Emergency Funds (Click on each heading to learn more)

Human rights defenders facing imminent threats or who have experienced targeted violence can apply for emergency funding. Some of these funding sources have strict requirements for how the funds can be used, while others are more flexible.

Agir Ensemble pour les Droits de L’Homme: Emergency Fund

o This emergency defense fund aids human rights defenders who are threatened or persecuted. The fund is available for situations that meet three criteria: a request concerning a human rights defender (member of a field association, but also a journalist, a lawyer, a union organizer, etc.), the person in danger is threatened because of his/her work protecting human rights, and the situation presents itself as an emergency. The intervention can include aid for an evacuation, social and relocation assistance, legal assistance, aid for medical care in cases of violence or torture, and/or an intervention with the relevant authorities.

o How to Apply: The defender should fill out a contact form on the website. Emails are checked daily so that requests can be processed quickly. Staff may ask for further information or start processing the case.

Arab Human Rights Fund

o The Arab Human Rights Fund (AHRF) is a not-for-profit philanthropic organization that provides support for the promotion and realization of all human rights in the Arab region.

o How to Apply: The Arab Human Rights Fund accepts letters of inquiry on a rolling basis throughout the year. A template is available through its Grants Portal. The letters of inquiry are designed to enable staff to determine the applicant’s and project’s eligibility for AHRF funding. Applicants are promptly notified regarding the outcome of the review, and strong applicants are invited by the Fund to submit a full application. The Fund has an urgent approval process to respond quickly to short-lived or emergency opportunities that require an immediate intervention. Decisions are made within one week.

Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE): Journalists in Distress Fund

o CJFE’s Journalists in Distress Fund provides humanitarian assistance to journalists whose lives and well-being are threatened. The recipient must be a journalist, vetted or verifiable by either an IFEX member or an organization that provides journalist assistance. Preference is given to cases where danger to the journalist is imminent or the situation is urgent.

o How to Apply: The application form is available on the website.

Digital Defenders Partnership: Emergency Grants

o The Digital Defenders Partnership supports projects which address digital emergency situations, regarding both network-related emergencies (internet and mobile) and user-related emergencies (bloggers, journalists and human rights defenders), in internet repressive and transitional environments. Projects of individuals and organizations are eligible for support if they plan to work on directly mitigating digital emergencies or improving their digital security apparatus. Support may be direct support to replace equipment, secure hosting, VPN connections, providing personal legal protection, temporary support which is needed to mitigate a specific digital emergency situation, kick start the digital security or testing and research on a specific threat of internet critical users.

o How to Apply: The eligibility criteria are available on the website. Proposals can be submitted by email.

Doha Centre for Media Freedom: Emergency Assistance

o Emergency Assistance (EA) provides direct support, within its means, to journalists who urgently need help, as a result of their work. The EA team assists professional journalists to find sustainable solutions to continue reporting as quickly as possible, with advice, publicity and/or financial means. Journalists can request assistance for medical aid, legal support or other urgent needs.

o How to Apply: The application form is available on the website in English, Arabic, and French.

The East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project

o EHAHRDP provides relocation assistance to human rights defenders from the East and Horn of Africa. It places defenders with partner organizations in countries in the sub region to ensure that defenders can continue to work during their temporary relocation. It also provides financial assistance for housing and other basic requirements. Out of country relocation is only carried out as last resort.

o How to Apply: EHAHRDP has a 24-hour emergency number available for defenders at risk: (+256) 783027611.

EIDHR Direct Small Grants

o The European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) manages an emergency fund for human rights defenders at risk that gives direct small grants of up to 10,000 EUR per grant. Both individuals and organizations can apply, including organizations that are not legally registered. The urgent support may take any form that is considered necessary, such as medical expenses, security materials, evacuation, operations, etc.

o How to Apply: Defenders should contact their European Union delegation or the EIDHR team ( and provide information about the particular case, including the name of the defender(s), background on the case(s), amount of grant requested, and for what purpose.

Euro-Mediterranean Foundation of Support for Human Rights Defenders

o Emergency, tangible and short-term support is provided to human rights defenders facing difficulties or at risk as a result of their activities in the region. Applicants should show that an intervention by the EMHRF will help counter threats against their lives and/or those of members of their family and reinforce the visibility and pursuit of their activities at a strategic timing.

o How to Apply: The application is available on the website and can be submitted in English, Arabic, or French.

