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Our protection work

Taksim Square - Gezi Park Protests, İstanbul

PEN International has been working at a grassroots level to protect, shelter, and resettle writers at risk globally since the Second World War. Solidarity actions to support individual writers at risk have been the core of PEN's free expression work historically, and take place within a rights-based framework.

PEN’s protection work includes research and advice, direct assistance to writers at risk, solidarity actions, international campaigns and advocacy. In partnership with other organisations, PEN can provide small emergency grants, support asylum requests, assist with requests for temporary relocation and access to legal help.

Key Partners

The Foundation PEN Emergency Fund provides one-off grants of up to Euros 1250 for a range of emergency assistance measures which include safe passage - flights visa, and travel insurance; medical assistance, and general support towards living expenses. Applications are submitted via the PEN International Writers at Risk Protection team – contact

International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN) provides placements for writers and artists who are seeking respite from difficult situations in their homelands arising from the practice of their professions.  For further information on ICORN and for the application form, see here. ICORN works in collaboration with a growing number of PEN centres, and has compiled a comprehensive list of residencies, scholarships and grants for writers and artists at risk, which you can view here.

PEN International is a member of the Journalists in Distress (JID) Network, a group of 18 international organizations that provide direct assistance to journalists and media workers whose lives or careers are threatened because of their work. Each organization has its own mandate and criteria for emergency assistance; the Network does not engage in joint advocacy. The JID Network was established in 2006 to allow member organizations with freedom of expression mandates to more easily share information, coordinate joint efforts and avoid duplication.

Members of the JID Network:

  1. ARTICLE 19
  2. Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE)
  3. Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)
  4. Free Press Unlimited (FPU)
  5. Freedom House
  6. Front Line Defenders (FLD)
  7. Human Rights Watch (HRW)
  8. International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)
  9. International Media Support (IMS)
  10. International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF)
  11. IREX Journalist Safety Network
  12. Journalists Helping Journalists (JHJ)
  13. Kality Foundation
  14. Media Legal Defence Initiative (MLDI)
  15. PEN America
  16. PEN International
  17. Rory Peck Trust (RPT)
  18. Reporters Without Borders (RSF)