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22 May 2024

Global Analysis 2023/24

Front Line Defenders launched its Global Analysis 2023/24 on the situation of human rights defenders (HRDs) at risk around the world today, an in-depth annual publication detailing the variety of risks, threats and attacks faced by HRDs around the world.

The Global Analysis gives a panorama of the threats faced by HRDs in all regions of the world. Despite an assault on human rights and the rule of law in many countries, human rights defenders (HRDs) showed remarkable courage and persistence in advocating for more democratic, just and inclusive societies in 2023.

Download the full Global Analysis 2023/24

 Read the press release here


At least 300 HRDs killed in 28 countries

The report also reveals statistics gathered and verified by the HRD Memorial initiative – which Front Line Defenders coordinates – documenting the killings of at least 300 HRDs in 28 countries in 2023. Almost a third of those killed (31%) were Indigenous people’s rights defenders. This brings the total documented killings of HRDs in the last decade to nearly 3,000.

“This appalling wave of attacks on human rights defenders is a direct result of an international human rights framework left in tatters and governments’ double standards when it comes to respecting human rights,” said Alan Glasgow, Executive Director of Front Line Defenders.

“A quarter decade after the UN adopted a Declaration on human rights defenders, not enough progress has been made to ensure defenders are valued and protected. In this time, thousands of defenders have paid with their lives and many more face ongoing attacks and intimidation for their peaceful work. Urgent action is needed to change this.”

Wide-ranging risks to HRDs

Globally, the violation most commonly cited by HRDs was arbitrary arrest/detention (15%), followed by legal action (13%), continuing an ongoing trend of criminalisation as the most-reported risk. This was followed by death threats (10.2%), surveillance (9.8%) and physical attacks (8.5%). Trans and non gender-conforming HRDs reported slightly higher rates of physical attacks, and a much greater risk of smear campaigns. Globally, the five most targeted areas of human rights defence were: LGBTIQ+ rights (10.2%); Women’s rights (9.7%); Human rights movements (8.5%); Indigenous peoples’ rights (7.1%); and Human rights documentation (5.2%).

The statistics in the Global Analysis are derived from Front Line Defenders’ casework and approved grant applications between 1 January and 31 December 2023. The statistics are based on 1,538 reported violations in 105 countries. Front Line Defenders documents multiple violations per case or grant, as this is the reality of the situation for human rights defenders. For more details on how these and the HRD Memorial data are gathered, please refer to the Methodology section at the end of the report.