Free Press Unlimited: Reporters Respond

o This emergency fund is meant to help journalists who have been confronted with vandalism or intimidations get started again as soon as possible. Reporters Respond gives financial aid to journalists, producers and cameramen and women who are at risk because of their profession.

o How to Apply: The application form is available on the website.

Freedom House: Lifeline Embattled CSO Assistance Fund

o The Lifeline Embattled CSO Assistance Fund provides emergency financial assistance to civil society organizations (CSOs) under threat or attack. Lifeline provides small, short-term emergency grants to CSOs threatened because of their human rights work. Established CSOs with at least two or more activists that are threatened as a result of their human rights activities are eligible for assistance. CSOs need not be officially registered, but must be able to document a history of activism. Beyond traditional NGOs, this can include journalist associations, network organizations, community-based organizations, student groups, labor unions, think tanks, and other associations. These grants can address: security, medical expenses, legal representation, prison visits, trial monitoring, temporary relocation, equipment replacement, and other urgently needed expenses. Long-term support, core costs, and programmatic expenses are not covered.

o How to Apply: There is an eligibility checklist available on the website. To apply, contact and describe how Freedom House can contact you securely before sending sensitive information. Applications are available in Arabic, English, Farsi, French, Russian, and Spanish.

Front Line Defenders Security Grants

o This security grants program provides timely and efficient financial assistance to human rights defenders at risk. Front Line Defenders Security Grants can pay for organizational and personal provisions to improve the security and protection of human rights defenders and their organizations. Grants can pay to improve physical security of an organization, digital security, communication security, and legal fees for HRDs who are being judicially harassed. They can pay for medical fees for HRDs who have been attacked or who have suffered a medical condition as a result of their peaceful human rights activities. They can also provide family assistance for imprisoned HRDs. Grants are for amounts up to a maximum of €7,500. They fund emergency and general security grants.

o How to Apply: The application form can be found on the website. Applications may be made in Arabic, Russian, English, French or Spanish. Applications are considered by Front Line Defenders Board of Trustees on a quarterly basis. They also have a 24-hour emergency hotline service.

The Fund for Global Human Rights

o The Fund offers emergency grants which help protect the security of activists under threat. These grants are made on a case by case basis to frontline groups when financial assistance is needed to protect the security of activists or organizations at risk.

o How to Apply: Email for more information.

International Federation of Journalists: Safety Fund

o This fund provides immediate financial relief to journalists. Beneficiaries of the Fund include anyone in the news-reporting business who finds themselves in financial straits as a result of work-related reasons such as: forced exile due to threats at home; litigation needing help with legal fees; medical expenses for injured journalists; and travel costs to cover journeys to safety. The claim should be supported, to the extent possible, by IFJ affiliates familiar with the case.

o How to Apply: The application form is available on the website.

International Media Support: Safety Fund

o This fund provides support for journalists victimized as a direct result of their journalistic work. The Fund is used in cases where: individual journalists are targeted or victimized as a direct result of their work; a journalist has been killed or rendered otherwise incapable of sustaining his/her family; a journalist is in need of immediate protection as a result of a direct threat (relocation, safe houses, evacuation out of the country or region); or urgent legal or medical assistance is required. Support is given only in the short-term, and no longer than 6 months, covering the immediate needs of the individual or his/her close relatives

o How to Apply: For more information, please write to

International Women’s Media Foundation: Emergency Fund

o This fund provides women journalists with: small grants for psychological and medical care; 3 months of temporary relocation assistance in the event of crisis or threat; legal aid to counter threats of imprisonment or censorship; and non-financial assistance in the form of information about additional access to resources.

o How to Apply: Complete a preliminary questionnaire on the website, and staff members will follow up.

