“The environment for HRDs across the globe is increasingly restrictive and punitive and the offensive against them has reached new heights," says Front Line Defenders' Head of Protection, Andrea Rocca.
At the launch of their report entitled “Stop the Killings – Front Line Defenders Annual Report 2016”, the statistics are worryingly telling of an increasingly repressive trend of human rights defenders worldwide.
A few statistics
156 HRD’s were killed in the first 11 months of 2015.
45% of the killings were linked to the defence of environmental, land and indigenous peoples' rights.
Women human rights defenders especially are exposed to gender-based violence and harassment.
Repression comes in many forms, and the risk of government persecution is high. “The use of state security and counter-terrorism laws against HRDs continued to be a common tactic of repression across all regions” say Front Line Defenders.
156 HRD’s were killed in the first 11 months of 2015. 45% of the killings were linked to the defence of environmental, land and indigenous peoples' rights.
Human rights defenders face violence, harassment, surveillance and systematic persecution. Not only that, but there has also been the use of travel bans such as those issued against Omar Hazek, and threats to family members as seen by the Pierre Claver Mbonimpa case.
The EU are being called upon to begin denouncing these killings. “Given the targeted violence against human rights defenders, we have to change the narrative of stigmatisation and criminality which authoritarian governments and their henchmen have used to set up human rights defenders for attack, and make it clear that human rights defenders are legally entitled to do their work without restriction and persecution.” says Mr.Rocca.
For a list of the top 10 human rights cases to watch in 2016, click here.