The mandate on the situation of human rights defenders was established in 2000 by the Commission on Human Rights (as a Special Procedure) to support implementation of the 1998 Declaration on human rights defenders.
In 2014, with resolution 25/18, the Human Rights Council, decided to continue the mandate on human rights defenders for a consecutive period of three years.
In June 2014, Mr. Michel Forst (France) was appointed by the President of the Human Rights Council as the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders. Mr. Forst has extensive experience on human rights issues, including human rights defenders, the rights of children with disabilities, extreme poverty, and the elderly. He has held a number of leading positions within the field of human rights, including the French National Consultative Commission on Human Rights, the Cimade (Comité inter-mouvements auprès des évacués), UNESCO, the first World Summit on Human Rights Defenders (Paris), and Amnesty International (France).
From 2008 to 2013, Mr. Forst was the UN Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Haiti, and between 2012 and 2013 he was the Chair of the Coordination Committee of the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council.
He is also a former member of the Board of the International Service for Human Rights (Geneva) and a founding member of Front Line Defenders (Dublin).
Mr. Forst succeeds Ms. Margaret Sekaggya as Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders (2008-2014) and Ms. Hina Jilani as Special Representative of the Secretary General on the situation of human rights defenders (2000-2008).
Commentary to the Declaration on human rights defenders
Fact Sheet 29 - Human Rights Defenders: Protecting the Right to Defend Human Rights
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