HRC52: Human Rights Defenders in their own words
Human Rights House Foundation delivered the words of Human Rights Defenders from Belarus, Georgia, and Ukraine in a statement to the UN Human Rights Council at its 52nd session on 15 March 2023. In the statement, HRHF noted that the 25th anniversary of the UN Declaration on human rights defenders presents an opportunity to celebrate the role and impact of HRDs.
Letters from Lukashenka’s Prisoners
There are 1400+ political prisoners in Belarus, as of February 2023 and that number continues to rise. The “Letters from Lukashenka’s Prisoners” campaign aims to ensure the unjustly detained are not forgotten and that their voices are still heard from behind bars.
Letters from Lukashenka’s Prisoners: Alena Hnauk
Alena Hnauk is a 65-year-old pensioner and activist from the village of Tkachi in the Pruzhany region of Belarus. She was first sentenced to two years of home confinement for participating in the so-called “dancing protest” on 13 September 2020 in Brest.
Belarus: Tatsiana Lasitsa released
On 24 September, Viasna volunteer Tatsiana Lasitsa was released in Belarus after serving one year and eight months of a two-and-a-half-year sentence. While we welcome this news, we highlight that Lasitsa not have been in prison in the first place – the case against her was a reprisal for her legitimate human rights work. We repeat our call for the release of her Viasna colleagues and for the release of all political prisoners in Belarus.
HRC49: Open letter to states on the draft resolution on Human Rights Defenders
Human Rights House Foundation joins several international human rights organisations in a joint letter urging Human Rights Council member states to ensure a strong resolution on human rights defenders at the Council’s 49th session.
Letters from Lukashenka’s Prisoners: Volha Harbunova
Volha Harbunova is a Belarusian woman human rights defender, psychologist, and former head of the non-governmental organisation Radislava, which offers support to women who face domestic and gender-based violence. Harbunova was arrested on 9 November 2021 on suspicion of organising all-women marches in 2020.
Letters from Lukashenka’s Prisoners: Anastasya Mirontsava
Anastasya Mirontsava is a 25-year-old student and artist. She has been behind bars since 16 October 2020, when she was detained for having participated in the protests on the day of the presidential election, 10 August 2020. At her trial on 31 March 2021, she implored the court not to deprive her of her freedom any longer.
Letters from Lukashenka’s Prisoners: Maria Kalenik
Maria Kalenik is a 23-year-old student of the Belarusian State Academy of Arts. She was detained on 12 November 2020, accused of organising and participating in group actions that gravely violate public order. Her apartment was searched, and she was held in the KGB pre-trial prison. On 16 July 2021, she was sentenced to two years and six months in prison in a case known as “the student case”, which involved 12 defendants. Ksenia Syramalot, whose letter was previously published, was one of her co-defendants in the case.
Risking everything for truth in Russia
On the morning of 7 October 2021, 15 years after Anna Politkovskaya was shot in the elevator in her apartment building where she lived in Moscow, a colleague and I laid flowers on the corner of Drammensveien in Oslo, where the Russian embassy is located.