Human rights defenders working on development projects face harassment says UN expert

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Margaret Sekaggya

Human rights defenders working on behalf of communities affected by large-scale development projects are increasingly being harassed and branded "anti-government" or "against development".

This warning has come from Margaret Sekaggya, the Special Rapporteur for human rights defenders who reported to the General Assembly on Monday.

The expert said human rights defenders try to help people affected by projects such as the construction of hydroelectric power stations, dams, and roads or the operations of various extractive industries.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Ms. Sekaggya stressed the need to protect human rights defenders working on these projects.

"Human rights defenders all over the world who work on large-scale development projects face a lot of challenges. These include harassment, intimidation, death threats, sometimes they are killed and you find that they find it very difficult in working on these projects or defending those who are working on these projects. So this report talks about a human rights-based approach as the best way to deal with this issue." (29")

Ms. Sekaggya said the human rights based approach means that defenders and those working on the projects should be involved at the initial stages of the projects.

She said that means at the designing, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the project.

Donn Bobb, United Nations

Duration: 1’19″

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