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Connecting human rights defenders

Tele2 provides IoT connectivity to the global security system of Civil Rights Defenders’ Natalia Project. 

Tele2 is a strong advocate of freedom of expression. Civil Rights Defenders’ Natalia Project was created in 2013 to promote freedom of speech and protect human right defenders in countries where threats, or even attacks, might be used to silence outspoken voices. The project includes more than 170 human rights defenders worldwide. The system relies on always having access to global connectivity and Tele2’s IoT connectivity provides the best connectivity possible, including roaming in more than 450 networks all over the world.

In short, each participating human rights defender is provided with security training and a security device that can activate an alarm instantly in situations where the human rights defender faces an immediate threat. The alarm sends a distress signal with a GPS location to nearby local contacts, as well as to Civil Rights Defenders’ headquarters in Stockholm, enabling instant local and global support.

– Tele2 has always been a firm protector of freedom of speech. We have enabled it by providing alternative connectivity, but also fought for it, in many countries over the years. It feels great to support Civil Rights Defenders and the Natalia Project with our high quality and reliable IoT connectivity, to make sure all units ceaselessly provide security and comfort for brave human rights defenders in challenging communities, says Anders Nilsson, President and CEO of Tele2.

– Sadly, there is a growing need to protect outspoken voices, be it from authoritarian states or other powerful offenders. The Natalia Project is a unique global security system that has proven to be absolutely crucial when human rights defenders face immediate danger. Partnering with a reliable supplier of worldwide connectivity for our alarms is therefore a very important step, not only for Civil Rights Defenders, but also for all human rights defenders participating in the project, says Anders L. Pettersson, Executive Director of Civil Rights Defenders.

About Civil Rights Defenders and the Natalia Project 

Civil Rights Defenders is an international human rights organisation founded in 1982 in Sweden. The organisation partners with and supports human rights defenders who work in some of the world’s most repressive regions. The Natalia Project is named in honor of Natalia Estemirova, a human rights defender who was abducted and murdered in Chechnya in 2009. When Civil Rights Defenders launched the Natalia Project in 2013, it became the world’s first security alarm system for human rights defenders at risk. Today the project has grown to include more than 170 human rights defenders from all over the world, including Russia, Central Asia, the East and Horn of Africa, Southeast Asia, Latin America, and the Western Balkans. Each participant undergoes extensive security training, tailored to each community, and receives an ‘always on’ security tool that can instantly activate a distress signal and GPS location, to call for both local and international support.

No tangible change can be achieved when you constantly live in fear of retribution. The Natalia Project has freed me from that fear, so I can amplify the voice of my people knowing that someone is watching over me, says Phyllis Omido, a Kenyan environmental human rights defender who participates in the Natalia Project.