The right to protest for human rights is under unprecedented and growing threat across all regions of the world. From Russia to Sri Lanka, France to Senegal, Iran to Nicaragua, and here in the United States, governments are suppressing organized protests for human rights. That includes laws to restrict the right to protest; the misuse of force, the expansion of unlawful mass and targeted surveillance; internet shutdowns and online censorship; and abuse and stigmatization. People who are marginalized and discriminated against are disproportionately impacted.

Amnesty International’s Protect the Protest campaign was launched in July 2022 to stop the attacks on peaceful protesters, join with those targeted and support the causes of social movements pushing for human rights change. Join us!

The Trade in Tools of Repression

As part of our broader campaign to Protect the Protest, Amnesty International is supporting efforts toward negotiating a Torture-Free Trade Treaty, which is currently being discussed at the UN. It would aim to prohibit the manufacture and trade in inherently abusive law enforcement equipment and control the trade in equipment that can be used for torture and other forms of ill-treatment. This includes crowd control items often used against protesters, such as tear gas, batons and rubber bullets. While a patchwork of regional law and standards regulates some of this trade, the absence of international standards has prevented the emergence of a comprehensive and coherent global response. It’s essential that activists and human rights advocates push the U.S. negotiating team to embrace a strong international agreement to restrict the trade in these dangerous items.