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Practical support
to defenders at risk

Urgent helpdesk

Defenders facing immediate risk can contact through the 24/7 emergency helpline, run by Front Line Defenders.

You can send us an encrypted message through a secure contact form.

This contact form does not handle requests or demands related to the Canada Resettlement Stream.

Emergency grants

The emergency grants programme ensures that human rights defenders can access and implement urgent security measures to protect themselves, their family, and their work. Emergency grants aim to reach every corner of the world, including most difficult countries and remote locations, as well as those within the most vulnerable and targeted groups.

Our emergency support is delivered through the established emergency grants programmes of partners Front Line Defenders, FIDH, OMCT, RSF, UAF, EMHRF, Forum Asia and DefendDefenders.


Applications for emergency support are evaluated on a case by case basis and considering the criteria of identity, situation, and needs.

  1. The applicant is a human rights defender working for human rights in accordance with the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders;
  2. The applicant is facing risks because of his/her human rights work;
  3. The applicant needs urgent support (lack of access to alternative sources of support will be taken into account).

No EU funded grant will exceed 10,000 € The different partner organisations may also apply additional criteria or limits.

The list of types of activities eligible for emergency financial and material support to Human Rights Defenders at risk includes:

  1. Physical security;
  2. Digital security;
  3. Communications;
  4. Capacity building in security;
  5. Secure transportation;
  6. Legal support;
  7. Medical support (including psycho-social support and rehabilitation)
  8. Humanitarian assistance (including family support);
  9. Urgent relocation;
  10. Urgent monitoring, reporting and advocacy;
  11. Other

Apply for an emergency grant

Update January 2024: At the moment, is experience technical difficulties – please accept our sincere apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.

If you are in need of emergency support, please contact our Consortium partners who implement emergency grants:

The Temporary Relocation Programme

The Temporary Relocation Programme provides financial support to a host organization responsible for implementing the relocation of a selected human rights defender.

Relocations funded under the Temporary Relocation Programme for a human rights defender at risk can be in response to an increased risk, an anticipated increased risk or for a human rights defender who has been working in a difficult environment for a prolonged period of time and who needs a break.

Programme Priorities

The programme is designed to provide financial support for relocation which offers the following essential components:

(1) Holistic approach addressing various needs of human rights defenders during the relocation such as: rest and respite, professional capacity development, expanding the network of contacts, emotional and psychological well-being, family support, among others.

(2) Gender perspective to ensure the safety and well-being of all human rights defenders, taking into account the unique challenges and risks faced by women, non-binary and trans individuals, and other gender minorities.

(3) Sustainability of post-relocation phase in order to ensure that HRD will be able to continue their human rights work.

The Temporary Relocation Programme allocates funds for the relocation of HRDs with the intention of returning to their home country or region if circumstances allow, and who plan to continue their human rights work following the conclusion of their relocation.

The programme provides support for a temporary period (up to 1 year), and does not facilitate permanent relocation and/or asylum procedures.


Funds within this programme are limited. In 2024, the Temporary Relocation Programme accepts the referrals coming from partners, host entities affiliated with the EU Temporary Relocation Platform and co-partners of the Shelter Initiatives programme.

If you require emergency assistance, please contact us.

I am a defender at risk, which program should I apply to?
Frequently Asked Questions about’s grants

Whether you are a potential applicant or have some general questions, you can find answers and information quickly about our support to human rights defenders in the FAQs below

We operate two programmes to support individual human rights defenders at risk, and their families when possible, but they are quite different:

  • The emergency support program is a rapid response mechanism to cover urgent protection measures. Each situation and case are different, and so are the grants we mobilise. An emergency grant may cover for, among other, physical security measures (e.g., safe transportation, alarm systems), legal aid (e.g., lawyer fees), medical costs or family support, but this list is nonexhaustive and you are encouraged to identify the protection needs that work best for your case. The programme can also support urgent relocations – but these are typically for a short-term period, in-country or at the regional level. An emergency grant can be a combination of several of these measures, too.
  • In contrast, the temporary relocation program facilitates structured, comprehensive relocation for defenders at risk – and their families when needed, in partnership with host institutions. Our programme provides funding and technical support to set up temporary relocation programmes for defenders with a holistic approach, by tackling the personal needs of human rights defenders during the relocation in a comprehensive manner, and with a focus on the sustainability of the post-relocation phase, in order to ensure that an HRD will be able to continue their human rights work.

If you are a human rights defender at risk as a result of your activities, you may be eligible for support. You can find the specific eligibility criteria of the different programs under the following links:

  • For the emergency grants programme, please find a list of all kinds of eligible costs here. Please note that measures that are not related to physical or psychological security (e.g., university education, office supplies, rent) cannot be covered under the emergency grants program.
  • For the temporary relocation program, please find a list of all eligible costs here.

