International Federation for Human Rights

Fédération internationale des ligues des droits de l’homme - Comments

1) The mission

-The FIDH has a general mandate covering the whole civic, political, economic, social and cultural rights in the 1948 Universal Declaration on Human Rights. According to the first article of its Constitution, it opposes “all kind of racism and discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, customs, health, handicap, political, philosophical or religious opinions, nationality and social conditions”. The member organisations of the FIDH, which can exceptionally be two in the same country, follow this outline and cannot specifically defend community rights to support one minority or another. As for the Federation, it is composed of two offices (“globalisation” and “international justice”) and five geographical departments (Africa, Middle East, Northern Africa, Latin America, Asia, Europe); only its monitoring structure for the protection of human rights defenders really focuses on individuals.
-The FIDH doesn’t aim to provide relief. But it co-operates with humanitarian NGOs in war-torn countries and sometimes supplies material assistance to its poorest member organisations, especially in Africa. Affiliated or correspondent organisations can also help the families of political prisoners. Legal aid is a major activity for half of the local sections of the LDH in France for instance.
-The FIDH focuses on states, and not on armed movements; this explains why it investigates and condemns the war crimes of the Israeli security forces more easily than the Palestinian terrorist violence. For sure, the organisation did reprove the attacks in New York on 11th September 2001 or London on 7th July 2005. But it probes human rights violations by governments first. Compared to the opacity of dictatorships or terrorist groups, it is also true that the transparency of parliamentary regimes makes denouncing easier in democracies. Moreover, for several years now, the FIDH has tried to report violations of human rights committed by combatants on the rebel side in Chechnya, Congo-Kinshasa and in Colombia. Finally, the new International criminal court allows it to circumvent states and to sue individually war criminals and those responsible for severe violations of the humanitarian law.