International Federation for Human Rights

Fédération internationale des ligues des droits de l’homme - Comments

4) The financial resources

-Regarding public resources, the FIDH accepts subsidies from states (mainly Northern Europe) and intergovernmental organisations (mainly the European Union) as long as there are no political conditions in it. As for the private sector, the Federation resorts to the sponsorships of Corporations and Foundations, on top of the subscriptions and donations it gets from its members and various supporters. Some of these partners have an obvious political agenda, as the Jean Jaurès Foundation, on the socialist side in France, or the Heinrich Böll Stiftung, an offshoot of the Green Party in Germany. Others are companies like Carrefour, which, in 1998, consulted the FIDH about the employment of children in the third world, and then drafted a code of conduct to control its purchasing channels in developing countries. Besides, in 2002, the so-called “Libertés et Solidarités” mutual fund represented the main private resource of the FIDH, with an income of 150,000 Euros. In general, the public funds serve to finance legal cooperation programmes, and the private funds to start investigation missions.
-As far as we know, the FIDH was never involved in a financial scandal. But its affiliated members are more vulnerable to the diversion of funds, especially in developing countries. Launched in 1992 with 3,000 supporters in 1995, 6,000 in 1996, 10,000 in 1997 and up to 14,000 in 1998, ZimRights (Zimbabwe Human Rights Association), for instance, has been torn apart by internal rivalries. Its first general secretary, Nick Ndebele, initially managed the local Peace and Justice Commission but was pushed to resign in 1991 because of mismanagement. In 1999, he succeeded in being elected president of ZimRights to replace Reginald Matchaba. His positions in favour of the dictatorship of Robert Mugabe openly opposed those of the director of the organisation, David Chimhini, who had previously accused Nick Ndebele of misusing funds and fired him from the executive in 1996. The conflict became public and the two men were eventually compelled to resign. On the verge of bankruptcy, ZimRights had to close and sell its offices in 2001. Yet the FIDH still supported it and accepted a representative of ZimRights, Arnold Tsunga, in the International Bureau of the Federation in Paris in 2010…
-In general, many affiliated members of the FIDH in developing countries have to rely on foreign subsidies to operate. The contributions of their members are much too low to fund them.