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12 February 2018

Scottish Human Rights Defender Fellowship Announced

Front Line Defenders welcome's the Scottish government's announcement of a new research fellowship opportunity for human rights defenders from around the world.

"This is an important initiative by the University of Dundee and the Scottish Government," said Andrew Anderson, Executive Director of Front Line Defenders. "Providing practical support to human rights defenders working at the local level in difficult, often life-threatening, environments is crucial to sustaining their resilience and effectiveness."


Defending human rights: Protecting against prejudice and discrimination

Two international human rights campaigners will come to Scotland to study as part of ongoing work to promote human rights.

The Scottish Human Rights Defender Fellowship will be a partnership between the Scottish Government and the University of Dundee, supported by the Scottish Human Rights Commission and campaign groups Front Line Defenders, Amnesty International, Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund and Beyond Borders.

Participants will shortly be invited to apply to spend three months in Scotland, combining study at the University of Dundee with the chance to build relationships and share expertise with Scottish human rights and equality organisations.

Equalities Secretary Angela Constance said:

“Across the globe there are people defending basic human rights that everybody should be able take for granted. From standing against torture, arbitrary detention and discrimination, to  campaigning for access to housing, health care, education, food and water. Often this requires great self-sacrifice in the face of persistent difficulties, abuse and even threats to personal safety. As a country that firmly believes in human rights and equality, we will stand shoulder to shoulder with them and offer practical help where we can.

“This fellowship provides a place of safety so participants can carry out research, develop new skills, build networks and return better equipped to continue their work fighting for the fundamental rights we need to demand for each other.”

Professor Nick Fyfe, Dean of the School of Social Sciences at the University, said:

“We are proud to be the host partner for the Human Rights Defenders Fellowship. With significant expertise in human rights and an interdisciplinary approach championed by our Institute for Social Sciences Research, we are confident that the fellows will find a strong and welcoming community of human rights researchers ready to help them make the most of the three months they will spend working with the Scottish Government, Scottish universities and Scottish civil society organisations.”


The initial 2018 fellowship, with two recipients visiting from September, will cost £35,000.

Four organisations will each be invited to nominate up to three human rights defenders from around the world: Amnesty International, Beyond Borders, Front Line Defenders, SCIAF.

Two participants will be selected by an advisory board composed of representatives from the Scottish Government, SHRC, Scottish universities and the four nominating organisations.

For more information, please contact:

Erin Kilbride
+353 1 212 3750