La Maison des Journalistes

o The Maison des journalistes is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting journalists who have been forced to flee their countries because of persecution relating to their line of work. A physical refuge located in the 15th arrondissement of Paris, the Maison des journalists offers these courageous journalists a temporary home and the help they need to rebuild their lives. The journalists are housed free of charge for a period of six months. The organization provides administrative, legal, and social assistance.

o How to Apply: The application form is available on the website in French and English. Supporting Defenders

o Through its partners, undertakes urgent actions, which can include faxed or phoned appeals to the relevant authorities, raising the case through the EU or individual government representatives, practical help with temporary relocation or assistance with medical or legal expenses. The emergency grants programme aims to reach every corner of the world, including most difficult countries and remote locations, and to provide urgent support to all Human Rights Defenders, especially those within the most vulnerable and targeted groups. delivers the emergency support through the established emergency grants programmes of its partners Front Line Defenders, FIDH, OMCT, RSF, UAF, EMHRF, Forum Asia and EHAHRDP, which also draw on non-EU funding to provide rapid practical support to human rights defenders at risk.

o How to Apply: The mechanism provides 24/7 urgent support for Human Rights Defenders facing imminent danger or threats. In the event of a crisis, defenders can contact through the permanent emergency helpline (available in Arabic, English, French, Russian, and Spanish) and the secure contact form. The application and guidelines for temporary relocation can be found on the website.

Reporters Without Borders: Assistance Desk

o The Assistance Desk at the international secretariat of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) in Paris and its counterpart at RSF’s Berlin bureau are responsible for coordinating the administrative, material and financial support that RSF provides to journalists and media in distress. RSF disburses around 100 individual support grants each year that enable journalists who have been the victims of reprisals to cover their immediate needs, pay for medical or legal bills or find a safe refuge if they are being threatened. The Assistance Desk also tries to help the dozens of journalists who flee abroad every year to escape imminent arrest,

persecution and threats. RSF supports the applications they make to the entities responsible for providing them with international protection.

o How to Apply: Individuals, media outlets, NGOs, and journalists in exile can request assistance by mail or email. More information is available on the website.

Rory Peck Trust: Assistance Grants

o RPT provides individual grants to freelance journalists and their families who find themselves in a critical situation. This may include freelancers who have been threatened, imprisoned, injured, forced into hiding or exile, or killed. Amounts and target areas vary according to the particular circumstances of the applicant but examples include medical and rehabilitation costs, emergency subsistence, legal advice, and relocation costs.

o How to Apply: Freelancers and families in a critical situation can contact RPT directly by phone at +44 (0) 20 3219 7867/7865 or by email at to determine if they are eligible for a grant. If so, then RPT will send them an application form. Application forms are available in English, French, Spanish, Arabic and Russian.

Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights

o Urgent Action Fund supports women activists who are being threatened because of their work defending human rights. The Evacuation Grant is a specific type of Rapid Response Grant, designed for those in urgent need of relocation funding because of threats, persecution and/or an extreme security situation. Grants in this category can be used for evacuations within a country (such as moving to a safe house in another city) or for relocation outside of a country.

o How to Apply: Application information is available on the website. Grant applications can be submitted in any language and you will receive a response within 72 hours. Requests can be made for up to $5,000.

World Organization Against Torture (OMCT)

o OMCT, including in the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, provides material assistance and emergency support to at risk human rights defenders working in the most difficult circumstances, in any region of the world. Eligible expenses for financial support or direct material support to human rights defenders and human rights organizations include the following: physical security; digital security; communications; capacity building in security; secure transportation; legal support; medical support (including psycho-social support and rehabilitation); social assistance (including family support); support to temporary relocation where necessary; urgent monitoring, reporting and advocacy; etc.

o How to Apply: The application form is available on the website.


Human rights defenders can apply for fellowships, which are sometimes affiliated with universities, in order to enhance their skills and temporarily relocate to a location abroad. Fellowships offer short-term protection and a chance to re-energize.

Colby College: Oak Human Rights Fellowship

o The Oak Human Rights Fellowship is designed for one human rights professional who is doing on-the ground work outside the United States at some level of personal risk. The Oak Fellowship is a faculty position. The Fellow’s primary responsibility is to teach about human rights issues in his or her area.

o How to Apply: The online application form is available in September, and the deadline is December.

Columbia University: Human Rights Advocates Program (HRAP)

o Founded in 1989, the Human Rights Advocates Program (HRAP) is a unique and successful model of human rights capacity building. HRAP capitalizes on its affiliation with Columbia University and its location in New York City to provide grassroots leaders the tools, knowledge, access, and networks to promote the realization of human rights and strengthen their respective organizations.

