Defending the defenders

Mission Statement:   
HRDN-SL works at the national, regional and international levels to promote and protect human rights. We do this by enhancing Human Rights Defenders, strengthening human rights standards and systems, and leading member organisations for human rights change.   

Vision Statement:
A just society in Sierra Leone where the rights of Human Rights Defenders are protected, human right activities and initiatives are coordinated and where all human rights are guaranteed, respected and promoted;

Human Rights Defenders Network – Sierra Leone is a national community of human rights defenders with a number of characteristics that we considered core to our ongoing success and common to each of our achievements:

  • A belief in high quality monitoring, research and ensure that our principled advocacy has a credible evidence-base
  • An initiative and flexibility to respond professionally, creatively, effectively and quickly to defenders in need and at risk;
  • Respect for the dignity, equality, tradition and culture and development of all people with whom we engage;
  • Ensure that our work to achieve normative and systemic change is informed by and responds to the concerns of human rights defenders and victims of human rights violations on the ground.
  • Work with human rights defenders but also governments, national and international organisations, business institutions and media to achieve change.
  • A belief in promoting transparency and accountability in implementing our programmes and activities;
  • Use an evolving, strategic and integrated approach and work in a way that is collaborative and not competitive.

Strengthen human rights defenders’ Capacity to protect and defend themselves and others.

The objectives of Human Rights Defenders’ Network (HRDN) shall include but not limited to:-

  • Collaborate with the Government of Sierra Leone, Development Partners, National and International Human Rights Institutions and other stakeholders towards the overall development of a strong human rights defenders’ network in Sierra Leone and the West African sub-region to face the challenges in the wider society both at individual and institutional level;


  • Promote support for alternative and safe environment for the livelihood of human rights defenders at risk;
  • Facilitate the awareness and advocacy for the enforcement of laws and policies that protect the rights and dignity of human rights defenders;
  • Negotiate and enter into partnership with other organizations or groups with similar aims and objectives, nationally, regionally and internationally and make representation on behalf of HRDN wherever it become necessary.
  • Undertake projects and programmes to enhance the capacity of human rights defenders and promote human rights for all

HRDN-SL’s work is based on the following evidence-based theory of change.

  • The work of human rights defenders is essential to promote and protect human rights and the rule of law and to secure access to justice for victims of human rights violations/abuses. Our work to support human rights defenders builds their capacity and expertise, strengthens their recognition and protection under national, regional and international law, and seeks to protect them from threats, risks and reprisals.
  • National, regional and international human rights laws and mechanisms can be used by human rights defenders to ensure accountability for human rights violations and to create and maintain pressure for human rights change. Our work on human rights systems aims to strengthen human rights laws and makes human rights mechanisms more accessible and effective.
  • Strategic alliances and opportunistic advocacy underpin many successful human rights campaigns. Our work to identify opportunities for reform, and to build, coordinate and participate in strategic coalitions, contributes to positive human rights change.




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