Courtesy of BBC
Many of us immersed in the human rights world consider ourselves human rights advocates— promoters of fair treatment for all, supporters of the rights of the oppressed, activists committed to human rights standards. Whether it is on a personal, local, national, or global level, human rights defenders are those individuals who fight day after day to promote human rights who ensure that no person or group is denied the basic, fundamental rights that everyone deserves.
But what happens when it is these very fighters who are deprived of their rights? Sadly, more and more of these critical human rights defenders’ own rights are being threatened and taken away. Defenders are the targets of violence, intimidation, and repression which aim to stop them from doing their critical work, and often carried out by their very own governments. What can be done to protect these important individuals in the face of repression? How do they still fight to be effective advocates despite the many obstacles placed in their path?