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Human rights defenders

Supporting human rights defenders means helping them to be changemakers in their communities.

Courageous people around the globe dedicate their lives to building a just, equitable and peaceful world. They are the champions of the global human rights movement, struggling against great odds to overcome discrimination, intolerance and violence, and building communities that embrace equality, non-discrimination and respect for human dignity. These brave global citizens are the changemakers Equitas supports through its unique programs and innovative educational tools.

Just this year, Equitas’ participatory programs have trained over 1,300 human rights defenders from over 50 countries. These participants and their amplifying initiatives then reached over 4 million additional people, sensitizing them on human rights issues ranging from gender equality to prevention of torture. Today, the Equitas online alumni community includes over 2,900 people and is one of the largest online global networks of human rights educators.

The International Human Rights Training Program (IHRTP) is a world leading program on human rights education that takes place every June in Montreal. Through the IHRTP and Regional Training Programs in East and West Africa, Equitas equips frontline human rights defenders with the knowledge and tools to be more effective in their work advancing gender equality and fighting discrimination, inequality and violence. Following their participation in Equitas trainings, human rights defenders are better able to protect the rights of marginalized and vulnerable groups and help promote change in their communities.

The training of human rights defenders is funded primarily by the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada in the context of the Strengthening Human Rights Education Globally Program.


What they say


“ The IHRTP completely changed my life. I am using what I have lear nt from Equitas, such as the human rights-based approach and the participatory approach, to develop trainings to empower vulnerable youth from the most marginalized and impoverished communities in Thailand. ”

International Human Rigths Training Program participant, 2017


“I will be taking experiences of working in human rights in different contexts and applying some of the good practices in my work. I have made a good network of human rights defenders who can contribute in jointly creating pressure to further the cause of human rights. I have gained knowledge on designing actions to effectively address human rights issues in my local context.”
IHRTP participant, June 2015


“One thing I want to emphasize is the depth of the way that people understand and take action on what they are learning.”
Amber Lynn Munger, American Jewish World Service and Equitas funding partner in Haiti, on the
Citizen Engagement Program.

Learn more

Strengthening Human Rights Education Globally (SHREG) is a project that engages human rights defenders in making communities safer, more equitable, more democratic and respectful of human rights. Activities include the International Human Rights Training Program (IHRTP), an internationally recognized three-week training held in Montreal; Regional Human Rights Training Sessions in East Africa and West Africa; national initiatives in Tanzania, Senegal, Haiti and Colombia; as well as an important knowledge-sharing component. The SHREG project is undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada.

You can also explore our work that focuses on building the capacity of human rights defenders in Sri Lanka.

SUPPORT our human rights education efforts to build the capacity of human rights defenders worldwide.

Give human rights leaders like Akudo Oguaghamba the tools she needs to educate communities and bring people together to combat discrimination and empower women in Nigeria. Support the participation of a human rights defender to our renowned international training in Montreal by giving a bursary.

Human rights education ignites community solutions that lead to change.
We can do it together. Donate now.

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