Against impunity and for access to justice

The NHRF prioritises work aimed at ensuring full and equal access to justice, recognizing justice as the key component to combating impunity.

Ensuring access to justice involves facing intricate challenges that arise regardless of national and international laws that formally guarantee the protection of human rights. Some of these challenges are based on the discrimination of certain groups based on their, for example, gender, religion, or ethnic background. Others are rooted in the absence of normative frameworks, administrative weaknesses, or the lack of political will. Many of the diverse organisations supported by the NHRF have contributed remarkable efforts to reclaim their right to full and equal access to justice. Some of these efforts include documenting human rights violations, promoting the visibility and empowerment of discriminated groups, preserving memories so future generations will not forget and repeat the violations, and providing free legal assistance to ensure equal access to justice.


For Grantseekers

Projects that work against impunity and for access to justice must be within one of our nine priority countries in order to receive support from the NHRF.

In the assessment of applications, the NHRF will prioritise projects using one or more of the following methods:

  • Advocacy towards decision makers
  • Access to justice
  • Competence building which equips vulnerable groups to make better use of existing legal frameworks to defend their rights.

Projects can use other methods as well, but it must use one or more of the methods above. The NHRF does not support projects limited to general awareness-raising.

NHRF support to Work Against Impunity and Access to Justice

“The political and economical accompaniment of NHRF has made it possible to advance and position a key psychological-legal strategy for the defense of human rights, the construction of peace and organizational strengthening.”


Within our current 2016-2020 strategy, our grantees have been and are working to ensure accountability for perpetrators and for institutions that have the power and means to provide remedy and redress for human rights violations against marginalized and vulnerable groups in their communities.

Many of our grantees work with victims and survivors of conflict and conflict-related extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances. Projects focusing on these issues cover 4 of our 9 priority countries. Conflicts have a lasting impact in the minds and bodies of survivors and the families of victims. Work in this area helps us to understand that there is no expiration date on the desire to pursue justice and accountability for violations of human rights by state or non-state actors. For survivors who feel forgotten, this work is especially meaningful and has a deeply personal impact in the lives of those reached by the support of our grantees.


Support to people on the ground affected by human rights abuse and to people that are taking a lead in the rights struggle is an important feature of the NHRF. The NHRF supported several organisations in countries affected by war or conflict in the present or past. Changing laws and policies is a long-term effort that involves the contribution of many civil society organisations at local, national and international level. The NHRF is committed to the improvement of the legal and administrative protection in the countries we work.

In our current strategic period, we have supported projects applying the following methods: legal capacity building, collaboration between and the establishment of networks, legal aid/assistance, advocacy, workshops/training on human rights, psychosocial therapy, documentation, monitoring, and reporting of human rights violations, and more.



Our grantees are members of and/or work with many different marginalized and vulnerable communities. Many also work with local authorities (e.g. police enforcement) and professionals (lawyers and health workers) to provide education on the human rights situation for the communities they serve and the proper, human rights-based procedures for handling cases. Collectively, our grantees are providing direct and critical support to some of the most marginalized groups in their home countries and even in the larger global contexts for some groups (women and LGBTQ+).


Our grantees working within this strategic area have expressed that helping to link them to national and international networks and support to help them increase their security and protection are the most valuable forms of support the NHRF can provide outside of grant support. We will continue to focus our support in these areas, while also keeping in mind the varying support needs for each grantee organization.