Defending Human Rights Is a Crime in Some Countries and a Deadly Activity in Others — Global Issues

  • Opinion by Bibbi Abruzzini, Clarisse Sih-Forus (Brussels)
  • Inter Press Service

A striking example of the serious situation is Bolivia, where the Observatory of Defenders of Rights of UNITED, being the Permanent Assembly of Human Rights of Bolivia (APDHB) a victim of attacks and delegitimization for a long time. TO total of 725 violations of freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, democratic institutions and the right to defend rights have been registered by the Observatory of Rights Defenders.

Gladys Sandovadefender of human rights and the environment in the Tariquía National Reserve of Flora and Fauna in Bolivia, reveals how the state often sides with oil companies instead of protecting communities. “Tariquía is the lungs of Tarija”, explains Gladys, however, this vital source of water for southern Bolivia and home to more than 3,000 people, is at risk due to the state company Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales Bolivianos (YPFB) seeking reactivate oil exploration in the reserve.

“The oil companies are here, we are going to lose our natural wealth, they are going to affect the lives of families, and they are going to contaminate our water and our air,” says Gladys, reflecting the urgent need to defend human rights and the environment.

Their story is similar to that of many other human rights defenders around the world: they are victims of hostilities, interference, threats and harassment. The bell, ReImagine Defending Rightsby UNITAS collects the testimonies of human rights defenders and indigenous leaders throughout Bolivia raising awareness about the challenges they face.

Stories of human rights defenders from around the world also appear in the #AlternativeNarratives campaign, which seeks to amplify the voices of civil society organizations and grassroots movements working for social justice, human rights and sustainable development. The campaign encourages the use of storytelling, multimedia tools and creative expression to highlight alternative perspectives, challenge stereotypes and advocate for positive change while fostering a more inclusive and equitable storytelling space that reflects the diversity of human experiences and promotes the solidarity, empathy and mutual understanding.

Human rights defenders, including women defenders, continue to mobilize against repressive regimes and occupying forces in countries such as Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, El Salvador, Iran, Myanmar, Sudan and Ukraine. Mary Lawlor, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, highlights the underreporting of human rights violations against defenders, particularly women, and describes “disturbing trends” in relation to civic space in everyone.

restockc, which represents more than 1,200 NGOs in Central Africa, claims that “human rights in Central Africa are no longer guaranteed”, and civil society actors, journalists and defenders face repression, prosecution and arrest. Recent campaigns organized by restockc in Central Africa and repaoc in West Africa, with the support of For us and the French Development Agency, brought together various stakeholders, including human rights defenders, political parties, parliamentarians, journalists and security personnel, to initiate a dialogue and protect civic space and fundamental freedoms in the region.

To support activists and advocates globally, the Danish Institute for Human Rights He has launched a monitoring tool which assesses whether there is an enabling environment for human rights defenders in five critical areas. Developed in collaboration with 24 institutions and organizations, including the United Nations and civil society networks, the tool not only tracks the number of killings of human rights defenders, but also analyzes the presence of appropriate legislation and practices to protect to the defenders.

As Carol Rask, representative of the Danish Institute for Human Rights, explains, defending human rights is a crime in some countries and a deadly activity in others. It is a call to action for change, urging individuals, organizations and governments to prioritize and protect the crucial work of human rights defenders around the world.

Griselda Sillerico, a human rights defender in Bolivia for more than 30 years, quotes Ana María Romero and says that “human rights are seeds that we continue to sow and that we reap over the years.” Griselda Sillerico’s quote echoes the enduring spirit of human rights advocacy, where the work of human rights advocates like her is an ongoing effort to sow the seeds of justice, equality, and dignity for all. . Despite challenges and setbacks, human rights advocates around the world continue to plant these seeds, often at great personal risk, in the hope of reaping a future in which human rights are universally respected and protected.

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© Inter Press Service (2023) — All rights reservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service

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