Irish Government urged to speak in defence of human rights activists
The Irish Government has been urged to use its international sway to speak up in defence of human rights activists across the world.
Human rights organisation Front Line Defenders (FLD) said 157 activists were killed or died in detention in 25 countries over the first 11 months of 2015.
The figures are included in a new report launched in Dublin today.
Mary Lawlor, executive director at FLD, said Ireland should adopt an “automatic policy of publicly condemning the killings of human rights defenders” in countries such as Colombia, which accounted for 54 of the alleged killings.
She added: “The EU is quite happy to raise the situation in Burundi or Belarus, but when it comes to Ethiopia, China, Mexico, or Azerbaijan, it’s a different story.
“Ireland and the EU must be as strong speaking up for human rights defenders in countries where they have political and strategic interests as they are when it comes to the usual suspects.”
Ms Lawlor said judicial harassment had become “normalised” in many parts of the world, including Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand, but “extreme violence” remained the organisation’s top concern.