Who are Human Rights Defenders?
A Human Rights Defender is any one of us who promotes and protects human rights by peaceful means. States have an obligation to protect Human Rights Defenders – yet many of them risk their lives promoting human rights.
What do they do?
Human Rights Defenders are agents of change: they can fight against female genital mutilation, prevent forced evictions of people living in slums, defend freedom of speech or campaign for legal amendments. Some HRDs give legal help to victims of human rights violations.
Many people associate human rights with freedom of religion and –speech, but human rights are present in every day things too: livelihood, education and health care. In developing countries many HRDs fight for these rights.
Human Rights Defenders need our support
KIOS Foundation supports the work of HRDs in East Africa and South Asia. Together with local organizations we are building a world where human rights belong to everybody. The work is planned and executed by local activists.
The real turning point in realizing that I am a Human Rights Activist was when the radio transmitter was attacked and burned down. The radio station had been warned to stop broadcasting programs.
– Gerald Kankya, A Human Rights Defender from Uganda, who discusses land rights and other human rights issues in his radio show.
Every morning I look at my purse and I pack things, because I think that I might not come back home. So I make sure I have a toothbrush, underwear, because I might not come back.
– Hala Al-Karib, a Human Rights Defender from Sudan, whose organisation SIHA protects and empowers girls and women in vulnerable situations.
How does your donation help?
We direct your support to local human rights organisations in East Africa and South Asia.
We monitor the use of the funds and report on it to the Foreign Ministry of Finland. KIOS is founded by 11 Finnish human rights and development NGOs: Amnesty International Finland, Fingo, The Finnish League for Human Rights, Finn Church Aid, Finnish Refugee Council, Finnish Peace Committee, UN Women Finland, Unicef Finland, UN Association of Finland and Disability Partnership Finland. The work of the foundation brings together Finnish experts of the field. The representatives of the founding NGOs form the Board of KIOS.
You can be a Human Rights Defender, too.
See the stories of brave human rights activists below
Watch interviews of Gerald and Hala as part of the 20-year anniversary video for KIOS.