You can apply to either programme with downloadable application forms, which you can find by following these links:

Alternative to the application form, you can also apply to our programmes through our secure web forms, which can be found through the following links:

Still unsure on how to apply? Get in touch

Not necessarily. You can send a request and communicate officially with us in English, French, Spanish, Arabic, or Russian. We will do our best to accommodate requests in other languages, too.

Through its different programmes, provides support to human rights defenders at risk because of their work related to human rights. Due to a specific mandate and to budgetary constraints, cannot, unfortunately, support all human rights defenders in need. However, you may find information about other funding organisations that can provide support to human rights defenders at risk here

It is crucial that you reply to all questions in the form. Please provide sufficient information to give an understandable overview, however you do not need to include information that is not directly related to the questions or not relevant to the present request. You can also include attachments in your requests to substantiate the information you provide.

Yes. You can use the downloadable application forms, which can be found here

Neither of the programs require a minimum amount per grant.

The Emergency Grants programme can cover for a maximum of 10,000EUR, with the average grant being 3,000 EUR. However, these values are only illustrative: will assess the relevance of the measures and their impact on the security situation of the defenders on a case by case basis.

The Temporary Relocation program offers grants of maximum 60,000EUR. In practice, grant averages are much lower and are generally not awarded for 100% of the proposed budget. The proposed budget should be realistic and duly justified.

Yes. If you are at risk and your family is in need of support as a result of it, you can request support for them.

Yes, you can choose which destination you want to relocate to. We can support in-country relocation, and we tend to prioritise relocation within your region, because they usually are more efficient and facilitate your adaptation. In any case, your choice of place of relocation should be justified.

However, the temporary relocation programme requests co-funding from other sources, and the country of relocation selected will result in different co-funding requirements: In most countries, will require a co-funding of at least 5% of the total relocation budget. In contrast, if your relocation takes places in an EU country, Australia, Canada, Iceland, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, Switzerland, United Kingdom or the United States, at least 30% of the total relocation budget shall be provided by a different source.

We ask for two references in each application that may be helpful during our verification process of your identity as a defender, the context of your work, or your current situation, and therefore they may be contacted by us. References can be individuals or organizations.

In case of the emergency grants programme: After you have submitted your request, it will be reviewed by the secretariat. If it meets the program’s criteria, the case will be forwarded to one of the Consortium members, chosen based on the application’s thematic and geographical focus. The consortium members review the application based on their own eligibility and criteria and conduct the verification process.

In case of the temporary relocation programme: the application is assessed and verified by the secretariat based on the eligibility and criteria of the programme.

Only one request per Human Rights Defender will be processed at a time. If you send several requests, you will be asked to choose which one shall be processed. Also, if you have applied to different programs outside of at the same time, please indicate this in your application form. However, one applicant can submit applications for different Human Rights Defenders at the same time.

When your request has been received, you will receive a confirmation e-mail. If you do not receive a confirmation e-mail within: – Two business days for the Emergency Grants program – One week for the Temporary Relocation program, please send us another e-mail. Your request has likely not arrived to us.

In order to inquire about the status of your application, please reach out to: for the Emergency Grants program and for the Temporary Relocation program. Please note that the length of the process to assess an application can vary based on several factors. You will be informed of the outcome of your application as soon as a decision has been taken.

If your request has been rejected, you will be informed of this outcome by the secretariat.

  • For the emergency grants programme: If your request has been accepted, you will be informed of this by the partner in charge of your application.
  • For the temporary relocation programme: If your request has been accepted, you will be informed of this by the secreatriat.

Yes, all information that you give is kept confidential. If your request for support is accepted, you will be asked whether the information you have provided shall be kept confidential or can be shared. You can then choose between the two options.

If you believe that you have been negatively affected by the actions of or its representatives, you can submit a complaint through our website and we will review it thoroughly. If you do not have a specific complaint but would like to provide feedback regarding our work, you can also use this channel to communicate your feedback to us.

The Canadian Refugee Stream for Human Rights Defenders (funded by the Government of Canada)

The Canadian Refugee Stream for Human Rights Defenders

The Government of Canada has established a dedicated refugee resettlement stream for human rights defenders, and is working with ProtectDefenders and Front Line Defenders, alongside other Canadian and international partners, including the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), to identify human rights defenders who face risks and are in need of resettlement. is a referral partner for the Government of Canada. Under the global stream, a limited number of resettlement spaces for human rights defenders (including family members) are identified and filled by the programme’s network of referral partners. Applications must be referred by a referral partner; individuals cannot apply directly for resettlement or make a claim at a Canadian mission or embassy. Please see this page to find out more about and its partners.

Please be advised; the number of requests we received through our public access point have been far greater than the spaces available under the programme. Therefore, at this time the public access point to the programme is now closed, and we are unable to accept and process further requests