Global Analysis 2022
Front Line Defenders launched its Global Analysis 2022 on the situation of human rights defenders (HRDs) at risk around the world today, an in-depth annual publication detailing the variety of risks, threats and attacks faced by HRDs around the world. Front Line Defenders’ Global Analysis 2022 gives a panorama of the threats faced by HRDs in all regions of the world. Despite an assault on human rights and the rule of law in many countries, human rights defenders (HRDs) showed remarkable courage and persistence in advocating for more democratic, just and inclusive societies in 2022.
The report also names 401 HRDs killed in 26 countries in 2022 compared to 358 HRDs killed in 35 countries in 2021 – based on statistics by the HRD Memorial, a collective initiative of human rights organisations working to collect and verify data on the killings of HRDs each year.
“In a grim milestone, for the first time we saw more than 400 targeted killings of human rights defenders in 2022. While Latin America remained the deadliest region in the world for human rights defenders, we also saw a more dangerous landscape for defenders in the context of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine,” said Olive Moore, Interim Director of Front Line Defenders.
''These human rights defenders were deliberately targeted and killed because of their human rights work. Because they choose to speak out and challenge injustice, they paid for it with their lives.''
Five countries – Colombia, Ukraine, Mexico, Brazil and Honduras – accounted for over 80% of killings, according to HRD Memorial data. Colombia alone accounted for 46% of the total, with at least 186 killings documented and verified by HRD Memorial partner Somos Defensores to date. Defenders working on land, indigenous peoples’ and environmental rights were the most frequently targeted sector, accounting for almost half (48%) of the total killings.
In the context of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, defenders engaged on humanitarian response and human rights journalists were also specifically targeted, with at least 50 documented killings by Russian military forces.
Wide array of threats
Global Analysis 2022 data is based on more than 1,500 threats and violations reported to Front Line Defenders, and is disaggregated by region, type of threat, sector of human rights work and gender.
The main threats HRDs reported to Front Line Defenders in 2022 included: arrest or detention (19.5%); legal action (14.2%); physical attack (12.8%); death threats (10.9%); and surveillance (9.6%). In Asia and the Americas, death threats were the most frequent violation against defenders; in Africa it was arrest and detention; while in ECA and MENA it was legal action against HRDs.
Women HRDs (WHRDs) were frequently targeted with death threats, which accounted for the third most common violation against them. Physical violence was the most prevalent violation reported by trans and gender variant/gender nonconforming HRDs.
The five most targeted sectors of human rights defence were: environmental, land and indigenous peoples’ rights (11%); freedom of expression (10%); protest movement/ freedom of assembly (9%); women’s rights (7%); and impunity and access to justice (6%).
About the data on killings: Front Line Defenders manages the collection of partner-verified data-sets under the HRD Memorial umbrella. The partners in the HRD Memorial are: ACI-Participa (Honduras); Amnesty International; Comité Cerezo (Mexico); FIDH; Front Line Defenders; Global Witness; Human Rights Defenders’ Alert – India; Karapatan (the Philippines); OMCT; El Programa Somos Defensores (Colombia); Red TDT (Mexico); and UDEFEGUA (Guatemala).
About the data on other violations against HRDs: This is derived from 1,583 reported threats and violations, based on Front Line Defenders’ urgent actions and approved grants between 1 January and 31 December 2022. For more details, see the Methodology section of the report.
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