Practical support
to defenders at risk

Urgent helpdesk

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

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

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 ProtectDefenders.eu partners Front Line Defenders, FIDH, OMCT, RSF, UAF, EMHRF, Forum Asia and DefendDefenders.

Eligibility

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

Temporary relocation programme

ProtectDefenders.eu allocates grants for Human Rights Defenders at risk to temporary relocate within their country or abroad, in case of threat, in partnership with host entities worldwide. If needed, families of human rights defenders are also eligible for support and relocation.

During the relocation period, defenders are able to rest, seek rehabilitation, build their capacities through training, expand their international network of contacts, pursue their human rights work from a secure location and prepare their safe return.

Eligibility

ProtectDefenders.eu assesses applications on a case-by-case basis, by reviewing the application form received.

Applications should conform to the Temporary Relocation Programme Guidelines. ProtectDefenders.eu accepts applications sent directly by individuals at risk or by potential host organisations, including members of the EU Temporary Relocation Platform acting on behalf of Human Rights Defenders. When needed, ProtectDefenders.eu also tries to connect Human Rights Defenders with potential hosts. Host institutions in the global South will be eligible for 95 % funding of the relocation costs.

Host organisations based in other countries will be expected to contribute 30% of the costs for each relocated Human Rights Defender.

Please be aware that the volume of applications exceeds the yearly budget of this programme. Therefore, applicants are strongly encouraged to seek additional co-financing to complement the grant allocated by ProtectDefenders.eu. More information about the co-financing requirements can be found in the Temporary Relocation Programme Guidelines available on this website (page 6).

I am a defender at risk, which program should I apply to?
Frequently Asked Questions about ProtectDefenders.eu’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, ProtectDefenders.eu 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, ProtectDefenders.eu 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: ProtectDefenders.eu 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, ProtectDefenders.eu 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 ProtectDefenders.eu 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 ProtectDefenders.eu 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: eg@protectdefenders.eu for the Emergency Grants program and tr@protectdefenders.eu 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 ProtectDefenders.eu secretariat.

  • For the emergency grants programme: If your request has been accepted, you will be informed of this by the ProtectDefenders.eu 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 ProtectDefenders.eu 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.

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

The Canadian government has expanded the available spaces for the Human Rights Defenders refugee stream as part of the broader Government of Canada’s humanitarian commitment to welcome vulnerable Afghan refugees—including women leaders, human rights defenders, persecuted religious or ethnic minorities, LGBTI individuals, and journalists and people who helped Canadian journalists.

ProtectDefenders.eu advises the Canadian Government on human rights defenders at risk and makes referrals to them for consideration for resettlement under this Refugee Stream for Afghan Human Rights Defenders. ProtectDefenders.eu will not be involved in the final decision-making regarding successful candidates, or the resettlement process. The Refugee Stream is managed by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada – a department of the Government of Canada, and it is funded by the Government of Canada.

ProtectDefenders.eu works with partner organizations to receive and screen applicants for the Canada resettlement stream.

The partner organizations that ProtectDefenders.eu works with include:

 

Eligibility

Please note that this Refugee Stream is not a quick solution for emergency evacuation. It is a lengthy process and will require the submission of several forms, references, and documents. There are a limited number of available resettlement spaces under this stream.

If you are an Afghan national but you are not a human rights defender, you may be eligible for other programs that the Government of Canada has put in place to support Afghan nationals. Please refer to this website for more information

  1. be a human rights defender who has faced risks related to their human rights activities
  2. be outside of their home country and cannot return to their home country due to a well-founded fear of persecution *
  3. meet the criteria to qualify as a Convention refugee (see UNHCR definition)
  4. meet Canada’s criteria for resettlement under the Refugee Resettlement Program, including eligibility and admissibility criteria
  5. be without access to a durable solution in the host country
  6. be interested in traveling to Canada to establish permanent residence, and such travel is expected to be logistically feasible
  7. be known/vetted and verified by PD.eu or its partner organizations

On an exceptional and case-by-case basis, a referral may also be made for HRDs inside Afghanistan or their family members, however, given the security situation in Afghanistan and the difficulty for persons to depart, the focus of the program is on HRDs outside of Afghanistan, who can feasibly travel to Canada.

To apply

Before applying, please ensure to thoroughly read through these instructions, the criteria, the information sheet, and the checklist of supporting documents. This information will guide you in understanding if you are eligible or not, and in preparing a complete application, therefore easing and expediting the processing of your request.

Please make sure to explain any active contribution to human rights and a clear link between the risk faced and your human rights work. You can also attach any documents that support your claims, as per the supporting document checklist.

To send an eligibility screening request to this program, please download the form and send it duly filled to canada-program@protectdefenders.eu.

Please note that only potentially eligible applicants will be contacted. We will aim to reply to these applicants within six weeks of the date of their first contact with us, although processing times can vary based on case complexity and the volume of incoming caseload.

Please note that individual assistance and/or living expenses are not provided in this program.

For candidates who are approved for resettlement to Canada, transportation loans are available via the Immigration Loans Program. The Government of Canada works closely with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to coordinate travel to Canada. Additional details on the Immigration Loans Program are available on this website.

Exceptionally for Afghans transiting in third countries, IRCC may provide temporary accommodation/meals for resettled refugees with resettlement applications in process and while in staging country and awaiting travel to Canada. Clients should contact the Canadian embassy in that country to request these arrangements.

To receive more information about the program, you can send an email to canada-program@protectdefenders.eu.