Civil society letter to U.S. State Dept on Human Rights Defenders

80 civil society organisations from 30+ countries urge Honarable Secretary of State, Antony Blinken to strengthen U.S. government foreign policy to support human rights defenders globally


Hon. Antony Blinken Secretary of State

United States of America

CC:      Senator Robert Menendez, Chairman,Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Senator James Risch, Ranking Member, Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Representative Gregory Meeks, Chairman,House Committee on Foreign Affairs

Representative Michael McCaul, Ranking Member, House Committee on Foreign Affairs

 Dear Secretary Blinken:

We, the undersigned organisations, work to promote human rights, democracy, media freedom, environmental sustainability, and an end to corruption around the world. The protection of human rights defenders — such as activists, lawyers, and journalists — is critical to each of our missions. We are deeply concerned by the unabated rise in reprisals against human rights defenders, both globally and within the United States, and the chilling effect that these attacks have on fundamental freedoms and civic space.

We would like to request the opportunity to begin a discussion with the incoming State Department political leadership on the role that the Biden Administration will play in protecting human rights defenders.

As the Administration prepares to re-engage the U.S. government at the United Nations and other multilateral institutions, we encourage you to elevate the protection of human rights defenders as a U.S. foreign policy priority and commit to play a global leadership role on this issue.

Read the full letter here

Signed by

  1. Access Now
  2. Accountability Counsel
  3. African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies Al-Haq
  4. Alliance of Baptists Amazon Watch
  5. American Jewish World Service
  6. Amnesty International USA
  7. ARTICLE 19
  8. Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP)
  9. Balay Alternative Legal Advocates for Development in Mindanaw, Inc (BALAOD Mindanaw)
  10. Bank Information Center
  11. Business and Human Rights Resource Centre
  12. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
  13. Center for Civil Liberties
  14. Center for Human Rights and Environment
  15. Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)
  16. China-Latin America Sustainable-Investments Initiative Church World Service
  17. CIVICUS
  18. Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach Committee to Protect Journalists
  19. COMPPART Foundation for Justice and Peacebuilding Nigeria
  20. Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, U.S. Provinces
  21. Crude Accountability
  22. DefendDefenders (East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project)
  23. EarthRights International
  24. Ecumenical Advocacy Network on the Philippines Equitable Cambodia
  25. FIDH, within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders FORUM-ASIA
  26. Freedom House
  27. Freedom Now
  28. Front Line Defenders
  29. Gender Action
  30. Global Witness
  31. Green Advocates International (Liberia)
  32. Greenpeace
  33. Human Rights First
  34. Inclusive Development International Indigenous Peoples Rights
  35. International International Accountability Project International Rivers
  36. International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
  37. Jamaa Resource Initiatives Kenya
  38. Japan NGO Action Network for Civic Space Just Associates (JASS)
  39. Kaisa Ka (Unity of Women for Freedom) KILUSAN
  40. Latin America Working Group
  41. Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
  42. National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
  43. Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala - NISGUA
  44. Network Movement for Justice and Development
  45. Odhikar – Bangladesh OECD Watch
  46. Oil Workers Rights Protection Organization Public Union Azerbaijan
  47. OMCT (World Organisation Against Torture), within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders
  48. Open Briefing
  49. OT Watch
  50. Oxfam America
  51. Peace Brigades International - USA (PBI-USA)
  52. Phenix Center for Economic and Informatics Studies
  53. Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA)
  54. Philippine Human Rights Information Center (PhilRights)
  55. Project HEARD
  56. Project on Organizing, Development, Education, and Research (PODER) - Latin American NGO
  57. Protection International
  58. Rivers without Boundaries Coalition Mongolia Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights
  59. Sisters of Mercy of the Americas Justice Team Somali Journalists Syndicate (SJS)
  60. Southern Africa Human Rights Defenders Network Swedwatch
  61. Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP)
  62. Transparency International
  63. United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries Urgent Action Fund for Women's Human Rights
  64. Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)
  65. Witness Radio – Uganda

Civic space in United States of America is rated Obstructed by the CIVICUS Monitor, see country page.

 

 

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