Americas: Towards Effective Integral Protection Policies for Human Rights Defenders

In 2017, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights published a report on the situation and comprehensive protection for human rights defenders.

The report is based on data received from the Unit for Human Rights Defenders established in 2001, and the Rapporteurship on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders in 2011. It focuses on the important of adopting a comprehensive approach towards the protection of human rights defenders, which is referred to by the term “integral protection policy”.

According to the Inter-American Commission, an “integral protection policy is based on the recognition of the interrelation and interdependence between the various obligations incumbent on the State to enable human rights defenders to exercise their defense work freely and safely. In this regard, it refers to a comprehensive approach which requires extending protection beyond physical protection mechanisms or systems that operate only when human rights defenders face situations of risk.”

The report provides an overview of the situation of human rights defenders in Colombia, Cuba, Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras, Dominican Republic and Venezuela. It also provides concrete recommendations to States for the effective and integral protection of human rights defenders, including the recommendation to adopt “specialized mechanisms, legislation, policies,
and urgent measures”, including special protection measures for particularly vulnerable groups of human rights defenders (p. 13).

Find the original publication here in English and Spanish (Inter-American Commission on Human Rights).