The Emergency Fund : a year in the making

Proposition Logo RISK Maud G

For several years, the emergency Fund for Human rights defenders of AEDH has often been requested to intervene in the provinces of Kivus (DRC). This is largely explained by the unstable security context and AEDH’s long-standing experience in that area. In order to strengthen the action of the emergency Fund in that area, AEDH has been implementing the RISK project since July 2016 (Reinforcing of the Initiatives to Rescue the defenders of Kivu) alongside 3 Congolese collaborator organisations. A year after it was launched, it is time for a first look back.

In order to put in place a common and effective work method, AEDH has organised a workshop on the harmonisation of practices for local collaborator organisations to help them strengthen their technical capacities of survey and follow-up of cases of defenders in danger (HRD).

Following this work, a Protocol of Response to the Alerts has been elaborated and is now fully operational. This document contains a clear and flexible framework of tailored responses for defenders in danger.

Since he project was launched, a total of 29 human rights defenders have benefitted from its assistance. Relatives of HRD are themselves often victims of threats, AEDH has not forgotten about them. 29 relatives of assisted HRD have also benefitted from support during the past year. Relocation, medical assistance, legal assistance, financial aid and safety protection are the most frequent interventions.

During and after the period of care by the emergency mechanism, the defenders benefit from a follow-up adapted to their needs. This strengthens the action of the Emergency Fund, that did not have the sufficient means to offer this sort of long term follow-up. This device can provide for psychosocial treatments when threatened HRD have been strongly traumatised or carry out advocacy actions before the authorities of the place of origin of the defender to ease their reintegration in appropriate safety conditions.

The RISk project allows AEDH to carry on a restructuring of the Emergency Fund. The development of clear tools and a strengthened follow up improve the quality of its interventions. On the long term, the progress as a result of this project will improve the Emergency Fund itself and allow AEDH to offer more efficient support to those who often pay a high price for defending human rights.

Faouzi Boujnaih

 

 

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