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.
As we all adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic and the public health measures necessary to delay its spread, Open Briefing is offering several remote services to help organisations protect their people and operations during these challenging times. This includes contingency planning advisory calls and reviews, staff wellbeing checks and workshops, and digital security during homeworking.
Given the UK government’s inadequate response to coronavirus and what will likely become a rapidly-developing situation here and elsewhere, it is sensible and prudent that Open Briefing takes steps now to reduce the risk to our people, operations and clients from the pandemic and associated repercussions. As such, we have today enacted a number of temporary measures with immediate effect.
Open Briefing has published its impact report for 2019. We estimate that we directly strengthened the safety and resilience of 430 human rights defenders and other civic actors across the world during 2019 – a 23% increase on 2018. Beneficiaries that Open Briefing supported during 2019 reported an average 82% increase in confidence in their organisation’s security and/or wellbeing due to our work with them.
It is with great sadness that we must share the news that our colleague Andy Marshall died in his sleep on the night of 19 February.
Women human rights defenders face gendered and sexualised attacks in addition to the threats experienced by their male colleagues. Trauma, chronic stress and burnout are very real risks in such circumstances. In response, Open Briefing is launching a new initiative to provide wellbeing support packages to at-risk WHRDs from Latin America.
Open Briefing is delighted to become a partner in Project Galileo. The project is Cloudflare’s response to cyber attacks launched against important, yet vulnerable targets, like artistic groups, humanitarian organisations, and the voices of political dissent. We are honoured to be joining this initiative alongside Amnesty International, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and the Council of Europe.