The Human Rights Defender Podcast Out Now

We’re excited to announce the launch of The Human Rights Defender; a podcast series that explores the work and lives of brave individuals standing up for our human rights.

You can listen to episodes of The Human Rights Defender via any of the following channels: Spotify and Apple Podcasts, or further down on this page.

In the first season, we’re taking an in-depth at the Western Balkans and Turkey. In recent years, democracy and the rule of law have come under growing strain in the region, while those who stand up to abuses of power and human rights violations face threats, intimidations and physical attacks. Governments shamelessly mobilise institutions, state-controlled media, as well as organised right-wing groups to silence and suppress their struggle for freedom.

Against the odds, human rights defenders continue their fight and this podcast series aims to relay their voices to the wider world. From activists to academics, independent journalists and human rights lawyers, we’ll hear about their experiences of defending our fundamental rights from the frontlines.

Why they committed their lives to their cause; what have been the main obstacles in their journey; what support should be provided to victims; how to effectively monitor and communicate violations, as well as a general outlook on the human rights situation in the region, are some of the many topics we will cover with guests.

Furthermore, throughout the series we will speak with authors and key actors of the Human Rights Defenders in the Western Balkans Report, which was published in December 2019 by Civil Rights Defenders and takes a deeper look at the legislative and practical implications of human rights work in the six Western Balkan countries. The full report can be accessed here.

Episode 1: Ivan Djuric, Program Director of YIHR Serbia

Ivan shares his reflections on the uphill challenge of changing Serbia’s youths mindsets about the war in the 90s, and creating an environment in which human rights defenders are respected, not harassed.

Episode 2: Osman Isci, General Secretary of Human Rights Association (Turkey)

With thousands of activists, journalists, academics and dissidents prosecuted in recent years, Osman sheds lights on the extremely precarious position for human rights defenders in Turkey and his own personal motivations to commit his life to the cause.

Episode 3: Dr. Biljana Kotevska, Research coordinator, European Policy Institute (EPI) – Skopje

Biljana tells us about the success of HRDs in uncovering a captured state that violated human rights and abused power, the disproportional challenges WHRDs and LGBTI+ still face in North Macedonia, as well as the importance of human rights research for ensuring accountability.

Episode 4: Lorin Kadiu, Executive Director, Citizens Channel (Albania)

As Albania’s civil society grips with restrictive measures introduced to tackle the pandemic, Lorin tells about the challenge for independent media to report freely in the midst of a full-blown communications crisis.