Global Threats to Human Rights Defenders

Our sixth Practitioner-Scholar Roundtable discussed a range of threats to the safety and the work of human rights defenders, particularly those active in cases at international human rights tribunals, and strategies to help protect and support them. 


Dr. Sergey Golubok is a lawyer who has represented clients in civil rights cases before the courts of the Russian Federation, including the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court, as well as before international institutions such as the European Court of Human Rights and United Nations treaty bodies in Geneva. He is admitted to practice as counsel before the International Criminal Court where he has advised a protected witness. Dr Golubok is a senior expert with the Netherlands Helsinki Committee in The Hague.

Dr. Alice Nah is a Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Applied Human Rights, University of York. She conducts research on the security and protection of human rights defenders at risk, and on asylum and migration in Asia. She is also currently Chair of the Board of Protection International and of the International Detention Coalition. Her book Protecting Human Rights Defenders at Risk (Routledge, 2020) assesses the construction, operation and effects of the international protection regime for human rights defenders and sets out proposals for the way that protection should be reimagined and practiced.

Ed O’Donovan is currently Special Advisor at the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, as well as a Guest Researcher at the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights. Previously, he was Head of Protection and a Protection Coordinator for East Asia at Front Line Defenders.

Lisa Sundstrom (moderator) is Principal Investigator of the ActInCourts Network, and Professor of Political Science at the University of British Columbia.