Washington, DC - On September 19, the United States and Estonia chaired the sixth annual donor meeting of the Lifeline: Embattled Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) Assistance Fund in New York, New York. The governments of Australia, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mongolia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States are pleased to announce additional financial support from Estonia, Latvia, Luxembourg, and the United States and continued funding from the Netherlands and Norway through their multi-year pledges.
While the main work of Lifeline will continue, the donors agreed to focus financial and diplomatic efforts over the next year on activists who have been retaliated against for engaging with the United Nations. The donors recognized the work of the Secretary-General on reprisals, most recently in his August 2016 report, but committed to working with the United Nations system, specifically at the Human Rights Council, on a more systemic approach to preventing and responding to reprisals. The donors will meet again in the spring of 2017 to discuss their efforts.
Launched in July 2011 in Vilnius on the margins of the Community of Democracy Ministerial, Lifeline provides emergency assistance to CSOs when they are threatened or attacked because of their advocacy work, as well as funding for short-term initiatives that allow CSOs to remain resilient and to fight back against regulatory and extralegal barriers. The Fund has provided targeted assistance to 943 CSOs operating in 98 challenging countries; 70.9 percent of respondents receiving emergency assistance report that assistance allowed them to resume their work with few or no limitations. Together, the donors have committed $21 million for activities between 2011 and 2019.