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APF to launch action plan on human rights defenders in the Asia Pacific

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The APF has released a new action plan to protect human rights defenders in the Asia Pacific region.

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The Regional Action Plan on Human Rights Defenders, to be launched at a virtual event on 17 March 2021, is the culmination of six months of research, consultation and collaboration with a broad range of human rights stakeholders across the Asia Pacific.

Drawing on the expertise of NHRI representatives, civil society organisations and members of the international human rights community, the Action Plan sets out the regional and national actions that the APF and its member institutions will carry out over the next four years to improve the rights of human rights defenders (HRDs) in the Asia Pacific.

Recent years have seen a sharp decline in civic space in many countries across the Asia Pacific, impacting the ability of HRDs to work safely and effectively. The COVID-19 pandemic has further impacted upon the work of HRDs, who face heightened threats to their security, wellbeing, and ability to speak out against human rights violations.

The increasingly challenging contexts in which HRDs work demands a collective and systematic response in terms of advocacy, strategic partnerships and program development work from NHRIs and their partners.

The formal launch of the Regional Action Plan on Human Rights Defenders will be held virtually on 17 March 2021, with a keynote address by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, Ms Mary Lawlor.

Guest speakers will include Ms Shaharzad Akbar, Chairperson of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission and Ms Shamini Darshni Kaliemuthu, Executive Director of the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA).

The event will include a panel discussion on the Action Plan with Ms Shanna Priangka Ramadhanti, National Human Rights Institutions Program Officer at FORUM-ASIA, Ms Cynthia Veliko, Regional Representative of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and Atty. Jasmin Regino, Director, Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines.

The APF will be represented by Mr Kieren Fitzpatrick, APF Director, and Mr Phillip Wardle, APF Legal and Policy Manager.

The Regional Action Plan on Human Rights Defenders is available in four languages – Arabic, Chinese, English and Russian.

The virtual launch will take place in English, with Arabic and Russian interpretation available.

To attend the virtual event, please register here.

Date: 28 February 2021


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