PATFox at the AHRI Annual Conference on “Human Rights Advocacy in the Spotlight”.
Last week, our director, Alessia Schiavon, presented the project of PATFox before the panel of “Possible strategies for addressing constraints in civic space.” within the framework of the AHRI Annual Conference (Association of Human Rights Institutes), which took place from September 7 to 9 at the University of Deusto in Bilbao.
AHRI is composed of 75 member institutions -memberships are continually growing- that are dedicated to research and education in the field of human rights on all continents. AHRI’s goal is to promote human rights research, education and debate. Every year, member institutions (including FIBGAR) meet to coordinate and plan research through working group seminars and to discuss current issues in defined research areas.
The AHRI Annual Conference aims to become a meeting place for academics, institutional decision-makers and, above all, people who work tirelessly to defend human rights. The objective is to encourage debate, the exchange of experiences and the identification of good practices that contribute to strengthening the protection and promotion of all human rights in an increasingly uncertain global context.
This year the central theme of the conference “Human Rights Defenders in the Spotlight” sought to highlight the key role of human rights defenders in today’s society and the challenges and dangers they face in certain contexts. sought to highlight the key role of human rights defenders in today’s society, as well as the challenges and dangers they face in certain contexts. The choice of this theme is particularly relevant as the year 2023 marks the 25th anniversary of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1998.
In this regard, FIBGAR presented the project PATFox (Pioneering AntiSLAPP Training for Freedom of Expression)which aims to improve the skills and training of lawyers representing journalists and human rights defenders who are subject to strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPP). This Foundation project will design, develop and implement the first anti-SLAPP curriculum, which will be used to train 200 lawyers and young professionals from European countries.
The conference was also attended by other leading human rights experts, including Michel Forst, Joel Hernández, Wangui Kimari, Lourdes Castro, Dolores Morondo, Antoine Buyse, José Aylwin, Alice Nah, Manfred Nowak and Mario Hurtado, among others.
Michel Forst, UN Special Rapporteur on Environmental Defenders under the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Aarhus Convention), delivered the final conclusions of the conference, recognizing the growing risk of SLAPPs as a tool used to harass and intimidate human rights defenders and the need to take action against these abusive procedures.