In December 2022, ENAR (European Network Against Racism), together with Frontline Defenders and Protection International, organised a seminar on shrinking space and the threats to human rights defenders (HRDs) who work with racialised people in Europe. The seminar was organised in reaction to an increase in threats and violations experienced by racialised HRDs and the sense of a narrowing civic space in Europe affecting especially HRDs who work on racial inequality, migration and non-discrimination.
The seminar was an opportunity for ENAR members and HRDs civil society organisations (CSOs), but also for officials from the European Parliament (EP), European Commission (EC), United Nations (UN) and donors to come together and have a discussion in a safe space where experiences could be shared and policy solutions explored.
Intimidation and violence against HRDs is a global phenomenon which the European Union (EU) works actively to tackle everywhere in the world. The EU should be praised for this effort and the strong commitment towards civil society, human rights and HRDs. Nevertheless, more attention needs to be paid to the challenges and risks faced by HRDs inside the EU, too.
This paper summarises some of the issues raised at the seminar. It provides some examples of patterns of violations that affect racialised HRDs.