Social Issues: International Federation for Human Rights

24 April 2014, by

Human rights are often considered universal and egalitarian. One of the most important documents relevant to human rights is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

If one goes to the UN website, human rights are defined as: "rights inherent to all human beings, whatever their nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status."

One may ask which organisations in the Netherlands concern themselves with human rights. There are many, but one that is quite active in this area is the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH).

Some of their latest projects can be found on their YouTube channel. Watching such videos gives great insight into the organisation, but so does speaking with one of its most active members.

Interview with Montserrat Carboni, Permanent Representative to the International Criminal Court - the International Federation for Human Rights


What does the International Federation for Human Rights do?

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) is an international NGO defending all civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

It acts in the legal and political field for the creation and reinforcement of international instruments for the protection of human rights and for their implementation.

FIDH is a non-partisan, non-religious, apolitical and non-profit organisation. Its independence and objectivity are the very foundation of its credibility.

FIDH is a federalist movement that acts through and for its national member and partner organisations. Currently it has 178 member organisations around the world.

Where does FIDH perform its function?

FIDH works with its member organisations around the world, in all continents.

When did your organisation start?

The International Federation for Human Rights is the first international human rights organisation, founded in 1922, by some 20 national organisations on the initiative of French and German organisations.

Already in 1927 it proposed the adoption of an international declaration of human rights and the creation of an International Criminal Court.

What is the mission of the FIDH?

FIDH considers that transforming society is primarily a matter for local actors. Its activities aim to reinforce their capacity to act and increase their influence in local matters.


FIDH acts at national, regional and international levels to support its member and partner organisations in countering Human Rights violations and in consolidating democratisation.

How does FIDH operate? What allows it to do what it does?

The federalist principles shapes FIDH decision-making processes, its mode of action and the way it operates. It is what makes FIDH truly representative of its member and partner organisations and gives it legitimacy.

By remaining in permanent interaction with local civil societies, FIDH can rapidly identify local obstacles to the work of defenders and take the necessary steps to mobilise support for them.

FIDH’s actions are directed towards states and other actors that exercise power, such as armed opposition groups and multinational enterprises.

The main beneficiaries of FIDH´s work are national human rights member organisations, and through them the victims of human rights violations. FIDH has also broadened its field of action to encompass local partner organisations and has developed alliances with other actors working for change.

The International Federation for Human Rights deploys a large range of actions that have proved to be effective: urgent reactions, both public and confidential; international fact-finding, trial observation and defence missions; and political dialogue, advocacy, litigation and public awareness campaigns.

FIDH acts through a network of international experts (chargés de mission) who give their time on a voluntary basis, at the same time fostering exchanges of experience among defenders worldwide in order to encourage mutual sharing of know-how.

FIDH on the web

Official Website
Facebook | Twitter | Flickr | YouTube | Storify | Dailymotion

Many thanks to Montserrat Carboni, Permanent Representative to the International Criminal Court and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) for providing time and expertise.

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About the Author
Christine Fischer

Christine Fischer holds an M.A. & a M.Ed. in multicultural counseling psychology from TC, Columbia U...

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