Message from Karen Tse, CEO – International Bridges to Justice

As COVID-19 sweeps across the globe all of humanity faces an unprecedented crisis that is having an impact on us all in varied but profound ways. My hope, and that of everyone at International Bridges to Justice, is that you, your loved ones, the frontline defenders and activists we support as well as the broader communities we serve remain safe and healthy during these challenging times.

We do not always know what will come next, but we do know one thing—local action safeguards human rights, and save lives, right now.

IBJ strongly supports the COVID-19 guidelines and directives issued by the United Nations and its specialized agencies, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN High Commission for Human Rights (UNHCHR). Further to this, IBJ supports local and grassroot justice leaders to mobilize their communities when justice systems are overwhelmed – or even break down. Frontline defenders globally need to make sure opportunities for prevention and protection are afforded equitably, and that vulnerable people receive the support and services they need. We need human rights advocates to ensure that due process, fundamental rights and freedoms are protected in these dire times.

While some IBJ staff are working remotely for the foreseeable future, we all remain committed to our work. All around the world committed people are ensuring that, as far as is possible, local leaders and frontline defenders in our networks are safe, healthy, and have the necessary tools and resources to assist them in their work. As the virus spreads, IBJ will provide continued support.

In this difficult time, IBJ, the frontline defenders, activists and communities we support – as well as our global community – find strength in solidarity.

Stay connected via the dedicated Covid-19 page on our website as well other updates on how IBJ is protecting the health, safety, and essential rights of not only accused persons but also frontline defenders worldwide.

IBJ thanks you for your continued and shared commitment to human rights.

Warm regards,

Karen Tse

To all defenders: Keep doing your work. It gives hope and together, we will weather this storm.