by Tactical Tech

[Click here to download a copy of the complete 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.


In Prepare, we begin by recognising that each of us already has and takes security measures: our strategies for health and well-being, our personal beliefs and sources of resilience and our instinctive responses to threat and danger. We encourage you to consider these and their effect on group dynamics in order to engage with security strategies in a more productive way.


In Explore, we follow a series of steps to get a better understanding of our context and come to some conclusions about the concrete threats which may arise from our work and those who oppose it.


In Strategise, based on the threats we have already identified we consider how to create security strategies to deal with them and develop concrete plans and agreements in order to maintain our well-being in action.


In Act, we identify some skills, best practices and resources which are often useful for increasing security during particular activities which are common among human rights defenders. The first guide looks at exercising the Right to Freedom of Assembly through protests and demonstrations.

Please visit the Holistic Security website for more information.