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Civil Rights Defenders

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Civil Rights Defenders is an international human rights organisation that defends people’s civil and political rights. Our guiding principle is the importance of strong local human rights actors and we partner with and support thousands human rights defenders in some of the world’s most repressive regions. Civil Rights Defenders takes a defender-centric approach, which means that the support provided to partners is based on their needs, usually through long-term partnerships but also in the form of technical trainings, capacity building, financial support and networking opportunities. Together with human rights defenders, we also advance people’s rights globally through advocacy, litigation and public campaigns.

Civil Rights Defenders is a registered Swedish non-profit that is religiously and politically unaffiliated. Our work is financed by governmental organisations, associations, foundations, and through corporate partnerships, as well as contributions from the public.



Many human rights defenders and organisations rely heavily on communicating the human rights issues they are facing to put pressure on duty bearers, provide alternative information and to advocate support. They do this through for example independent media, social media channels, submitting reports and statements to international bodies and organs, through independent organisations and their platforms and during peaceful protests.

When human rights defenders monitor and document human rights abuses and represent victims of human rights violations, they are often threatened and attacked to stay silent. Many human rights defenders that Civil Rights Defenders partner with are also operating in hidden networks, or underground. Yet, they continue their work despite the risks of harassment, smear campaigns, arrest and detention and in the worst cases, disappearances and murder.



In order to support those who fight for human rights, we need to be both creative and innovative. We want to make sure that human rights defenders can continue their work, both safely and efficiently. We are looking for ideas and projects that puts human rights at the center, ensuring protection and security for those who fight for our rights– we are looking for the next Natalia Project.

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