Restrictions on freedom of expression or association, attacks on freedom of the press, arbitrary detention, gender discrimination, withdrawal of the right to education, to access to justice…. All over the world, protecting human rights is a perpetual battle. Standing at the side of nonprofits and citizens, several foundations are taking action to defend these fundamental freedoms. Some of Fondation de France’s donor-advised funds have put this subject at the center of their commitment.
Anne-Marie Hamoud, Fondation Yo et Anne-Marie Hamoud
“Human rights in the world”
Created in the fall of 2019 after the death of my husband, Fondation Yo et Anne-Marie Hamoud was designed to be a prolongation of the battles that have guided our professional lives as lawyers. Our activities are focused on three main causes. First, the right to life – to survival – for thousands of refugees lost at sea, risking drowning or being sent back to Libyan jails. For this reason, I decided to help the nonprofit SOS Méditerranée, which charters rescue vessels to protect survivors and bears witness to their distress.
We also work to defend basic rights, in particular the right to decent working conditions and freedom of expression. To do this, we support two organizations: Earth’s Pastoral Commission in Brazil, which defends threatened, landless farmers through criminal and labor law procedures. Their current struggle is to extend their area of operation from one to three Brazilian states. And the International Federation for Human Rights, which protects human rights as well as unjustly persecuted lawyers. Every year, the foundation supports these organizations in three different countries: Cambodia, Azerbaijan and Iran in 2020; Belarus, Thailand and Algeria in 2021. Finally, our third action strategy deals with migrant rights. We support Lawyers Without Borders, who help refugees on the Greek island of Samos so that their requests for asylum and refugee status are processed within a reasonable period of time. We also help the Association Nationale d’Assistance aux Frontières pour les Étrangers (Anafé - National Association for Assisting Foreigners at the Border), which assists people blocked in waiting areas in train stations, airports and ports. Partnering with Fondation de France, we support both highly experienced actors as well as less well-known organizations that do work that is both remarkable and indispensable.
Anne Lacoste, Fondation Inkermann
“At the side of LGBT people”
Our foundation is 36 years old. Historically, it has been committed to young people: Zellidja travel grants, Déclics Jeunes grants, support for young researchers, and so on. The idea is to give every opportunity to young talent, no matter what their social and family situation. In the 90s, we took on the issue of human rights by supporting the nonprofit Aides, which works to fight AIDS. The struggle to stop discrimination became one of our priority actions, in particular discrimination that affects migrants and lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people (LGBT). The dozens of supported projects include organizations like the nonprofit Les Bienvenues, which helps lesbian refugees, and Le Refuge, which offers assistance to young homosexuals who are thrown out of their family home. L’Espace Santé Trans fights for transgender healthcare, and Grey Pride focuses on preventing isolation and discrimination against elderly LGBT people. Also on our agenda for 2021: supporting the nonprofit Acceptess-T, to help open a home for young, at-risk trans people. In 30 years, we have assisted over 20 associations. Beyond the diversity of the projects, our approach always includes two dimensions. We choose innovative projects run by the people concerned, who are the best judge of their own needs. Then, we function as an incubator. We give projects time, thanks to multi-year support, but also by helping professionalize teams and putting them in contact with other actors in the field. Philanthropy has its rightful place in advancing these causes!