Research at the HRD Hub

research areas

The wellbeing of human rights defenders

The wellbeing of human rights defenders is a core area of research for the HRD Hub. More information on our projects and research findings are available here.

Current projects

The Law of asylum in the middle east and asia: developing legal engagement at the frontiers of the international refugee regime

In states that have not signed up to the core international agreements concerning how refugees should be protected, refugees are often treated as “outside the law” and subject to discrimination, abuse and other serious human rights violations. This project seeks to systematically explore recent successes by local providers of legal aid to refugees and to determine whether these successes can form the basis for a new approach to refugee protection.

working papers


The Hub Working Papers Series aims to support new and emerging research on the situation of human rights defenders, and to make research related to HRDs as widely accessible as possible. The series provides a space for academics, practitioners and HRDs to publish their work in a publicly available format. If you would be interested in submitting a paper to the series, please contact


policy briefs


The Hub’s Navigating Risk, Managing Security, and Receiving Support project has produced a series of policy briefs related to the security and protection of human rights defenders. These are available on the Security of Defenders website in English, Arabic, Spanish, Bahasa Indonesia and Kiswahili.

The Navigating Risk project focused on the experiences of human rights defenders in Colombia, Mexico, Kenya, Egypt and Indonesia. It explored topics such as the types of risks defenders face and why; factors that make them feel secure and insecure; their security managment practices; norms about wellbeing; and perceptions of ‘human rights’ and ‘human rights defenders’ in each of the five countries.


responses to research


This video includes two short films based on verbatim poetry created from interview transcripts from the Navigating Risk, Managing Security, and Receiving Support research project led by Dr. Alice Nah. The films were produced by MA students at the Centre for Applied Human Rights as part of a module on Culture and Protest.

Civic space across the globe is rapidly being restricted or closed. In this short film made by students based at CAHR, human rights defenders from Egypt, Ethiopia and Turkey discuss their experiences of activism and human rights work in a hostile environment. The film features Getachew Simie, a former fellow of the Protective Fellowship Scheme, and is based on research conducted at CAHR.




Read blogs written by PhD researchers at CAHR. Find out about the UK’s Responsibility to Protect, Tunisian farmers’ grievances, and ActionAid’s work on unpaid care.