Dispatches & Global Analysis by Front Line Defenders
Front Line Defenders is proud to present Dispatches 2019, the annual magazine showcasing the work the organisation is doing to support courageous human rights defenders. Together with Global Analysis 2019, it offers a valuable reminder during these dark days of the resilience and courage of human rights defenders in driving positive social change around the world and maintaining hope in the face of enormous adversity.
Over the last year, Front Line Defenders has continued to expand its support to human rights defenders most at risk. In 2019, FLD provided rapid and practical support to 2,307 human rights defenders and 366 organisations in 117 countries. Through the Protection Grants programme alone, FLD provided direct support through 626 grants totalling over €1.5 million to HRDs facing urgent threats, an increase of 17% compared to 2018. By further mainstreaming wellbeing and psycho-social support across our programmes, FLD has been able to enhance its provision of comprehensive holistic support to those most at risk.
As highlighted in the Front Line Defenders 2019-2022 Strategic Plan, it is a clear organisational priority to support most-marginalised HRDs, including women human rights defenders, LGBTI rights defenders and defenders working on land, environment and indigenous peoples’ rights. Some examples of that commitment in 2019 include the provision of an unprecedented number of protection grants to environmental rights defenders (+51%), the presentation of the Front Line Defenders Annual Award to five LGBTI+ Rights Defenders, the beginning of a new learning and consultation process focused on defamation facing women human rights defenders at risk, and the publication (with Irish writing centre Fighting Words) of the anthology Yes, We Still Drink Coffee, Stories of Women Human Rights Defenders.
A highlight of 2019 was the biennial Dublin Platform, bringing together 114 HRDs at risk and over 100 other international stakeholders. We hope that the encouragement and support shared by so many brave HRDs from around the world during the Platform can help sustain and energize them for the challenging months ahead. As one on participating HRD from the Asia/Pacific region told us, “The Dublin Platform [...] is a new knowledge horizon that took away my fear and replaced it with love and peace that gave me strength to never give up on what I am doing because I have people who are working with me in solidarity to create justice for my people”.
As the COVID-19 crisis further develops and impacts on human rights defenders and those they work for, Front Line Defenders has been taking necessary measures to ensure that our support to HRDs at risk can be maintained. Our Protection Grants Programme remains fully operational and we continue to provide security support remotely. I would also invite you to read and share our Guide on Physical, Emotional & Digital Protection While Working from Home. And to continue providing a platform for HRD voices, even when convening is not possible, FLD has re-launched its podcast series “Rights on the Line” - new episodes will be launched each week.
2019 has been characterised as ‘the year of the protestor’, and human rights defenders all around the world reminded us again of the great things that grassroots activists can achieve when they are empowered to work together in solidarity. We are honoured to play a role in supporting them to carry on their work, and are committed to continue doing so in the challenging times ahead.