Heinrich Böll Stiftung Toolkit: In Defence of Defenders

Toolkit released by the Heinrich Böll Stiftung on 23/02/2023

A practical guide to legal means and advocacy tools for criminalised Human Rights Defenders in Europe.

Migration as well as supporting people in flight is increasingly treated as a criminal act in Europe. In the absence of a dignified and human response to those seeking protection in Europe the support provided by Human Rights Defenders along the routes or at sea becomes essential. However there is a worrying trend of criminalisation of both, people on the move and Human Rights Defenders in solidarity with them. While this phenomenon is something that needs to be tackled politically at the EU and national level, the consequences of criminalisation have to be dealt with at an individual level. In fact, criminalisation can come in various forms and with very different scopes, so it is therefore important that activists and organisations are aware of the existing options for action and defence. This toolkit seeks to support affected Human Rights Defenders by showing them mechanisms and avenues for help and self-defence in cases of criminalisation at various levels.