Together we can speak up for those who speak out for all of us
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Today, people across the world are taking enormous risks to stand up for our rights. They could be teachers, students, political opponents, factory workers, journalists, lawyers or so many others. But defending human rights can be a dangerous business.
Thousands of people have been killed or forcibly disappeared simply for speaking out against injustice or standing up to powerful human rights violators, and these attacks are increasing around the world.
What’s especially disturbing is that, if states had taken seriously their responsibility to protect human rights defenders, these tragic endings could have been prevented.
We spoke to families of killed and forcibly disappeared human rights defenders all over the world, and kept hearing the same thing: these people knew their lives were at risk. In many cases their deaths or disappearances had been preceded by a string of previous attacks, which authorities turned a blind eye to or even encouraged.
Many described how victims’ pleas for protection had been repeatedly ignored by the authorities and how the attackers had evaded justice, fuelling a deadly cycle of impunity. Bertha Zuñiga, daughter of Honduran environmental and Indigenous activist Berta Cáceres, told Amnesty International that her mother’s work upset many powerful interests, and that an investigation still seems a long way off.
Help us protect the Brave today
My mother deserves justice and it’s imperative we shed light on the conspiracy that took place. It’s fundamental if we are to prevent further killings.”