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Creating change with and for human rights defenders  

In 2017, Amnesty International UK launched its global campaign Brave, calling for the urgent protection of Human Rights Defenders across the world. Whilst we continue our work in support of human rights defenders, Brave has now wrapped up as a priority global campaign. In 2021, external consultants Lauren Burrows and Teia Rogers conducted an independent evaluation, delivering their findings and recommendations earlier this year.  

You can read the full evaluation here. Tens of thousands of supporters were involved in the campaign and now it’s time to celebrate its achievements and to understand what the learnings are.  

What is a human rights defender? 

Human Rights Defenders are people with extraordinary passion, speaking out for freedom, justice, and equality in their everyday lives. They are people driven by the need to protect their families, their communities and themselves. At the time this campaign launched, Human Rights Defenders had never been in greater danger from those who wanted to silence them, with unprecedented numbers being arrested, abused, and even killed.  

Listen to the campaign’s evaluators, Lauren and Teia, discussing the meaning and use of the term Human Rights Defender here.  

What were the goals of the Brave campaign? 

  • Human Rights Defenders, particularly women and young people, are better protected (from smears, attacks and reprisals), recognised (for carrying out legitimate human rights work), connected (to each other, to international organisations and the wider HR community), and equipped with the skills and knowledge to safely and effectively to carry out their work. 
  • Individual Human Rights Defenders at risk feel increased support and are being protected from attacks, intimidation, and harassment by state or non-state actors. 
  • An increased number of people in the UK are actively engaged in campaigning with, and in support of, Human Rights Defenders in the UK and around the world.

What did the campaign achieve? 

The evaluation finds that the Brave campaign achieved its aim to enable more Human Rights Defenders to carry out their work more effectively and safely due to factors such as their level of connection, and the ways in which they are equipped to advance their human rights work. The campaign was also successful in increasing awareness of Human Rights Defenders across the UK public and government

The evaluation provides key insights into how Amnesty can continue to improve its work, including through increasing the opportunities for Human Rights Defenders to be more deeply involved in the work we do together.  

To find out more about Lauren and Teia’s experience of evaluating the Brave campaign, and their findings, you can check out the podcast here

Amnesty International UK Brave Evaluation