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The criminalization of human rights defenders in the context of the extraction of natural resources and megaprojects is becoming a very worrisome phenomenon in Latin America. The following report recognizes the troubling pattern, and also points to the role of businesses, civil servants, public prosecutors, judges, and the State, among others, in this phenomenon.

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This is a joint submission made by the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), the International Platform against Impunity based in Central America (Pi) and the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (GI-ESCR). This submission is made on the occasion of the consideration of the List of Issues for Honduras at the 56th Pre-Sessional Working Group of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (the Committee) and it addresses the issue of human rights defenders (HRDs) working on economic, social and cultural (ESC) rights in Honduras.

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IIPA has compiled a list of countries in which they have contributed public comments to various U.S. agencies. This list includes IIPA country submissions filed between 2001-2013 in the annual Special 301 exercise led by the U.S. Trade Representative. Other IIPA documents are identified specifically as to their source.

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“Human rights defender” is a term used to describe people who, individually or with others, act to promote or protect human rights. Human rights defenders are identified above all by what they do and it is through a description of their actions (section A below) and of some of the contexts in which they work (section B below) that the term can best be explained. [1]The examples given of the activities of human rights defenders are not an exhaustive list.

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ISHR’s Reprisals Handbook is aimed first and foremost at human rights defenders who interact with regional and international human rights systems.
It highlights the risks that you, as defenders, can face from interacting with international and regional human rights systems, and suggests ways in which you can leverage these systems to provide some degree of protection for yourselves and promote accountability for perpetrators of acts of intimidation or reprisal. In doing so it does not aim to provide a fully comprehensive protection solution, but rather to complement measures that you should also take at the national level.

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This report details March 2013 trial of 94 intellectuals, activists and human rights defenders charged with founding, organizing and administering an organization aimed at overthrowing the government. The report concludes that: 1) the judge has failed in his duty to investigate credible allegations of torture of the defendants whilst in pre-trial detention, and 2) the trial is proceeding in violation of internationally recognized standards of a fair trial.

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