Throughout 2016 human rights defenders (HRDs) in every region of the world faced attacks because of their work to advance and defend the human rights of their communities. They were targeted by both state and non-state actors who sought to discourage, discredit and disrupt their non-violent activities. Smear campaigns and stigmatisation were widely employed, though legal action remained the most commonly used state tactic. Killings continued to take place at an alarming rate and in the vast majority of cases perpetrators were not brought to justice, nor did any systematic changes take place to better ensure the protection of HRDs in countries where they are most at risk of assassination. On the contrary, in the Philippines ? which already ranks as the most dangerous country in Asia for HRDs ? President Rodrigo Duterte normalised the act of extra-judicial killing in his war on drugs, lowering the political cost of murder and thus raising the risk to defenders whose work threatens powerful interests.
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Categories: Human Rights Defenders