EU & its member states' diplomatic missions should be informing private sector investments to prevent attacks on defenders, new guidance says

Author: EU-Lat Advocacy Network, Published on: 9 October 2019

"Recommendations to the EU and its Member States for the protection of human rights defenders in Latin America", Oct 2019

Despite progress made over the last two decades on the international normative framework on Human Rights Defenders (hereafter HRDs), there is a persistent lack of compliance with these norms and the implementation of national policies for protection are superficial or inexistent in the majority of countries... According to EU Protect defenders, in 2018, at least 256 defenders were killed in the Americas.... [The trends are]: Reduced and unprotected environment for human rights defence work, lack of recognition for and delegitimisation of the work of HRDs,... Criminalisation of HRDs through the use of legal norms that penalise or hinder their work,... [We] propose four “action strategies”... 1.) guarantee a secure environment by recognizing and legitimising the work of human rights defenders,... 2.) guarantee a legal framework that respects the full exercise of the right to defend human rights without fear of facing reprisals and criminalisation,... 3.)  reduce threats and attacks against defenders of land, territory and the environment... [and]  4.) guarantee that women defenders can defend human rights, including women’s reproductive rights, without fear of suffering stigmatization and gender-based violence... [In particular], [as] a preventive measure, we recommend that diplomatic missions inform the private sector beforehand about the context in which investments are planned, with the effective participation of HRDs... 

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