Thursday, April 13, 2017

The financial aspects of wellbeing 5/9

Many defenders discussed the financial insecurities of their work. They spoke about short-term funding, low wages, the lack of benefits, and expectations that human rights work should be conducted without pay. Some defenders in our study lost income because of the risks and threats they faced. Most had to raise money or spend their savings on personal security – such as bail, medical treatment, security equipment, and relocation. Financial insecurities were particularly challenging for defenders already struggling socio-economically.

A woman defender working on reproductive rights and maternal health in Kenya said:
We don’t have a kitty or organisations that care for our health and families. No one is concerned about how you feed or pay rent and no organisations are ready to give you employment because you don’t have papers or certificates… It’s a challenge to human rights defenders, especially when sick and hospitalised, we have so many human rights defenders going through these – finance is the biggest issue

 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.

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