In 2023, as part of the 25th anniversary of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, I have been meeting young HRDs from all over the world to hear about their experiences, discuss the opportunities, challenges and restrictions they face, and get their views on what more can be done to protect and empower them in their work.
On 5 June 2023, 40 defenders between the ages of 12 and 32 joined me and our team in Vienna, Austria, for a conference to address the challenges they face and the forms of support they need. It was a moment to take stock of the present and look towards the future, while also marking the 30th Anniversary of the Vienna Declaration and Programme for Action.
The situation of young human rights defenders will remain a priority for me over the course of my mandate, and I intend to dedicate an upcoming thematic report to their role, work and the risks they face.
In the coming weeks, I will also share video interviews recorded with some of the young human rights defenders I had the chance to meet in Vienna.