This book assesses the construction, operation and effects of the international protection regime for human rights defenders, which has evolved significantly over the last twenty years in response to the risks people face as they promote and protect human rights.

Drawing upon the experiences of human rights defenders who continue to persevere in their activism in Indonesia, Egypt, Kenya, Mexico and Colombia, this edited collection examines the ways in which formal protection mechanisms by state and civil society actors intersect with self-protection measures and informal protection initiatives by families and friends. It highlights that protection practices are most effective when they are designed to address the specific risks that human rights defenders face (which are gendered and intersectional); reflect how defenders understand ‘risk’, ‘security’ and ‘protection’; and are appropriate for the dynamic sociopolitical and legal contexts in which defenders operate. This book proposes ways in which the protection of human rights defenders at risk should be reimagined and practised.

This book will be a thought-provoking guide for students and scholars of politics, international relations, law and human rights, as well as to practitioners engaged in the protection of human rights defenders at risk.

chapter 1|33 pages


Protecting human rights defenders at risk
ByAlice M. Nah

chapter 2|27 pages

Dilemmas in the ethics of tanpa pamrih (selflessness)

Risk and human rights activism in Indonesia
ByBudi Hernawan, Alice M. Nah

chapter 3|23 pages

Fallen heroes, terrorists, spies, or unrealistic dreamers?

Repression and the defence of human rights in Egypt
ByAlice M. Nah, Ellen Husseiny

chapter 5|26 pages

Resisting a hostile and insecure environment for defending rights in Mexico

ByPatricia Bartley, Erick Monterrosas, Paola Pacheco Ruiz

chapter 6|28 pages

Territory, community and the efficacy of the state

Reconceiving the protection of human rights defenders in Colombia
ByPeter Cousins, Emily Schmitz

chapter 7|31 pages

Protection into the future

ByAlice M. Nah