The persecution of civil society activists and organizations, whether they are fighting for justice and law, or clean and open government, or public health, or a safe environment, or honest elections, it's not just an attack against people we admire, it's an attack against our own fundamental beliefs. So when we defend these great people, we are defending an idea that has been and will remain essential to the success of every democracy. So the stakes are high for us, not just them.
-- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, speech in Krakow, July 3, 2010
Human rights activists remain under siege in every region of the world. Civil society actors are jailed, harassed, or targeted by local authorities with increasing frequency. According to Freedom House’s annual survey, Freedom in the World, the space for independent political activity, including peaceful protest, has been steadily curtailed in a coordinated effort by authoritarian regimes to stifle and silence advocates of reform.In response, Freedom House has launched an international consortium to support non-governmental organizations that come under threat around the world. This Embattled NGO Assistance Fund will help civil society withstand crackdowns and pressure and resume their work to defend citizens’ rights and freedoms.
When human rights groups and organizations advocating for better governance or greater freedoms come under threat, they can turn to the NGO Fund for help. Whether these organizations are being specifically persecuted or a broader assault on civil society is underway, the NGO Fund can provide emergency assistance and speak out on their behalf.
The NGO Assistance Fund brings together leading civil society organizations, with a broad base of support, to create a global network to defend embattled NGOs. It is run by an international consortium made up of Freedom House, the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (United States), FrontLine Defenders (Ireland), CIVICUS World Alliance for Citizen Participation (South Africa), the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (Thailand), People in Need (Czech Republic), and the Swedish International Liberal Center. Twelve governments, including Australia, Benin, Canada, Chile, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States, have pledged support for this NGO Assistance Fund.