UN agreement recognizes the efforts of human rights defenders

Minister for Foregin Affairs Espen Barth Eide speaks up in praise

Barth Eide human rights

Photo: Terje Bendiksby
Espen Barth Eide is the A UN agreement recognizing the efforts of human rights defenders was praised by Norwegian Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Marit Fosse

The famous French author Victor Hugo once said, “Perseverance, secret of all triumphs.” After years of negotiations and lobbying among member states, the resolution on human rights defenders sponsored by Norway has finally been adopted in the United Nations—unanimously.

“It is important that United Nations member states recognize the crucial work of human rights defenders around the world. At a time when democratic values, the rule of law and human rights are under severe pressure, is this an important signal of the importance of us all standing up for human rights,” said Minister for Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide.

Norway has long played a leading role in the United Nations to strengthen the protection of human rights defenders. It started when Norway led the negotiations on the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, which was adopted in 1998. The Declaration was the first time United Nations member states came together to formally recognize both the importance of human rights defenders and their need for protection.

“This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Human rights defenders have a crucial role in promoting human rights, helping to ensure peace, democracy, and sustainable development. At the same time, they often face threats and attacks because of the work they do. I am therefore very pleased that the United Nations has unanimously adopted this resolution,” said Barth Eide.

Espen Barth Eide is currently serving as the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Jonas Gahr Støre’s government, having previously done so under Jens Stoltenberg. He has been a been a member of the Norwegian Parliament since 2017, representing the Labor Party.

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Marit Fosse

Marit Fosse trained as an economist from Norwegian school of Economics and Business Administration in Bergen (Norges Handelshøyskole NHH) and then earned a doctorate in social sciences. She is the author of several books. Nansen: Explorer and Humanitarian, co-authored with John Fox, was translated into Russian/Armenian/French. In addition, Fosse is the editor of International Diplomat/Diva International in Geneva, a magazine set up 20 years ago for diplomats and persons working in the international organizations in Geneva but also elsewhere. In her free time, Fosse is an accomplished painter.