Human Rights Defenders: a Resource, Not a Menace

Nicole Fraccaroli

Human rights defenders face threats, intimidation and imprisonment. Amnesty International highlights and recognizes the relevance of those actors, and informs us that governments around the world, prevent them from speaking out or imprison them because of their peaceful activism. From Amnesty International is also emphasized that worldwide, at least 156 human rights defenders died in detention or were killed in 2015; at least 61 countries put people in prison simply for exercising their rights and freedoms and at least 113 countries restricted freedom of expression and the press.

For more than 55 years, Amnesty International has fought for the freedom of people around the world who were imprisoned for their activism, changed laws to protect human rights defenders, and ensured that activists can take to the streets to express their views peacefully.

Amnesty International provides support for individual defenders facing these pressures, making sure that others know about their situation and the threats they face; by way of advocating for their right to carry out their important and legitimate work free from fear, and putting pressure on governments and international bodies to protect defenders, and challenging those who seek to undermine and attack them.

Some examples of Amnesty International’s efforts include:

  •  Launch of campaigns to publicize these cases and pressure governments on individuals’ behalf
  • Mobilization of grassroots activists to defeat state and federal legislation that would limit people’s ability to protest peacefully
  • Deployment of trained human rights observers to monitor police response to peaceful protests

The campaigns are aimed at connecting people around the world with defenders and their work, and enabling supporters to show solidarity with defenders in dangerous situations.

We can only achieve a world where everyone’s human rights are respected through the hard work of human rights defenders, people who tirelessly champion and defend the rights of others. Without human rights defenders, injustices go unchallenged, the most marginalised and vulnerable people in our societies have no say, people have little protection from abusers of power and governments and businesses can act with impunity.

If you share such concerns and would like to take an active role in the achievement of these goals, don’t hesitate and look for the Amnesty International Group in your town or Country.

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