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Because of their work, Human Rights Defenders are often subject to persecution and harassment, punishment, arbitrary arrest or detention, especially in countries lacking an effective rule of law

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News & Tweets from human rights defenders

February 19

Incommunicado detention of human rights defenders in China - Protect Defenders Now!

As of the end of January 2020, four Chinese human rights defenders have been held in incommunicado detention for a month, as reported in the digest of alerts. In December 2019, police from Shandong province arrested human rights defenders Dai Zhenya in Xiamen, Fujian, Ding Jiaxi in Beijing, Li Yingjun in Zhangzhou, Fujian, and Zhang Zhongshun in Yantai, Shandong. Their arrests were part of a year-end crackdown in December 2019 affecting more than 20 human rights defenders across China.

Also, in Iran, received information about the ill-treatment of imprisoned women human rights defenders Narges Mohammadi and Atena Daemi in Evin prison, following their participation in a peaceful sit-in protest. Atena Daemi was put in solitary confinement, where she was physically abused and denied medical assistance. Narges Mohammadi was physically abused by security agents and transferred to the Zanjan prison located over 300 km from Tehran. In DRC,’s partners were informed about the arbitrary detention and the judicial harassment against human rights defenders Jean-Claude Malitano, coordinator of the NGO Action for Rural Promotion (APRu), which runs a legal clinic on human rights issues in Faradje, and Etienne Tandele, president of the New Civil Society of Faradje, in the province of Haut-Uélé, in the northeast of the country.

Only in January 2020, at least 20 new attacks against HRDs have been reported in the's Index of alerts.

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Killings of HRDs in Mexico and ongoing harassment of defenders in Crimea and Western Sahara

Throughout 2019, the situation of defenders in Mexico has remained particularly critical. partners have regularly monitored and denounced the pattern of systematic attacks against HRDs in the country - one of the most dangerous places for the defense of human rights in the world. On 20 November 2019, the body of human rights defender Arnulfo Cerón Soriano was found buried under several tons of soil in the "El Aguaje" colony in Tlapa, Guerrero. Arnulfo Cerón Soriano was a lawyer and human rights defender belonging to the Naua people of the region of La Montaña, Guerrero. In recent months, Casa del Migrante de Saltillo (CMS) has reported a series of increasingly worrying threats and attacks, with a spike in intensity and frequency starting at the end of November. The judicial persecution and criminalization of the defense of rights continues to be reported in the country.

Also, the monthly issue of the digest reports the sentencing of human rights defender Emir-usein Kuku to twelve years in a strict-regime correctional colony in Crimea, and the arbitrary detention of woman human rights defender Mahfouda Bamba Lefkire.

In 2019, has documented more than 350 attacks against defenders. Since the launch of the index in 2016, more than 3,000  attacks have been reported. Real figures are likely much higher, as many alerts still go unreported.

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Providing support to local human rights organisations in the implementation of their activities

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International civil society implementing the EU Human Rights Defenders mechanism.

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Together with human rights defenders worldwide


Reaching out Human Rights Defenders working in remote areas and countries where it is particularly dangerous to work

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Who are human rights defenders ?

People who, individually or collectively, work peacefully on behalf of others to promote and defend internationally recognised human rights.

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