Defend the Defenders!
In many parts of the world, human rights defenders risk their safety and their very lives to monitor and challenge abuses. Despite hardships and obstacles that stand in their way, human rights defenders persevere in seeking positive change.
Too often, authorities seek to silence defenders’ voices, penalize their activities, and intimidate them into passivity. Rather than herald the crucial role defenders play in promoting and protecting human rights, officials may label these brave individuals as “subversives” or “traitors.” This attitude can have dire consequences for the human rights defenders and for the work they do.
Amnesty International works to ensure that these activists can carry out their good work without intimidation or harassment.
Throughout history, courageous and visionary individuals have sought to extend the boundaries of human rights protection to those outside its boundaries, whether it be those living in slavery, workers unprotected against exploitation or women denied the vote.
Human rights defenders are individuals, groups of people or organizations who promote and protect human rights through peaceful and non-violent means.
Because of their activities, human rights defenders can become a target of abuse. Governments, security forces, business interests, armed groups, religious leaders and sometimes even their own families and communities can try and silence their dissenting opinions or actions.