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 Season 2, aside from Spotify and Apple Podcasts, we will also be publishing episodes via Civil Rights Defenders’ Youtube channel.

Episode 6: Digital Rights in the Western Balkans

Following the release of the Human Rights in a Pandemic report, SHARE Foundation’s Director of Tech, Andrej Petrovski, gave us an insight into some of the key findings and the overall picture of digital rights in the Western Balkans.

Episode 5: Belarus – 6 months on

Six months have passed since pro-democracy protests began in Belarus following the falsification of the Presidential elections, and the repressive tactics of Lukashenka’s regime are showing no signs of slow-down. Instead, with the attention of the world’s cameras shifting elsewhere, independent journalists and activists are being targeted and arbitrarily detained in their thousands. Human rights lawyer, Kristina Rikhter, tells us more. 

Episode 4: Roma Rights in Times of Global Crisis

Dan Doghi, Chief of the ODIHR Contact Point for Roma and Sinti Issues at the OSCE tells us about the devastating effect the pandemic is having on Roma communities across Europe; their poor access to healthcare and education, compounded by growing discrimination from institutions and wider society.

Episode 3: Global State of Play with Mary Lawlor

Heading an office which communicates with hundreds of HRDs across the world, Mary Lawlor, UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, offers us a picture of the challenges to defending human rights in times of global crisis.

Episode 2: Poland’s Stand for Equality

We travelled to Warsaw to sit with two renowned human rights defenders on the morning of the biggest civil protest Poland has seen in decades. On October 31st, 100,000s took to the streets to protest a humiliating ban on abortions. Julia Maciocha, President of Warsaw Pride, and Bart Staszewski, LGBTI activist and film director, tell us how human rights have been systematically degraded in Poland and the long road ahead to equality.

Episode 1: Women Human Rights Defenders

What are WHRDs? How does their position differ from their male counterparts, and what additional pressures do they face in their lives and work? Marking the International Women Human Rights Defenders Day (29 November) we’re speaking about WHRDs and the increasing precarious role they play in fighting inequality and injustice worldwide. Guests: Nurcan Baysal, Journalist (Turkey) Galina Arapova, Director, Mass Media Defence Centre (Russia).

Season 1

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.