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Power and safety: rethinking protection for human rights defenders

  • JASS

Over the past few years, JASS and the Fund for Global Human Rights (FGHR) have collaborated on a series of projects to answer the question of why, despite increased investment in human rights, activists are more at risk than ever. As a part of this collaboration, JASS Executive Director Lisa VeneKlasen and James Savage of FGHR co-author Power and safety: rethinking protection for human rights defenders, an article examining how front-line defenders strategize to protect themselves in a ever more hostile global climate. This article features close friends and allies such as OFRANEH, Marusia Lopez CruzUDEFEGUA, and the Quiche people of Guatemala.


“Frontline human rights defenders and their organizations are not just the targets of violence; they are also innovators of effective self-defence strategies as a matter of survival and resistance. Many grassroots organizations and networks integrate some form of self-defence and solidarity into their ways of organizing. For example, the Quiché people of Guatemala defend their territory primarily through decision-making assemblies, communal care, economic solidarity, community guard forces, and emergency communication plans, enabling them to both prevent extractive companies from entering their land, but also creating an alternative way of living. These approaches have not been well-documented or understood by international NGOs and can be eclipsed by individual-oriented, rapid response work.”

Read the full article on OpenGlobalRights.

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