The National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders organised a meeting with the different service providers working with Human Rights Defenders under the theme ” To enhance collaborative efforts between NCHRD-U and HRD service providers: The meeting was aimed at discussing collaborative strategies and guiding principles in the work of HRDs. The meeting was attended by doctors, policemen and lawyers who are all key service providers working closely with HRDs.

The first session of the meeting was conducted by Doroth Kiyayi Esther who took participants through NCHRD-U protection mandate and a recap of the previous engagement. She further went on to elaborate why the Coalition was in constant dialogue and collaboration with the different service providers in this environment and highlighted two key points.

  1. Technical support or service need to the defenders to further ensure and guarantee their security and safety. Our defenders require support in form of counselling, defense in the courts of law etc. That’s why we need service providers.
  2. Not all organisations offer the services we require to defend the rights of defenders. Existing service providers have structures we need. For example the Police. We therefore tap into these structures in place to have the required services delivered in the defense and protection of human rights defenders. Our defenders who usually come to the service providers, have challenges and often at risk.

Dorothy Kiyayi discusses the role of service providers and the Coalition’s protection program

Participants were then put through group discussions to discuss the different trends affecting the work environment of HRDs, the threats they pose to HRDs and ho they have affected service delivery.

Participants partake in group discussions

The second session facilitated by Karis Moses, Protection Office at Defend Defenders focused on strategies service providers can employ to protect themselves as they provide services to HRDs. Together with the service providers present, they discussed guiding principles to regulate relationships between service providers and HRDs.

 

  1. Observe Confidentiality while delivering services to the HRDs, by keeping information relating to their circumstances with respect and to our selves
  2. Ensuring the safety and security of service providers and Human rights defenders through collaborations with security personnel where inevitable
  3. We need to keep updating one another on the circumstances taking place within our areas of operations to enhance collaborative strategies that will help us deal with issues in our communities
  4. As service providers, we need to do regular follow ups on cases reported to us to determine progress of actions agreed on
  5. As professionals, we need to refer cases that overwhelm us, to our colleagues or partners we think can pick them up for practical actions.  Among many