Category Page: Careers & Opportunities

I Defend Rights: Shifting the Narrative about Human Rights Defenders and CSOs

I Defend Rights: Shifting the Narrative about Human Rights Defenders and Civil Society Globally is a project of the Norwegian Human Rights Fund and in collaboration with partners from all over the world (see for more information) with the endorsement of Michel Forst, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders.

According to the United Nations, “There is no strict definition of human rights defenders because they can be anyone who acts at any moment for any human rights. A human rights defender can be a man, a woman, a lawyer, a student, an NGO’s employee, a doctor or any person from any profession, of all ages, nationalities, religions, etc. A person can also be considered as a human rights defender whether she promotes and protects human rights her whole life, occasionally, or only once”. Amnesty International explains that human rights defenders can be “teachers, students, political opponents, factory workers, journalists, lawyers, or so many others”. If you defend human rights through peaceful means, you are a human rights defender!

We are collecting audio accounts from people like you who work to defend human rights to create a global archive of recordingsof your experiences working on the front lines promoting, protecting and defending the rights of others. It only takes a few moments, and your participation will make a big difference.

We are collecting submissions in June and July, however we strongly encourage you to record and submit your story as soon as possible!

We are also working to develop ways to share many of these audio recordings with broader audiences, such as through exhibits and social media platforms, and would love it if you could share this call for participants to submit their stories with your colleagues and networks via email and social media. The more stories we receive, the greater the anticipated impact we can make on supporting the work of human rights defenders around the world by helping to shift the narrative discourse on what it means to be a human rights defender.

We are collecting these recordings because the world needs to know about the work of people like YOU who defend rights. (Please record your story using a computer and not a phone or tablet

​These stories will be used to strengthen a positive narrative about human rights defenders that more accurately conveys how important this work is.

Tips for telling a great story

  • Tell your story as if you were talking to a friend or a relative. Make it personal.
  • Add photos! It is best if the first photo you add is a nice image of yourself so that people can see you as they listen to or read your story.

​To begin your story submission, click on the “Tell Your Story” button to create an account to log in Once you sign in, you will see the story request “Tell Your Story” button. Click this button, upload a photo, then begin recording your responses to three questions:

  1. Please tell us your name (unless you want to be anonymous), and why you defend rights. For example, was there a moment in your life that motivated you?
  2. What do you feel is the most challenging part of what you do? (For example: how does defending rights affect your personal life?)
  3. What continues to inspire you to defend rights?

You can also add your own custom section if you would like to tell us more about your story. Please make sure to click “Submit” to submit your story when you are done recording your response.

Your input would be absolutely invaluable to the success of this project, so we greatly appreciate the time you take to submit your story and to pass this along to your networks and colleagues. We also have links to our website in Spanish and French.

Scottish Bar International Human Rights Award

The Faculty of Advocates is pleased to announce the launch of the Scottish Bar International Human Rights Award.

The award seeks to recognise the achievements of human rights defenders who work in challenging situations around the world.It is open to human rights lawyers and defenders who are not residents of the UK or Ireland.

The winner of the award will be invited to Scotland to share the experience of their work. The Faculty of Advocates will offer training to help build capacity. We will arrange meetings and contacts with human rights organisations and others to offer solidarity and build support for the future.

More information on the award, the criteria and the application process is available here:


The 2018 Day of Discussion is the first ever global discussion focusing on children as human rights defenders. The Day of Discussion will take place on 28th September in Geneva, Switzerland and all information is available here. Its main goal is to bring together a global movement for children human rights defenders including children, States, National Human Rights Institutions, Children’s Ombudspersons, the UN, civil society and the private sector to promote understanding about the role of children as human rights defenders,  identify what needs to be done for child rights-related laws, policies and practices to take adequate account of children as human rights defenders; and for human rights defenders-related laws, policies and practices to be child-sensitive. Specific objectives of the 2018 DGD are:
  1. Collect children’s views about their experiences as human rights defenders;
  2. Assess legislation, jurisprudence, policies and relevant measures aimed at protecting or empowering children human rights defenders, by providing examples of good practices and challenges, including from children’s perspectives;
  3. Clarify the States’ obligations applicable to children human rights defenders under the Convention on the Rights of the Child and existing standards on human rights defenders;
  4. Identify key elements for an effective implementation of a child rights approach to the situation of children who are, or want to become, human rights defenders, including specific recommendations for duty bearers that can inform the Committee’s recommendations to States.

