Civil Rights Defenders is an international human rights organisation that defends civil and political rights and strengthens human rights defenders at risk. For 35 years, Civil Rights Defenders has supported the civil society in repressive countries. In the spring of 2013, we launched Natalia Project – the world’s first alarm and positioning system for human rights defenders at risk. Its success led to the creation of the Human Rights Innovation Initiative, which innovates directly for human rights defenders globally.

IC 2017

The annual Innovation Challenge is designed to each year focus on different themes within the field of civil and political rights. This, the inaugural year, we ask you to submit an idea that will improve HRD Security or Creative Reporting. Is this your year?


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Whether you are a Civil Rights Defenders partner or a concerned citizen, the process of creating a better environ-ment for human rights starts with you sharing. The Human Rights Innovation Initiative enables us to create a solution for the idea you share.


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Stay updated and learn together with Civil Rights Defenders. Through sharing news, lessons learned and thoughts on the future of innovation within the human rights field, the blog updates you on our problem-solving journey in a transparent way.


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Named after Natalia Estemirova, who was abducted and murdered in Chechnya in 2009, the Natalia Project is the world’s first security alarm and positioning system for HRDs at risk. The participants undergo tailored security training and a comprehensive security plan is developed. Once the alarm is activated, a distress signal including the exact GPS location is sent to Civil Rights Defenders. Within minutes of an attack, the signal is also sent out to global social media platforms, allowing people everywhere to put pressure on the regime. The ability to act quickly can be the difference between life and death. The attacks no longer occur in secrecy – the world is watching.

Human Rights Innovation Initiative is financed by: