In many countries, companies suffering from the glare of unwanted attention for human rights abuses may strike back at human rights advocates and defenders. A strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) is a lawsuit intended to censor, intimidate, and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition. In some contexts, SLAPP is accompanied by criminal defamation charges. Environmental, human rights and public health advocates are amongst those most at risk of oppression and intimidation, including through SLAPP.
SLAPP undermines the rights to freedom of expression, of peaceful assembly and of association.