Asia: Forum Asia reports role of business in attacks on defenders is growing more common

Author: Forum ASIA, Published on: 4 June 2019

"Defending in numbers: Resistance in the Face of Repression - 2017-2018", 31 May 2019

Between 1 January 2017 and 31 December 2018, FORUM-ASIA witnessed the deteriorating situation of HRDs. Violations have become more extreme, and the safe spaces in which HRDs can work have increasingly shrunk... Although States hold the primary duty for protecting the rights of HRDs, FORUM-ASIA’s documentation shows that States are still the main perpetrator of abuses against them. This is especially the case in the period under review, as across Asia and the world, 2017- 2018 was marred by the rise of right-wing populism and fundamentalism characterised with open attacks against HRDs by state actors. All the while, the threats experienced by HRDs from non-state actors, such as business entities and extremist groups, continues to grow more common... [T]he role of non-state actors in harassing these defenders has become increasingly common. This primarily includes businesses and corporations in the mining and extractives industries, and agri-businesses, which are competing to access natural resources for profit or otherwise seeking to implement large-scale development projects with little regard for its impact on the surrounding communities or environment. Following the pattern of state actors, these violations often take the form of lawsuits, intimidation and threats, and at times, violence... 

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