Policy paper

UK support for human rights defenders

This document outlines the importance of human rights defenders to the UK and how the UK government can support them.



This document sets out why human rights defenders, and the work that they do, is important to the UK. It also explains how the UK government may be able to support them.

Human rights defenders (HRDs) are defined by the United Nations as “people who, individually or with others, act to promote or protect human rights”. They play an essential role in promoting and protecting democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law. The UK supports the rights of human rights defenders to carry out their work safely and without fear, in our commitment to upholding fundamental human rights.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development have developed this document in close consultation with a number of non-governmental organisations and human rights defenders.

Published 10 July 2019