All kinds of people help make sure that everyone’s human rights are respected.

These human rights defenders protect our freedom of expression, our access to health care and clean water, our ability to protest peacefully, and all of our other fundamental human rights.

Human rights are increasingly under attack in the United States and around the world. That’s why human rights defenders are needed – and that’s why Amnesty International is working to protect them.

THE PROBLEM

HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS WORLDWIDE

Human rights defenders face threats, intimidation and imprisonment. Governments around the world prevent them from speaking out or imprison them because of their peaceful activism. With your help, we campaign to protect their rights.

  • Killed for peacefully standing up for human rights in 22 countries
  • Targeted with smear campaigns in 63 countries
  • Arrested or detained just because of their activism in 68 countries
  • Physically attacked or threatened in 94 countries

PROTECTING THE RIGHT TO PROTEST AT HOME

Governments around the world have long tried to restrict people’s human right to protest peacefully, often as part of broader crackdowns on human rights. In the United States, there is a sharp increase in attempts to limit and even criminalize peaceful protest.

  • Bills have been introduced in 19 states to restrict the right to protest. Learn more about the different types of bills being proposed.
  • On the federal level, the Department of Justice and Congress may consider policies to restrict the right to protest.
AMNESTY IN ACTION

CHANGING LIVES AND POLICIES

For more than 55 years, Amnesty International has fought for – and won – 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.

Case Study

Ladonna Brave Bull Allard

When an oil company wanted to build a pipeline near the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota, the Sioux Tribe was not properly consulted, and the impact on their water and culture was not fully studied.

LaDonna Brave Bull Allard and Indigenous communities decided to fight back. Police responded to protests with inappropriate force. After months of protests, the federal government, under President Obama, finally agreed to halt construction and conduct an analysis of the environmental impact – a decision that was reversed once President Trump was elected.

At the invitation of community leaders, Amnesty International sent several delegations of human rights observers to Standing Rock to document the police response to protests. For months, we pressed the governor and local law enforcement to respect everyone’s human rights, and we mobilized thousands of people to call and write to them. Through direct advocacy and grassroots mobilization, we also helped defeat five bills in the North Dakota State Legislature that would have restricted the right to protest.

TAKE ACTION

PRIORITY CASE: IDIL ESER & THE ISTANBUL 10

The Director of Amnesty Turkey, Idil Eser, and nine other human rights defenders were arrested while attending a human rights workshop in Turkey. Wrongly charged with terrorism, they’ve been imprisoned for months.

Help our friends and colleagues, by generating a global outcry to demonstrate that the world is watching. Make the Turkish government understand that as long as the Istanbul 10 (Idil and the nine other human rights defenders) are imprisoned, the world will not continue “business as usual” with Turkey.

Demand their release and learn more ways to get involved!
Take Action

MEET OTHER HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS

MILPAH INDIGENOUS MOVEMENT

Honduras

Ana Miriam Moreno is a member of MILPAH, a community of Indigenous and environmental activists. She was beaten while pregnant, had her house set on fire and has been otherwise threatened for her human rights work. Help demand protection for Ana and other members of MILPAH.

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XULHAZ MANNAN

Bangladesh

Xulhaz was brutally murdered for his activism in the LGBTIQ community. He was a prominent activist who founded Bangladesh’s only LGBTIQ magazine, and his murder has had a chilling effect. One year later, no one has been charged for his murder, despite overwhelming evidence. Help us demand justice for Xulhaz

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Mahadine

Chad

In September 2016, Tadjadine Mahamat Babouri, commonly known as Mahadine, posted videos on Facebook. In them, he accused the Chadian government and people close to it of corruption and misusing public money. He also complained about the economic crisis gripping this oil-dependent nation which is suffering from falling oil prices worldwide.

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HANAN BADR EL-DIN

Egypt

Hanan is facing years in prison just for searching for her husband. Hanan last saw him on TV, wounded after a protest. He is now one of hundreds of people missing at the hands of Egyptian officials. Hanan has become a leader among families of the disappeared, and has been imprisoned just for this work. Help us demand her release.

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