KIOS Foundation in Finland publishes video interviews with four human rights defenders from Asia and Africa

January 19, 2017

KIOS is perhaps not the best-known human rights foundation in the world but that is surely mostly due to the fact that it operates from a small base: Finland. KIOS was founded by 11 Finnish human rights and development NGOs. The representatives of the founding NGOs form the Board of KIOS. In Finland, KIOS raises awareness on the significance of human rights and the work of human rights defenders in developing countries. It also advocates for the development of good practices in Finnish foreign and development policy in support ofHRDs. KIOS focuses its external support on 3 countries in East Africa (Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda) and 3 in South Asia (Nepal, Sri Lanka and to Tibetan civil society organizations in exile). Some long-term partner organizations of KIOS are also supported in Bangladesh, Burundi, Ethiopia and Pakistan. Ulla Anttila is the Executive Director.

Ulla Anttila

On 17 December 2016 KIOS published four video links of interviews with human rights defenders from Asia and Africa (video links), available on You Tube:

In December 2016 KIOS also received a visit by Andrew Anderson – Front Line Defenders’ new Executive Director – with whom they discussed the work of HRDs and what donors should do. [see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2016/10/19/facing-a-global-attack-on-the-very-idea-of-human-rights-defenders-funders-need-to-step-up/]

Anderson said there inter alia: “Often the visible international solidarity and support improves the security of HRDs. It can for instance minimize the risk of torture in specific cases. However, this is not always the case. Anderson reminds that renowned human rights defenders have been killed this year, one such example is Berta Cáceres, a highly respected environmental activist from Honduras. Sometimes the human rights defenders don’t want any visibility. It is crucial that the wishes of the human rights defenders are heard and respected in order to truly be able to support their work and improve their security.

Donors need more flexible tools in order to efficiently support human rights work.  Innovative methods are needed, for instance, to support Ethiopian and Russian human rights defenders. Of course, the work has to be transparent and in respect of good governance. Anderson highlights that human rights defenders “often get the least support when they most need it”.

Sources:

Human rights defenders are under a serious attack – there is need for serious support · KIOS

http://www.kios.fi/en/

Four interviews with human rights defenders from Asia and Africa (video links) | Ulla Anttila | Pulse | LinkedIn

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