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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 Memria.org in collaboration with partners from all over the world (see www.idefendrights.org 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 onmemria.org. 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.

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