A new Scottish Human Rights Defenders Fellowship has been launched, with the first three Fellows welcomed to Scotland.
This major new initiative is aimed at supporting human rights defenders from around the world by providing them a short period of respite and protection in Scotland while they conduct research and interact with students, staff, civil society and government across Scotland. The Fellows will be based at Dundee University, and the programme is supported by Amnesty International, Front Line Defenders, Beyond Borders, SCIAF (Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund), with funding also from the Scottish Government and the EU Human Rights Defenders mechanism.
MSPs on Wednesday 26 September welcomed the initiative, agreeing to this motion:
That the Parliament notes that 2018 marks the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 20th anniversary of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders; commends the vital work that human rights defenders undertake around the world, often at considerable risk to themselves and their families; welcomes the establishment of the Scottish Human Rights Defender Fellowship and acknowledges the contribution made by all of the Fellowship partners, which are the Scottish Government, Amnesty International, Beyond Borders, Front Line Defenders, SCIAF and the universities of Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and St Andrews; notes in particular the central role played by the University of Dundee in hosting the Fellowship; commends also the work of ProtectDefenders.eu, the EU Human Rights Defenders mechanism, in providing training, support, capacity building and emergency assistance to human rights defenders, including through its financial support for the Scottish Fellowship, and wishes the 2018 Fellows every success during their time in Scotland and on their return home.
The Consortium is planning an event in November around human rights defenders in Scotland, including drawing on the experiences and reflections of these international human rights defenders. We will send out details in due course, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to express interest in taking part.
Image credit: Timothy West, Flickr