The military putsch in Myanmar on February 1st 2021 increases risks for political activists and their families. The new dictatorship will not refrain from silencing the opposition while human rights violations are already being reported.
We aim to organize a non-bureaucratic, holistic protection support (e.g. relocation).
Many protection and relocation programs (such as Frontline Defenders, Urgent Action Fund and ProtectDefenders) will respond quickly and meet most of the needs. However, not all request and needs will reach the big players and/or can be dealt with or not quickly enough. Some programs have very specific criteria and might exclude to support families, in-country relocation or support for the home community of an activist. While we aim to coordinate with the wider protection community through our existing network, we need flexibility.
We already have received requests via our network but cannot name those publicly due to security concerns. If you donate you will receive individualized stories if not compromising the security of the stipendiaries.
To start with and in order to have some funds available immediately for threatened activists, we will limit the initial crowdfunding campaign (pilot project) to fund temporary relocation (stipends) and capacity development.
Holistic protection can and shall include the following components (which we will include in later phases of the project):
- Increasing knowledge and skills (risk assessment, safe communication/IT security, etc.)
- Temporary relocation in-country (to a safer region)
- Temporary relocation to another country in the region of origin (e.g. to Thailand) or even to Europe
- Supporting the so-called eco-system of an activist (for example human rights activities, establishing support networks, organisational development; but also humanitarian support and development aid if that’s what is needed)
Culture for Peace staff and network will voluntarily or in existing positions coordinate the project - i.e. managing application/response process, risk assessment, networking, logistics, etc.
A technical advisory board will be formed.
Culture for Peace works with local grass-roots partners in Myanmar
(Rakhine State) since 2017. Culture for Peace staff has extensive experience in human rights work / protection of human rights defenders. Raphael Vergin worked for peace brigades international and the Martin Roth-Initiative, a German relocation program for threatened artists. However, Culture for Peace will need substantial support (coordination, networking, analyses, etc.) from our network and partners.