Urgent appeals, international solidarity and communication strategies

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Urgent appeals

Urgent Appeals are public statements concerning reports of actual or impending human rights violations or abuses that aim to generate a rapid and broad-based response. Generally, these appeals contain information on the facts and particular circumstances of a case such as when WHRDs are threatened, persecuted, or detained because of their human rights work. Urgent appeals can also be issued concerning legislation that has the potential to lead to violations of defenders’ rights.

Urgent appeals can be issued in order to prevent human rights violations from taking place and are generated where there have been threats directed at defenders. In other cases, appeals are intended to urge states to investigate and prosecute perpetrators.

Appeals specifically addressing WHRDs typically highlight the gender dimension of a violation. However, some appeals tend to focus on the facts of the case and accountability of the perpetrators while other emphasize contextual considerations that appear to have enabled a violation to occur – such as the legal or political context, or cultural, social, and religious forms.

Urgent appeals can protect WHRDs by mobilizing networks of individuals and organizations to put pressure on governments and other actors. They also serve to create international solidarity and raise awareness about situations of violence and rights-violations against WHRDs.

To learn more about urgent appeals, please see the Urgent Responses Mapping, pages 2-3.

International solidarity

Many international organizations and networks issue solidarity statements and other communications that raise international awareness about specific situations and demonstrate support for WHRDs in the local context. These statements can be used locally to strengthen the legitimacy of the WHRDs’ claims, as well as internationally to apply pressure on decision-makers to respond. Statements of support also serve to express solidarity with WHRDs at risk, so that they know that they are not alone, thereby helping to overcome the feeling of isolation among WHRDs. Importantly, international statements and other communications tools serve to shine a light on local situations that may not be reported in the international press.

List of Organizations

The following organizations featured in this online directory issue appeals and mobilize international solidarity in response to urgent situations regarding WHRDs.




Latin America