Human Rights Defenders

Overbrook supports varying approaches to defending human rights defenders in Latin America. These strategies for defending human rights activists on the ground range from physically extracting activists who find themselves in dangerous situations, to organizing campaigns calling international attention to activists under attack, to providing them with training on how to operate safely on the internet and maintain secure and private communications with their fellow activists.

Below is a list of 2014 grantees defending human rights defenders in Latin America.

Committee to Protect Journalists
General Operating Support – $20,000

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) promotes press freedom worldwide and defends the right of journalists to report the news without fear of reprisal. CPJ ensures the free flow of news and commentary by taking action wherever journalists are censored, attacked, imprisoned, or killed for their work. CPJ was founded in 1981 by a group of U.S. journalists seeking to help foreign colleagues who faced violence and repression. Today, CPJ is widely recognized as a leader in the global movement for media freedom.  Overbrook’s grant will particularly support CPJ’s advocacy around freedom of expression and security support for journalists in the Americas.

Environmental Defender Law Center
General Operating Support – $25,000 (first payment of a two-year grant)

The Environmental Defender Law Center (EDLC) works to protect the human rights of individuals and communities in developing countries who are fighting against harm to their environment. EDLC’s primary role is brokering: identifying cases of people who are suffering human rights abuses while protecting the environment and their way of life, and enlisting lawyers from premier firms to work on their behalf. EDLC and the law firms defend these environmental defenders from unfounded criminal charges and civil suits; argue for the enforcement of international human rights norms to local courts and human rights bodies; bring precedent-setting claims against multinational corporations; and help communities stop unwanted resource development projects.

Indian Law Resource Center
Protecting Maya Q’eqchi’ Land and Resource Rights in Guatemala - $35,000

The Indian Law Resource Center is a legal advocacy organization working to promote and defend the human rights of indigenous peoples in the Americas. The Center provides assistance without charge to Indian nations and other indigenous communities that are working to protect their lands, environments, cultures and ways of life; combat racism and oppression; achieve sustainable economic development and genuine self-government; and, realize their human rights. The Center is serving as legal counsel to a Maya Q’eqchi’ community and assisting other Q’eqchi’ communities in El Estor, Guatemala, that are fighting to secure legal title to their lands and resources, and stop a nickel mine from expanding onto their ancestral lands. The Center has taken this case to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The task at hand is to deliver sound and compelling legal arguments to convince the Commission that the human rights violations against the Center’s clients merit strong and immediate corrective actions by the Guatemalan government.

Grantees by Year:  2014 / 20132012 / 2011