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

Course 4B: The Criminalization of Rights and Human Rights Defenders as a Means of Repression - June 6

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 Ecuador, South Korea, Brazil and the U.S. 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.

This course took place on Thursday, June 6 at 12 pm Eastern time (9 am Pacific, 4 pm UTC). 

Faculty for Course 4B:

  • Galo Chiriboga Zambrano, Attorney General of Ecuador during the Correa administration (2007-2017)

  • Natali Segovia, Quechua, Executive Director and Senior Attorney, Water Protector Legal Collective and international human rights lawyer 

  • Kyung-uk Jang, South Korean human rights lawyer who has defended numerous cases alleging violation of the National Security Act

  • Jeffrey Frank, Co-chair, International Committee of National Lawyers Guild; national coordinator of the Friends of the MST (Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement)

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

Korean language video

Additional Resources