The Protection Programme aims to develop appropriate preventative and intervention strategies for the protection of HRDs, including community-based activists working on civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, independent journalists, environmental activists and women’s rights activists. In addition to analysing HRDs’ working environment on an ongoing basis and developing security strategies accordingly, protection programme staff undertake risk assessment and fact-finding missions on reported cases of threats and violations of HRDs’ rights, to ensure the safety of HRDs and bring those responsible to justice.
Typical protection interventions for HRDs at risk include:
a) Legal Support
The protection programme offers legal assistance to HRDs who are arbitrarily arrested and maliciously prosecuted by providing them with advocates to represent them at places of detention and in court or provides bail. NCHRD-K also undertakes trial observation of cases that involve HRDs to ensure that the judicial process is free and fair.
b) Medical Support
Medical support is offered to HRDs/activists who are injured or fall sick due to their work. Medical support either covers the payment for medical services and/or medicine for HRDs and their families.
c) Psychosocial Support
Psychosocial support caters for the wellbeing of those HRDs who have been emotionally affected by their work. HRDs who are exposed to incidences of torture, gender-based violence, assault or extra-judicial executions, to name but a few of the most serious human rights violations that HRDs fight against, often find that their work is taking a toll on their emotional wellbeing. NCHRD-K engages the services of counsellors offer counselling support in such situations.
Protecting those HRDs whose work has exposed them to threats and high levels of risk, often requires that they be relocated. This is normally a short-term measure put in place while other strategies are pursued. Relocation can be local, regional or international, depending on the gravity of the case. During such periods of absence from routine work, NCHRD-K often arrange for the affected HRD to be attached with another organization to ensure human rights work is not disrupted or to gain some skills.