Our emergency fund

fonds urgence defenseurs danger

AEDH has been running an emergency fund for human rights defenders in danger since 1999.

The fund aims to protect the Human Rights Defenders and to respond rapidly to their calls for help when they are threatened or persecuted.


Jairo Mendez was a trade unionist in Colombia. He came to France with the support of the urgent fund. Now he lives in Lyon and has become both a member and a volunteer at AEDH. This is what he tells us of his involvement in the defence of workers rights in Colombia:


How we intervene

The way that we intervene depends on the local context, the amount of danger the Human Rights Defenders are in and the nature of the request of the Human Rights Defenders.

It can consist of:

  • Helping the Human Rights Defenders leave their country if they are threatened with arbitrary arrest, kidnapping or assassination, and if their only option is to leave the country or the region where they live;
  • Helping the Human Rights Defenders settle in the country to which they have fled;
  • Providing legal assistance to those who have been wrongly arrested or are being accused falsely;
  • Covering medical expenses in cases where the Human Rights Defenders have been subjected to violence or torture or need ill treatment;
  • Intervening in the courts of the country of origin to ensure that the Human Rights Defenders’ safety is guaranteed.

The emergency fund’s annual reports (FR) are online.

To learn how the emergency fund works, go to our chart:

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Example of a Human Rights Defender that the fund helped

defense droits homme nermie lapatis

Nermie Lapatis belongs to the Matigsalug ethnic group, an indigenous people on the Island of Mindanao. She was active in the Kasama Bukidon organisation which defends the rights of the peasants in particular against the major mining companies.

On 5 February 2014 she was driving to a meeting of the peasant community along with the President of the Association, Julieto Lauron. Their car was attacked by armed men on motorbikes who killed Julieto and badly wounded Nermie. The assassins then made off. This attack is just one of many in the long line of murders of activists fighting for the rights of peasants as well as indigenous peoples in the Philippines.

The Emergency fund took on Nermie’s medical expenses and covered the cost of her subsistence for three months so that she could stay elsewhere with her family in a neighbouring province.  Nermie has now recovered and returned to work in her association and continues to seek legal redress against the attacks that human rights defenders are subjected to in the region. A book and a documentary have been made that includes Nermie Lapatis’ testimony.