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This report from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) addresses the problem of the misuse of criminal law by State and non-State actors with the aim to criminalize the work of human rights defenders. This report conceptualizes the phenomenon of criminalization and identifies the contexts and groups of defenders who are most affected by this practice, as well as the actors who usually participate in the processes of criminalization through the misuse of criminal law. The IACHR focuses primarily in this report on the ways in which criminal law may be used improperly to hamper the defense of human rights and not on administrative or civil obstacles that also interfere with this work.

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