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The Lifeline Embattled CSO Assistance Fund provides emergency financial assistance to civil society organizations (CSOs) under threat or attack and advocacy support responding to broader threats to civil society.

Lifeline supports a variety of CSOs that conduct advocacy, promote and protect human rights, and/or act in a watchdog capacity, including human rights organizations, journalist associations, student groups, labor unions, think tanks, and others.

Lifeline receives contributions through an international donor pool of 17 governments and independent foundations that support democracy and human rights.


Who is eligible? Defined as an established group of two or more activists, a CSO is eligible for support if it has come under attack as a result of its activities. It does not need to be officially registered but must be able to document its history of activism.

What constitutes an emergency? An emergency is an urgent need for assistance arising from threats to a CSO or its staff on the basis of the organization’s work. Factors to be considered include: need, urgency, and whether the CSO faces significant security risks, loss of property or equipment, injury or imprisonment of staff, and/or prosecution or other legal proceedings.

What types of emergency support are provided? Lifeline provides small, short-term emergency grants for medical expenses, legal representation, prison visits, trial monitoring, temporary relocation, security, equipment replacement, and other types of urgently needed expenses. By definition, emergency assistance is finite and given to address a time-sensitive threat. An emergency may constitute the need for more than one type of assistance (i.e. medical and legal, or prison visits and equipment replacement).

How can you submit an application for emergency support? To inquire about submitting an application, please contact emergency.assistance.inquiries@gmail.com .

How do we process emergency requests? We review all applications based on the eligibility criteria described above. In this review, we independently verify the information provided by the applicant and determine a safe means of disbursal.

Lifeline is a consortium of seven international partners, including:

  • Freedom House;
  • the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA);
  • CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation;
  • Front Line Defenders;
  • the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL);
  • People in Need (PIN); and
  • the Swedish International Liberal Centre (SILC).


What types of advocacy support is provided? Lifeline provides support to CSOs to conduct short-term advocacy initiatives that aim to raise domestic and international awareness of a specific threat or restriction on civil society. Funding for these initiatives is provided by member organizations of the Lifeline Consortium.

How do you request advocacy support? Contact a member organization of the Lifeline Consortium with a proposal for an advocacy activity designed to have a significant human rights impact, providing specific information on the issue the planned activity will address, its location and timeframe, and a detailed budget.


The Lifeline also provides an opportunity to raise domestic and international awareness of specific threats and restrictions on civil society via urgent appeals submitted through member networks and by other means. Contact a member of the Lifeline Consortium if your organization wishes to propose an appeal.