Mary Lawlor appointed UN special rapporteur for human rights defenders



Mary Lawlor
Mary Lawlor

Human rights advocate Mary Lawlor has been appointed as UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders.

Michel Forst, the current special rapporteur, is stepping down after six years in the role.

Ms Lawlor has decades of experience in human rights, having helped to grow Irish-based NGOs as a previous director of Amnesty International in Ireland and a founder of Front Line Defenders (FLD).

She led FLD from 2001 until her retirement in 2016, overseeing its growth to become a global organisation providing resources for the protection and security of human rights defenders (HRDs) at risk.

Ms Lawlor helped spearhead civil society efforts to bring the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders into effect and became a recognised leader in focusing on attention on the unique protection needs of HRDs.

Remarking on the announcement, Andrew Anderson, executive director at Front Line Defenders, said: “Mary Lawlor is an excellent choice as UNSR, she has huge experience of working with human rights defenders in all world regions with a focus on creative and practical support and she has the empathy, tact and tenacity to make a considerable impact.”



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