Bridget Phillipson, Labour Member of Parliament for Houghton and Sunderland South, has shown her support for human rights defenders around the world at an event hosted by Amnesty International in Parliament.

The event – held annually by Amnesty to mark World Human Rights Day – saw parliamentarians pay tribute to women human rights defenders from countries including Iran, India and Venezuela, who are often at great personal risk due to their campaigning.

At least 3,500 human rights defenders have been killed since 1998, but the figure has increased in recent years. In 2017, at least 312 human rights defenders were assassinated, twice as many as in 2015.

This year’s celebrations of World Human Rights Day also coincided with the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Following the event, Bridget Phillipson MP commented:

“Every day around the world, brave people put themselves in significant danger to campaign for the human rights we may take for granted.

Women human rights defenders are particularly at threat, and it is disturbing that the level of danger they face is increasing.

While we celebrate the freedoms we are lucky enough to enjoy, we must use our position to speak out against the injustices and abuses faced by human rights defenders, wherever they may be.”

Steve Newman, Secretary of Wearside Amnesty International Group commented:

“It is welcome to see our local MP stand up for those who put their life on the line to campaign for human rights.

With the danger faced by human rights defenders increasing, our country should be using its voice to support those who find themselves at risk – particularly women.

That’s why I’m glad to see parliamentarians come together to send a clear message to governments around the world that human rights defenders must be protected.

I would encourage anyone interested to look up Amnesty’s latest “Write for Rights” campaign online, and see how they can get involved.”  

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