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[Press release] 10 December 2010: human rights defenders regularly at risk

December 2010

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FIACAT, an international organization with consultative status to the United Nations, is gravely concerned by acts of violence targeting the physical and psychological integrity of human rights defenders around the world.

"The struggle for human rights is a high-risk activity in many countries, and those engaging in this activity are often targeted by the authorities. On this Human Rights Day, we should remember that nothing is possible without the commitment and determination of these persons working behind the scenes around the world", according to Marie-Jo Cocher, Executive Secretary of FIACAT.

Indeed, human rights defenders, whose work is being recognized by the United Nations on the 2010 Human Rights Day, are often the victims of forced disappearances, summary execution, arbitrary detention or other acts of intimidation and torture. The members of FIACAT and the ACATs are normal people who work tirelessly to advance the cause of human rights in their countries by investigating human rights violations, informing the public, organizing campaigns and raising the awareness of the population and the public authorities, sometimes endangering their own life.
This year, no less than four particularly violent incidents have been directed at ACAT representatives in Brazil, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Togo: the repression of peaceful protest marches, threats, physical violence and beatings.

FIACAT is therefore launching an appeal for the end of all forms of harassment against human rights workers throughout the world so that they can carry out their work freely and without obstacles.

Press contact:
Clara Girard – Communication officer - 01 42 80 01 60
Guillaume Colin - Project leer - 00 226 746 457 28

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