In total 321 people in 27 countries were targeted and killed for their work.
AN IRISH-BASED organisation has said human rights activists around the world continue to face threats from state, non-state and corporate actors and hundreds lost their lives because of their work last year.
In 2018, 321 human rights defenders in 27 countries were targeted and killed for their work, according to the Front Line Defenders annual report. This is the highest number ever on record.
More than three-quarters of these activists were defending land, environment or indigenous people’s rights, often in the context of extractive industries and state-aligned mega-projects.
Today Front Line Defenders said the murders of human rights defenders were not isolated events, but were “preceded by judicial harassment, threats and physical attacks”.
At least 49% of those killed had previously received a specific death threat, and in an additional 43% of killings there had been general threats made to activists in the area.
In the vast majority of cases, Front Line Defenders said these people did not receive the necessary protection and support from state authorities from the time they reported threats to the time they were murdered.
Speaking at the launch of the organisation’s global analysis for 2018, Ed O’Donovan, head of protection, said it is more important than ever that governments that value human rights lend vocal, practical and financial support to the work of peaceful activists who are fighting against “a tide of xenophobia, racism, homophobia, misogyny and environmental degradation.”