International Memorial for Murdered Human Rights Defenders Launched in Dublin

On 24 November, President Michael D Higgins of Ireland welcomed representatives of 20 national and international human rights organisations from around the world to Dublin, for the  launch of the HRD Memorial. The project will commemorate the estimated 3,500 human rights defenders who have been killed since 1998, when the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders came into effect.

Inaugurating the HRD Memorial in Dublin, President Michael D Higgins of Ireland said, “It is important to hold States to account, to hold those who wield power to account. This a matter of life and death, the erosion of dignity, and the imposition of grief on families and communities. Yet, the power of these HRDs lives on in all those who are inspired by their example across the globe. We need to name them, not allow their lives to be lost in statistics. As we speak, more names are being added. We cannot afford to be indifferent. The launch of this memorial will dislodge indifference. It will provide a tool to track investigations and advance the struggle for justice for human rights defenders who have been killed."

PBI and other organizations involved in this project are increasingly concerned at the number of human rights defenders who are killed annually because of their peaceful human rights work, and it believes that we need to find a way of working together to challenge this trend head on.

The Memorial will provide a definitive record of HRDs who have been killed around the world. It will also celebrate the lives, work and achievements of these courageous people, sending a message of support and solidarity to their friends, families and colleagues.

You can visit the HRD Memorial page here:

Speaking at the launch of the HRD Memorial, Front Line Defenders Executive Director Andrew Anderson said:
“These are not random acts of violence. This is the calculated elimination of those who speak out to defend the rights of the most vulnerable.  Autocrats and powerful economic interests think that if they kill an activist, they kill a movement. The goal of the HRD Memorial is to prove them wrong. It sends a message that the human rights community is stronger that any one person. It will not be deterred, and its leaders will not be forgotten.”

The project organizers are particularly keen to highlight the situation of women and LGBT+ human rights defenders who face double discrimination, being targeted for who they are, as well as for what they do. Speaking at the event, Veronica Vidal (representative from AWID and IM-Defensoras) said that women human rights defenders (WHRDs) face the same risks as their male counterparts, but also face specific risks related to their gender.

Initiated by Front Line Defenders, the HRD Memorial is coordinated by a coalition of 20 national and international human rights organisations, including: ACI-Participa (Honduras); ACCUDEH (Mexico); Amnesty International, International Secretariat; AWID; CALAS (Guatemala); CIVICUS; East and Horn of Africa Defend the Defenders Programme; ESCR-Net; FIDH; Front Line Defenders; Forum Asia; Brazilian Committee for Human Rights Defenders; Global Witness; Human Rights First; ILGA; IM Defensoras; KARAPATAN (the Philippines); Meso American Initiative; OMCT; PBI; Protection International; Reporters Without Borders; RMP-NMR (the Philippines); Somos Defensores (Colombia); UDEFEGUA (Guatemala); Urgent Action Fund.

For further information on the HRD Memorial please contact:
Erin Kilbride - erin(at) - 0 353 (0)85 74 23 767
or Jim Loughran - jim(at) - 00 353 (0)87 231 60 49.


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