INSAN is a not-for-profit, non-governmental organisation that works on human rights, democracy and development. It is legally registered in the Spanish National Associations Register (G91814947). It has a team of 34 members within the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, consisting of experts in human rights and development issues who are variously qualified in law, journalism, or are university specialists in related fields.

INSAN began in 2001 as an awareness and educational project in Syria under the name ‘LCCI.’

LCCI conducted a range of formational courses in the fields of democracy, human rights, media, language and computer training in the Syrian capital, Damascus, and its suburbs. It was unique in more ways than one: particularly, because it was the first time such a broad, ambitious, capacity-building and development Institute had been authorised by the Syrian government.

In 2007, the project expanded regionally (including an office presence in Beirut, Lebanon), widening thus its focus to include not only democracy issues, but also the theme of prisoners of conscience, and freedom of speech in Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Sudan. The lobbying and opinion-forming organisation which was born from this endeavor was to be called ‘FDPOC’ (Foundation for the Defense of Prisoners of Conscience).  Since then, they have been active in bringing issues to a number of parliaments and throughout international centers of power.

Throughout 2008, they faced a number of challenges to the development of our human rights work, as well as the increasing role of our interface with thinkers and academics in the field. As a result, in that year they welcomed the direct involvement of a number of well-established human rights activists and academics to our project team. Thanks to their expertise and contributions, we were able to incorporate the threads of international justice, development, research, refugee issues, asylum and democracy into our advocacy program; launching, as they did, the first ever lobbying program with a regional approach.

In 2009, and after due consideration and consultation, the decision was taken to relocate our main office from Beirut to Europe; while keeping members in situ within the Middle East and North Africa. All our programs eventually have been incorporated under one organisation registered and audited in Spain and which, as you now know, goes by the name of INSAN (taken from the Arabic for ‘human’).

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