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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Specialized Funds


Human Rights Defenders’ Fund

DRL is also supporting a global human rights initiative. Defenders of human rights often risk their own and their families' lives and safety to advocate for universally recognized human rights. In response to increased pressure on human rights and democracy NGOs and activists, the State Department made defending these individuals a priority and established a $1.5 million emergency fund. This Human Rights Defenders Fund draws upon the Bureau's expertise of protecting and assisting human rights defenders who advance democracy and promote human rights, women's rights, fair labor, anti-corruption, independent media and journalism, rule of law and other issues where defense of such issues may result in the risk of safety and/or life.

Further information on the Human Rights Defenders Fund can be found at: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2006/77837.htm.

Lifeline: The Embattled NGOs Assistance Fund

This year the Department of State, together with Australia, Benin, Canada, Chile, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, launched the Lifeline: Embattled NGOs Assistance Fund. Together they have seeded the Lifeline Fund with almost $5 million to begin a multi-year effort.

The programs of the Fund are to:

  • Provide emergency assistance to embattled NGOs for needs including, legal representation, appeals, and trial monitoring; medical bills arising from abuse; transportation costs for prison visitation of incarcerated members; and replacement of equipment damaged or confiscated as a result of harassment and
  • Support discrete advocacy initiatives that raise awareness of the difficult, often hostile environments in which NGOs and civil society operate and to address the barriers to their freedom of association.


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