The Respite house project

           The work human rights defenders do in many countries of the world means they have to deal with stressful situations, including threats or direct risk to their lives or to their families. When this situation persists for a long time it can have consequences on the physical and / or psychological well being of the person. Health and welfare of human rights defenders is often affected. But self-care and mutual support are not elements that HRD usually take into account, even though it is key to be able to continue human rights work in the long-term.

Today we can say that safety and security issues of HRD, because of the risks they face, are increasingly being considered by international and local organizations. It is at this stage when it becomes clear that it is not possible to speak about protection against risk without taking into account that the physical and psychological health should also be included. From this perspective, a new security concept is emerging, with a holistic and comprehensive definition, which among others includes the concepts of welfare as a fundamental variable.

HRD are usually people with a huge involvement in their work, they tend to give more importance to their work rather than to themselves, leaving at a lower priority level issues regarding their safety and health. From their point of view, they understand that these are prices to be paid in certain instancess because of working to defend human rights.

But in the same way as security measures are necessary to prevent abuse, harassment and direct attacks, taking care of the physical and mental health is essential and not only for safety: HRD have to care for themselves to be able to work for others. This is far from being internalized by the group of HRD. And when it is, it´s not always easy to find the time, place, and / or the environment to do it.
This project wants to provide an alternative to this situation.


            The proposal that we want to offer to HRD is the chance to travel to Spain, specifically the Northern Sierra of Madrid, for a period of several weeks, with the following objectives:

    Main objective and priority is to provide a period of rest to be used for their physical and psychological recover.
    Taking advantage of the stay in Spain, generating encounters with Spanish society so they can explain and bring the reality of their community and their work.
    Similarly, if the defender"s interest, try to facilitate institutional contacts which may be used to support and reinforce their work when they return home.

Why defenred is born

Human Right Defenders risk their lives every day to build a freer and fairer word, where human rights are respected. They are brave people willing to do anything to fight for what they believe in, and therefore, are the real leaders of change.

Most of these human rights defenders persist in their work despite the threats, assaults and harassment they receive, devoting much time and effort to improve the communities in which they live, usually with little resources.

Defenred is born to support these change agents in a direct way with the firm intention that they have the ability to develop the important work they do.
+ info