Civil Society’s Crucial Contribution to Promoting and Protecting Human Rights

Event Video 

On September 21st, IPI together with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs cohosted the thirteenth annual Trygve Lie Symposium on “Civil Society’s Crucial Contribution to Promoting and Protecting Human Rights.”

In May 2023, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, H.E. Volker Türk, told the UN Security Council that human rights provide “the best antidote to prevent conflict and instability.” The High Commissioner is also among those who have underlined the need to fight the growing phenomenon of anti-rights movements that have been active against migrants and refugees, women, religious and racial groups, and LGBTI people, among others.

The UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1998 after approximately 15 years of negotiation. The declaration sets out how rights enshrined in international human rights conventions pertain to human rights defenders and their work. It clarifies that states have a responsibility to protect human rights defenders, including against attacks from non-state actors.

This year’s Trygve Lie Symposium focused on recognizing the contributions of civil society to strengthening and protecting human rights. It addressed urgent issues of our time such as the global democratic recession, disinformation campaigns, anti-rights movements, including the pushback against women’s rights, and the challenges posed by new technologies. It also examined how individuals challenging the status quo are increasingly subjected to intimidation, reprisals, brute force, and authoritarian tactics. Speakers addressed how the international community can further protect and promote human rights and human rights defenders in order to create a more peaceful and equitable world for all.

Opening Remarks:
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, President and CEO of the International Peace Institute

H.E. Anniken Huitfeldt, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Norway
Hina Jilani, Member of The Elders, Advocate at the Supreme Court of Pakistan, Member of the High-Level Panel of Legal Experts on Media Freedom, and founder of Pakistan’s first all-women law firm, as well as Pakistan’s first Legal Aid Center and the Women’s Action Forum (Virtual)
Lysa John, Secretary-General of CIVICUS
Ulrika Modéer, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Director of the Bureau of External Relations and Advocacy, UNDP

Douglas Rutzen, President of the International Centre for Not-For-Profit Law (ICNL)