The APF Regional Action Plan on Human Rights Defenders

The APF Regional Action Plan on Human Rights Defenders (RAP)

The Regional Action Plan (RAP) on Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) establishes an agenda for action on behalf of the APF and its members to champion the rights of HRDs across the region. The Action Plan also realises a key commitment of the APF and its members under the 2018 Marrakesh Declaration, which established a global framework of actions by NHRIs to support the rights of HRDs.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, HRDs have faced increased threats to their security, wellbeing and ability to speak out against rights violations. The shrinking civic space across the region and its impact on the capability of defenders to work safely demands a collective and systematic response, in terms of advocacy, strategic partnerships and program development from NHRIs and their partners.

The RAP highlights the increased risks faced by Women HRDs (WHRDs) and includes an engagement to focus support for defenders in key critical areas, including business and human rights; disability rights; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ) rights; and the right to a safe and healthy environment. Importantly, the Regional Action Plan recognises the central role that NHRIs play in defence of HRDs and as HRDs themselves. The RAP contains regional and national actions that the APF and its members will implement by 2025 to improve respect for the rights of defenders in the Asia Pacific. Regional Actions include:

  1. Support regional policy making on HRDs;
  2. Engage with regional civil society actors and international partners
  3. Facilitate collaboration between NHRIs;
  4. Facilitate relocation and respite for HRDs;
  5. Support the establishment of NHRIs;
  6. Develop regional data on HRDs; and
  7. Strengthen the capacity of NHRIs.

National actions, which will be implemented by APF members with the support of the APF, include:

  1. Advocate for national legal protections
  2. Promote gender equality and mainstream the recognition of Women HRDs;
  3. Raise awareness of the rights of HRDs;
  4. Develop ‘early warning systems’;
  5. Monitor violations against HRDs;
  6. Report on violations against HRDs;
  7. Engage with the international human rights system; and
  8. Strengthen national networks of HRDs.

These actions will be complemented by a detailed monitoring and evaluation framework that will track implementation over the life of the RAPand will include periodic and public reporting on progress. As a result of these commitments and the support of its partners, the APF is confident that the situation of HRDs will be strengthened across the region.

Download the full RAP from the APF website, in Arabic, English, Russian or Traditional Chinese, here - Regional Action Plan on Human Rights Defenders | Asia Pacific Forum

How did we do?

The Marrakech Declaration

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders 2019