HRAP’s comprehensive program of advocacy, networking, skills-building, and academic coursework provides advocates the opportunity to hone practical skills, develop a deeper understanding of human rights, and foster mutually beneficial relationships with organizations and individuals in their respective fields.

o How to Apply: Applications and instructions are available on the website.

The Council for At-Risk Academics (Cara)

o Fellowships support academics at immediate risk around the world, who urgently need a place of sanctuary, to secure a placement for study or post-doctoral research, in the UK or abroad. The focus of the fellowship is on helping academics to maintain and develop the skills, and the networks in the wider academic and scientific community, that they will need when they go back to their country of origin. The fellowship program very often helps the fellow’s family to join them for the duration of the fellowship as well.

o How to Apply: Complete a short questionnaire on the website and then download and complete the Cara Fellowship Enquiry Form and submit it by email with supporting documents.

Human Rights Program, Harvard Law: Visiting Fellows Program

o This program seeks to give thoughtful individuals with a demonstrated commitment to human rights an opportunity to step back and conduct a serious inquiry in the human rights field. Individuals who become fellows are usually scholars with a substantial background in human rights, or experienced activists. On occasion, they have included young committed workers in the field with the capacity and interest to develop as teachers or activists. Fellows spend from one semester to a full academic year (preference for candidates who can commit to a full academic year) in residence at the Law School and devote the majority of their time to research and writing on a specific human rights topic. During this time, they may also audit courses in human rights and related subjects.

o How to Apply: Application details and deadlines are available on the website. Fluent spoken English is required. Funding is not guaranteed but the Human Rights Program can provide some support and assist in

applying for aid externally. Applicants may also indicate interest in funding from the Eleanor Roosevelt Fellowship, which is available to visiting fellows who are nationals of low and middle income countries, preferably working on a project related to the UN treaty bodies.

Institute of International Education: Scholar Rescue Fund

o This fund provides fellowships for professors, researchers, and public intellectuals who face threats to their lives and careers in their home counties. These year-long fellowships support temporary academic positions at institutions of higher learning anywhere in the world where fellows can continue their work in safety. In most cases, fellows are eligible for a second and final year of fellowship support.

o How to Apply: Application materials can be submitted at any time throughout the year. Applicants can apply directly or have a third party submit application materials on their behalf. Scholars from any country and any academic field or discipline may apply. Any persecution or violence due to a scholar’s scholarship, identity, or beliefs would qualify. IIE-SRF may also make a limited number of awards to scholars facing general insecurity, instability, or civil conflict. Applicants are not required to speak English. Priority is given to candidates who have been displaced or in exile for less than two years. Questions about eligibility can be sent to

International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN)

o The International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN) is an independent organisation of cities and regions offering shelter to writers and artists at risk, advancing freedom of expression, defending democratic values and promoting international solidarity. ICORN member cities offer long term, but temporary, shelter to those at risk as a direct consequence of their creative activities. Any writer or artist who is threatened or persecuted for expressing their opinions or ideas, through their professional work or/and their art, is invited to apply for an ICORN residency.

o How to Apply: The application form is available on the website.

Ireland: Humanitarian Visa Scheme for Human Rights Defenders

o Ireland has a dedicated humanitarian visa scheme for human rights defenders. The aim of Ireland’s scheme is to provide a fast-track approach to processing applications to facilitate recognized human rights defenders to travel to Ireland for short stays (three months maximum) for the purpose of respite, and because of temporary safety issues. A high degree of confidentiality is maintained around the scheme and around individual cases.

o How to Apply: An application must be submitted through the Irish Embassy or consular representation in the applicant’s country of usual residence. If there is no representation in the country concerned, the application should be made to the appropriate representation in a neighboring country. Exceptionally, the application can be made directly to the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin (via the Human rights Unit). Applications should be made on a visa application form and must state clearly that the applicant is a human rights defender and include supporting documentation such as letters of support from Front Line Defenders or an equivalent organization.

