Human rights defenders are individuals, groups of people or organizations who legitimately seek to promote and protect human rights through peaceful and non-violent means. Through their actions, they help uncover human rights violations, bring them to public attention and call for fair and just solutions. They can also work to empower individuals and communities to understand and claim their fundamental rights.

Because of their actions, human rights defenders face grave challenges in the countries in which they work. These can include harassment, detention, death threats and torture. People can be silenced by restrictive laws. Some have been disappeared or murdered. Women human rights defenders can be subjected to sexual violence. In partnership with other human rights civil society organization, SGD Uganda supports efforts to prevent human rights abuses, protect human rights defenders, and respond to human rights abuses.

SGD Uganda has realized a greater need for continuous engagement of youth to participate in democratization activities and as such is seeking to upscale its interventions by implementing “Security and protection of Students Human Rights Defenders and youth pro-democracy activists in Uganda”. At-risk Students Human Rights Defenders and Youth-pro democracy activists in and out of school are identified and involved in all activities with the aim of improving the physical and digital security of students and youth pro-democracy activists in Uganda; to provide emergency support for students human rights defenders and youth pro-democracy activists at grave risk, and to promote the national and international visibility of Ugandan youth and students human rights defenders as outlined in the project objectives.

The Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights Defenders defined Human rights defenders as all persons, who individually or in association with others, act to promote or protect human rights peacefully, promote the effective implementation of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders in cooperation and dialogue with Governments and other actors. “The Declaration on human rights defenders” provides for the support and protection of human rights defenders in the context of their work. Articles 1, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, and 13 of the Declaration provide specific protections to human rights defenders, including the rights.