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Front Line report “Strategies for Survival” documents dangerous reality for human rights defenders in Indonesia, Zimbabwe and Colombia
A top Indonesian human rights lawyer is fatally poisoned with arsenic on an international flight. A Zimbabwean activist is abducted and held incommunicado before being tried on baseless charges. Leaked documents reveal plans to assassinate Colombian human rights defenders. And these shocking incidents occur in a day-to-day context of surveillance, threats, and other harassment.
Front Line's major new report, “Strategies for Survival: Protection of Human Rights Defenders in Colombia, Indonesia and Zimbabwe”, documents these threats, and identifies the creative strategies that human rights defenders have developed to improve their security.
Over the past 10 years Front Line has consistently documented the threats against and attacks on human rights defenders. Those threats may range from harassment and intimidation to direct attacks on the defenders themselves or their families, to stigmatisation in the media or at the political level as enemies of the state.
“The one thing all these human rights defenders share is that they are most at risk when they challenge the interests of the rich and powerful – those who have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo” – said Front Line Deputy Director, Andrew Anderson in Dublin today (12 December 2011).
“If we seriously want to make a difference and find new and more effective ways to protect human rights defenders at risk then we have to listen and learn from the real experts – the human rights defenders on the ground – that is what this report is about”, added Mr Anderson.
Human rights defenders have developed strategies to protect an individual at risk and improve the overall security environment, including: detailed security planning, coordinated campaigns, pressuring governments to provide protection and change laws, creating civil society protection mechanisms, international advocacy, and, when necessary, relocation within the country or abroad.
Matt Easton, author of the report travelled, with Front Line staff to Zimbabwe, Colombia, and Indonesia, countries chosen for their strong human rights communities and geographical and political diversity. They represent three broader categories of countries characterised by, respectively, authoritarianism, conflict, and transition.
The report is available in English, French, Spanish and Russian, which can be found on the appropriate language page of this website. It is also available in Bahasa, which can be found below.