Who we are

Climate Activist Defenders aims to protect the lives and well-being of frontline climate justice activists (CJAs) working under oppressive and dangerous conditions. We facilitate their ability to continue carrying out their vital work to ensure a truly just transition and sustainable future. 

Our history

Climate Activist Defenders (CAD) former Activists in Risk Zones (ARZ), was started in 2019 by climate activists from Fridays For Future movement (FFF) ,a youth-led and organised international movement of school strikes for climate. justice. CAD was originally formed in 2019 as a taskforce from FFF to provide emergency relief support to twenty climate justice activists (CJA) who were arrested in Iran for protesting against state politics.

In August 2021, CAD was again called upon to respond to the outcries of climate activists in Afghanistan whose safety and well-being came under immediate threat with the abrupt U.S. pullout from the country and the subsequent Taliban takeover. Since then, CAD has been working in close collaboration with international partners and humanitarian relief organizations to evacuate at-risk climate justice activists and their immediate families from Afghanistan and facilitate their resettlement in a third country ensuring their safety and well-being. 

With the onset of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in March 2022, calls to protect CJA on the front lines have continued to grow. In recognizing a broader need for support for climate activists facing immediate risk, CAD decided to expand its support for other regions and received requests from various countries including Russia, Lebanon, Kenya and Mexico.

In response to a demand for more coordinated support for  CJA, CAD aims to build upon its existing network and experience to advocate and strengthen support for activists and their families anywhere in the world whose physical safety and well-being are being threatened.

With the increasing risk of criminalisation and the climate crisis at the doorstep, our purpose is to build up a security net for climate justice activists whose rights, voices, and well-being are being suppressed, to ensure they can continue fighting at the front of the global climate movement. We define safety not just as physical safety but also as mental well-being in difficult situations. CAD therefore provides emergency response, safety resources and builds a network inside the CJM to make the available resources accessible to more CJA.