Report: Human Rights Defenders Under Attack

Experiences collected from the work of Rafto Foundation for Human Rights with partners in 15 countries 2020-2021.

The Rafto Laureates work in places where human rights are under pressure. What are their experiences of how challenges which have developed over the last years and time of the pandemic? What must be done to protect human rights defenders and human rights in the years to come?

Bergen 19.05.2022

The Rafto Foundation has written a report with our impressions from 15 locations around the world. The report will identify regions which may require particular attention, where human rights defenders are working not only under alarmingly increasing pressure but where the human rights movement itself may be in danger of collapse.

"This report shows why anyone who are afraid the world vision of Vladimir Putin and his autocratic allies should step up their support to human rights defenders. It confirms a growing authoritarian trend in many countries where Rafto laureates work. This situation has become worse during the pandemic, partly due to deliberate actions by governments to use the pandemic as an excuse to crack down on human rights defenders. It give insights into the challenges and risks faced by those courageous voices standing up for democracy and human rights", says Jostein Hole Kobbeltvedt, Executive Director, The Rafto Foundation.

The report covers the circumstances of:

  • Shirin Ebadi, Iran
  • Sidi Mohammed Daddach, Western Sahara
  • National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, India
  • Pastor Bulambe Lembelembe Josue, DR Congo
  • Bishop Emeritus Jose Raul Vera Lopez, Mexico
  • Sexual Minorities, Uganda
  • Nnimmo Bassey, Nigeria
  • Bahrain Center for Human Rights, Bahrain
  • AGORA, Russia
  • Padre Melo, Honduras
  • Yanar Mohammed, Iraq
  • Parveena Ahangar and Parvez Imroz, Kahsmir
  • Adam Bodnar, Poland
  • Rouba Mhaissen, Lebanon
  • Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms, Egypt
  • Peter Molnar, Hungary

The report includes set of recommendations from the Rafto Foundation.


Iver Ørstavik

Senior Advisor
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Ronja Bell Breisnes

Communication Advisor
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