Americas

Latin America was the pioneer region in terms of the implementation of public policies for the protection of HRDs (the first protection programme, worldwide, started in Colombia in 1997, even a year before the adoption of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders by the UN General Assembly). The same region was a pioneer in passing the first national law on the protection of HRDs (Mexico, 2012).

In both Mesoamerica and South America there have been two types of initiatives to implement these policies. On the one hand, pressure from civil society organisations has been key to getting governments to agree to regulate the protection of HRDs.

On the other hand, the structuring role of the Inter-American Human Rights System (IAHRS) must be taken into account. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has stipulated the obligation of states to protect human rights defenders through four specific duties:

a.to facilitate the necessary means for human rights defenders to freely carry out their activities;
b.to protect them when they are subject to threats, in order to prevent attacks on their lives and integrity;
c.to refrain from imposing obstacles that hinder their work;
d.to seriously and effectively investigate violations committed against them.

In addition, in two of its judgments, the Court has ordered states to create public policies for the protection of HRDs in three judgments – towards Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has pointed out to the American states the need to take into account a series of parameters to develop a “global protection policy”, beyond “restricting themselves, for example, to providing security schemes for defenders at risk without investigating the origin of the threats to which they have been subjected”.

As of mid-2021, the list of countries with protection policies is as follows:
•Law in force: Mexico, Honduras (IACHR Court ruling) and Peru.
•Decree or sub-national regulation: Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador
•Discussions in force: El Salvador, Guatemala (IACHR Court ruling).
•Previous debates, not currently taken up: Paraguay, Nicaragua (IACHR Court ruling)

US Foreign Relations Committee
2024
January 31, 2024 WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and author of...
Colectivo de abogados José Alvear Restrepo (Cajar)
2024
Bogotá-Washington DC., March 18, 2024. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has issued a historic ruling in which it recognizes...
Ministério dos Direitos Humanos e da Cidadania
2023
MDHC The challenges for the construction of the National Plan for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders were presented this...
ESPACIO_OSC
2023
This document is the result of a series of meetings convened by the Espacio de Organizaciones de la Sociedad Civil...
UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
2023
TEGUCIGALPA / GENEVA (31 October 2023) The legal and judicial system in Honduras has failed to ensure justice and accountability...
Protection International
2023
It has been 25 years since the first protection mechanism for people at risk due to armed conflict (December 1997)...
ESPACIO_OSC
2023
Brochure summary of the document Priority Points to Guarantee the Right to Defend Human Rights and Freedom of Expression
Congreso de la República. Camara de Representantes.
2023
Its purpose is the comprehensive protection and recognition of the work as peacebuilders and rights advocates for women and individuals...
ESPACIO_OSC
2023
17 May 2023, (9:30-18:00 hrs CST) The main objective of the International Seminar on Protection Policies for Human Rights Defenders...
Oficina en México del Alto Comisionado de las Naciones Unidas para los Derechos Humanos
2023
The existence of the Mechanism reaffirms the valuable role played by human rights defenders and journalists in society and the...
Protection International
2023
On the 4th of March 2018, governments, NGOs, academia and other stakeholders from the Latin American and Caribbean region signed...
Corte Interamenricana de Derechos Humanos
2023
Introduction to the case and object of the dispute El caso sometido a la Corte. – El 8 de julio...
US Foreign Relations Committee
2023
In March 2023, Senator Robert Menendez, who is chair of the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee proposed  a bill...
Departamento Nacional de Planeación
2022
This document was issued on 29/Nov/2021 by the government of Iván Duque and approved on 6/Dec/2021 by the National Council...
CEPAL-ECLAC
2022
Quito, 22 and 23 November 2022 In November 2022, Protection International (PI) participated in the first annual forum on human...
Unidad Nacional de Protección
2022
In September 2022, the Colombian government introduced the Emergency Plan for the Protection of Social Leaders, Human Rights Defenders and...
Defensoría del Pueblo Perú
2022
In an effort to place the need for more efficient protection measures for environmental defenders on the national public agenda,...
Corte Constitucional. República de Colombia
2022
Boletín No 39 – Bogotá, April 18, 2022. The Constitutional Court is considering nine tutela actions1 filed by 18 citizens...
CODIGO DH
2022
The Office of the Ombudsman for Human Rights of Oaxaca participates in updating the Agreement on the Recognition and Protection...
Protection International
2022
National and international organizations sent this letter to President Gustavo Petro and Vice President Francia Márquez with three recommendations so...