People working peacefully for human rights may be persecuted under the pretext that they constitute a threat against the national security of a country. In many cases, human rights activists are jailed because they defend or try to help people who have been harassed or detained because of their beliefs. In some countries, people working for human rights are taken to clandestine detention centres and tortured. They are sentenced to long prison terms by secret trials. Their efforts are officially denounced, their houses are raided, their papers are confiscated, and their families intimidated.
According to the United Nations, during 1986-1988 several of human rights leagues or associations were threatened and banned and their activists persecuted, imprisoned and murdered in Algeria, Chile, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Poland, Singapore, Tunisia and Vietnam. In Peru in 1990, there were numerous reports of government-prompted attacks, persecution and threats against human rights organizations, their leaders and members, including the disappearance of Guadalupe Callocunto, a human rights activist.