Human Rights Defenders & Civic Freedoms Programme
Total HRD Attacks, Lawsuits (SLAPPs) tracked in the portal
Explore the Database
Search our database of attacks below, find out about the design and the methodology here or share your case!
Human rights defenders are at the forefront of protecting our rights and shared planet. Many defenders, including labour union leaders, land and environmental defenders, affected community members, anti-corruption activists, journalists, and others, raise the alarm about irresponsible business practices and work to ensure that companies and investors fulfill their responsibility to respect human rights. Collecting data on attacks against these defenders is important to understand the scope of this problem, identify higher risk business sectors and areas, advocate for accountability and remedy for harm as well as more rights-respecting practices, and strengthen support for defenders subjected to attacks. The Resource Centre has been tracking attacks against defenders focused on business activities since 2015; all of this data is available in the database. These attacks are also only one part of the story. This page highlights powerful victories and strategies of defenders courageously working for human rights through interviews and videos below.
If you are going to do business in any country, ask where their human rights defenders are. If you find that they are all in prison, that is going to be an economy that you don’t want to be part of.Maryam Al-Khawaja, Bahraini-Danish human rights defender, Special Advisor on Advocacy for Gulf Centre for Human Rights & Board member for International Service for Human Rights
Findings from the database
The findings from the database on HRDs show that many companies are contributing to cases of abuse. These are meant as examples and not as an exhaustive list.
of all attacks
Took place in Honduras, Colombia, Brazil, Mexico, Russia, Guatemala & the Philippines
most dangerous sector
Renewable energy is related to almost 10% of attacks
of all attacks
Related to the extractive sectors, including mining, oil, gas, and coal projects
2 in 5
Live in a country with repressed civic freedoms (CIVICUS Monitor)
How do businesses affect Human Rights Defenders - and how can they support HRDs and civic freedoms?
BHRRC talks to Human Rights Defenders from Singapore, Turkey, Kenya, Uganda and Zimbabwe - visiting defenders at The Centre for Applied Human Rights at the University of York - about their views on how businesses affect their work and how they can be supportive of it.
HRDs Interview series
Collecting data is important, but it is only one part of the story. This interview series highlights powerful victories and stories of defenders, defending rights and their communities against abuses by business and other actors.
Miguel Guimaraes, Federation for Ucayali and Afluentes Native Communities (FECONAU), Peru
Miguel Guimaraes is the President of the Federation of Native Communities of Ucayali and Affluents (FECONAU). He works with 30 communities within three groups of Indigenous peoples of the Peruvian Amazon. FECONAU started a campaign to build a “maloka”, a traditional space to reach agreements, which would be guarded with police protection, and would offer internet access and a safe space to Indigenous leaders for training and advocacy work.
Nataliya Tomilova, Shakhterskaya Semya NGO, Kazakhstan
Nataliya Tomilova is a WHRD and a member of the Shakhterskaya Semya NGO in Kazakhstan. This interview was conducted as part of research on cases of persecution of human rights defenders working on corporate accountability in Kazakhstan, published in May 2021.
Suchanee Cloitre, Thai journalist & WHRD
Suchanee Cloitre is a Thai journalist, who was convicted in 2020 in a case initiated by a chicken farm in Lopburi previously supplying chicken to agro-industry conglomerate. The charges against Suchanee stemmed from a tweet concerning alleged labour rights violations at a chicken farm. On the 27th of October 2020, Thai Court of Appeals overturned the Lopburi Provincial Court’s conviction and prison sentence against her.
Explore our collection of latest news, trackers and research on the positive and negative impacts of business on civic freedoms and the work of human rights defenders. All our briefings are available here.
Infographics & analysis of our data
Our infographics and briefings show patterns of violence, identify at-risk business sectors and geographic areas and provide in-depth analysis of some specific types of attacks, such as Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs).
HRDs & Civic Freedoms Issue Portal
Find out more about what you can do to defend the defenders and civic freedoms, read the latest news, find out about key campaigns and coalitions, and learn about company and investor action.
BHRRC COVID-19 tracker focuses on apparel cos. responses & changing operating environment
Human rights defenders face increased risk during COVID-19, and civic freedoms are restricted for many. Check out our tracker for info by country on attacks on HRDs & current status of civic freedoms from CIVICUS, CCPR Centre & Top10 VPN.