A ProtectDefenders.eu emergency grant was provided by Urgent Action Fund to TajRupt, a human rights group in Tajikistan led by women human rights defenders. TajRupt’s cornerstone program works with young women and men on a curriculum based on the UN’s Voices Against Violence program. Tajrupt also runs HerStory, a program that introduces participants to concepts such as feminism, reproductive health, and rights, female entrepreneurship and employment, the impact of early and forced marriages, preventing violence and harassment against women, and engaging communities in discussions about gender roles and gender equality.
Tajrupt began to receive threats in January 2017 from the associates of the father of one of the young women who had participated in the program. The father was radicalized and estranged from the daughter, but heard about her participation in the program and threatened retaliation. The father and his associates began to show up outside the organization’s office and shout threats at the young people participating in the programs. The group reported the threats to police and asked for assistance, but received no protection from the police. In July, the office was broken into, vandalized, and more serious threats were received. A C1 grant from Urgent Action Fund was requested and immediately enabled the group to add an alarm system and security cameras to its classrooms and offices and to hire a guard. The group also developed a security plan and provided security training to 18 staff and 102 students in its programs.
Three months later, Urgent Action Fund checked in with Tajrupt. Tajrupt reported that taking clear steps to ensure the security of its premises put students and staff at ease. Without the ability to take these steps, it is likely that families would have pulled their daughters from the program, and Tajrupt might have had to close its doors. In this case, a small and swift security investment kept a promising organization up and running and enabled continuous access to its services for over 100 young women, their families, and communities, in Tajikistan.