Civil society around the globe is working under increasingly difficult circumstances, fighting attacks on Net Neutrality, targeted censorship, restrictions on operations, and even threats to physical safety. And for human rights defenders, women, LGBT advocates, journalists, and others, the very act of posting something on social media or publishing a blog post is often an act of defiance and extraordinary courage. Driven by our mission, we at Access Now are working to equip the global human rights community with the necessary tools to build and protect digital safe spaces.
One way we support the change makers in the fight to defend human rights for people most at risk is through our grants program, which has so far funded 67 projects in 29 countries, helping local activists to deepen their impact, strengthen their digital security, and scale up new initiatives at the intersection of human rights and technology. By resourcing the grassroots, we are helping to expand and diversify the global digital rights movement, and therefore empower it. If you’d like to help support our local partners, you can contribute to the grants fund here.
All of our grantees are doing amazing work, from defending privacy and free expression, to training their communities on digital security, to holding corporations accountable for their impact on human rights. We’d like to introduce you to just a few:
Palestinians have long faced surveillance, restrictions of freedom of expression and association, and severe consequences for engaging in human rights activism. These threats have now moved online. At the same time, the internet has opened up new opportunities for Palestinians to connect across the political boundaries that divide and restrict them, share their experiences and demand their rights. 7amleh is using its Access Now Grant to conduct in-depth research on issues including censorship, surveillance, and profiling of Palestinians on social media, and to advocate for better policies to protect Palestinians’ freedom of expression.
Across Central America, human rights defenders, journalists, environmental and indigenous rights activists, and feminist and LGBT leaders face violence, and their activism is criminalized by repressive and corrupt governments. Acceso’s mission is to help mitigate the increasing violation of rights related to the physical, technological, and psychosocial security of these populations at risk. They provide direct technical support to human rights defenders, journalists and social communicators, and women/LGBT/gender leaders. Funding from Access Now has helped Acceso establish the Regional Digital Security Observatory, a network of digital defenders with technical and legal expertise, which has systematized digital security assistance throughout the region and provides civil society with the necessary resources to defend privacy and prevent surveillance.
Threats to digital rights are compounded when they intersect with other threats to human rights. Such is the case among LGBT folks and sex workers in Uganda. iFreedom Uganda — a network of 28 member organizations, including LGBT organizations, sex worker organizations, and mainstream human rights organizations — was founded to ensure that marginalized groups in Uganda are able to freely associate, assemble, and express themselves without fear of risk or reprisal from state agencies and dangerous hacking groups. The organization has deployed its Access Now grant to provide digital security trainings to LGBT individuals and sex worker communities and to engage in advocacy campaigns on internet freedoms and digital security from a human rights perspective.
We hope you are as inspired as we are by these brave digital rights champions, and the many more like them around the world. We are honored to support their work and to stand shoulder-to-shoulder in the fight to defend and extend the rights of users at risk.
By making a contribution, you will be providing much-needed resources to help ensure everyone — especially those most at risk — can freely and securely exercise their rights online. Give to us so that we may give, with every cent we receive going directly to grassroots organizations via our grants program. Will you give today?