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About Us

The Front Line Defenders Story

Front Line Defenders (FLD) is an international human rights organisation founded in Dublin in 2001, with the specific aim of protecting human rights defenders at risk (HRDs).

2019 Dublin Platform



FLD works to improve the security and protection of human rights defenders and organisations around the world at risk for their peaceful and legitimate human rights work. As identified by human rights defenders themselves, FLD responds to protection and security needs by providing support through grants, capacity building, visibility, networking, and advocacy, at the international, regional and local levels. Front Line Defenders has been awarded the 2018 United Nations Human Rights Prize.

Front Line Defenders maintains its headquarters in Dublin, an EU Office in Brussels, and regionally-based field staff in the Americas, Asia, Africa, Europe & Central Asia, and the Middle East.

Front Line Defenders provides rapid and practical support to human rights defenders at risk through:

  • international advocacy on behalf of human rights defenders at risk, including emergency support for those in immediate danger;
  • grants and support for the practical security needs of human rights defenders; including temporary relocation of human rights defenders.
  • capacity building and resource materials on wholistic security and protection, including digital security;
  • Wellbeing opportunities such as the ‘’Rest and Respite’’ program for human rights defenders dealing with extreme stress as a result of their work;
  • Support for visibility needs including media outreach, campaign support, the FLD Award, production of visibility materials, and capacity building training on visibility, aimed at protection.
  • opportunities for networking and exchange between human rights defenders, including at the biennial Dublin Platform;
  • Emergency and crisis response through an emergency 24-hour phone lineoperating in Arabic, English, French, Russian and Spanish; as well as rapid crisis support as needed

Front Line Defenders promotes strengthened international and regional measures to protect human rights defenders including respect for the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, and support for the work of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders. Support for the Special Rapporteurs office is provided through the FLD Frank Jennings Fellowship Programme.

Front Line Defenders has Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

Front Line Defenders has partnership status with the Council of Europe.

Front Line Defenders has Observer Status with the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, and supports the work of the Special Rapporteur for Human Rights Defenders at the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights by providing an intern/fellow support on an annual basis.

Front Line Defenders serves as the lead partner in - the European Union Human Rights Defenders mechanism, established to protect defenders at high risk and facing the most difficult situations worldwide.  It is a consortium of 12 international and regional human rights organisations which collectively implement the European Human Rights Mechanism.

Front Line Defenders provides rapid Security Grant support to human rights defenders in partnership with the Lifeline Embattled CSO Assistance Fund.

Front Line Defenders is also a member of the Women Human Rights Defenders International Coalition, ESCRNet – the International Network for Economic, Social & Cultural Rights, and the Human Rights Funders Network.

Front Line Defenders is a member of the Journalists in Distress (JID) Network, a group of 18 international organizations that provide direct assistance to journalists and media workers whose lives or careers are threatened because of their work.

The International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders trading as Front Line Defenders, is registered in Ireland as a company limited by guarantee and not having a share capital (Company No. 593190; Registered Charity No. 20204494; CHY 22404).

Registered Office:

Avoca Court,
First Floor
Temple Road, Blackrock,
Co Dublin, Ireland.


In 2007, Front Line Defenders was awarded the King Baudouin International Development Prize, "for the effectiveness of their efforts to combat the isolation faced by human rights defenders around the world, for the support and protection that they offer them, and for their continuing advocacy in favour of an international plan of action for human rights, which is an essential condition for development".

In 2018, Front Line Defenders was named as a winner of the prestigious UN Prize in the field of Human Rights. Awarded every 5 years, the UN Prize recognises individuals and organizations who have made outstanding contributions to the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Previous winners have included Eleanor Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Jimmy Carter, Denis Mukwege, Malala Yusafzai, Amnesty International and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

Also in 2018, Front Line Defenders was named one of 100 Sparks of Hope to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Nelson Mandela by The Elders, as part of its #WalkTogether campaign. #WalkTogether exists as a platform for celebrating freedoms and building a bright map of hope, highlighting those who share our mission: to shine a light on courageous moral leadership and offering hope around the world where it's needed most.

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