Small grants fund for collaboration

At the beginning of 2017, Human Rights House Foundation launched a small-grants fund to support collaboration among Human Rights Houses.

With nine Human Rights Houses and their member NGOs taking up the opportunity, the House-to-House project fund enabled 15 successful joint projects during the year, impacting hundreds of people in areas such as human rights education, capacity building, and awareness and understanding of human rights.

The fund is motivated by HRHF’s strategic aim of increasing cooperation among the Houses, and it is inspired by the many ideas conceived at the network meeting of Human Rights Houses – held at Human Rights House Belgrade in 2016.

“It is difficult to solve serious problems in human rights without solidarity and support from partners. We open the doors to each other, because we are stronger together. Human rights have no borders.”

Serhiy Burov, Educational Human Rights House Chernihiv

The fund embodies the solidarity and collaborative nature at the heart of the network of Human Rights Houses, strengthening and connecting the Human Rights Houses, encouraging knowledge and competency sharing, increasing their capabilities, and enhancing their impact on human rights. The fund is a success that HRHF continues into 2018.

Human rights summer school in Tbilisi

Young people from across Georgia gathered at Human Rights House Tbilisi for an engaging programme of human rights education. Over four days in June 2017, they were taught by human rights defenders from Human Rights House Tbilisi and the Belarusian Human Rights House. These defenders helped to build the students’ knowledge and understanding of human rights.

Andrei Paluda, trainer at the summer school, reflected on the training: “You see sometimes a person feels some kind of injustice, that their human dignity or self-esteem were violated… but they do not fully realise this is about human rights. But when the person receives related information during educational activities, they immediately begin to realise, ‘Ah, here you go, it was about human rights.”

Documenting violations of freedom of assembly

Experts from four Human Rights Houses – Belgrade, Chernihiv, Yerevan, and Zagreb – and the International Law in Advocacy project met at Human Rights House Yerevan in March 2017, to train Armenian human rights defenders on how to document and report on violations to the right to assembly.

The training was prompted by high-profile cases of violations of the right to free assembly in Armenia in recent years. This includes the “Erebuni” mass protests and arrests in Yerevan in summer 2016, and the “Electric Yerevan” protests in summer 2015. These events exposed a need for Armenian civil society to strengthen their expertise in documenting human rights violations during mass rally dispersals.

Everyone has the right to know their rights

Initially developed by Educational Human Rights House Chernihiv, the traveling exhibition “Everyone has the right to know their rights” provided an innovative way to reach out to the public on human rights issues.

The 25 displays feature statements by famous people and young activists defending human rights, photographs and drawings illustrating key issues, information on historical facts related

to human rights, and quotes from documents and decisions of international human rights bodies. The exhibition provides a platform for discussion of the philosophy, history, and evolution of human rights, and of standards protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The project fund facilitated the translation and adaption of the exhibition for the contexts in Belarus and Georgia, and for member NGOs of the Belarusian Human Rights House and Human Rights House Tbilisi to exhibited it locally.