The Netherlands: Shelter City Initiative

o This national initiative is implemented by Justitia et Pax (Justice and Peace), a Dutch NGO. It allows human rights defenders who are being severely threatened because of their work to apply for a three-month temporary shelter in one of the six Dutch Shelter Cities: Amsterdam, The Hague, Middelburg, Maastricht, Nijmegen and Utrecht. The program covers travel and visa costs, as well as health insurance and the cost

of the three-month stay. It also offers capacity-building activities, medical care, and psychological care. To be eligible, defenders must speak English or French and be willing to speak out in public.

o How to Apply: Twice a year, by email and social media, Justitia et Pax calls for applications. Dutch embassies and consulates, and European representations, also help to identify candidates. Defenders can also email a staff member at Justitia et Pax for more information (contact info is provided on their website).

OHCHR Fellowship Program for NHRI Staff

o The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights organizes a fellowship program to give staff members of NHRIs from all over the world a better understanding and appreciation of the international human rights system. It is expected that the Fellow will return to his/her country/NHRI and thereby strengthen the organization’s capacity in international human rights. The fellows work in the National Institutions, Regional Mechanisms and Civil Society Section (NIRMCSS) of OHCHR for six months.

o How to Apply: Applications are received on a continuous basis and 4 applicants will be selected for the term January-July and July-December for each year. Interested candidates should submit their applications, i.e. CV indicating the preferred term and the letter of recommendation from their respective NHRI, directly to: Biba Pesut, Programme Assistant (

OHCHR Fellowship Program for People of African Descent

o This program provides the participants with an intensive learning opportunity to deepen their understanding of the United Nations human rights system, instruments and mechanisms, with a focus on issues of particular relevance to people of African descent. The fellowship program will allow the participants to better contribute to the protection and promotion of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of people of African descent in their respective countries.

o How to Apply: The application components listed on the website should be submitted by email.

OHCHR Indigenous Fellowship Program

o This comprehensive human rights training program contributes to build the capacity and expertise of indigenous representatives on the UN system and mechanisms dealing with human rights in general and indigenous issues in particular, so they are in a better position to protect and promote the rights of their communities at the international level. The program is accessible in English, French, Spanish, and Russian. The IFP is held annually and fellows from the 4 language components of the program are trained together with simultaneous interpretation during 4 to 5 weeks in Geneva. The date of the training program usually coincides with the annual meeting of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (June/July), thus allowing the fellows to participate more actively in that Mechanism.

o How to Apply: Application forms available on the website should be completed and sent by post or scanned. Information about sessions and application deadlines vary by language; please visit the English, French, Spanish, or Russian websites for details.

OHCHR Minorities Fellowship Program

o Through this program, the OHCHR aims to give persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities an opportunity to gain knowledge on the UN system and mechanisms dealing with international human rights in general and minority rights in particular. The MFP is intended to assist organizations and communities in protecting and promoting the rights of minorities the fellows belong to. The program is 5 weeks long, based in Geneva, and held annually in English, Arabic, and Russian.

o How to Apply: Application forms available on the website should be completed and sent by post or scanned. For information about the application process, contact

Scholars at Risk Network

o Scholars at Risk protects scholars suffering grave threats to their lives, liberty and well-being, primarily by arranging positions of sanctuary at institutions in our network for those forced to flee. In most cases this is a one semester or one year position as a visiting scholar, researcher or professor at a higher education institution in a safe location anywhere in the world. Scholars at Risk also provides advisory services for host institutions and scholars, including those still under threat as well as those forced into exile who are struggling to restart their lives and their careers.

o How to Apply: The application form is available on the website.

Human Rights Awards

Human rights defenders can be nominated for these awards, which offer protective visibility, enhanced credibility, prize money, and travel opportunities for advocacy and protection purposes.

American Bar Association: International Human Rights Award

o The International Human Rights Award honors and gives public recognition to an individual who has made a special contribution in the area of human rights in a foreign jurisdiction. Nominees for the award must have made substantial and long-term contributions in furtherance of civil rights, civil liberties, and/or human rights outside the United States. A “substantial” contribution shall be considered to be one demonstrating a level of dedication or achievement beyond that expected in the normal course of an individual’s work. Nominees must be lawyers or judges, but may be from any jurisdiction.

Front Line Defenders: Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk

o The annual Front Line Defenders Award was established in 2005 to honor the work of a human rights defender who courageously makes an outstanding contribution to the promotion and protection of the human rights of others, often at great personal risk to themselves. The Award seeks to focus international attention on the human rights defender’s work, thus contributing to the recipient’s personal security. A cash prize of €15,000 is awarded to the Award recipient and their organization to support the continuation of their important work.

