Posted on 7 January 2020
On 22 October 2019, the Barcelona Guidelines on Wellbeing and Temporary International Relocation of Human Rights Defenders (the ‘Barcelona Guidelines’) were officially launched during the European Union Temporary Relocation Platform. The Barcelona Guidelines are based on the findings from interviews with over 100 mental health professionals, coordinators of relocation initiatives, human rights defenders, and other protection actors who participated in a collaborative research project between CAHR, ICORN, Justice and Peace Netherlands, The Martin Roth Initiative, Adam Brown of The New School in New York, and independent expert on human rights and civil society, Sasha Koulaeva.
The Guidelines highlight that the wellbeing of defenders needs specific attention, from the very way relocation initiatives are designed, to the activities planned, expectations of defenders, and the resources and funding allocated to the programmes. Defenders may arrive at their relocation initiatives exhausted and struggling with the mental health issues such as burnout, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Coordinators and other staff involved in relocation initiatives can also suffer in terms of their own wellbeing. The Guidelines provide specific guidance on how to handle issues related to wellbeing on relocation initiatives, and we hope that they will be useful to defenders, relocation coordinators, wellbeing service providers, funders, and other protection actors.
The Barcelona Guidelines were launched on 22 October 2019 and are available in five languages