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Defenders in Development campaign calls on states & development financiers to safeguard defenders & guarantee meaningful public participation

Author: Defenders in Development campaign, Published on: 4 December 2018

"Human Rights Defenders are a cornerstone of sustainable development", Nov 2018

An Open Letter to States and Development Financiers on the need to ensure that development interventions support the realization of human rights, safeguard human rights defenders and guarantee meaningful public participation

2018 marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 20th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, and the 25th anniversary of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action. These instruments have been key to recognising fundamental rights globally and affirming the role that human rights defenders (HRDs) play in protecting these rights and ensuring sustainable and equitable development for all. While much progress has been made, HRDs face greater risk of retaliation and violence than ever before, especially those working in defence of land, environmental and indigenous peoples’ rights.  While development interventions can be a powerful tool for the realization of human rights, too often activities undertaken in the name of development fail to adequately consider human rights conditions and impacts, and end up exacerbating the risks for defenders. In light of this, the Defenders in Development Campaign is calling on development finance institutions (DFIs) and their shareholder governments to ensure that development interventions support the realization of human rights, avoid causing or contributing to rights abuses, promote an enabling environment for public participation, and safeguard HRDs... 

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