The HRD Memorial is a joint initiative by a network of national and international human rights organisations who are committed to working together to gather and verify information on the killing of human rights defenders (HRDs) whose deaths are perceived to be connected to their human rights activities.
The project was launched in November 2016 with a mandate to gather both real-time data on the killing of HRDs and historic data on killings dating back to 1998 when the United Nations Declaration on human rights defenders came into effect.
The HRD Memorial is a unique project as it gathers information on the killings of HRDs working in all human rights sectors, and it has a global scope. The HRD Memorial aims to highlight the scale of the killings of defenders worldwide, provide a basis for effective advocacy and campaigning to stop the killings, and to keep the memory of the defenders who have been killed alive.
Who are human rights defenders ?
Human rights defenders are people, either individuals or members of a group, who work peacefully to defend the rights of others. They are key agents of social change working to create more just and equal societies. This work is often seen by repressive governments and other powerful actors as a threat to the status quo. Their work is criminalised, they are made the subject of smear campaigns in the media and they are often targeted, threatened, intimidated, arrested, attacked or killed.
The HRD Memorial
The HRD Memorial project gathers and verifies information on all human rights defenders who have been killed because of their human rights work since the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders came into effect in 1998. The online presence of the HRD Memorial is both a database of information on the human rights defenders who have been killed and any progress that has been made towards bringing the perpetrators to justice, and a public website with an individual profile page for each HRD that commemorates their lives and achievements.
Who is involved?
The HRD Memorial network is made up of a group of international and national organisations, many of whom are actively involved in the gathering and verifying of data on the killing of HRDs. The Network members are: ACI-Participa Honduras; Afghanistan Human Rights Defenders Committee (AHRDC); Amnesty International; Brazilian Committee of Human Rights Defenders; Comité Cerezo (Mexico); FIDH; Front Line Defenders; Global Witness; Human Rights Defenders’ Alert – India; Karapatan (The Philippines); OMCT; Programa Somos Defensores (Colombia); Red TDT (Mexico); and UDEFEGUA (Guatemala).
ACCUDEH, Article 19, AWID, CALAS, CIVICUS, CPT, ESCR-Net, East and Horn of Africa Defend the Defenders Programme, Forum Asia, ILGA, Iniciativa Mesoamericana de Mujeres Defensoras de Derechos Humanos (IM-Defensoras), PBI, Protection International, RMP-NMR, Southern Africa Human Rights Defenders Network (SAHRDN) and Urgent Action Fund also support the project’s mandate.
The HRD Memorial is open to any organisation which shares the goal of the project – to stop the killing of HRDs. If your organisation would like to join the HRD Memorial please email the HRD Memorial Project Coordinator; firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is the goal?
The goal of the project is twofold. By collating a comprehensive, verified, global dataset, the project aims to highlight the scale of the killings of defenders worldwide, and provide a basis for effective advocacy and campaigning to stop the killings. The project also aims to keep the memory of the defenders who have been killed alive, to celebrate their courage and achievements, and show solidarity and support to their family, friends and colleagues.
Methodology for data collection and verification
Data collection: The HRD Memorial relies on a network of partners and other human rights organisations to gather and verify data relating to the killing of HRDs at national levels. The HRD Memorial brings partner-verified data sets together under the HRD Memorial umbrella, and carries out systematic open source data gathering in a number of languages.
Verification: The HRD Memorial verifies that each case identified by the methodology above meets the criteria for inclusion in the dataset. In addition to the original source, two further credible sources are sought per case.
Access to data: The HRD Memorial is an ever evolving database on the killing of HRDs. We acknowledge that the dataset presented in February 2021 on the killings that have taken place between 1 January 2020 – 31 December 2020 for example is likely to be incomplete. This is due to a number of factors including: killings in remote areas having gone unreported; reduced movement and access to remote areas for data collection and verification as a result of COVID 19; and suppression of information by governments and vested interest groups.
If your organisation would like to submit cases for inclusion in the HRD Memorial please contact email@example.com.
The network of partners in the project have agreed a set of criteria in order to ensure that all cases included in the database are of human rights defenders killed because of their peaceful work defending the rights of others. All cases proposed for inclusion will be verified in accordance with this criteria.