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Economy & Business - September 2019

Emerging legislation to protect Central America’s human rights defenders

In the context of a growth in extractive and energy projects in Central America which have implications for indigenous territory, attacks on defenders of land, environmental and indigenous peoples’ rights have drastically increased in recent years, and new legislation to protect them is becoming key to overcoming the level of impunity under which this violence occurs. Human rights defenders (HRDs) fighting for these rights were nearly three times more likely to be attacked than other activists, according to Ireland-based human rights organisation Front Line Defenders in 2018. Central American countries have sought to address this alarming trend with new legislation to protect them. Here we consider the situation in Honduras, Guatemala, and Costa Rica, where a new approach to strengthening human rights could have implications for companies involved in major projects.

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