About Front Line Defenders

Front Line Defenders is the International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders.

Front Line Defenders was founded in Dublin in 2001 with the specific aim of protecting human rights defenders at risk, people who work, non-violently, for any or all of the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Front Line Defenders addresses the protection needs identified by defenders themselves.

Front Line Defenders provides rapid and practical support to at-risk human rights defenders, including:

  • grants to pay for the practical security needs of human rights defenders;
  • provision of training and development of resource materials on security and protection, including digital security;
  • international advocacy on behalf of human rights defenders at immediate risk;
  • rest and respite, including the Front Line Defenders Fellowship;
  • opportunities for networking and exchange between human rights defenders, including at the biennial Dublin Platform;
  • the annual Front Line Defenders Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk;
  • an emergency 24 hour phone line for human rights defenders operating in Arabic, English, French, Spanish and Russian;
  • temporary relocation of human rights defenders in emergency situations.

Front Line Defenders promotes strengthened international and regional measures to protect human rights defenders including through support for the work of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders. Front Line Defenders promotes respect for the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. Front Line Defenders has special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, partnership status with the Council of Europe and observer status with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. Front Line Defenders received the 2007 King Baudouin International Prize for Development.

Front Line Defenders is a legally registered Irish charity Charity Number CHY 14029

The Front Line Defenders Board of Trustees formally agreed on 28 June 2013 to subscribe to the Dochas Code on Corporate Governance. The Board of Trustees has adopted a Trustees Handbook which sets out roles and responsibilities for members of the Board of Trustees as well as the establishment of an Audit Committee. We have also previously adopted policies and standards with regard to external audit, financial transparency, conflict of interest, privacy and the ethical use of images. The Handbook also sets out in more detail the division of responsibilities between the Board and staff via the Executive Director. The Executive Director has agreed to become a non-voting ex-officio Trustee and this has been approved by the Board. The Board of Trustees now considers that Front Line Defenders is fully compliant with the Code. Front Line Defenders also became an Associate Member of Dochas in 2013.

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