Out of Sight, Not Out of Reach: Understand Transnational Repression
WHAT IS TRANSNATIONAL REPRESSION?
It is governments reaching across borders to silence dissent among diasporas and exiles, including through assassinations, illegal deportations, abductions, digital threats, Interpol abuse, and family intimidation.
It is a daily assault on civilians everywhere — including in democracies like the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, and Australia.
Critical voices that challenge authoritarian rule become voices to silence. Journalists and human rights defenders. Diaspora groups and family members of exiles. Political activists, dissidents and civil society leaders.
What appear to be isolated incidents when viewed separately—an assassination here, a kidnapping there—in fact form a constant threat across the world that is affecting the lives of millions of people and changing how activists, journalists, and regular individuals go about their lives. Transnational repression is no longer an exceptional tool, but a normal and institutionalized practice for dozens of countries that seek to control their citizens abroad.
Its impact on the rights of victims is severe. Even those who are not directly targeted may decide based on the threat against their community to remain silent. This is true of the most extreme violence: a single killing or rendition sends ripples throughout a huge circle of people. But even digital threats or family intimidation—the easiest and most common forms of transnational repression—create an atmosphere of fear among exiles that pervades everyday activities.
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