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About this Research

Project Descriptions

Navigating Risk, Managing Security and Receiving Support

This project focuses on how human rights defenders navigate risks, manage their personal security, and receive protection support in five countries – Colombia, Mexico, Egypt, Kenya, and Indonesia.

We interviewed defenders who experienced risk, threat or attack in the past five years. We adopted a broad definition of ‘human rights defender’ as set out in the Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognised Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (commonly referred to as the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders), that is, any person who promotes and strives for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

We included defenders from a wide range of backgrounds and who focus on a wide range of rights. We sought to have equal numbers of men and women and also sought to include people with transgender identities. We deliberately recruited defenders who focus on women's rights and sexual orientation and gender identity rights, as well as defenders who have been criminalised for their human rights practice.

Most respondents participated in an interview or a focus group and completed a survey. A small number of respondents completed the survey without participating in an interview or focus group, and vice versa. Interviews were conducted in English, Spanish, Kiswahili, Arabic and Bahasa Indonesia. We received ethics approval for our research protocol in June 2015. Data collection began in July 2015 and was completed in November 2016.

This is the largest study of its kind.

The Research Team

Principal Investigator:

  • Alice Nah

Researchers:

  • Peter Cousins and Emily Schmitz (Colombia)
  • Erick Monterrosas and Paola Pacheco Ruiz (Mexico)
  • Sherif Azer and Kholoud Hafez (Egypt)
  • Irina Ichim and Patrick Mutahi (Kenya)
  • Indria Fernida and Budi Hernawan (Indonesia)

Research Assistants:

  • Patricia Bartley and Katrina Maliamauv

Facilitator for Artistic Work:

  • Juliana Mensah

Student Assistants

  • Helen Mc Call
  • Emilie Oelgaard
  • Mohamed Erwa Abdelhafez Babiker

Translators

  • Gemma Sunyer
  • Salem Loret
  • Kurniati Shinta Dewi
  • Kholoud Hafez
  • Tāriq M. Suleimān

Illustrations

  • Lara Luna Bartley

 

Advisory Board Members

  1. Andrew Anderson, Director, Front Line Defenders
  2. Enrique Eguren, Senior Researcher, Policy, Research and Training Unit, Protection International
  3. Susi Bascon, Director, Peace Brigades International UK
  4. Hassan Shire, Executive Director, East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defender Project
  5. Anne-Sophie Schaeffer, Programme Director, Euro-Mediterranean Foundation of Support to Human Rights Defenders
  6. Claudia Samayoa, Coordinator, UDEFEGUA, Guatemala
  7. Ruki Fernando, Chairman, Rights Now Collective for Democracy, Sri Lanka
  8. Bahey el din Hassan, Director, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Egypt
  9. Paul Gready, Director, Centre for Applied Human Rights, University of York

  At the end of June 2016  the 10 field researchers attended a week long workshop at the University of York. This was the first time that they had all met together as one big group and it was were able to share their experiences of interviewing HRDs in the different countries.

At the end of June 2016  the 10 field researchers attended a week long workshop at the University of York. This was the first time that they had all met together as one big group and it was were able to share their experiences of interviewing HRDs in the different countries.


Civil Society Networks of Protection

This project examines how formal and informal civil society networks provide protection support to people involved in human rights practice, and the issues they face in doing so. 

More information on this project will be provided in 2017.