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We Defend

    Human rights defenders are under attack

    They Defend the rights of others. We defend theirs. 

    Human rights defenders are brave people who stand up for justice in sometimes extraordinary circumstances. But they are under attack.

    Around the world, people who take a stand for human rights are being undermined by smear campaigns, government surveillance, unjust imprisonment and forced disappearance. Many have even been killed. Sadly, the situation is only getting worse.

    We all want to live in a world where justice is possible and human rights are upheld. But that is only possible if human rights defenders are protected. We must defend the defenders.


    Elena MilashinaNarges MohammadiRafael MaldonadoBertha Zuniga Caceres


    “Without their courage, our world is less fair, less just and less equal. That is why today we are calling on everyone – not just world leaders – to stand with human rights defenders and protect the brave.”
    Salil Shetty, International Secretary General, Amnesty International

    Anyone who takes action to defend human rights is a human rights defender. They can be teachers, students, political opponents, factory workers, activists, journalists, lawyers, or anyone else who stands up for human rights.

    When a human rights defender is silenced, persecuted or killed, it doesn’t only impact them. It also hurts all of the people whose rights they bravely work to defend.

    When you take action to protect a human rights defender, the impact of your support is felt by the entire community whose rights are at stake. Not only that, you become a human rights defender as well!

    TAKE ACTION: Help human rights defenders at risk




    Elena Milashina

    Defend journalist Elena Milashina!

    Elena is a journalist for the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta which published a story about the abduction, torture, and killing of men in Chechnya who are believed to be gay. But now Elena and other journalists at Novaya Gazeta are facing serious threats from influential people in Chechnya, and journalist Elena Milashina has been forced to flee.



    The Numbers: Human Rights Defenders Under Attack

    • 281 people killed in 22 countries 2016 for defending human rights, up from 156 in 2015
    • 75%+ of killings of human rights defenders in 2016 were in the Americas
    • In 63 countries, governments implemented smear campaigns against human rights defenders.
    • In 68 countries, human rights defenders were arrested or detained solely because of their peaceful work
    • In 94 countries, human rights defenders have been threatened or attacked.


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