Criminalisation of human rights defenders is increasingly being used to shrink civil society spaces, says report

Author: María Martín, Protection International, Published on: 5 February 2016

“Criminalisation of Human Rights Defenders, Categorisation of the Problem and Measures in Response”, 1 Dec 2015

…While criminalisation has for a long time been used as a strategy to limit the spaces available to civil society, recently a growing number of campaigns have been organised in different countries and internationally to denounce the illegitimate use of legal systems and other forms of legal harassment in order to attack and disrupt the work of HRDs…This report focuses in particular on those countries where PI has a presence and enjoys access to first-hand information on the situation and circumstances in which HRDs carry out their activities…[T]he report will identify best practices that may be employed to combat criminalisation.  Thus, the intention is to increase the capacity of HRDs and of CSOs to respond and to continue to promote and defend human rights It is also hoped that the report will help to establish new lines of work that might in the future be deepened and transformed into more concrete action…Private actors responding to particular interests also play a role in the criminalisation of social protest and the defence of human rights…It is particularly important to note…the role played by the  private security firms  that work for the companies…

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