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News from the Human Rights House Foundation (HRHF) and Human Rights Houses: Armenia; Azerbaijan; Belarus in exile; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Croatia; Georgia; Norway (Bergen); Norway (Oslo); Poland; Russian Federation (Moscow); Russian Federation (Voronezh); Serbia, Ukraine (Chernihiv); Ukraine (Kiev); United Kingdom.

Ten years as a home for human rights 

This year, Belarusian human rights defenders celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the Belarusian Human Rights House, established in exile in Vilnius, Lithuania. 

The House has for 10 years brought sanctuary to Belarusian human rights defenders, creating space and certainty for them to build human rights capacity and develop strategies long term, in spite of the restrictions and threats of working on human rights in an authoritarian country. It is an essential link for Belarusian human rights defenders to the outside world.
 
Read more about the Belarusian Human Rights House: from its establishment to its many successes.

Peace and human rights in a time of international instability and growing populism

On 1 March, Polish human rights defender Danuta Przywara, Chairperson of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, will be one of four civil society representatives, from around the world, to address heads of state and dignitaries at the opening of the UN Human Rights Council.
 
In her statement, “Peace and human rights in a time of international instability and growing populism,” she will address the Council on the vilification of human rights defenders and threats to the rule of law, and the need for States to abide by their human rights obligations.

Visit our event page, where we will post a link to view the live stream of the session as soon as it is available.

Continued repression in Azerbaijan: International reaction needed

Azerbaijani authorities have repeatedly ignored international and European warnings and recommendations to improve the human rights situation in the country. When States attend the UN Human Rights Council next week, it is time for them to act. 

Given the dire situation for human rights and the continued crackdown on civil society, the Human Rights Council has a responsibility to respond. It now has the occasion to do so as the UN expert on human rights defenders, Michel Forst, presents his report on Azerbaijan to the Council.

Read more about why the Human Rights Council must take this opportunity to act on Azerbaijan. 

Stronger together on international advocacy

HRHF is establishing a Human Rights House working group on international advocacy, which will ideally include a representative from each House. This will formalise HRHF and the Human Rights Houses’ bottom-up approach that is our strength in international advocacy, and increase coordination on advocacy among Houses.

Read more about the initiative and how to get involved, and do not hesitate to be in touch with Florian Irminger at florian.irminger@humanrightshouse.org

News Roundup

Azerbaijan highest court rejects human rights lawyer's appeal
Appeal for release of Crimean human rights lawyer
State Secretary of Norway visits Human Rights House Tbilisi
NGOs urge EU to press Azerbaijani President on human rights

Calendar

February

  • Human Rights House Zagreb and their Croatian partners, and HRHF, will hold a public debate in Oslo to provide insight into innovative activist and philanthropic practices of citizen resistance to hostile attacks on human rights in Croatia over the past year, Oslo, Norway (27 February)


March

  • Polish human rights defender Danuta Przywara from the Polish Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights will address heads of state and dignitaries at the high-level segment of the Human Rights Council (01 March)
  • Presentation of the report of the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders to the Human Rights Council, Geneva, Switzerland (02 March)
  • One World International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival, Prague, Czech Republic (06 - 15 March)
  • The UN Human Rights Committee will review the state report of Serbia. Human Rights House Belgrade has submitted a joint NGO report and will be in Geneva to brief the Committee, Geneva, Switzerland (06 - 08 March)
  • International Women's Day (08 March)
  • Appointment of new UN Special Rapporteur on Assembly and Association at the Human Rights Council, Geneva, Switzerland (10 March)
  • Human rights defender networking event organised by ODIHR at the European Parliament, Brussels, Belgium (20 - 21 March)
  • UN High Commissioner for Human Rights' oral report on Ukraine to the Human Rights Council, Geneva, Switzerland (22 March)
  • EU-Ukraine civil society organisations (CSO) seminar organised by the European External Action Service (EEAS), Brussels, Belgium (TBC) (22 - 23 March)
  • Docudays UA: Documentary film festival, Kyiv, Ukraine (24 - 31 March)
April
  • Armenian parliamentary elections (02 April)
  • Serbian presidential elections (09 April)
  • One World in Brussels: International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival, Brussels, Belgium (18 - 27 April)
May
  • World Press Freedom Day (03 May)
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Human Rights House Foundation (HRHF)  protects, empowers, and supports human rights defenders and their organisations. To accomplish this, HRHF establishes Human Rights Houses and unites them in an international network. It advocates with partner organisations to promote the freedoms of assembly, association, and expression, and the right to be a human rights defender – to ensure that individuals and organisations can work freely and openly to protect human rights at home and abroad. Today, more than 100 independent human rights organisations work together in 16 Human Rights Houses located in Eastern and Western Europe, the Caucasus and the Balkans.
 
HRHF is based in Oslo, with an office in Geneva and representation in Brussels and Tbilisi.
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