Many activists take action under difficult circumstances. Even if security concerns are often at the forefront of preoccupations, total safety is never a given.
A good planning process starts with an assessment of risks. For an excellent framework for assessment, please see the “Protection Manual for LGBTI Defenders”, edited by Protection International (chapter 3, p40)
In coping with security threats once their arise, we have compiled the list of resources below, which should be read carefully BEFORE engaging in action.
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has released a useful fact sheet on Human Rights Defenders
Protection International has edited an indispensable “Protection Manual for LGBTI Defenders”, which every activist should carefully read
Some emergency resources have also been set up by the international LGBTI community to provide a response to these situations
Dignity for All: LGBTI Assistance Program. The programme provides emergency funds, advocacy support, and security assistance to human rights defenders and civil society organisations under threat or attack due to their work for human rights and equality for LGBTI people.
Dignity for All also supports targeted, time-bound advocacy campaigns to respond to threats or attacks on human rights for LGBTI people and human rights work, as well as assistance for individual victims or communities connected to funded advocacy campaigns. Security training is available to proactively assist organisations to continue their work more safely. The programme is implemented via the following project partners
- Freedom House
- ILGA Europe
- Akahatá Equipo de Trabajo en Sexualidades y Géneros
- Arab Foundation for Freedoms and Equality
- Heartland Alliance
- International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC)
European Human Rights defenders at risk can write directly to Boris Balanetkii-Schlütter, Programmes & Policy Officer at ILGA-Europe
The International HIV/AIDS Alliance, based in Brighton, UK has set up a rapid response fund, which allows applications.
Equally, the Urgent Fund for Women can be contacted
Amnesty international provides a resource pages for Human Rights defenders.
Front line defenders provides an extensive list of resources for Human Rights defenders. Front Line seeks to provide 24 hour support to human rights defenders at immediate risk. If there is a crisis you can contact Front Line at any hour on the emergency hotline. – See more here.
Tactical Technology Collective and partner organisations have worked with human rights defenders, in order to help them to better protect their sensitive data, their communications, themselves and their communities when carrying out their work, through developing online resources, books, and carrying out regular trainings around the world. As part of this process, we have developed the “Security in a Box” book and toolkit.
Justice and Peace, an NGO in the Hague, offers temporary shelter in the Netherlands for HR defenders at risk. More info here
Natalia Project is the world’s first alarm and positioning system for human rights defenders at risk. The bracelet is a critical tool to strengthen the protection of human rights defenders at risk. Named after Natalia Estemirova, who was abducted and murdered in 2009 in Chechnya. Those at high risk of kidnapping wear the Natalia Project alarm on their wrists. In the case of an attack, they activate the alarm by a simple pull of the wristband and a distress signal goes off.
The international Federation of Human Rights leagues also responds to emergency call of Human Rights defenders at risk
The ressource site NewTactics.org has put up an interesting page on security of documentation tools.
Tactical Tech’s Holistic Security is a strategy manual to help human rights defenders maintain their well-being in action. The holistic approach integrates self-care, well-being, digital security, and information security into traditional security management practices.
Staying safe on line is always a big challenge, in times of generalized surveillance. Here are some useful tips to stay anonymous!
There are encryption programs, to put everything on your phone in in a secret code so that no stranger can read it. These programs can also encode your chat, texts, and voice calls, so that outsiders can’t intercept them. You can get these encryption programs for free:
- If you have an IPhone, download Signal here, or Signal for Android here.
- If you have an Android phone, download Boxcryptor here. It’s also available for Windows computers here.
- Or, if you have an Android phone, you can download TextSecure to protect your texting, and RedPhone to protect your voice calls.