Human Rights First: Roger N. Baldwin Medal of Liberty Award

o The Roger N. Baldwin Medal of Liberty was established in 1989 in honor of the principal founder of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the International League for Human Rights. The Award is presented by Human Rights First every other year to a human rights organization or activist outside of the United States that has made a distinguished contribution to the protection and promotion of human rights. Criteria include distinctiveness and effectiveness of the nominee’s human rights advocacy and the degree to which the nominee faces risk as a result of their work. The Awardee receives a trip to the United States to engage in advocacy and US$25,000.

The Human Rights Tulip Award

o The Human Rights Tulip Award is granted by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs for courageous human rights defenders who promote and support human rights in innovative ways. The prize is intended to help human rights defenders to learn from each other. The recipient of the Human Rights Tulip is awarded a statuette and a prize worth €100.000 to further develop or expand the scope of their work on human rights.

The Ludovic Trarieux International Human Rights Prize

o The Ludovic Trarieux International Human Rights Prize is an international human rights award given annually to a lawyer for contributions to the defense of human rights. The Prize was inaugurated in Bordeaux in 1984 by French lawyer Bertrand Favreau, to recognize lawyers of any Bar or nationality whose work furthered the defense of human rights, the supremacy of law, or resistant to intolerance and racism. The prize is awarded after consultation with international NGOs and humanitarian organizations.

Martin Ennals Award

o The Martin Ennals Award for human rights defenders was created in 1993 to honor and protect individuals around the world who demonstrate exceptional courage in defending and promoting human rights. The award is granted annually to an individual who has demonstrated an exceptional record of combating human rights violations by courageous and innovative means. The award aims to encourage and provide protective visibility to human rights defenders who are at risk and therefore in need of immediate protection. The prize of at least 20,000 Swiss Francs is to be used for further their work in the field of human rights.

Pan-African Human Rights Defenders Network: African Human Rights Defenders Awards

o These awards honor exceptional individuals who peacefully promote and protect universally recognized rights as stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Altogether six awards are presented: one overall award and five sub-regional awards: the Pan-African Human Rights Defenders Award; the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Award; the West Africa Human Rights Defenders Award; the Southern Africa Human Rights Defenders Award; the Central Africa Human Rights Defenders Award; and the Northern Africa Human Rights Defenders Award.

The Professor Thorolf Rafto Memorial Prize

o The prize is awarded annually by the Rafto Foundation for Human Rights, which was founded in the humanistic tradition of the Helsinki Accords in order to promote the fundamental human rights of intellectual and political freedom. By awarding the Rafto Prize, the Rafto Foundation for Human Rights seeks to bring attention to independent voices that due to oppressive and corruptive regimes are not always heard. The annual deadline for nominations is 1 April. Voluntary organizations, institutions and individuals worldwide, with knowledge or interest in human rights are allowed to nominate candidates for the Rafto Prize.

Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights: Human Rights Award

o The RFK Human Rights Award is granted to an individual who stands up to oppression at grave personal risk in the nonviolent pursuit of human rights. Through this award, the RFK Center stands with these activists and their organizations, supporting them in their endeavors, and connecting them to a global network in order to strengthen their work and raise awareness. Since its inception in 1984, the Human Rights Award has honored and championed activists in 30 countries.

The United Nations Human Rights Prize

o The United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights is an honorary award given to individuals and organizations every five years in recognition of outstanding achievement in human rights. The Prize was established by the General Assembly in 1966 and was awarded for the first time on 10 December 1968, the twentieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Prize is an opportunity not only to give public recognition to the achievements of the recipients themselves, but also to send a clear message to human rights defenders the world over that the international community is grateful for, and supports, their tireless efforts to promote all human rights for all.

Václav Havel Human Rights Prize

o The Václav Havel Human Rights Prize rewards outstanding civil society action in defending human rights in Europe and beyond. Candidates should have made a real difference to the human rights situation of a given group, been instrumental in uncovering systemic violations on a large scale, or have successfully mobilized public opinion or the international community for a given cause. The Václav Havel Human Rights Prize consists of a sum of €60,000, a trophy, and a diploma.

