This report is the product of an effort to understand the scale and scope of “transnational repression,” in which governments reach across national borders to silence dissent among their diaspora and exile communities. Freedom House assembled cases of transnational repression from public sources, including UN and government documents, human rights reports, and credible news outlets, in order to generate a detailed picture of this global phenomenon.
The project compiled a catalogue of 608 direct, physical cases of transnational repression since 2014. In each incident, the origin country’s authorities physically reached an individual living abroad, whether through detention, assault, physical intimidation, unlawful deportation, rendition, or suspected assassination. The list includes 31 origin states conducting physical transnational repression in 79 host countries.
- Transnational repression is becoming a “normal” phenomenon.
- Most physical transnational repression involves co-opting host governments in order to reach exiles.
- The consequences for transnational repression are currently insufficient to deter further abuse.
The report consists of an introduction, a description of the methods of transnational repression, case studies on six states—China, Rwanda, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey—conducting significant transnational repression campaigns, regional summaries covering countries not in the case studies, and recommendations.