In August 2016, partners have issued several alerts warning about the plight of judicial harassment and abuses experienced by human rights activists in China.


  • Three human rights defenders have been sentenced to prison on account of their activities in August only.

  • Reliable sources report about the gravely deteriorating health condition and allegations of torture and ill-treatment of a widely-know defender, continuously subjected to extreme judicial harassment and arbitrary detention since 2005.

  • Defenders' families are being harassed: some have been denied permission to enrol in an elementary school or forced out of their homes.

  • China remains one of the world’s biggest prisons for journalists and bloggers, with more than 100 journalist detained.


In 2016, has allocated 15 emergency grants to Chinese human rights defenders facing several threats and risk in order to provide them with family support, individual or digital security or emergency relocation.




BAHRAIN - restrictions to free movement and travel bans

The EU Human Rights Defenders Mechanism partners are raising their concerns about the identified and systematic pattern of obstacles to freedom of movement against human rights defenders in Bahrain.

  • Travel ban orders have recently been used to curtail the activities of a high number of human rights defenders in the country.

  • Cases of judicial harassment and arbitrary detention of significant defenders have been reported.

  • Around 15 journalist and bloggers are currently detained in the country. 


At the end of 2015, a woman human rights defender from Bahrain received an emergency grant from to cover legal expenses related to multiple threats she faced in the country. Defenders from Bahrain also participated in a training on protection mechanisms and risk assessment funded by and delivered by Front Line Defenders in Turkey in May 2016.




During the last weeks, partners have repeatedly alerted on several cases of criminalisation of human rights defenders in Cambodia.

  • Several land rights activists and human rights defenders who work to combat corruption in Cambodia were convicted and sentenced, in some cases in relation to the Boeng Kak 13 case.

  • Cambodian activists are currently involved in peaceful protests in the framework of the 'Black Monday' to call for the release of five human rights defenders facing politically motivated charges and legal harassment. The five human rights defenders have now spent over 100 days in prison.

As a reaction to this worrying pattern, some of the partners implementing the EU Human Rights Defenders Mechanism are backing the #FreeThe5KH campaign, in support of the five defenders, who are currently in pre-trial detention and under judicial investigation.




27 emergency grants allocated to human rights defenders at risk


Syria [5]

Mexico [4]

Burundi [3]

China [2]

Ecuador [2]

Uganda [2]

Venezuela [2]

Egypt [1]

Iran [1]

Russia [1]

Sri Lanka [1]

Tajikistan [1]

Yemen [1]

Brazil [1]



Freedom of expression [13]

Indigenous Peoples [4]

LGBTI rights [3]

Labour Rights [2]

Elections / Good governance / Corruption [1]

Free association [1]

Impunity / Justice [1]

Land and environment [1]

Multiple fields [1]



Emergency Relocation [9]

Medical support [5]

Individual Security [5]

Legal support [4]

Multiple [2]

Family support [1]

ICT Equipment / Digital security [1]


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