Being a human rights activist is one of those things where it is noble to do, but can cause a lot of suffering for yourself and those around you. There are multiple dangers associated with advocating for human rights, and you need to be aware of just how much danger you will be in and how little protection you might have.
You Have A Target on Your Back
If you are living in a country with a lot of human rights issues, odds are that anyone who speaks up will be seen as a threat, and in many cases, there is not a lot that they will not do to silence you. If you are caught, you can be on the receiving end of defamatory comments, rumors, and death threats. You could also be tortured or beaten if officials decide to arrest you, even if they have nothing to arrest you for. If they really want to silence you for good, they could consider killing you.
Those Around You Get Threatened
Unfortunately, it is not just you who has to deal with the consequences of activism. People might use your family to get to you, especially if the family supports your cause. Publish Speaker, Mohamed Soltan knows this very well, as his father has been imprisoned for a long time, and his health raised the alarm in February of 2022 during a supervised visit when officials were demanded to give him proper healthcare that had suspected to have been denied due to his son’s actions as an activist. This is very common, which is why activists either minimize contact with their families or try to keep them safe.
You Can Try Seeking Asylum
Seeking asylum is a popular choice among foreign human rights activists, but it is not always readily available. Some countries require you to fill out paperwork, even for an emergency visa. Said emergency visa may not be granted for months, or even years. Others will not even consider the possibility of granting asylum. If you are lucky enough to be granted entry to the country you want to take refuge in, there are other issues. Two of the most prominent problems you will have after that are making sure your family is safe and avoiding anyone that might come after you once they realize that you have escaped. You can always report to your UN representative, but there might be a delay in getting help, and if the people pursuing you know that you are complying with the UN, they might come after you and your family with even more force.
Attacking, torturing or killing a human being, especially a human rights activist, is against national and international law. However, there are so many things that have to be set in motion before a human rights activist can get the help they need for themselves and their loved ones, and even then, nothing is guaranteed. If you decide to fight for human rights in your country, please exercise caution and be ready for anything.