Latin America: NGO highlights attacks against human rights defenders in conflicts with business over lands, resources
“I think, therefore I resist: Grassroots experiences of alternative protection and promotion of human rights in the context of large-scale economic investment”
Peace Brigades International (PBI) field projects are receiving an increasing number of requests for accompaniment and protection from individuals, organisations and communities that are defending and promoting human rights in the face of largescale investments. Too often human rights defenders lack the basic guarantees of security and they are subject to smear campaigns and legal persecution designed to obstruct their work upholding the principles of human rights and the right of victims. The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders has, on several occasions, highlighted that this group of individuals is one of the most vulnerable. According to Global Witness, at least 908 human rights defenders have been assassinated since 2002. These assassinations have taken place in a context of increased competition for control of land and natural resources. Frontline Defender’s 2016 annual report identifies human rights defenders who dedicate their work to protecting the environment, the right to land and the rights of indigenous people as the group most at risk. The report also expresses concerns for women human rights defenders who are exposed not only to the risks that their work carries with it but also to gender violence, harassment and stigmatization.