Justice and Rule of Law
Impunity happens in the absence of the rule of law. As a result of impunity, those suspected of criminal acts are not prosecuted or punished and victims are left without effective remedy or compensation for their injuries or loss. At the same time, they--and society--are denied access to the truth about the violations suffered.
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Economic and Social Rights
Human rights violations and environmental degradation are particularly pervasive in the context of large-scale extractive and infrastructure projects. Despite the existence of international standards and legislative codes meant to protect threatened individuals and communities, these rights are often the focus of conflict as powerful interests wish to exploit the natural resources found within and beneath traditional territories.
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Women Human Rights Defenders
Women and minority rights activists around the world are working to create positive change in their communities. Women human rights defenders face many of the same challenges as their male counterparts. However, many face additional obstacles and threats because they challenge the status quo twice over--through their work and by challenging (by their very existence) accepted norms, traditions, perceptions and stereotypes about femininity, sexual orientation and the role and status of women in society. As a result, they are vulnerable to threats, stigma, rejection by family and community, and violence.
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Land and Environmental Defenders
Many indigenous and traditional farming (or campesino) communities are struggling to protect the land on which their livelihoods depend. Often living in conditions of extreme poverty, they rely on their land for food, shelter, and cultural identity. In some cases, pollution from mining threatens to seep into the land and water. In others, communities have been forced from their land for development projects or monoculture plantations, condemning them to internal displacement and landlessness. Others campaign for sustainable land use, seeking to halt patterns of destruction for the benefit of future generations.
Defenders of land rights, culture, and natural resources can find themselves facing powerful interests and brutal opposition. Some have approached PBI for protection after they have been attacked or their colleagues assassinated. Many others have been subjected to criminal prosecutions based on spurious charges.