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01.10.15

Emergency material support to human rights defenders at risk

Formulario asistencia de emergencia hrd esp

OMCT, including in the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, provides material assistance and emergency support to human rights defenders at risk working in the most difficult circumstances, in any region of the world.


OMCT material assistance and emergency support aim at responding to emergency requests for assistance submitted by human rights defenders and organisations at risk. These can cover medical support (including psycho-social support and rehabilitation); legal support; social assistance (including family support); physical security; digital security; communications; capacity building in security; secure transportation; support to temporary relocation where necessary; etc.


Each request received is subjected to a preliminary inquiry, done in collaboration with members of the OMCT SOS-Torture Network or other reliable partners in the field. This inquiry is comprehensive and thorough as it allows for the verification of information provided and needs expressed, as well as for the eligibility of costs. It also permits an assessment of the type of emergency intervention that is necessary.

1) Who can apply?


Applications for material assistance and emergency support grants to human rights defenders and organisations at risk are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Eligible applicants for receiving financial support should meet the following 3 criteria of identity, situation and needs:

1. The applicant is a human rights defender or organisation working in defence of human rights in accordance with the UnitedNations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders (human rights defenders, regardless of their identity, origin, or position, who are working to promote and protect universally recognized human rights and freedoms of third parties -acting individually or as part of a group - and using peaceful and non-violent means in their work);

2. The applicant is facing risks because of his/her human rights work;

3. The applicant needs emergency support (lack of access to alternative sources of support will be taken into account).

Defenders at risk working in any region of the world are encouraged to apply, and in particular:

· Human rights defenders working in the most difficult countries and/or in remote locations;

· Human rights defenders who are particularly targeted because of the issues they work on, including women human rights defenders, defenders of LGBTI rights, land and environmental rights, activists fighting against torture and ill-treatment, challenging violations of economic, social, and cultural rights, defending the rights of indigenous peoples, minorities, people with disabilities, migrants and stateless persons, trade unionists promoting labour rights, lawyers, journalists, bloggers, and others promoting fundamental freedoms, etc.


2) For which type of support?


OMCT material assistance and emergency support is as concrete and personalised as possible, with the aim of ensuring the security and protection of defenders at risk, as well as of their family and work environment.


Costs eligible for financial support or direct material support to human rights defenders and organisations include the following:

- physical security;

- digital security;

- communications;

- medical support (including psycho-social support andr ehabilitation) to defenders who have suffered a medical condition as a result of their peaceful human rights activities;

- legal support for human rights defenders judicially harassed;

- humanitarian assistance (including family support);

- support to temporary relocation where necessary;

- capacity building in security;

- secure transportation;

- urgent monitoring, reporting and advocacy;

- etc.

3) How to apply?


Applications for an emergency grant can be submitted by any human rights defender or NGO who is facing risks because of their human rights work and in need of urgent support.


Please use the Application Form available in English , French or Spanish, and send it by email or fax to:


OMCT International Secretariat
Human Rights Defenders Programme

Email:grants[at]omct.org
Tel: +41 22 809 49 39
Fax: +41 22 809 49 29


To submit the application form by encrypted email, kindly contact OMCTInternational Secretariat at the above-mentioned email address.

The amount of the grants allocated shall be generally up to EUR 3,000, however, every request will be assessed on a case by case basis.

A grant agreement will be signed with human rights defenders receiving emergency material support, specifying the purpose of the grant, the mutual obligations and the reporting requirements.

All applicants will receive a written response whether or not their application is successful.


Human rights defenders or organizations receiving emergency support will be required to provide a short narrative and financial report as well as original receipts of related expenses six weeks after the grant is allocated. This report will include information on what measures they have implemented and what impact this has had on their capacity to manage their security as well as whether there has been any change to the level of risk that they face. If a report including all original receipts is not received on completion of the grant the applicant will no longer be eligible for any further grants and will be asked to return the funding.

Download the reporting form here



OMCT is a memberof ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union HumanRights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.


OMCT wishes to thank the EuropeanUnion and the Republic and Canton of Geneva for their support. The content ofthis page is the sole responsibility of OMCT and should in no way be interpreted as reflecting the view(s) of the supporting institutions.


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