The Human Rights Defenders Project

Guatemala City, GU, Guatemala |
Joined in March 2017

About Us

Our Mission:

The Human Rights Defenders Project
promotes and protects human rights in Guatemala by standing in solidarity with the courageous men and women who defend those rights. We seek to serve and support human rights defenders through advocacy and accompaniment, raising awareness about their efforts and struggles, denouncing the threats and attacks against them, mobilizing international solidarity to safeguard them, offering emergency assistance in their times of need, and facilitating access to national and international mechanisms of protection.

Our Focus:

Support for Defenders
  • The Human Rights Defenders Project believes that the best way to bring about positive, profound, and permanent change in Guatemala is by supporting human rights defenders and their vital work. This can best be achieved when the defenders themselves define the type of accompaniment, advocacy, and solidarity that best meets their needs.

Communication & Education
  • Effective accompaniment requires awareness, information, and the means by which to take action. By denouncing the threats and attacks against defenders to an international audience we can help provide a measure of safety and protection for individuals at risk, their families, communities and organizations. The Human Rights Defenders Project informs, educates and mobilizes our partners to stand in effective solidarity with defenders.

  • We believe that solidarity is a two-way street. The lives and struggles of Guatemalan human rights defenders can teach, inspire and motivate us… whether we are activists, educators, professionals, students, people of faith, etc. The Human Rights Defenders Project fosters authentic connections and mutually-respectful relationships among all those who work day-to-day in the defense of basic human rights and a better life for all.

Our Work:

  • Our vision of accompaniment entails providing political, moral, economic, and emotional support for human rights defenders at risk. “Standing with” defenders implies attending their meetings, court cases, and public events, as well as visiting with them when they are disheartened, sick, hospitalized or imprisoned. Other actions of accompaniment include: denouncement of rights abuses, physical support during acts of threats or intimidation, access to international protection mechanisms (ONU, CIDH, US Embassy, etc.) assistance with translation and communication, emergency financial support, contextual analysis, etc.

  • One of the most direct and powerful ways to learn about Guatemala and the invaluable work of defenders is by visiting the country and participating in a delegation. We offer an extensive list of itineraries that focus on women’s rights, land and the environment, freedom of expression, food security, the defense of indigenous identity, truth, memory and justice, etc. Our delegations are not just learning experiences, they seek to create real relationships with defenders, their communities and their organizations. Our delegations are designed to open eyes, challenge minds, touch hearts, forge relationships, and change lives.

Website, Social Media, Email Campaigns
  • Our close working relationships with defenders, and our presence in the communities, provides us with first-hand knowledge of the dire situation facing defenders. Defenders are not voiceless but their voices often go unheard. Through constant communication with our partners around the world we hope to raise awareness about the challenges facing defenders, share their stories and concerns, and offer creative and effective ways to support them.

The Karen Brandow Defenders Support Fund
  • Karen was a life-long human rights activist with a profound love for the people of Guatemala. She passed away in 2014. This support fund, dedicated to her memory, will continue her legacy of standing with defenders in their moments of need. The fund provides emergency financial assistance for defenders to help cover such needs as transportation, lodging, legal aid, medical aid, family support, etc.

El Consejo de Defensores – The Defenders Council
  • The Defenders Counsel is an advisory board composed of human rights defenders working in communities throughout Guatemala. They meet monthly to discuss, evaluate, and guide our work. Their input helps us avoid the pitfalls of paternalism, racism, and north-south power relations. Their guidance helps us to plan our work and to provide the best possible support for human rights defenders in Guatemala.
Our Mission:

The Human Rights Defenders Project
promotes and protects human rights in Guatemala by standing in solidarity with the courageous men and women who defend those rights. We seek to serve and support human rights defenders…

Issue Areas Include

  • Human Rights & Civil Liberties
  • Human Rights & Civil Liberties


  • Guatemala City, GU None, Guatemala

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