Our commitment to racial justice
Protecting the right to fair and equal treatment is one of Reprieve’s core purposes. Racism plays a role in all of the abuses Reprieve exists to fight.
But racism is not only something we encounter in the context of extreme abuses. It is also an everyday phenomenon that is deeply ingrained in our society and institutions. Charities like Reprieve are not immune from structural racism, and it is our responsibility to ensure we do not perpetuate racist structures and practices in the way we operate as an organisation.
We are therefore committed to fighting against racism and advancing racial justice, both in our work and within Reprieve.
Racial justice in our work
Reprieve’s vision is a world without the death penalty or extreme human rights abuses carried out in the name of “counterterrorism” or “national security”. Standing against extrajudicial killing, systemic racism and torture is central to Reprieve’s work. We are conscious that systemic racism, inequality and exclusion are deeply embedded within these abuses – from the discriminatory application of the death penalty to the disproportionate impact of punitive “counter-terrorism” policies around the world. We cannot address these abuses without recognising and responding to the racism that underpins them.
In fighting these abuses, we have a responsibility to do our work in a way which does not compound racist structures. We must acknowledge the racist narratives advanced about many communities facing abuses, and some of the countries where we operate. Our work should help debunk these myths, not indulge them. As an international NGO, we must also recognise that local human rights defenders in the countries where we work know their jurisdictions better than we do, and we should seek to support their efforts and objectives rather than imposing our own perspectives.
In line with our organisational vision and values, we stand in solidarity with those protesting around the world to demand an end to state-sanctioned violence, and those who face persecution for doing so. We must dismantle oppressive and unjust systems plagued with racism wherever we find them.
Racial justice within Reprieve
As an organisation dedicated to dismantling oppressive and unjust systems, we recognize that we must do this work internal to our organisation as well. We acknowledge that within Reprieve we encounter attitudes, practices and power dynamics that are the very same as those we seek to dismantle in our work. We are committed to critically and honestly
assessing our own organisational culture, structures, privileges and policies, and we are dedicated to changing systems that we, together, identify as perpetuating injustice.
Doing this effectively is not a short-term commitment and does not have quick solutions; this process requires constant and ongoing questioning, adjustment, monitoring, and feedback—from the language we use to the structures we have in place— to bring about the changes we want to see. It is only through this work that we can strengthen our organisation and most effectively push for the systemic justice that we fight for every day.
Our broader commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion
We recognise that injustice and inequality are embedded in our society. The #MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements have further exposed the long-standing sexual and racial abuses prevalent in our workplaces and culture. And these are just two of the many identities that suffer from exclusion and inequal treatment. We must not overlook that there are others too whose identities result in inequality and exclusion – from those with disabilities to members of the LGBQT+ community to religious minorities to individuals at the intersection of multiple identities.
We are committed to cultivating a community at Reprieve that is equal, diverse and inclusive. We strive to maintain a culture that actively dismantles discrimination in whatever form it takes, whether seen or unseen, conscious or unconscious. We recognise that each of us carries implicit bias, and it is incumbent on all of us—both individually and as a community—to resist it. Reprieve is committed to training and equipping staff to create this culture, and to reviewing systems in place on an ongoing basis to ensure they reflect values of equality, diversity, and inclusion.
Reprieve stands for the dignity and rights of every individual who comes into contact with us. We are committed to creating an open and accountable culture where issues of injustice can be raised without fear and where we can continue to grow together.