Human rights defenders risk their lives to fight injustice and strengthen democracy around the world.

The United Nations has declared that they deserve special protection because of their critical work in promoting human rights. Yet, in many countries, they face imprisonment without charges, torture and threats of death.

Visiting human rights defenders form the core of the Centre for Applied Human Rights (CAHR) work in terms of providing training for defenders, conducting research and incorporating the visiting defenders as an integral part of the MA and LLM programmes.

Find out more about the programme by watching this video.

Simply unforgettable. Since I started working in human rights, ten years ago, this is the first time that I feel calm and safe, knowing nobody is going to hurt me or persecute me. Thank you, all of you in the Centre, for this feeling.

Diana, Fellow

Our initiatives

Protective fellowship scheme

Our Fellowship Scheme is one of the largest in Europe. Up to ten defenders per year are able to join the Centre for the purposes of research, networking and rest from a difficult working environment.

Research on human rights defenders

Through the HRD Hub, we facilitate research on the rights of human rights defenders, the risks they face, their security management practices, their wellbeing, and the evolving international protection regime for their security and rights.

The great value of the York CAHR Fellowship is that it prioritises human rights defenders working in the most difficult circumstances and gives them both a break and an opportunity for really practical learning. York shapes the Fellowship to meet the needs of the human rights defenders rather than selecting the human rights defenders who best fit academic criteria.

Andrew Anderson, Director, Front Line Defenders