Course 4A of the People's Academy - The Criminalization of Rights and Human Rights Defenders as a Means of Repression

Course 4A: The Criminalization of Rights and Human Rights Defenders as a Means of Repression - May 23

The criminalization of dissent, freedom of expression, and human rights advocacy is increasingly used in every region of the world as an effective tool of repression. States routinely criminalize advocacy and rights ostensibly to contain manufactured or real threats from ever widening sources that include possible false flag operations and acts captured by an expanded definition of discrimination and terrorism that includes protesting genocide. In violation of international human rights law, human rights defenders and those resisting war, as well as land and water exploitation, are subjected to unlawful harassment, surveillance, prosecution, disappearance, imprisonment and death. Corporations use SLAPP actions against groups and individuals seeking remedies through the courts. This course will examine the criminalization of human rights defenders as a means of restricting or extinguishing rights, with a particular focus on Palestine, Turkey, Philippines, and Ecuador. It will explain how to use international human rights law and mechanisms to stop, prevent and remedy these abuses that threaten the enjoyment of human rights.

  • Edre U. Olalia, chairperson, National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers, Philippines; Transitional President, International Association of Democratic Lawyers
  • Ş. Ceren Uysal, executive board member, Progressive Lawyers Association of Turkey; co-secretary general, European Association of Lawyers for Democracy & World Human Rights
  • Maria LaHood, Deputy Legal Director, Center for Constitutional Rights, New York; founding board member, Palestine Legal
  • Steven Donziger, lawyer and climate activist; helped Amazon communities in Ecuador win $9.5 billion judgment against Chevron (largest environmental judgment in history)

The program was moderated by Marjorie Cohn, Dean of the People’s Academy of International Law.


English language video

French language video

Spanish language video

Additional Resources