What is the FOCUS observatory?

Focus: The Observatory on Public Policies for Defenders is an online platform aimed at monitoring, analysing and promoting good practice in policy developments that governments and other state authorities adopt for protecting human rights defenders and their right to defend human rights. It also aims to keep track in the development of protection standards and recommendations by regional and international bodies.

1. Promoting access to information

We identify all policy elements that States put in place to fulfil their obligation to protect the right to defend human rights, including:  laws, decrees, edicts, reports, evaluations, and other policy contents that provide the legal framework under which human rights defenders operate. Related treaties and recommendations from international or regional bodies will also be gathered here, as well as civil society reports that contribute to the debate. We gather all these materials on an ongoing basis, and categorize it in our database with the aim to facilitate an easier access to this information for any person interested in the topic.

Once information is collected and systematised, it is much easier to analyse developments and identify good policy practices that effectively contribute to the protection of human rights defenders. Processing and digesting the information we gather through the database allows us to see what is going well, what needs improvements, what gaps are making policies ineffective, what barriers are impeding the adoption and implementation of policies. In sum, we will analyse information gathered through the database in order to spot good practices and draw lessons that can be used by stakeholders. 

2. Analysing developments and identifying good practices

3. Promoting a public policy approach to the protection of defenders

The Observatory aims to be a useful tool for all stakeholders involved in the protection of HRDs –States, policy makers, civil society, defenders themselves, researchers-, a reference framework where they can look, understand what a public policy approach implies, learn from what has been done in other countries, and be inspired by recommendations and best practices.