The problems

Defenders are increasingly being criminalised, intimidated, harassed and, in some cases, even murdered for standing up to companies, corporations, extraction industries and governments who are exploiting natural resources, eroding land and customary rights and threatening local livelihoods. Companies as well as governments have used physical threats against defenders all over the planet. Examples of physical threats include killings and attempted killings, sexual assault and rape, torture, and arbitrary detention and illegal arrest.

Most attacks are preceded by some form of targeted surveillance (digital or not). Each context is different, and the attackers use different tactics, techniques, procedures, tools, exploits, pivoting methodologies, and goals. “Typical defences” may not fit, may even make no sense at all. Hence we propose an adaptation of “red teaming” campaigns, involving local people for building local detection and incident response teams, which will have enough connections to escalate incidences when necessary.

Digital security attacks on defenders were widespread and their impact had numerous knock-on effects relating to the security of the defenders and movements more broadly. Social media attacks, trolling and hacking or blocking of social media accounts occurred in all regions, but their frequency was especially noticeable in Brazil, Egypt, Guatemala, Honduras, Iraq, Mexico, Nicaragua and Venezuela. Phone and email surveillance was conducted in numerous countries, and frequently targeted higher risk groups include LGBTI+ defenders, women's human rights defenders and environmental activists.

  • Last modified: 2019/12/11 12:50