SEE THEIR STRUGGLE, REALISE THEIR RIGHTS - Human Rights Defenders at Imminent Risk in the Gulf Region and Neighbouring Countries
I. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) attempts, through its work, to create a safer environment and offer support to human rights defenders. GCHR issued 126 appeals, statements and updates on the cases of over 185 human rights defenders in 2016. It uses local, European and international platforms to undertake advocacy work and to raise awareness on the issues faced by human rights defenders. It also undertakes country missions and publishes evidence-based reports. In 2016 GCHR published 13 reports including its annual report, two mission reports and two trial observation reports. It also organised 15 training workshops for human rights defenders and assisted in the provision of grants to nine human rights defenders.
GCHR was able to increase its advocacy and support to men and women human rights defenders – including independent lawyers, academics, journalists and online activists - from the Gulf region, with an emphasis on building their capacity to carry out their own documentation and advocacy, while building a communal space for activism.
GCHR has been able to tailor innovative strategies and developed methodologies to sustain a network for human rights defenders and civil society. For the human rights defenders, the network provides the tools and skills necessary to fulfill their capacity, to connect them across borders and to support peer-learning. For us, it leverages the protection when possible and allows us to advocate on their behalf when necessary. Networking with other local and international NGOs and coalitions increases the efficacy of GCHR’s advocacy, particularly through UN and European Union advocacy – which are also linked to protection and support for human rights defenders at risk.
GCHR provides direct support to human rights defenders in the region, facilitating emergency requests for assistance (medical support, training, security, trial observation, evacuation etc.) As violations mount, GCHR has increased its coverage and support to women human rights defenders in the MENA region, through international partnerships, capacity building training, networking, research reports and joint advocacy, as well as emergency medical, legal and evacuation support. In addition to providing skills and capacity building, training workshops provide valuable networking opportunities. We have a vision of connecting social movements, fighting sectarianism/division and creating space to find common ground.
Through an evaluation carried out in late 2016 and early 2017, GCHR received a lot of positive feedback about its work, as well as suggestions for how to work more effectively and strategically going forward.
GCHR is the only organisation that covers the Gulf region ― you get some coverage in other countries like Bahrain and Kuwait ― but no organisation covers the whole region equally." – Human rights defender.
GCHR is meeting a real need in the region. They are connected. They know HRDs in the region. They have a good platform to advance rights in the region with this combination. The people that are working there are trustworthy people. I really trust the information, I can witness their commitment to help and defend HRDs in the region. Most importantly, if they say something, they do it.” ― Partner
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