The support and protection of the Right Livelihood Foundation has been extremely helpful as it gives me the possibility and the confidence to continue my work.
Sima Samar, 2012 Right Livelihood Award Laureate
Around the world today, restrictions to fundamental rights and freedoms are an alarming reality. As a result, the work of civil society organisations and individuals face severe constraints.
From Afghanistan to Uganda, Right Livelihood Laureates are often working under restrictive conditions, facing repressive governments and operating in war zones. Armed with courage and tenacity, they actively challenge the system and fight against brutality, oppression and injustice at a high personal cost. In fact, their activism often exposes them to threats, reprisals, persecution, and harassment, which put their life, health or liberty in danger and limit their ability to perform their work.
The Right Livelihood Foundation’s approach to protection is based on the following principles:
- Do no harm: We always keep the interests of the Laureates at heart and never publicise an issue if it could result in reprisals for the Laureate.
- Tailor made approach: We are nondogmatic and always tailor a specific intervention to the country and Laureate specific situation.
- Trust and verify: We verify all information by consulting expert contacts and always coordinate with the Laureate before engaging in any action.
- Sustainability: We map and understand what role the Foundation can play in each intervention and try to anticipate the desired outcomes. We always consider available resources and never begin an intervention without being able to fully commit to it from beginning to end.
- Leverage partnerships: Mindful of our limited resources, we work with partner organisations in Geneva and on the ground to better protect our Laureates and amplify their voices.
Regular Monitoring of threats
The Foundation regularly monitors and reacts to news of its Laureates being threatened. In many cases, we work with the affected Laureate to formulate an effective response. Over the past years, we have written to government authorities, published press releases, gathered signatures and issued joint statements initiated by or in support of Laureates.
The Foundation provides security grants as strategic support for threatened Laureates whose life, liberty or health is in danger, in order to ensure their physical and psychological safety. Past security grants have been provided for funding bodyguards’ salaries, legal fees, or for the temporary relocation of our Laureates when they have been under threat in their home countries.
The Foundation organises solidarity visits to Laureates’ at risk to strengthen their position within their respective countries by advocating directly with the government, engaging with civil society representatives on the ground, or observing Laureates’ on trial. To date, we have undertaken solidarity visits in Brazil, Chad, India, Gaza, Russia, Turkey.
The emergency protocols are a series of measures that the Foundation will take in case of a serious, acute and urgent threat to the life, health or liberty of a Laureate. They gather information and resources, as well as the series of initiatives that should be implemented within the first 24-48 hours after information regarding the emergency reaches the Foundation.