We have just published our 2016 Annual Report. In it you will find an overview of our recent activities as well as some case studies of people we have helped.
Due to our donors’ generosity, we were able to allocate 154 individual grants in 2016, totalling just under £165,000, to people from 31 different countries. An additional 194 family members also benefited from our support.
We have continued to respond to increasingly urgent calls for support from journalists and media workers under threat, most of whom come from the East and Horn of Africa. Many of these brave individuals were threatened with imprisonment in their home countries when their reporting of state-orchestrated human rights abuses brought them into conflict with their governments. We assisted 27 journalists at risk in 2016.
Forced into exile in neighbouring countries, many people are still at risk of being pursued across borders by the security forces from which they have fled. This means that, while dealing with all the trauma and bureaucracy of refugee resettlement, they are faced with the added anxiety of personal safety. In these cases, our emergency grants can help pay for more secure accommodation and other expenses incurred when people are forced to live in hiding.
One of the people featured in our Annual Report is Mandira Sharma, a Nepali lawyer who has been undertaking courageous work bringing high-profile court cases against government officials and institutions accused of human rights violations in her home country. Currently living in the UK while pursuing a PhD in transitional justice, we are contributing to Mandira’s PhD fees.
Last month Mandira and her husband enjoyed a week’s respite holiday funded by one of our partner organisations, the Prisoners of Conscience Holiday Fund, in Jersey. They stayed as guests of local islanders and were shown immeasurable hospitality during their stay. The stunning scenery and friendly atmosphere of Jersey offered a much-needed restorative break for them both.
Mandira told us they have not been able to have a holiday together for many years and that,
“The holiday provided us with much-needed time for respite, to reflect and enjoy. The memory of the beautiful island, the warmth, and hospitality that were shown to us will be with us forever.”
We are very grateful to the Holiday Fund for their long-standing generosity and friendship to prisoners of conscience and their families.
We do hope you will be able to enjoy some time to relax with your family and friends this summer. If you can help those who are not in the same position, we and they, would be so grateful.