News & Politics

Life without fear

buy Lyrica in thailand To some extent or another, we all live in fear. The truth is that members of our community are still often denied equal rights and protections under the law, we face a higher incidence of violence, and we have had to learn to assess the safety of our surroundings (even if it is subconsciously).

Vigilance becomes a way of life.

For some of us, the risks are higher based on how out we are, where we live, or who we are.  For example, trans people are murdered at an alarming rate and  76 countries have anti-gay laws that are as bad or worse than Russia. Some are more at risk because they defend the rights of LGBT individuals even when they know they face serious bodily hard for doing so. For some of us, the risks are low enough that we don’t think about them all the time – but learned patterns, I think, continue. How often do you check for exits or analyze the safety of a new situation without even thinking about it?

I just recently learned about the Natalia Project and wanted to share with you.

Several of the human rights defenders selected to participate in this program are LGBT rights activists from the Balkans. I hope others will join me in following the Natalia Project on twitter and facebook and reacting if there is ever the need.  Such a small effort with such huge potential to protect members of our own community and those speaking up for others whose voices are not often heard.

More information from Civil Rights Defenders:


The Natalia Project – the first assault alarm for human rights defenders

The Natalia Project – named after Natalia Estemirova who was abducted and murdered in 2009 – is a personal alarm for human rights defenders at risk

Stockholm, spring, 2013 – Everyday, people around the world risk their lives defending rights most people in the western world take for granted. The Natalia Project was founded to protect these heroes. Those at high risk of kidnapping wear the Natalia Project personal alarm like a wristband. In the case of an attack the alarm is activated by a simple pull of the wristband. Once activated, a signal containing the exact GPS location is sent via mobile phone network to Civil Rights Defenders headquarters in Stockholm, and also to people in the vicinity who can immediately come to the rescue. The ability to act quickly in situations like these can literally be the difference between life and death.

What makes the Natalia Project unique, is the alarm can also issue the signal to automatically update and inform the Natalia Project Facebook and Twitter accounts. This means that potentially hundreds of thousands of people can be aware of an attack, literally, within minutes of it happening and start to put pressure on the regime. Just the fact that the whole world could potentially be aware of an attack instantly creates virtual protection around civil rights defenders at risk. Because, if there is one thing these regimes want to avoid, it is international attention and criticism.

“The Natalia Project complements Civil Rights Defenders’ traditional activities, strengthening the security around civil rights defenders at risk. It gives us an opportunity to react faster and extend our hands-on protection further to those people who risk their lives everyday defending basic civil and political rights,” says Robert Hårdh, Executive Director of Civil Rights Defenders.

The first personal alarms will be distributed at the Civil Rights Defenders’ conference, Defenders’ Days, in Stockholm, 2nd – 5th April, 2013. The first stage of the project is to equip 55 civil rights defenders within 18 months, this is reliant on getting the funding from sponsors and the general public.

“I think most of us would like to do something when we hear what these civil rights defenders do and what they risk. But, it happens so far away and there’s so much going on in everyone’s everyday life already. The Natalia Project makes it easy for anyone to contribute, in a very direct way, to the lives of civil rights defenders at risk today,” concludes Robert Hårdh.

For more information about the Natalia Project, please visit the Natalia Project.


Tags: , , , ,

One Comment

  1. Pingback: Have you heard of The Natalia Project? | Musings from inside, outside, and underneath

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.