By Holly Jonas, ICCA Consortium Global Coordinator.
People who stand up for human rights are at the forefront of social change, though they face significant threats and risks for doing so. Especially with growing global concern over our climate and ecological crises, those who defend Mother Earth should be gaining better protection – but instead, they are targeted for their brave and necessary work. According to Front Line Defenders’ latest global analysis, a staggering 304 human rights defenders were reported as killed in 2019. Forty per cent of them were fighting for land, environmental and indigenous peoples’ rights, making this the most dangerous sector for defenders.
Front Line Defenders also received reports of hundreds of other instances of human rights violations in 2019, including threats, physical attacks, detention or arrest, surveillance, legal action, smear campaigns and sexual violence. All of these violations have happened to people defending basic human rights, including the collective rights of indigenous peoples and communities to their customary territories. Those marginalised by intersections of gender, sexual orientation, poverty, ethnicity, location and language face even greater risks, and those who lack access to resources and national and international networks of protection are especially vulnerable.
Read this sobering yet important report in full here. Follow Front Line Defenders on Twitter or Facebook. Learn how to contribute to the ICCA Consortium’s policy on “Defending Territories of Life and their Defenders”.
Featured image: © Front Line Defenders.