Since our inception in 1962, we’ve provided rapid financial and practical assistance to more than 10,000 prisoners of conscience and their dependents and distributed more than £4m. This has been achieved by exercising expertise built up over many years and by utilising our network of over 50 different distribution channels including human rights organisations, refugee groups, community organisations, universities and solicitors.
Who is a prisoner of conscience?
A prisoner of conscience is a person who has been persecuted for the nonviolent act or expression of their conscientiously held beliefs.
While we are free to express how we feel and what we believe, others are not so lucky. All around the world, people are persecuted for standing up for their beliefs and rights enshrined in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Prisoners of conscience and human rights defenders experience many forms of persecution. They may lose their jobs and access to public services; they may be barred from participation in social and cultural life; they may be harassed, bullied, intimidated and threatened. Physical violence is common as too is sexual abuse, rape and torture. Many are imprisoned, often thrown into solitary confinement with no or conflicting information about why they are in jail or what will happen next. Many ‘disappear’ with their families never hearing from them again; others are murdered. The ‘lucky ones’ escape, going underground or forced into exile. If they flee to another country, they frequently arrive traumatised, destitute and fearful for the future.
How we help?
We provide financial and practical assistance to prisoners of conscience and human rights defenders through our Package of Support, ensuring immediate relief, resettlement and requalification at the time of greatest need.