Good things that happened in the world during 2023

2023 was another tough year when it came to the human rights situation. Despite this, human rights defenders continue to fight for human rights and democracy around the world. Thanks to these brave people, we saw glimmers of light. Here are some.

Belgrad Pride – biggest march yet

Over the course of more than two decades, Belgrade Pride has emerged as a symbol of resilience and resistance. The latest Pride March, which took place on 9 September 2023, gathered more than 10,000 people and became the largest one in the history of the country yet. Read more here.

Photo: Vesna Lalić

10 years with Natalia Project

10 years ago today, Civil Rights Defenders launched the Natalia Project, the world’s first assault alarm and community-based security system for human rights defenders. In the event of an attack, participants of the project can send out a distress signal so they can be located quickly and get help. Throughout these ten years, the Natalia Project has supported close to 200 human rights defenders and their communities all over the world. Learn more here.

Génesis Dávila tells us more about her work and participation in the Natalia Project.

First-time conviction and accountability for the mass executions in Iran in 1988

The Iranian citizen who was charged with war crimes and murder for his involvement in the mass executions of political prisoners at Gohardasht Prison in Iran in 1988 was sentenced to life imprisonment in the Svea Court of Appeals in Stockholm in December 2023. Civil Rights Defenders has monitored the trial on site in the courtroom for over two years. Learn more about the case here.

Arrest Warrants Issued for Syria’s President al-Assad and Three of His Associates for Complicity in War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity

French criminal investigative judges call for the arrest of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad and three associates over the use of banned chemical weapons against civilians in Syria in 2013. The decision to issue arrest warrants against several high-ranking representatives of the Syrian regime follows a multi-year criminal investigation. Learn more here.

Nataša Kandić – one of the most influential women

Thanks to her tireless work in demanding justice for war victims, Serbian human rights defender Nataša Kandić has been named one of the 100 most influential women in the world by BBC. We are of course extra proud that Nataša Kandić was the first recipient of the Civil Rights Defender of the Year Award in 2013.

Nataša Kandić.

Phyllis Omido – 2023 Right Livelihood Laureate

We are especially happy that our long time partner and Natalia Project participant Phyllis Omido, a fiercely brave human rights defender and co-founder of Kenyan environmental justice organisation Center for Justice GEA, was this year’s Right Livelihood Laureate. Learn more here.

Phyllis Omido with the Natalia alarm.

Uzbekistan has legislated against gender-based violence

After long and hard work from civil society, Uzbekistan adopted a groundbreaking law to protect women and children from domestic and sexual violence. Learn more here.