The Human Rights Defender Podcast

The Human Rights Defender; a podcast series that explores the work and lives of brave individuals standing up for our human rights. In the first season, we’re taking an in-depth look at the Western Balkans and Turkey. You can listen to episodes of The Human Rights Defender via Spotify and Apple Podcasts, or on this page.

Episode 8: Srdjan Susnica, Columnist, Bosnia & Herz.

Srdjan story shows what happens when you dare to speak out against autocratic regimes which abuse public resources to repress human rights and democracy.

Episode 7: Rajmonda Sylbije, LGBTI+ activist, Kosovo

“Pride in our region is a protest, not a celebration,” Rajmonda told a joyful crowd at Oslo Pride back in 2016, just as she and her colleagues prepared for the first ever Pride March in her home country of Kosovo. An ardent activist for LGBTI+ rights, she shares her thoughts on the journey so far and the key social and legislative challenges that lay ahead.

Belarus Edition: Victoria Fedorova, Legal Initiative

The world has been gripped by the recent pro-democracy movement in Belarus and President Lukashenka’s crackdown on peaceful protestors. Victoria shares her insights from the ground, and the increasingly challenging task of defending human rights from within a brutal dictatorship.

Episode 5: Vanja Calovic, Executive Director, MANS (Montenegro)

Vanja and her colleagues have paid a high price for uncovering the sophisticated relationship between organised crime, corruption and power in Montenegro. On Sunday (30 August) her country goes to the polls in what will be a decisive test for the 30-year rule of President Milo Djukanovic.

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.

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 2: Osman Isci, General Secretary, 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 1: Ivan Djuric, Program Director, 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.