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Five lessons from the field: How financiers can better protect human rights defenders

Author: Siddharth Akali, Accountability Counsel, Published on: 20 December 2018

"Protecting Defenders in Development: Lessons Learned from Nepal", 12 Dec 2018

Five lessons for development financiers to better protect defenders

It is imperative that financiers use their influence to safeguard human rights defenders in development... Based on our firsthand experiences supporting communities, here are some steps that development funders can take to avoid financing human rights violations through their projects, particularly in early stages of the project cycle... 

1. Special protections for marginalised groups

Financiers of projects should maintain open and confidential channels of communication with human rights defenders and their representatives...

2. Zero tolerance for retaliation

Financiers should take action in support of people who are threatened or faced with violence, and should demonstrate zero tolerance for retaliation against human rights defenders.

3. Assessment of political situation for heightened risks

Financiers must take appropriate measures to identify and address heightened risk of human rights violations and violence against defenders...

4. Greater transparency and disclosure of instances of abuse

To address the issue of false charges or lawsuits targeting public participation, it may be helpful if borrowers are required to publicly disclose to financiers all court cases that have been filed regarding projects they fund

5. Meaningful consultation throughout a project

Having transparent consultations with affected local communities at every stage will ultimately be the bedrock to any solutions...

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