Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton today said the international Lifeline Fund helps embattled NGOs continue their fight for democratic values.
At the first meeting of the Lifeline Donor Steering Committee in Lithuania, Ms. Clinton said the Lifeline Fund is an organized response to those who are on the front lines of democracy and freedom and human rights, often at great cost to themselves.
“We established the Lifeline last year with a $2 million contribution. This year we have pledged another $1 million. And I am very pleased that our support was more than matched with a $1.4 million commitment from all of you. So thank you very much.” -Ms. Clinton
She said the trends are so contradictory as more and more people are seeking to realize their rights. However, she said more than 50 nations are creating laws and regulations aimed at stifling the peaceful movement for democracy and freedom.
According to Ms. Clinton, the Lifeline fund can help in two ways. First, it will provide financial assistance to watchdog and advocacy NGOs, by doing everything from paying for new cell phones they need, helping to keep contact with jailed activists, launching legal appeals, paying for medical bills for those who have suffered abuse at the hands of government security.
“Second, we can help NGOs stand up to repressive government action by giving grants to rally local and international support through media campaigns to help build coalitions with civil society.” -Ms. Clinton
She pointed out that its seven NGO partners are creating a virtual SOS warning platform to improve its abilities to identify where and when people are in danger. In this way, they can get a response as quickly as needed.
In addition, Ms. Clinton said she is really excited by what the initiative has accomplished in just a year of working together with its partners.
Ms. Clinton was optimistic that they can attract more private money as they go forward, to have a fund that is not just government commitment, but private commitment.
“So, I think that what we are launching today is really a unique partnership with tremendous potential. So I just want to thank you all for what you have done, and for the vision that brings you here.” -Ms. Clinton