As Amnesty International has documented, Human Rights Defenders — those who act individually or in association with others to defend and/or promote human rights at local, national, regional or international levels — are often the target of judicial harassment, smear campaigns, intimidation, death threats, unlawful surveillance, arbitrary detention, sexual violence, assault, torture, enforced disappearances, and even assassination. Since the adoption of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders in 1998 until 2021, an estimated 4,814 HRDs have been killed worldwide.
“The Human Rights Defenders Protection Act of 2024 is a critical piece of legislation that will help strengthen and improve the U.S. government’s ability to support human rights defenders around the world,” said Andrew Fandino, Advocacy Director for the Individuals at Risk Program at Amnesty International USA. “With over 401 human rights defenders killed globally in 2022 alone, now more than ever, human rights defenders need this additional support and protection.”
Human Rights Defenders play a key role in defending the principles of freedom, justice, and dignity, and their work contributes directly to the realization of human rights and strengthening the rule of law in the U.S. and countries around the world.
Amnesty International USA urges lawmakers to support this important piece of legislation.
- Read more about the Human Rights Defenders Protection Act of 2024.
- Learn more about Human Rights Defenders.
- Listen to On the Side of Humanity Podcast to hear directly from Human Rights Defenders from Chile, the U.S., Nepal, Ireland, and Ghana about how they are fighting for human rights for the present and future.
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