HRSM Program Interventions
The Human Rights Support Mechanism is a project of the PROGRESS consortium, which provides technical assistance and support to partners and beneficiaries in developing countries around the world to protect and promote human rights.
Rapid Response Interventions
Rapid response interventions respond to “action-forcing events” with the goal of countering, preventing, or minimizing human rights abuses and restrictions on operating environments for human rights defenders.
An “action-forcing event” is broadly defined as a development in a country that is likely to trigger a human rights crisis in the absence of external intervention. Interventions can also respond to rapidly evolving political contexts where timely interventions could have a lasting impact on the enabling environment for human rights in the country. HRSM is also responding to a wide range of COVID-related human rights concerns using RR funding.
RR interventions are focused, targeting support for local partners with a time frame of about six months and a budget of around $150,000. For example, an election is often an “action forcing event” and in the period around the October 2017 presidential election in Kenya, Freedom House provided a rapid response grant to Kenya’s National Commission on Human Rights to support them in monitoring, documenting, and reporting on human rights violations, engaging with government institutions to ensure accountability, and contributing to the protection of civic space.
In the context of COVID, HRSM is giving priority to rapid response activities addressing gender-based and domestic violence; human rights violations, discrimination and hate speech against vulnerable populations; migrant and internally displaced populations; disinformation and lack of information affecting vulnerable populations; security sector abuses; and support to indigenous peoples’ organizations.
With HRSM, USAID Missions and Bureaus can develop Associate Awards to fund programs that fit within HRSM objectives and are tailored to a Mission or Bureau’s long-term strategy. The HRSM mechanism enables Missions to issue agreements quickly to trusted partners. When the award is issued, HRSM implementers are directly accountable to the USAID Mission or Bureau that issues the award. The following are some examples of the kind of work that USAID and HRSM do around the world:
Through the Stronger Institutional Guarantees for Human Rights Protection Project in Armenia, ABA ROLI helped empower the Armenia Office of the Human Rights Defenders (OHRD) to serve as an effective liaison between right-holders and duty-bearers. ABA ROLI built the capacity of the OHRD to be more effective in the protection of human rights abuses. The program promoted and enforced anti-discrimination policies and practices while strengthening the capacity of the human rights protection community and the OHRD to effectively deliver early warning, monitoring, prevention and reporting of human rights cases.
The Human Rights Protection in Honduras project is a Freedom House-led initiative to assist national efforts to promote a culture of respect for human rights in Honduras. Project activities strengthen the government’s ability to implement a Protection Mechanism to effectively defend and bolster fundamental freedoms, as well as enhance the ability of civil society and HRDs to hold the Honduran government accountable. The project was created to address specific needs on the ground identified through an in-depth Freedom House assessment of the human rights protection sector, as well as through other recommendations made by international organizations.
Strengthening the Capacity of Indigenous Organizations in the Amazon (SCIOA) is a project implemented by PACT and ABA ROLI. It works to strengthen the capacity of indigenous people’s organizations (IPOs) in the Amazon region to manage financial resources and improve their ability to take ownership of their own development planning and priorities. PACT is building the capacity of IPOs to apply and access international funding to more effectively advocate for indigenous peoples’ governance of significant infrastructure and extractive activities in the Amazon; ensure that indigenous peoples’ rights to free and informed consent are respected; and mitigate the negative environmental, social, and economic impacts of these development projects.
Promoting Civic Education and Participation in South Africa Project is a Freedom House project to strengthen the ability of CSOs and community-based organizations (CBOs) to more effectively conduct civic education activities in their communities. Freedom House is specifically assisting CSOs and CBOs with engaging citizens in the political process and engaging with their local and national representatives. The project is also increasing the use of tactics and approaches that citizens can use to hold the government accountable.
Through the Data Driven Advocacy (DDA) project, Freedom House and PACT are working to improve and sustain the ability of Tanzanian rights-focused civil society organizations (CSO) to advocate for, and influence policy on, human rights issues through better data and information. DDA mentors and provides technical assistance to CSOs in data collection, evidence-based advocacy and digital and physical protection. It also supports CSOs to build or strengthen platforms for coordination with diverse stakeholders. DDA has provided CSOs in an increasingly challenging civic context with the necessary resources and mentorship to better engage with the government and contribute to a more inclusive, data-driven, and human rights-focused policymaking process.
This program is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of PROGRESS and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.
More Freedom House Programs
Dignity for All: LGBTI Assistance Program
The Dignity for All program provides emergency funds, support, and security assistance to human rights defenders and organizations under threat or attack due to their work for LGBTI human rights.
Lifeline Emergency Assistance Program
Freedom House administers several funds which offer emergency assistance to organizations and individuals around the world who are under threat because of their human rights work.
Sub-Saharan Africa Programs
Freedom House partners with civil society and human rights defenders throughout Sub-Saharan Africa to advance respect for human rights, strengthen democratic governance, and fortify just rule of law.