[swb-public] README: Welcome & Initial Thoughts

Martin L. Fällman martin.fallman at civilrightsdefenders.org
Mon Jan 2 09:43:11 UTC 2017


I'd like to add to the below that I'm willing to share my experience vetting emergency assistance cases, as well as what vetting I can assist with, should SWB need it.

I think generally it's a good idea to agree on a few base criteria, for example that eligible clients should do work adhering to the UN OHCHR "Human Rights Defender" definition[1], and not have political activities (defined roughly as seeking/holding public office). This quickly sifts out all prospective clients engaged in discriminatory or hateful practices and violence or the promotion of violence, and makes sure you don't end up propping up a political party or politician.

True, this will exclude a few people who legitimately need help but also run for public office (with the best intentions, etc)--I don't have a *perfect* solution to this.

[1]: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/SRHRDefenders/Pages/Defender.aspx 

Best,

//MLF.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: swb-public [mailto:swb-public-
> bounces at lists.securitywithoutborders.org] On Behalf Of Nex
> Sent: söndag den 1 januari 2017 20:20
> To: swb at hacknet.cx; Josh More <jmore at starmind.org>
> Cc: swb-public <swb-public at lists.securitywithoutborders.org>
> Subject: Re: [swb-public] README: Welcome & Initial Thoughts
> 
[snip]
> 
> > Comment 3: agreed objectives / politics.
> > I suspect we've all expressed interest and willingness for different reasons,
> but with a generally agreed view that we would like to support freedom of
> speech and expression, support NGOs, the press and others in the face of
> growing intolerance. How do we go about defining who to support and who
> not to support, however? As an example I suspect everyone would support a
> request from MSF for help,  however would that extend to other groups?
> What would happen if breitbart sought help from the group? Or maybe The
> Canary (left wing organisation)? What would happen if the White helmets
> sought help, or a Palestinian organisation? How do we protect the group
> against fracture along political and ethical lines? Who makes these decisions
> and what happens if the group finds itself on the "wrong side of history"?
> 
> This is a common problem that I have faced when dealing with providing
> assistance to people I do not know. Normally, I tend to rely on other
> organizations with experience, such as Amnesty or Human Rights Watch,
> who would often be aware of particular individuals and organizations. Of
> course they might have particular biases, but they are generally a pretty
> reliable metric, I think, so in cases of doubt it is always useful to inquire
> them and seek for advice.
> 
> Also, I think a key component will be to cooperate with existing
> organizations that work in the field and provide already forms of assistance,
> and who already act as point of contact to people on the ground. For
> example Access Now, Frontline Defenders, Amnesty, etc.
> 
> Best,
> /nex
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