Double the amount of human rights activists killed in 2016

Safety for activists has deteriorated significantly

Double the amount of human rights activists killed in 2016

Mary Lawlor, Founder and Executive Director of Front Line Defenders| Image: RollingNews.ie

There has been a two-fold increase in the number of human rights defenders killed throughout the world in 2016.

The Irish based agency Front Line Defenders found that 281 human rights activists were killed in 25 countries last year, compared to 156 in 2015.

Their annual report on defenders at risk, published on Thursday, shows that safety for activists has deteriorated significantly in a number of different countries, including The Philippines, Bangladesh, Turkey, and several African and South American states.

The executive director of Front Line Defenders, Andrew Anderson said the increase could be down to the fact that the agency has "become better at collecting information."

Anderson said "The annual report is once again a story of killing and repression but also the story of ordinary women and men who, despite the risks, advocate for human rights in more countries than ever before."

Three quarters of all those killed were reported in The Americas. Brazil and Colombia also remain very dangerous environments for human rights advocates according to the report.

83 deaths were reported in Colombia with a further 60 deaths in Brazil. The majority of deaths relate to defending land rights. At least 13 of the defenders who died in Colombia were killed within three weeks of the peace agreement announced between the government and the rebel group Farc.