The program on Supporting Human Rights Defenders and Organizations aims to foster solidarity, resilience, and communal ties within the human rights movement in Turkey. To this end, the program carries out monitoring, reporting, and support activities to produce knowledge and expertise on novel forms of struggle, and shares these with other civil society organizations through various mechanisms of collaboration and support.
Today, we carry out these activities along two main axes:
Supporting rights defenders under risk
Our activities in this field started in 2018 with the growing evidence of the shrinking of civil spaces and increased risks faced by the rights defenders.
- The program’s initial monitoring and documenting activities gained permanence with the launch of the website Keep the Volume Up in 2019. In these early years, our work was centered around collecting and sharing information about rights defenders.
- In time, we diversified our activities through support mechanisms, thematic reports, as well as panels and workshops to foster international learning and solidarity.
- Today, we are systematically monitoring and analyzing the administrative and legal nature of the intimidation practices targeting rights defenders, which in turn helps us identify key points for advocacy and resistance in the face of these violations.
- In this period, we also monitor trials opened with false charges against rights defenders and try to bring visibility to these injustices.
- We try to go beyond being reactive and build a positive narrative by giving visibility to the achievements of the rights struggle.
- We problematize young people’s participation in the rights struggle and think with them in finding ways to improve it.
- Finally, we nurture a culture of solidarity, collaboration, co-learning and joint struggle with all members of rights-based civil society organizations, particularly within the Solidarity Network for Human Rights Defenders.
Supporting the institutional capacity of rights-based organizations
We have been implementing the Support to Rights Program since February 2019, in partnership with Heinrich Böll Stiftung and with the financial support of the Delegation of the European Union to Turkey. The program aims to contribute to the development of human rights and participatory democracy in Turkey by supporting small-scale rights organizations and grassroots organizations.
- The first phase of the program, which took place from July 2020 to June 2021, provided institutional grants to 48 rights-based organizations and simultaneously offered a capacity development program consisting of guidance, one-on-one expert support, and workshops in prioritized areas.
- Starting in January 2022 with Rights Support II, we are providing institutional grants and capacity development support to 41 rights-based organizations for two years, from January 2023 to December 2025.
- Additionally, we encourage beneficiary organizations to maintain connections with local, national, and international networks and to develop collaborations in this regard.
As we are going through tough times to exist and stay active in civil space, we are working to create every opportunity for organizations to carry out and sustain their activities.