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Durham e-Theses
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The Legal Obstacles to the Work and Life of
Human Rights Defenders: Alternative
Approaches and Recommendations for

KOULA, AIKATERINI,CHRISTINA (2020) The Legal Obstacles to the Work and Life of
Human Rights Defenders: Alternative
Approaches and Recommendations for
Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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The thesis is concerned with the legal obstacles to the life of individuals who fight for the realisation of human rights and are known as Human Rights Defenders (HRDs). It argues that as a consequence of their struggle for human rights and justice, HRDs face numerous obstacles in their work, which affect their human rights activity and may entail serious consequences for human rights in general. In particular, the thesis identifies three main legal obstacles; the lack of a clear definition, the criminalisation of HRDs and impunity for crimes committed against defenders, placing particular emphasis on the failure of international human rights law to provide efficient protection to HRDs. On this basis, it also considers whether international refugee law can act as an alternative way of protection, as a HRD may meet the requirements of the term ‘refugee’. It, however, rejects the idea, emphasising the need of a protection system for HRDs within the state of origin, given the desire of HRDs to remain in their home countries, as well as the crisis of refugee and asylum law. It therefore makes recommendations that could respond to each of the identified obstacles, while drawing upon recommendations for strengthening the implementation of human rights in general, also proposes alternatives, not strictly related to international human rights law as such, that could contribute to the protection of HRDs and the implementation of human rights in general.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Human Rights Defenders, Obstacles, Impunity, Criminalisation, International Refugee Regime.
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Law, Department of
Thesis Date:2020
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:04 Jun 2020 17:16

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