"At HRC53, Human Rights House Foundation supported our Network partners from Belarus and Ukraine in advocating for Council action. Alongside members of the Network of Human Rights Houses and other partners, we once again shed light on the ongoing human rights crisis in Eastern Europe, and called for the renewal of key mechanisms such as the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Belarus." Dave Elseroad, Head of Advocacy, Human Rights House Foundation

Human rights in Crimea & newly occupied territories of Ukraine

HRHF continued its work raising awareness of the human rights situation in occupied Crimea as well as the newly occupied territories of Ukraine.

In a statement, delivered on 12 July 2023, HRHF highlighted increasingly draconian laws limiting the freedoms of assembly and association, and opinion and expression in Russia which continue to be applied in occupied Crimea, and provide the template for treatment of civil society in the newly occupied territories of Ukraine. HRHF also highlighted the 140+ political prisoners in occupied Crimea, drawing particular attention to the cases of Emir Usein Kuku, Vladyslav Yesypenko, and Iryna Danylovich.

Alongside partners from Human Rights House Crimea, and the Permanent Mission of Ukraine in Geneva, HRHF co-hosted the side event “Nine Years of Darkness – Human Rights in Crimea,” which focused on the dramatic deterioration of the human rights situation on the peninsula in the near-decade of Russian occupation.  The side event was co-sponsored by several states and Ukrainian civil society organisations.

The Human Rights Council renews the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on Belarus 

On 13 July 2023, HRHF welcomed the Human Rights Council’s decision to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur of the human rights situation in Belarus. HRHF advocated for the renewal of the mandate in a statement delivered on 5 July, as well as at its 30 June side-event “Human Rights Situation in Belarus”, co-sponsored by Belarusian and international civil society organisations, as well as several states. 

HRHF and Belarusian partners used the Council session to continue to call for the release of 1480+ political prisoners in the country.

Advocating for action on the freedoms of association, assembly, expression and the situation for Judges & lawyers in Eastern Europe

On 23 June 2023, HRHF delivered a statement highlighting a range of issues related to the situation for freedom of expression in Azerbaijan, the widespread use of SLAPPS in Croatia, and Serbia, and raising concerns for freedom of expression in relation to cultural rights in Georgia. 

On 28 June 2023, HRHF raised increasing impunity or lack of accountability for violations of the freedom of assembly and association, citing the situations in Russia, Belarus and Azerbaijan as examples of the growing challenge in the wider Eastern Europe region.

On 26 June 2023 HRHF highlighted challenges faced by human rights lawyers, particularly in Azerbaijan, as well as again raising concerns about the increasing use of SLAPPs in the region. HRHF also asked the Special Rapporteur for recommendations for judges and lawyers that have had to flee their countries including Belarus and Russia.

Read our HRC53 statements

Find out more about our HRC53 side events.