Training Opportunities

Human rights defenders can contact these organizations to take advantage of their training programs to enhance their skills and knowledge. Some trainings focus on security while others cover advocacy tactics, policy frameworks, and other issues.

The Engine Room

o The Engine Room investigates and supports the effective use of data and technology in advocacy. This involves a combination of applied research, generating evidence and providing direct strategic and material support to activists and organizations using data and technology in their work. Organizations seeking support can contact them directly at

Front Line Defenders

o In response to concerns expressed by human rights defenders about the challenges of addressing risks and threats, Front Line Defenders has developed a program of training on security and protection. The program, which includes workshops, courses, seminars, and training resources, aims to facilitate a sharing of skills, knowledge, and expertise to provide human rights defenders with additional information and tools that may assist in addressing personal and organizational security and protection issues. Workshops for human rights defenders at risk cover risk assessment, threat analysis, reaction to security incidents, digital security (basic level), dealing with stress, the production of practical security plans geared towards each defender’s unique situation, and how to produce organizational security plans. For more information, contact

The Global Human Rights Education and Training Centre: Human Rights Defenders Academy

o The Human Rights Defenders Academy is an annual advanced training program for human rights practitioners seeking to increase their monitoring and advocacy skills, develop an understanding of practical tools and measures to ensure their own personal security and protection, learn about EU foreign policies related to human rights defenders, and gain a practical understanding of how EU-level advocacy can positively influence human rights policies in their home countries. Additional HREA human rights trainings can be found on their website.

The Hague Training Course for Human Rights Defenders on Security

o This training course is designed for human rights defenders who are working on a wide range of issues all over the world. Each year, at least 40 persons are invited to The Hague to participate in two one-week programs which consist of modules covering diverse topics. For instance, one module focuses on protection mechanisms, while others cover how to use digital safety tools and carry out risk assessments. The training course also aids defenders in building skills to conduct advocacy and influence policy.

International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ)

o The International Center for Transitional Justice offers courses, workshops, and fellowship programs focusing on transnational justice for scholars, students, and activists. Training opportunities are posted regularly on their website.

Protection International

o Protection International offers online training courses on a range of subjects for human rights defenders to develop various skills, capacities, and strategies to improve security and protection, both for themselves and also for the people they work with. Courses are offered in English, Spanish, and French. The enrollment fees depend on various factors such as country of origin or residence, the institution the participant is involved with, and the course duration.

Guidelines on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders

Human rights defenders can use these guidelines as resources to understand how diplomats based in their country are expected to support and protect human rights defenders. They can be the basis for conversations with embassies to request specific actions, such as trial monitoring or public statements on behalf of human rights defenders at risk.

European Union Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders

o Created in 2004 and updated in 2008, these guidelines provide practical suggestions for enhancing actions by EU Missions (Embassies and Consulates of EU Member States and European Commission Delegations) in support of human rights defenders.

o Also available in Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, Greek, German, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish, and Swedish.

Norway’s Efforts to Support Human Rights Defenders: Guide for the Foreign Service

o Created in 2010, these guidelines are intended as a practical guide for Norway’s efforts to support human rights defenders through Norway’s diplomatic missions, as well as in multilateral forums, human rights dialogues, and consultations at the political level.

o Also available in Spanish.

OSCE Guidelines on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders

o Created in 2014, these guidelines concentrate on the protection of human rights defenders at risk and are based on OSCE commitments and universally recognized human rights standards that OSCE participating States have undertaken to adhere to.

o Also available in Hungarian, Russian, Serbian, and Ukrainian.

Swiss Guidelines on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders

o Created in 2013, these guidelines aim to compile best practices and provide a uniform approach across all of Switzerland’s representations to working with human rights defenders for their protection.

o Also available in Arabic, French, German, Italian, Russian, and Spanish.

UN Fact Sheet No. 29: Human Rights Defenders: Protecting the Right to Defend Human Rights

o Created in 2004, this fact sheet aims to support human rights defenders and is addressed to state authorities, national and international NGOs, United Nations personnel, major private sector actors, human rights defenders, and the public.

o Also available in Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, and Spanish.

U.S. Support for Human Rights Defenders

o Created in 2013, this policy statement identifies the State Department’s strategies to protect and support human rights defenders.

o Also available in Chinese, French, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Urdu, and Vietnamese.

Source: Human Rights First