It is important for policy-makers, practitioners, and human rights defenders to:
- Develop spaces for self-reflection on the individual and collective wellbeing of human rights defenders, especially those at risk.
- Recognise and address norms and expectations that make it difficult for defenders to engage in discussions about wellbeing.
- Move beyond ‘Western’ approaches to understanding wellbeing. Recognise, document and share other social and cultural forms of conceptualizing and strengthening wellbeing.
- Approach wellbeing not as the sole responsibility of individual defenders but as a collective responsibility.
- Review how individuals, groups, communities and stakeholders strengthen individual and collective strategies for wellbeing. These include mainstreaming practices of self-care and care for others; embedding wellbeing practices in collectives; and understanding the effect of funding practices on sustainable activism.
- Devote financial resources to wellbeing practices that are culturally relevant and contextually appropriate. These may include provision for healthcare, counselling, insurance, and pensions.
- Recognise that for some defenders – such as LGBTIQ* and women defenders – spaces of work are crucial spaces for wellbeing. It is therefore important to understand how spaces of work need to be reshaped so that they do not replicate oppression, discrimination and violence, and how participation, acceptance and inclusivity can be strengthened in human rights communities.
HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER HUB POLICY BRIEF 1 | JANUARY 2017-University of York
This Policy Brief is based on research findings from the project ‘Navigating Risk, Managing Security, and Receiving Support’ which examines the experiences of human rights defenders at risk in Colombia, Mexico, Egypt, Kenya, and Indonesia. Interviews and surveys were conducted with over 400 defenders between July 2015 and November 2016.