On 30 March ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders mechanism implemented by international civil society, launched its Index of attacks and threats against Human Rights Defenders, featuring a monitoring of alerts concerning violations perpetrated against individuals promoting Human Rights around the globe. The Index of attacks and threats against Human Rights Defenders is available on: ProtectDefenders.eu website.
It could be a most useful tool as quite a few key information providers coöperate (but not AI, HRW?). However, to be really useful as a single stop for this kind of information it is paramount that the site is as complete as possible (otherwise one would still have to go back to the websites of the individual organizations cooperating in the project). This is apparently not yet the case (or maybe definitions still differ from NGO to NGO). Front Line e.g. in its 2017 report (covering 2016) states that 281 HRDs were killed around the world [https://hrdmemorial.org/front-line-defenders-017-annual-report-highlights-killing-of-281-hrds-in-2016/], while a search on the new site shows only 39 killed in 2016 [https://protectdefenders.eu/en/stats.php?yearFilter=2016®ionFilter=&countryFilter=#mf]. That is 242 killings missing (without checking the annual reports of other cooperating partners) ! This issue is important as the announcement claims that the site wants to become “a source of reliable and updated information that should allow the identification of worrying trends and encourage the coordination of adequate responses by decision-makers and authorities to counter the violations faced by defenders”.
Since January 2016 up to today, ProtectDefenders.eu has compiled more than 850 documented alerts, provided by ProtectDefenders.eu partners: Front Line Defenders, Reporters Without Borders and FIDH and OMCT within the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders. Alerts are based on verified information concerning violations affecting Human Rights Defenders. As part of its advocacy mission to raise awareness about the plight of Human Rights Defenders, ProtectDefenders.eu has created this new platform to provide the necessary information for relevant actors to engage and take action to alleviate the situation of Human Rights Defenders at risk. It is ProtectDefenders.eu’s belief that an adequate warning helps to break the isolation in which actors of repression attempt to place Human Rights Defenders. The front page looks like this:
A quick survey of the first months of 2017 until shows that more than 200 violations have already been committed against defenders, with at least 17 murders and 51 defenders imprisoned around the world. Judicial abuses, including arbitrary detention, judicial harassment, criminalisation or sentencing, are the most frequent types of alerts concerning defenders, with more than 130 cases documented in 2017 alone. Among the areas of action of threatened defenders, the Index of Alerts confirms the particular plight faced by defenders of land and environmental rights, pro-democracy activists and defenders of freedom of expression, as the most targeted categories of defenders around the world.
All of the alerts of the ProtectDefenders.eu Index can be searched and refined by country, field of action of the Human Rights Defender, gender, profile or specific type of violation faced. The Index features interactive graphs and listings and aims at ensuring optimal accessibility to the information available.
Source: Newsfeed – ProtectDefenders.eu