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UAF report on the impacts of the “closing space” on defenders

Urgent Action Fund has released a new report on the impacts of the "closing space" on human rights defenders: Rights eroded: A briefing on the effects of closing space on women human rights defenders 

The report, completed with the Human Rights Law Clinic at the University of California, Berkeley, documents the devastating effects of new restrictions on civil society and their disproportionate impact on women human rights defenders. Yet, the tenacity of defenders remains, as one defender from Russia states "when they shut the door, we come in the window." The perspectives of defenders from Bangladesh, Bahrain, Honduras, Turkey, and Kenya are included among others, including those supported via Among the key findings of this report, four dynamics have been identified:

  • Registration and funding restrictions are layered onto more direct targeting and harassment of defenders, and together create a “rights-deprived” climate in which women and LGBTQI+ activists work;
  • The funding restrictions of closing space additionally burden those groups already facing resource challenges;
  • In order to reduce their exposure to attacks and reprisals by State and non-State actors, activists strategically adapt their work and self-censor, abandon, reduce, or otherwise modify their activities; 
  • Activists are adapting to closing space, but face the social stigma that impacts their work more severely than it does main-stream human rights defenders.


The full version of the report is available at website.