Read more here:



Civic space in Kenya continues to be under pressure as a range of actions are being directed against the work of Human Rights Defenders (HRD) and Civil Society organizations in Kenya. Physical attacks, criminal and administrative actions, legislative restrictions, negative rhetoric and limitation of human rights have undermined the Constitutional and international protections available to HRDs.

It is against this backdrop that the Working Group on Human Rights Defenders in Kenya, which brings together CSOs and development partners concerned with the protection of HRDs, is organizing the third edition of the HRD Awards on the 30th of November 2018. The aim of the ceremony is to honour and publicly recognize the important work of HRDs in Kenya, by giving out awards to men and women who have demonstrated courage and impact in the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. The awards are presented in three categories: the Munir Mazrui Lifetime achievement award, the Human Rights Defender of the year award and the upcoming Human Rights Defender of the year award.


The objectives of these awards are to:

  1. Honour the extraordinary work of HRDs in the promotion and protection of human rights;
  2. Profile the work of HRDs and challenges they face as agents of social change and transformation;
  3. Recognise and appreciate the human rights work of young and upcoming HRDs in Kenya and support talent;
  4. Enhance the safety and protection of all HRDs in Kenya.


  • Nomination:

The Working Group on Human Rights Defenders in Kenya develops a call for nominations which is then widely circulated by the National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders-Kenya (NCHRD-K) and other partners. This call outlines the criteria for eligibility for nomination.

  • Shortlisting:

A panel then shortlists five individuals per category within the set out guidelines for shortlisting candidates.

  • Verification:

The panel verifies the HRDs human rights work through field visits, and interviews with the nominators, the nominees and their references.

  • Selection:

The Independent Selection Panel, which comprises of eminent individuals in the human rights sector, will decide who will receive the awards based on the profiles of the nominated HRDs.

  • Award ceremony:

Will be held on the 30th November 2018 in the presence of CSOs, the government, selected HRDs, representatives from the international missions, and the media who will cover the event.


The following will be taken into consideration:

  • Grassroots based HRD
  • Demonstrable impact of the HRDs human rights work in the community
  • The role of the HRD in promoting human rights
  • ‘Civil courage’ of the HRD in his/her human rights work
  • Demonstrated leadership, innovation and creativity in his/her human rights work
  • Contribution to the development of a human rights based approach within his/her county in regards to the thematic area of focus
  • Future goals and likely impact
  • Degree of difficulty of the achievement and sacrifices made
  • Visibility derived from award to enhance the capacity of the HRD to promote human rights and active citizenship
  • The HRD should have a link to the community and his/her work should have built or should be working towards building a movement.
  • The HRD should be a seasoned or upcoming HRD.


  • Three awards will be presented to the overall winners : the Munir Mazrui lifetime achievement award, the HRD of the year award and the upcoming HRD award.

The winners will receive:

  • A cash award of $ 1,000
  • A plaque with the HRDs name on it
  • And will be guests at the 2019 HRD award ceremony

All nomination forms should be sent back to the NCHRD-K via with a clear subject line “HRD AWARD NOMINATION” by 20th July 2018, 12.00 pm.

Get the application form here:NOMINATION FORM FOR THE HRD AWARDS 2018



The National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders–Kenya (NCHRD-K) is a national organization incorporated in the Republic of Kenya as a Trust. Its mission is to strengthen the capacity of human rights defenders (HRDs) to work effectively in the country and to reduce their vulnerability to the risk of persecution, through protection, capacity building, and advocacy for a favourable legal and policy environment. Established in 2007, NCHRD-K is the only national organisation that works primarily for the protection of HRDs.

To compliment the work of the three programmes within the organisation, the NCHRD-K seeks to recruit suitable candidates for the position of Programmes Intern. Reporting to the Programmes Officer assigned, the Programmes Intern will be responsible for:

  1. Actively participating in the implementation of the NCHRD-K activities under the direction and supervision of the Programme Officers.
  2. Conducting research in the various NCHRD-K’s programme areas
  3. Assisting in logistical planning for meetings and trainings
  4. Assisting in communication of the NCHRD-K to partners via various platforms
  5. Representing NCHRD-K in meetings and partner activities
  6. Preparing timely reports as per stated guidelines
  7. Monitoring and documenting cases or incidences of violations of human rights


  8. Undertake case assessments for clients under the Protection Programme
  9. Assisting in administrative functions as will be assigned
  10. Participating in fundraising efforts together with programme staff. 11.Any other relevant duty as may be assigned by the supervisor


