The 25th anniversary of the UN Declaration on human rights defenders presents a unique opportunity to celebrate the role and impact of human rights defenders within our societies.

In the spirit of the anniversary year we would like to celebrate just a few of the many human rights defenders across our region, in their own words:

Natallia Satsunkevich, a Belarusian human rights defender, says this: “I grew up in Belarus, where human rights mean nothing. I want to know what it’s like to live in Belarus, where human rights are respected and observed. Every day, I do everything I can for this”.

Mariia Sulialina, a Ukrainian activist and human rights defender, says this: “I truly believe that each child should have a joyful childhood. That there is no place for militarization, erasure of identity and missile attacks. We are fighting to protect the childhood and human rights of Ukrainian children all over the country, including Crimea.”

And Natia Tavberidze, a Georgian human rights defender, says this: “I continue to see that rights-based opportunities are not equally accessible and ensured for everyone. Neither is protection of everyone’s rights and freedoms; for instance, not all individuals can be guaranteed a fair trial. This is a long-lasting and continued fight for rights and freedoms to be ensured, claimed and guaranteed for every person”.

Top photo: Human rights defenders Natallia Satsunkevich (Belarus), Natia Tavberidze (Georgia), and Mariia Sulialina (Ukraine).