:00-11:30 AM (EDT)/16:00-17:30 (CET)

Watch live on UN WebTV

The international community has grown increasingly concerned about the human rights  situation in Xinjiang, China. In June 2020, 50 UN Special Procedures mandate holders jointly  raised the alarm about Xinjiang and called on the Government of the People’s Republic of  China to respect human rights in Xinjiang and elsewhere in China. In October 2020, a cross regional group of 39 countries expressed grave concern about the existence of a large  network of “political re-education” camps in Xinjiang, where credible reports indicate that more than a million people have been arbitrarily detained. They spoke of severe restrictions on the freedoms of religion or belief, movement, association and expression. They also  voiced grave concern about widespread surveillance, which disproportionately targets  Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslim minorities, and continued reports of State-sponsored forced labor and forced birth control, including sterilisation. 

China has repeatedly voiced a willingness to grant access to the UN to assess the human  rights situation in Xinjiang. Member States and civil society organisations have called for immediate, meaningful and unfettered access to Xinjiang for the UN and other independent observers, including relevant Special Procedures mandate holders. 

This high-level event has the goal of bringing together UN officials, civil society representatives, academics, journalists, as well as representatives of affected communities in order to exchange information on and raise awareness about the human rights situation  in Xinjiang. Participants will discuss how the UN system, member States and civil society can support and advocate for the human rights of members of ethnic Turkic communities in  Xinjiang.  

The event, co-sponsored by UN Member States and civil society organisations and moderated by Demetri Sevastopolu (Financial Times), will feature:

  • Jewher Ilham, author and human rights activist
  • H.E. Barbara Woodward, Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the UN
  • H.E. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Permanent Representative of the United States of America to the UN
  • H.E. Christoph Heusgen, Permanent Representative of the Federal Republic of Germany to the UN
  • Kenneth Roth, Executive Director, Human Rights Watch
  • Dr. Agnès Callamard, Secretary General, Amnesty International
  • Dr. Eva Pils, Professor of Law, King's College London
  • Dr. Fernand de Varennes, UN Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues
  • Jewher Ilham, author and human rights activist
  • Dolkun Isa, President, World Uyghur Congress

There will be an opportunity for Q&A and interventions from Member States at the end. The event will be held virtually; it can be viewed live on UN WebTV.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021 - 16:00
Event Type: 

UN Action on Reprisals: Towards Greater Impact - Virtual launch of ISHR’s new quantitative analysis

Thursday 6 May

4pm CEST / 10am EDT

Register here

The UN relies on the information and cooperation of NGOs, civil society actors and human rights defenders to carry out its work and ensure that the UN has impact at the local level. But human rights defenders and victims of human rights violations and abuses who engage with the UN can face intimidation and reprisals. Between 2010 and 2020, the Secretary-General’s annual reports on intimidation and reprisals documented 709 cases or situations.
Are there trends and patterns in the kinds of cases documented in the Secretary-General’s annual reports on this topic? How have these cases been followed up on over time? And what happens when the UN raises an incident? Do reprisal victims and their representatives consider the UN’s response effective? These are the questions tackled in ISHR’s new report, which offers a quantitative analysis of the cases documented in the UN Secretary-General’s past 11 annual reports on intimidation and reprisals (published between 2010 and 2020). The report also considers assessments of impact and outcomes provided by some victims and their representatives.
While cases of intimidation and reprisal documented in the Secretary-General’s reports are only the tip of the iceberg, analysis of the available data holds significant insights that could inform and strengthen UN action to combat reprisals. This virtual event will bring together relevant stakeholders to discuss the report’s findings, and ways to strengthen the response to reprisals going forward.

Welcome remarks:

  • Ambassador James Roscoe, UK Mission to the UN

Presentation of the report’s findings:

  • Janika Spannagel, Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi)


  • Ilze Brands Kehris, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights
  • Maryam Al-Khawaja, Bahraini Human Rights Defender and International Advocate
  • Cristina Palabay, Secretary General of Karapatan


  • Madeleine Sinclair, ISHR.



Photo: Flickr/UN Women Americas and the Caribbean
Thursday, May 6, 2021 - 16:00
Event Type: 

Launching the Study on a Global Network of Human Rights Defenders Focal Points

21 April 2021 

9:00 - 10:30am EST / 15:00 - 16:30 CET

Register here

Over the last 20 years, beginning with the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, the international human rights system has developed a strong set of standards, norms and recommendations on the recognition and protection of human rights defenders. Yet a significant protection gap remains due to the lack of implementation at the national level. ISHR commissioned a study on the Desirability and Feasibility of a Global Network of ‘Human Rights Defenders Focal Points’, to explore whether and how such a Network could meaningfully contribute to the implementation of the Declaration in diverse national contexts.

Some key elements coming out of the study included that Focal Point delegations should be multi-stakeholder comprising government, national human rights institutions, and civil society representatives; be action- and solutions-oriented; and focus on supporting implementation of the UN Declaration domestically. Priority was placed on establishing well-functioning National Focal Point delegations first, with a Global Network being more robust due to the strength of its parts.

Join us for the launch of the report. We’ll discuss the study’s findings and bring together a range of stakeholders to explore and strategise about practical opportunities to establish National Focal Point delegations with the potential to effectively enhance the protection of human rights defenders.

The event will be in English with simultaneous interpretation in French.

In order to attend the event, please RSVP here.


  •     Alice Nah, Centre for Applied Human Rights, University of York
  •     Hannah Dwyer Smith, Peace Brigades International
  •     Mary Lawlor, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders
  •     Marthe Coulibaly, Coalition Ivoirienne des Défenseurs des Droits Humains (CIDDH)
  •     Vincent Laurent, Switzerland Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA)
  •     Katharina Rose, Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI)

Additional speakers to be confirmed shortly.


  •     Tess McEvoy, International Service for Human Rights

Download the report here.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021 - 15:00 to 16:30
Event Type: