Spearheaded by Michel Forst, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, #TogetherWeDefend supports and empowers human rights defenders worldwide by fully recognizing the good they do. 

Humans all want the same things in life: happiness, love and to treat others and be treated with respect. Regardless of age, race, religion, sexual orientation or gender, we share a common humanity which entitles every person to human rights. These rights are the glue which binds us together. They are the cause that push people to stand up for others.

In 1998, the United Nations and its Member States adopted a Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, finally recognizing in international law the crucial role of human rights defenders as the guardians of this common humanity.

In December 2018, the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders celebrated its 20th anniversary. And while incredible progress has been made in standing up for defenders over the last two decades, the work is far from over. 

That’s because human rights defenders are increasingly under attack by governments, large corporations and other actors seeking to keep us apart. 

In many countries, human rights defenders too often stand alone against these abuses of power. They are isolated, marginalized and criminalized, lacking the protective networks and support that many of us take for granted. 

When a human rights defender is attacked, our humanity itself is under assault. 

This is why it is time to shine a spotlight on the defenders. 

So who is a defender? 

#TogetherWeDefend spotlights human rights defenders working worldwide. We all can be human rights defenders, as long as we peacefully stand up for other people or speak out against injustice or discrimination. As defenders, we are protected under the declaration. Your act, no matter how big or small, will make you part of a growing community of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. 

You, me, anyone, can be a defender. 

Together we are stronger! Let’s make our voice heard and call our leaders to respect and protect human rights defenders.