“Caring for myself is not an indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare.” - Audre Lorde

Holistic Security is a strategy manual to help human rights defenders maintain their well-being in action. The holistic approach integrates self-care, well-being, digital security, and information security into traditional security management practices.

Holistic security 03

The Holistic Security Manual

The Holistic Security Manual is founded on the understanding that 'security' is a deeply personal, subjective and gendered concept. When we work to bring about positive social change, we can face persistent threats and attacks which impact upon our physical and psychological integrity, and often affect our friends and families. However, taking an organised approach to security can help us to sustain ourselves and our work.

This manual is the first to adopt an explicitly 'holistic' approach to security and protection strategies for human rights defenders. This means that rather than looking separately at the importance of our digital security, psycho-social well-being and organisational security processes, it attempts to integrate them and highlight their interrelatedness.

The manual is designed to guide a process of establishing or improving security strategies for individuals, collectives or organisations. The content is divided into four Sections: Prepare, Explore, Strategise and Act, which are conceived as steps in an evolving, cyclical process and should be regularly revisited as part of our ongoing strategic planning. The chapters which appear on this website are summarised versions of those in the manual, which can be downloaded and read offline.

Read more >>>

Prepare detail 03

Well-being as Subversive and Political

The holistic approach frames security for human rights defenders as well-being in action: being physically and emotionally healthy and sustaining ourselves while continuing to do the work that we believe in. Read more >>>

Strategise detail 09

Security in Groups and Organisations

Groups and organisations have complex internal dynamics and cultures which influence the ways we interact and plan. Here we explore some of the key issues around building and improving security strategies and plans in groups. Read more >>>