The protection of defenders is a dynamic field in constant evolution, and there is a clear need to understand better and systematizing what works in protection of defenders (and for whom and under which circumstances). The risks faced by women defenders or by defenders working in rural areas are very different from the risks faced by defenders in urban environments; similarly, the tactics defenders apply for their own protection are different in Africa or in America.

We undertake research on fields which range from protection against criminalization to IT protection, including protection of rural defenders and isolated communities, women defenders, victims and witnesses, marginalized defenders, and more. We publish and disseminate manuals, studies and reports, and the lessons learned become part of our training work too.

This research is useful in order to establish a “best practice” approach to tackling problems faced by defenders and other vulnerable groups; these lessons learned can in turn inform defenders’ strategies. Our studies are hence solution-driven as they focus on possible improvements of preventive protection measures.

The fruit of these studies are also meant to reach wider audiences which play a role in the protection of defenders. For example, FOCUS, a global observatory for national law,public policies and mechanisms that protect human rights defenders, is meant to bring the latest development of protection policies and improve its implementation by the States.

Systematizing data on violations of defenders rights
The sistematisation and analysis of the data on violations committed against defenders enables us to identify trends and underlying patterns in the intimidations and attacks, and consequently to adapt available protection tools. Likewise, we integrate the results of this analisis in our capacity-building and advocacy activities.

Bringing defenders together
We organize conferences, seminars and forums where defenders can exchange experiences and develop combined protection strategies. We hence facilitate exchange on protection tactics between human rights defenders working in different countries, enabling them to benefit from the experiences of other colleagues.