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Activists Resisting Restrictions

The bold activists supported by the Fund for Global Human Rights are some of the world’s most effective catalysts of progressive social change.

Yet, their work is endangered by corrupt government authorities, private companies, and criminal organizations. In today’s climate of rising authoritarianism, activists increasingly face repressive legal restrictions, endure digital and physical security threats, and are depicted as dangerous troublemakers in order to undermine their public support.

The Fund is working to flip this script. Our comprehensive approach to supporting activists facing and resisting restrictions includes:

Our Enabling Environment for Human Rights Defenders Program:

This program provides financial resources, training, and strategic connections that enable activists to remain agile in the face of crackdowns on their work. The Fund gives groups operating in particularly harsh climates opportunities to experiment, test, and share novel strategies to resist restrictions, while developing new skills to forward their human rights objectives. Activists also build solidarity with strategic allies in the wider human rights movement. The result is organizations that can push back on constraints more effectively, boost their resilience, and create space to operate.

Fostering Nontraditional Activism:

The Fund has broadened its work to support emerging leaders from outside the traditional human rights sphere who are creating positive social change in the regions where we work. Influential community and cultural leaders such as actors, comedians, artists, athletes, and academics have the ability to reach large swaths of the population and inspire conversation—and their partnership is key to building public support for human rights and mobilizing movements of change.

Technical Support:

Our technical support equips human rights groups to be resilient and healthy in the face of physical, mental, and digital challenges. We support activists in proactively guarding against assaults and protecting their well-being. This includes enhancements for their physical safety, expertise to help them meet legal and financial regulations designed to curtail their work, and training to prevent or withstand cyberattacks. The Fund also helps grantees access psychosocial support and connect with groups who have endured similar threats.

Emergency Assistance:

If threats escalate, the Fund provides emergency grants focused on protecting grantees’ security and ability to carry on working for change. When a Fund-backed group is being harassed, threatened, or hacked, we do not hesitate to provide immediate funding to safeguard their work and their lives. This often begins with contingency planning as a situation intensifies and may be accompanied by psychosocial support and logistical aid as activists prepare for potential short -term relocation. In the most extreme situations, we also help move activists and their families to safety.

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