The specific objectives of the 5th HRDF include to highlight the work of human rights defenders in Asia working on ESC rights as well as identify their challenges and needs, and strengthen their collaboration with a view to build a consolidated regional platform for joint strategy and action.
In addition, it aim is to take stock of 20 years of the 1993 Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (VDPA) adopted at the World
Conference on Human Rights, which served as a landmark platform for the regional human rights movement in Asia.
The HRDF provides a platform for human rights defenders (HRDs) to discuss and share their work and the challenges they face. The HRDF also aims to enhance the engagement with the UN Special Procedures mandate holders, including by providing testimonials of human rights abuses and briefings on their national human rights situations. Most importantly, the HRDF aspires to build solidarity and collaboration among Asian HRDs to act on common issues at the regional level and support the struggles of human rights defenders in the Asian region.
The specific objectives of the 5th HRDF are to highlight the work of human rights defenders in Asia working on ESC rights as well as identify their challenges and needs, and strengthen their collaboration with a view to building a consolidated regional platform for joint strategy and action; to develop closer engagement and cooperation with the newly established UN Special Procedures mandates, including the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association; and to reflect on the achievements and challenges of Asian HRDs in the context of 20 years of the 1993 Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action.
According to Ms. Hina Jilani, former UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders, “defenders working in the field of ESC rights often have a harder time having their work accepted as human rights work. This might have several effects, including difficulties attracting funding, a lack of coverage from the media to violations of these defenders’ rights, and a lack of attention paid to these violations and a hesitation in seeking remedial measures at the domestic or international level. Often, the national legal framework is weak in terms of regulating ESC rights.
Against this backdrop, the 5th HRDF will invite human rights groups from the Asian region working at the local, national, regional, and international levels, as well as other civil society actors defending ESC rights. In addition, the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, representatives from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the UN Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), the ASEAN Inter-governmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) and the Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions (APF) are invited.