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[Event] Launch of Defending in Numbers: Rising Together Against All Odds

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Date: Wednesday, 21 June 2023

Time: 3.00-5.00 PM (Colombo time)

Venue: Kinsey Room, Jetwing Colombo Seven Hotel, Colombo

Online link: YouTube Live


FORUM-ASIA is pleased to announce the upcoming launch of Defending in Numbers: Rising Together Against All Odds. This biennial publication, produced by FORUM-ASIA, aims to identify the main patterns of harassment and challenges faced by Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) within the Asian region. It features emblematic case studies and firsthand information from HRDs, shedding light on the crucial role they play in advocating for human rights.

Defending in Numbers analyses the situation of HRDs in Asia during the years 2021 and 2022, drawing on comprehensive monitoring and documentation of the violations they endured as documented in the Asian HRD Portal. The Portal reveals that a staggering total of 1,636 violations were committed against defenders across 22 Asian countries during this period. These violations impacted not only the defenders themselves but also their families, organisations, and communities, with at least 4,450 individuals affected by the actions of both state and non-state actors.

As part of the launch of Defending in Numbers, FORUM-ASIA is pleased to announce its collaboration with our member, Law & Society Trust to shed light on the situation of HRDs in South Asia, focusing on #SriLanka. Even a year after the countrywide protest that resulted in the resignation of former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, HRDs in Sri Lanka still face targeted attacks and ongoing challenges such as judicial harassment, prolonged pre-trial detention, and surveillance. This collaborative effort aims to delve deeper into the issues faced by HRDs in the region, specifically in Sri Lanka, providing a platform for a comprehensive and specific discussion of their circumstances.

Opening Remarks

  • Sakuntala Kadirgamar, Executive Director, Law & Society Trust, Sri Lanka
  • Mary Aileen Mary Aileen Diez Bacalso, Executive Director, FORUM-ASIA


  • Hye Joon Lee, FORUM-ASIA
  • Deanne Uyangoda, Front Line Defenders
  • Nuwan Bopage (Sri Lankan lawyer and a Human Rights Defender).