Protection

2019 Laureate Davi Kopenawa with Maurício Ye’kuana and Dario Kopenawa in Stockholm, credit: Christian Gustavsson.
2010 Laureate Nnimmo Bassey during a solidarity visit to Chad, credit: Right Livelihood

When change-makers' lives and liberty are at risk, we're there to protect them.

Around the world today, restrictions on fundamental rights and freedoms are an alarming reality. As a result, the work of civil society organisations and individuals face severe constraints.

From Afghanistan to Uganda, Right Livelihood Laureates often work under restrictive conditions, facing repressive governments and operating in war zones.

Armed with courage and tenacity, they actively challenge the system and fight against brutality, oppression and injustice at a high personal cost. As a result, their activism often exposes them to threats, reprisals, persecution, and harassment, which put their life, health or liberty in danger and limit their ability to perform their work.

When that happens, our protection programme comes into play.

Right Livelihood’s approach to protection is based on the following principles:

  • Do no harm: We always keep the interests of the Laureates at heart and never publicise an issue if it could result in reprisals for the Laureate.
  • Tailor-made: We are nondogmatic and always tailor a specific intervention to the country and Laureate specific situation.
  • Trust and verify: We verify all information by consulting expert contacts and always coordinate with the Laureate before engaging in any action.
  • Sustainability: We map and understand what role we can play in each intervention and try to anticipate the desired outcomes. We always consider available resources and never begin an intervention without being able to fully commit to it from beginning to end.
  • Leverage partnerships: Mindful of our limited resources, we work with partner organisations in Geneva and on the ground to better protect Laureates and amplify their voices.

Learn more about our protection measures below.

Regular monitoring of threats

We regularly monitor and reacts to news of Laureates being threatened. In many cases, we work with the affected Laureate to formulate an effective response. Over the past years, we have written to government authorities, published press releases, gathered signatures and issued joint statements initiated by or in support of Laureates.

Individual protection plans

We provide Laureates whose lives and health are in danger with individual protection plans tailored to the risk assessment of their situation. The plans include measures for the Laureates' physical and psychological well-being and safety in the long term and actions if acute and urgent threats occur. In such cases, we can gather information and resources on short notice and mobilise a network of relevant experts. These interventions aim to empower the Laureates and minimise the impact that threats and the lack of security pose to their work.

Solidarity visits

We organise solidarity visits to Laureates at risk to strengthen their position within their respective countries by advocating directly with the government, engaging with civil society representatives on the ground, or observing Laureates on trial. To date, we have undertaken solidarity visits in Brazil, Chad, India, Gaza, Russia, Turkey.