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SLAPPed But Not Silenced: Defending Human Rights in the Face

SLAPPed but Not Silenced: Defending Human Rights in the Face of Legal Risks
Wednesday, November 10, 2021 | 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Online registration is now closed. Please call Customer relations at 212 382 6663 to register or for assistance.

Program Fee:
Free for Members | $15 for Non-Members

Please Note: A final confirmation containing the Zoom link and Access Code to join the event will be sent to ALL registrants 2 hours prior to the start of the event. 

Every day across the globe people bravely speak out against injustice, often at great personal risk. Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) are at the forefront of promoting and protecting our human rights, natural resources, and shared planet. HRDs also play a vital role in drawing attention to the harms created by abusive business practices and monitoring companies’ compliance with business and human rights standards. Human rights defenders are not anti-development, but they are often painted as such and face a range of attacks for the mere reason of speaking up against business-related human rights harms. Strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs) are only one type of these attacks. SLAPPs are civil or criminal lawsuits brought or initiated by business actors that divert time, energy, and resources away from human rights defenders’ vital work and infringe upon a range of rights, including freedom of expression and assembly. Recent research by the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre shows that SLAPPs are a global problem; the analysis identified 355 cases that bear the hallmarks of SLAPPs brought or initiated by business actors since 2015, with 9% of these cases taking place in North America. This webinar will explore the state of SLAPPs globally including types of proceedings, common charges, and the business sectors most commonly involved. It will also explore the role of the legal community in SLAPPs and actions that lawyers and law firms can take to mitigate the use of this tactic against human rights defenders.


Romina Canessa, Staff Attorney, Human Rights and Access to Justice Program, Vance Center

Marie-Claude Jean-Baptiste, Programs Director, Vance Center for International Justice
Morgan Simon, Candide Group
Abigail Everdell, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP

Marco Simons, EarthRights International
Lady Zuluaga, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

Sponsoring Organization:
Vance Center for International Justice, Executive Director, Alexander Papachristou

Co-Sponsoring Committees:
Business and Human Rights Working Group, Viren M. Mascarenhas & Irit Tamir, Co-Chairs
International Human Rights Committee, Ramya Jawahar Kudekallu, Chair 
Communications and Media Law Committee, Matthew L. Schafer, Chair

Related Report:
Letter in Support of Amendments to New York Civil Rights Law's Anti-SLAPP Statute

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