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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Lifeline: Embattled Civil Society Organizations Assistance Fund

Fact Sheet
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
September 23, 2013


There has been an increasing threat to and steady decrease of space for civil society organizations (CSOs) around the world. In response, the United States government, in cooperation with other like-minded governments, established the “Lifeline: Embattled Civil Society Organizations Assistance Fund.” The fund is used to protect and support the fundamental freedoms of assembly and association (FOAA). Providing assistance to real people in real time, this multilateral fund embodies the donors’ shared commitments to those freedoms.

  • Lifeline provides small, targeted, short-term emergency grants for medical expenses, legal representation, prison visits, trial monitoring, temporary relocation, security, equipment replacement, and other types of urgently needed expenses to help address immediate needs. In addition, Lifeline makes support available to CSOs for short-term advocacy initiatives that aim to raise domestic and international awareness of a specific threat or restriction on civil society.
  • Since Lifeline was launched in July 2011, assistance has been provided to 218 CSOs operating in 64 countries.
  • Activities of the fund are carried out by the seven NGO Consortium members from around the world—CIVICUS, FORUM-ASIA, Freedom House, Front Line, the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law, People in Need, and the Swedish International Liberal Centre.
  • The Lifeline donor group includes Australia, Benin, Canada, Chile, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Mongolia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Uruguay, the United States, the Ford Foundation, and the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Together they have seeded Lifeline with more than $7.3 million to protect and support civil society worldwide over years to come.

For further information, please contact Evan Owen at or (202) 647-4747 or visit

PRN: 2013/1170

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