About Us

About Us

Mission: The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) is an independent, non-profit and non-governmental organisation that works to provide support and protection to human rights defenders in the Gulf region by promoting freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.

Vision: To develop and protect a sustainable network of human rights defenders in the Gulf region.

Values: Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) is an independent non-governmental organisation dedicated to protecting and supporting human rights defenders in the Gulf region in both responsive and proactive ways. We engage in peaceful advocacy to advance the work of human rights defenders and we remain apprised of the key issues and developments in the region that impact human rights defenders. GCHR is a reliable, transparent and trustworthy partner organisation that helps human rights defenders reach regional and international media and relevant government officials, and link them with international human rights organisations and United Nations mechanisms. 

Our objectives:

  1. To provide rapid, practical and effective support to human rights defenders at risk, including by carrying out missions and issuing press releases, calls to action and country reports, as well as a regional annual report.
  2. To provide practical support that contributes to strengthening the capacity of human rights defenders to manage their security, including through training programs and facilitating emergency requests via international partners.
  3. To support networking and exchanges between human rights defenders on the subject of security and protection, including through the regular holding of the Gulf Defenders Platform and by targeted campaigns.
  4. To strengthen international protection of human rights defenders at risk, for example by supporting regional and international mechanisms such as the role of UN bodies for human rights defenders, including to promote the implementation of the UN Declaration on human rights defenders, and by holding advocacy events at the UN.
  5. To promote and help shape the development of an understanding of the vital importance of freedom of expression and the media in the protection of human rights defenders.

Where We Work:

The GCHR documents the human rights environment for human rights defenders working in the six Gulf Cooperation Council member states (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates), as well as Iran, Iraq, Yemen and Syria. In 2013, the mandate was extended to include Syria, not because it is typically considered a Gulf country, but because GCHR believes it is essential to document the ongoing large scale human rights atrocities occurring in a country that is close to the Gulf region and because the Syrian conflict has significant regional implications.

The GCHR was founded in April 2011 by human rights defenders in the region. It has offices in Beirut and Copenhagen and receives guidance from an Advisory Board composed of regional and international human rights defenders, including academics and lawyers.


Staff remain anonymous for their security.

Founding Directors:

Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja

Nabeel Rajab

Advisory Board:

Dr. Hala Al-Doseri

Brian Dooley

Ahmed Mansoor

Jalila Al-Sayed

Kristina Stockwood, Chair

Joe Stork

Two board members remain anonymous for their safety