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The Dublin Platform for Human Rights Defenders

On 3 February, Mr Kaveh Ghasemi Kermanshahi, human rights advocate and journalist, was arrested at his home in Kermanshah, Western Iran. Seven security guards allegedly searched his home, confiscated his computer and documents and then took him with them. His family have not been told where he is and the reason and issuing authority of the arrest are unknown.

Instances like these are common. Rights advocates get detained for no verifiable reason, and some get killed for the work they are doing or their convictions. According to a report released by Front Line, an organisation who strive to protect human rights advocates across the world, last year saw a spike in jeopardized rights advocates, with at least 24 killed.

Front Line, who have partnered with Tactical Tech on security training events and the creation of a security toolkit for digital advocacy, Security in-a-box, host the “The Dublin Platform for Human Rights Defenders” every two years. According to Front Line, this platform serves as “a truly unique opportunity for human rights defenders at-risk, from every corner of the world, to come together to share experiences, learn from one another, discuss relevant issues and engage with decision makers from governmental and intergovernmental bodies.” Workshops, discussions, presentations and personal testimonies, exploring security and what measures are needed to protect rights advocates, are all part of this cardinal event.


This year’s Platform, held in the Dublin Castle over two days, 10 – 12th February 2010, welcomed 100 rights advocates and carefully selected national and international guests. The security of online activity and communications was a significant topic this year. Among those invited to participate, along with the honoured Ms. Navi Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and Ms. Margaret Sekaggya, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, was Tactical Tech. Here, co-founder, Stephanie Hankey presented two projects, Security in-a-box and ’10 tactics for turning information into action’, a film which documents and suggests strategies for creating information activism, particularly in contexts where advocates’ safety might be compromised.

Tactical Tech understands the necessity of protecting rights advocates particularly in the digital sphere.The average user, even if they are an advocate working on high-risk human rights issues, may not consider  the digital footprints left behind, for others to see, every time they log on to the internet.

A key programme area in Tactical Tech’s strategy is ‘Protect; here we aim to maintain the “free flow of information” and to strengthen the protection mechanisms for rights advocates working in the global south. Forthcoming projects in this area include ‘Surviving in the digital age’, an animation series to create awareness about the invisible threats that lurk in digital spaces and encourage advocates to be security conscious. Tactical Tech is always eager to hear from organisations who need support or would like to partner on projects involving digital security. Please contact us with any queries.

Image: The Fourth Dublin Platform, 2008. Picture from Front Line website.