We are delighted to announce new funding for Open Briefing's work from Oak Foundation, the National Endowment for Democracy and Ford Foundation. This success puts us in a strong position at a very difficult time to expand our support to those defenders, collectives, and civil society organisations most at risk, particularly in the global south.
Open Briefing has today launched the Holistic Security Protocol for Human Rights Defenders. The Defender’s Protocol will help at-risk defenders around the world advance their physical safety, digital security, and wellbeing and resilience. By following the protocol, defenders can enhance their individual and collective security, and reduce the burden of attacks, harassment, and censorship on them and their communities.
Two hundred journalists have been killed in the last five years, with another 500 imprisoned; 64 journalists are currently missing. Ahead of World Press Freedom Day on 3 May, we are today launching a vital free app for freelance journalists and independent media organisations travelling or working in high-risk environments.
Civil society organisations, humanitarian aid agencies and independent media organisations frequently send staff to work in complex security environments. But many small organisations in particular do not have the necessary knowledge, experience or procedures to keep their people safe in such contexts. In response, we have today published a set of 20 good practice standards for travel security.
Open Briefing has published the Holistic Security Toolkit in English and Spanish. The Toolkit is a curated library of essential resources for specific communities of at-risk civic actors. The third-party resources can be filtered by language, community and/or domain. The Toolkit includes specific resources for women human rights defenders, LGBT+ activists, environmental defenders, and freelance journalists, with more to come.
Protecting and enabling human rights defenders during the COVID-19 pandemic is not just an obligation on states, but it is key to ensuring that efforts to recover from this crisis are effective, inclusive, respect human rights, and leave no one behind. Authorities must not use restrictions imposed during the pandemic to suppress relevant information uncomfortable for the government or use the situation as a pretext to crack down on critics and human rights defenders.
We have a responsibility to act decisively to protect our co-workers from adverse health, social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. With this in mind, our CEO, Chris Abbott, has joined the secretary general of CIVICUS and more than 60 other leaders to initiate a social security protocol for civil society.
Every person on the planet is threatened by COVID-19, but it is the most vulnerable that will pay the highest price. Open Briefing is one of nearly 200 civil society organisations around the world that have signed joint letters to the UN secretary general and the UN Security Council supporting the call for a #GlobalCeasefire to give everyone the chance to focus on overcoming this coronavirus. As a rights-based organisation, Open Briefing wholeheartedly supports this call.