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Human rights defenders

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

Change happens one extraordinary, courageous person at a time. Professional conflict-resolvers, challengers of the status quo, fighters against violence and exploitation, and human rights defenders everywhere are the people who push our world forward with the goal of achieving equality, tolerance, and respect for human dignity. With the protection of universal human rights as a common goal, Equitas’ innovative educational tools and eye-opening programs help advocate for social change by helping one person at a time. Building on a now 40-year-old network of human rights changemakers composed of over 4,500 alumni, all connected through our online Community of Practice, the change brought by these participants affects millions of people all around the world.

The International Human Rights Training Program (IHRTP), a one-of-a-kind program designed to empower human rights defenders, provides a participatory learning experience for human rights educators and takes place every June in Montreal. This past year, the IHRTP created change in 48 different countries by training 96 individuals from around the world and equipped them with the knowledge and tools to better protect the rights of marginalized and vulnerable groups and fight discrimination, inequality, and human rights violations.

The training of human rights defenders is funded primarily by the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada.



What they say


“ To me, the IHRTP lays the groundwork for building equitable societies living in harmony and in respect of human rights for a better world. ”

International Human Rights Training Program participant, 2018


“ 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. ”

IHRTP 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

The Advancing Equality through Human Rights Education (AEHRE) 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 Burkina Faso, Haiti, KenyaSenegal, and Tanzania; as well as an important knowledge-sharing component. The AEHRE project is undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada.

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.