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Human Rights Defenders – A Shrinking Space for Civil Society

This report by Amnesty International (2017) explores the measures used by state and non-state actors to silence or repress human rights defenders (HRDs). These measures range from personal attacks like threats, beatings and even killings to the use of legislation to criminalize human rights-related activities; methods of surveillance; and attacks on HRDs’ capacity to communicate and on their rights to peaceful assembly and association, as well as restrictions on their freedom of movement. Central to these methods is the use of smear campaigns and stigmatization to delegitimize HRDs and their work.

This report also highlights the additional violence women human rights defenders face beyond attacks other HRDs might experience, including the use of sexual violence, threats and harassment as well as defamation campaigns linked to their gender.

It concludes with a series of recommendations to state and non-state actors, as well as regional and international bodies, which must be urgently addressed in order to reverse the ongoing attempts to shrink the space in which HRDs and civil society operate.

 

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