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Human Rights Defenders Forum

  • "Respect from human to human — we are losing that value in the world," said human rights activist, lawyer, and former judge in Afghanistan, Najla Ayubi, at the 2017 Carter Center Human Rights Defenders Forum. "We have to open the veil between ourselves and the people we don’t like or who don’t like us." (Photo: The Carter Center/ M.Schwarz)

The Human Rights Program regularly convenes the Human Rights Defenders Forum in Atlanta to provide human rights defenders a safe place and opportunities to build solidarity and exchange methods for advancing human rights. The gathering brings together defenders, experts, and policymakers from around the globe, showcasing the experiences of the courageous women and men on the front lines of the fight for human rights.

The forum has focused on elevating women’s leadership in policymaking and peacemaking, aligning religion with human rights advancements, integrating advancement of all rights (civil, political, economic, social, and cultural), and responding to the backlash against human rights defenders, especially women.

Immediately after the conclusion of each Human Rights Defenders Forum, a delegation of forum participants travels to Washington, D.C., to present their issues and the forum’s concluding statement at Carter Center-facilitated meetings with members of Congress, the State Department, and other relevant organizations.

The 2019 Human Rights Defenders Forum, "Building Solidarity toward Equality for All," provided a platform for in-depth consultations on the most pressing actions that must be taken by governments, civil society, intergovernmental bodies, and others to address the urgent need for more sustainable and effective solidarity mechanisms to protect defenders and amplify their voices and narratives at the local, national, and global levels.


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The Carter Center commemorates the 70th anniversary of the UDHR with the "Scripturally Annotated Universal Declaration of Human Rights." This publication compiles Biblical texts that demonstrate alignment with the UDHR.

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