The objective of this Practical Guide on guidelines and recommendations for the development of risk mitigation plans for human rights defenders of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (hereinafter “the IACHR” or “the Commission”) is to provide a tool for applied use that allows members of civil society, in particular human rights defenders and the States of the region, to have an instrument that addresses the basic contents in terms of mitigation and/or elimination of risks faced by human rights defenders. Likewise, this Guide seeks to analyse good practices and experiences in risk assessment and mitigation, as well as pending actions to fully guarantee the right to defend human rights in the Americas.
The Commission has recognised that the obligations of States to protect the right to defend human rights are interrelated and interdependent in order to achieve comprehensive protection. Thus, in order to guarantee a free and safe environment for human rights defenders to carry out their work, States must comply with their obligations in this area in a comprehensive manner. States have the duty not only to refrain from violating the rights of human rights defenders, but also to adequately prevent and protect them from the risks they face, in recognition of the importance that the defence of human rights represents in any democratic society.
The approach of this Practical Guide is based on the indispensable condition of respecting and guaranteeing the right to defend human rights and that this right can be exercised in a favourable environment, free from any kind of intimidation. In this sense, States have the duty not only to create the legal and formal conditions, but also to guarantee the factual conditions in which human rights defenders can freely carry out their functions.A. Alcances y objetivos. Guía práctica