Impunity happens in the absence of the rule of law. As a result of impunity, those suspected of criminal acts are not prosecuted or punished and victims are left without effective remedy or compensation for their injuries or loss. At the same time, they – and society – are denied access to the truth about the violations suffered.
Human rights violations and environmental degradation are particularly pervasive in the context of large-scale extractive and infrastructure projects. Despite the existence of international standards and legislative codes meant to protect threatened individuals and communities, these rights are often the focus of conflict as powerful interests wish to exploit the natural resources found within and beneath traditional territories.
Women and minority rights activists around the world are working to create positive change in their communities. Women human rights defenders face many of the same challenges as their male counterparts. However, many face additional obstacles and threats because they challenge the status quo twice over – through their work and by challenging (by their very existence) accepted norms, traditions, perceptions and stereotypes about femininity, sexual orientation and the role and status of women in society. As a result, they are vulnerable to threats, stigma, rejection by family and community, and violence.