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6 October 2016

Front Line Defenders Announces New Executive Director, Andrew Anderson

(DUBLIN) – Front Line Defenders today announced that Andrew Anderson has been appointed as the organisation’s new Executive Director. Andrew has worked for the international protection of human rights defenders for more than twenty years, and has played a key leadership role in building Front Line Defenders into an effective force fighting for those most at risk. He will begin his new role on 1 November 2016.

The Front Line Defenders Board of Trustees selected Andrew due to his extensive management, fundraising and human rights experience. In its announcement, the Board of Trustees noted that it “unanimously agreed that Andrew is the candidate with the experience and skills best placed to lead Front Line Defenders into the next stage of our development.”

Andrew Anderson and Mary Lawlor, launch of the 2016 Annual Report

Andrew has 27 years experience of working for human rights at the international level and has served as Deputy Director of Front Line Defenders since March 2003. As Deputy Director, he led the development of an international civil society consortium to implement the EU human rights defenders mechanism (, and is a member of the Advisory Board of the Centre for Applied Human Rights at the University of York. Before joining Front Line Defenders, Andrew worked for thirteen years at the International Secretariat of Amnesty International where he served as Director of the Campaigning and Crisis Response Programme and as Director of the Africa Programme.

“It is an honour and a challenge to take on this role at a time when human rights defenders are facing increasing attacks in all regions of the world,” said Andrew. “We must sustain the drive and energy which made Front Line Defenders so effective under Mary's inspirational leadership and build on that legacy to deliver rapid and practical support for those who risk their lives to build a better future.”

Andrew will succeed Front Line Defenders’ current Executive Director Mary Lawlor, who founded the organisation in 2001. Under her leadership, the organisation has won international recognition for the fast, flexible and personalised support it provides to courageous human rights defenders around the world. In 2015, Front Line Defenders provided 1,178,306 Euros via 454 security grants to human rights defenders in 80 countries. Overall, it helped more than 1,000 defenders facing death threats, arrests, torture, unfair trials and killings.

Outgoing Executive Director Mary Lawlor said of the announcement:

“I am delighted that Andrew has been appointed Executive Director. I cannot over estimate the contribution he has made to the effective development of Front Line Defenders. I have immense respect and admiration for his strategic vision, political analysis and management skills. He is the ideal person to lead Front Line Defenders as we grapple with the ever increasing and challenging work of protecting human rights defenders.”

To speak with Andrew Anderson or Mary Lawlor, please contact:

Erin Kilbride
Media Coordinator
+353 (0)85 742 3767