  •   Hold a Bachelor’s degree in relevant Social Sciences from a recognized University
  •   Demonstrate commitment to and interest in human rights and human rights defenders issues/work.
  •   High analytical skills and ability to conduct research
  •   Demonstrate understanding of national, regional and international framework

    for the protection of HRDs

  •   Demonstrated knowledge and experience in designing and executing communication interventions on governance and human rights issues
  •   Hands on experience in IT skills including working with website updates and social media
  •   Ability to draft documents including reports, policy briefs, concept notes
  •   Excellent communication and organizational skills: verbal, writing and

    presentation skills;

    The Applicant should possess the following attributes:

  •   Strong attention to detail
  •   Proactive problem-solving skills
  •   Self-motivationand ability to work independently, in a team and under


  •   Commitment to diversity
  •   Ability to be a team player

    Duration of internship:

    The engagement shall be for a period of three (3) months with possibility of extension.


    NCHRD-K will provide a stipend for the duration of the internship.

    Application deadline:

    The application deadline is 30th April 2018

    How to apply:

    If you would like to be considered please email your CV including three (3) contacts of referees and a brief covering letter highlighting your key skills and your availability to indicating on the subject line “APPLICATION FOR INTERNSHIP”

    Cover letter should be addressed to:

    The Secretariat
    National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders of Kenya (NCHRD-K) P.O. Box 26309 – 00100 GPO, Nairobi

    Only short listed candidates will be contacted.

2018 United Nations Human Rights Prize call for nominations

The 2018 United Nations Human Rights Prize will be given out at the United Nations in New York on Human Right Day, 10 December. Nominations are open until 6 April 2018. This year’s award will coincide with the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The prize to recognize individuals or organization for outstanding achievements in the field of human rights is given out every five years.

It was last awarded in 2013. The winners were Mr. Biram Dah Abeid of Mauritania for his fight against slavery; Ms. Hiljmnijeta Apuk of Kosovo* for her campaign for the rights of people of disproportionately short stature; Ms. Liisa Kauppinen of Finland for her fight for the rights of the deaf; Ms. Khadija Ryadi of Morocco for championing a variety of human rights

causes; the Supreme Court of Justice of Mexico for its role in the constitutional protection of the human rights of Mexicans; and Ms. Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan for championing, at considerable risk, girls’ right to education.

The United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights is an honorary award given to individuals and organizations in recognition of outstanding achievement in human rights. The Prize was established by the General Assembly in 1966 and was awarded for the first time on 10 December 1968, the twentieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Prize has since been awarded in 1973, 1978, 1988, 1993, 1998, 2003, 2008 and 2013.

Former UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson (right) presents the prize to Liisa Kauppinen at the 2013 award ceremony. © UN Photo

Former UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson (right) presents the prize to Liisa Kauppinen at the 2013 award ceremony. © UN Photo

The Prize is an opportunity not only to give public recognition to the achievements of the recipients themselves, but also to send a clear message to human rights defenders the world over that the international community is grateful for, and supports, their tireless efforts to promote all human rights for all.

The Prize is an opportunity not only to give public recognition to the achievements of the recipients themselves, but also to send a clear message to human rights defenders the world over that the international community is grateful for, and supports, their tireless efforts to promote all human rights for all.

How are the winners of the Prize chosen? 

An important feature of the Prize is that nominations can be received from a broad variety of sources: “Member States, specialized agencies and non-governmental organizations in consultative status and from other appropriate sources.”
Once nominations have been received by the UN Human Rights Office, a consolidated list is presented to a committee that selects the winners. The five members of this committee are: the President of the General Assembly; the President of the Economic and Social Council; the President of the Human Rights Council; the Chair of the Commission on the Status of Women; and the Chair of the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee.

Nominations for the 2018 Prize

The UN Human Rights Office has already sent written requests for nominations to Member States, UN programmes and agencies, non-governmental organizations and the national human rights institutions.

Nominations may be made by submitting the online nomination form with basic identifying information about the nominee and the reasons for making the nomination.

Hard copies can, alternatively, be sent by post to: Human Rights Prize, OHCHR New York Office, Room S-1306, United Nations, New York, NY 10017. A printable form for submitting a nomination by post is available for download here.

The deadline for submission of nominations is 6 April 2018, 23:59 hours Eastern Standard Time.

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