Protesters – or (human rights) defenders?

October 29, 2016

The definition of who is a human rights defenders and who is not, is in my view and that of many others not a very fruitful debate [see inter alia” https://thoolen.wordpress.com/2014/11/17/hinah-jilani-on-human-rights-defenders-the-first-report-of-her-maastricht-lecture/] What is more relevant is the question of how they are described in the media. On this topic  has written a clarifying piece in the The Independent of Canada on 28 October 2016, entitled: “Calling Indigenous Peoples ‘land protectors’ or ‘land defenders’ is not loaded language. Calling them ‘protesters’ is.”

Land Protectors shut down work on the $12 billion Muskrat Falls hydro project in a fight to protect their traditional food and way of life. Photo by Justin Brake.

 

The reason ‘activist’ and ‘protester’ is increasingly frowned upon is because it has become, more and more, associated with a negative tone in stories….. If someone came into your house and started emptying your cupboards, and you tried to make them leave, would you be a ‘protester’? Or would you be defending your house? Protesters are people who are complaining about something. ‘Defenders’ are people who are defending something to which they have a right—land, human rights, equality. The term is a much more accurate one……

Source: Protesters? Or land protectors? | TheIndependent.ca

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