This initiative by the Norwegian Human Rights Fund and Memria aims to disseminate the stories of human rights defenders all over the world, celebrate them as essential agents of change, and foster global narratives that support their work.


    United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders

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    The "I Defend Rights" project will make audible the voices of hundreds of Human Rights Defenders from every part of the world. By collecting these recordings, the project team will build a massive public audio archive. They are then committed to working with defenders and other partners to disseminate and share these narratives through creative communications strategies. This project will contribute to our shared goal of shifting the global narrative about the thousands of ordinary women and men who promote human rights.

    This project helps show how diverse and multiple the human rights community is and how courageous and valuable human rights defenders are in securing rights for all of us, sometimes at great risk. Human rights activists are not enemies of the societies they live in, they are not anti-development or threats to national security as many governments try to depict them. On the contrary, they actively contribute to peace, democracy, and sustainable development. They are agents of positive change. The project will also help us understand why we need to collectively recognize and protect them.

    If you peacefully defend human rights, I urge you to take a few moments to sign up at the top of this website. You will then receive an email and be able to respond to a few questions and add your audio recording to this archive and project. It only takes a few minutes.

    With thanks,


    Michel Forst Signature

    Michel Forst
    UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders
    (For additional information see protecting-defenders.org/)


    Our goal is to support human rights defenders by recording and sharing audio accounts narrated by them. We believe that, by doing so, we can ultimately help human rights defenders be more successful in their work and safer. We are in strong alignment and agreement with the goals and activities of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders. We are committed to human rights for all.

    We believe that the amazing contributions of human rights defenders are often invisible or misunderstood by many people in their societies and that they are often unfairly maligned by the powerful.

    We are seeking submissions from people who peacefully defend rights as defined by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and by the Core International Instruments of Human Rights. "Human rights defenders must accept the universality of human rights as defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A person cannot deny some human rights and yet claim to be a human rights defender because he or she is an advocate for others. For example, it would not be acceptable to defend the human rights of men but to deny that women have equal rights" [Adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations by its resolution 217 A (III) of 10 December 1948. See Fact Sheet No. 2, The International Bill of Human Rights (Rev.1).]. We accept submissions from people defending rights whether or not they are "at risk" or "under threat".

    When a participant submits an audio recording, it is not available publicly at first. It needs to be vetted and then published by the project managers.

    We hope to publish and circulate the vast majority of submissions that we receive. However, we reserve the right to not publish any submission for any reason, at our own discretion. Stated another way, submitting an audio recording through this project does not guarantee that it will be published. Some of the reasons we may choose not to publish a story, for example, include: that it creates risk or danger for anyone, including the person submitting it, in our judgement; that it is vulgar or inappropriate; that we have reason to believe it is untrue and/or submitted with the intention to deceive of cause mischief; that it mentions other people's names inappropriately or without their prior knowledge or permission; or that it is inconsistent with a full understanding of human rights as defined by the Core International Instruments of Human Rights.


    You should not submit an audio account through this project if you believe that such an account would put you or anyone else in danger or in any way compromise your security or the security of others, including your family, friends, and colleagues. We have taken basic and reasonable steps to assure security (for example, you can be represented as "Anonymous") but we also recommend that you do not share anything in the submission that you think might put you at risk. We also reserve the right to not publish any submission that we believe puts anyone at risk.

    If we choose to publish your submission, it will be available to be circulated through social media and will appear on various websites. It may additionally appear in a traveling exhibit about human rights defenders. You should not submit a story if you are worried about this kind of exposure.