Events focusing on human rights issues

We host regular morning seminars called “One Hour of Human Rights” at our head office in Stockholm. The seminars are broadcasted live on our Bambuser channel and are also available to view afterwards. From time to time we organise movie screenings followed by discussions. We also arrange, and participate in, a great number of different activities.

No upcoming events at present.

Public Discussion about Law on Public Peace and Order in Republika Srpska (BiH)


Civil Rights Defenders is organising a public discussion about the newly adopted Law on Public Peace and Order in Republika Srpska (BiH). How will the law influence independent media, civil society organisations and the state of human rights and freedom of speech in Republika Srpska and the whole Bosnia and Herzegovina? Is the law protecting public peace and order or the authorities? Join us and take part in the debate!

Seminar: Meet Belarus most prominent human rights defender

Foto: Arkivbild Viasna ©Jura Sidun

After 1,052 days in prison Ales Bialiatski was granted an amnesty on June 21 of this year and immediately resumed his work as a human rights defender and President of Viasna. In cooperation with Östgruppen, Civil Rights Defenders invites you to meet with Ales on October 24 where you can hear about the current situation in Belarus and the country’s relationship with neighboring Russia and Ukraine.

A voice in exile for arrested Azerbaijani human rights defenders


The writer Emin Milli published critical articles about Azerbaijan’s government – an act that was punished with imprisonment for two and a half years. Today, he lives in exile determined to show the true colours of the regime in Azerbaijan to the world. We invite you to a seminar with Emin focusing on the crack down against human rights defenders in Azerbaijan.

The state of Internet freedom after the coup in Thailand

Photo: Thai Netizen Network

Since the military coup three months ago, Thailand has introduced a ban on political gatherings; politicians and activists have been arrested, and media censored. In the light of these developments, we invite Thai human rights defender and Internet activist Arthit Suriyawongkul to talk about the present state of freedom of expression and how human rights defenders can operate under these conditions.

Open call for a video-sprint in the Western Balkans


Civil Rights Defenders is issuing an open call for participation in a video-sprint event, which is scheduled to take place in Kosovo, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia in October 2014. The events will be organised by Civil Rights Defenders in partnership with Youth Initiative for Human Rights Serbia as part of the “Video for Change” project supported by the Swedish Institute within their Creative Force Programme.

Tomás Ojea Quintana on challenges in Myanmar


Tomás Ojea Quintana , the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar , recently left Myanmar after their last field trip to the country. He describes the ongoing reforms as a positive step towards democracy in Myanmar , while stressing the remaining challenges .ome and listen to a breakfast seminar with Tomás Ojea Quintana on March 20, when he talks about future challenges for human rights in Myanmar and the role the international community can play in addressing these challenges .

Little respect for rule of law in unrecognized territories


In the breakaway region on Moldova’s eastern border with Ukraine, the socio-political environment in the Transnistria region remains highly repressive. In this unrecognized territory authorities act with impunity. There is little respect for the rule of law, and fundamental human rights are routinely violated. 12 March the Executive Director of Promo-LEX Association, Ion Manole, will present an assessment of the current human rights situation in Transnistria and address these grave violations.

Russia ahead of Sochi – behind the charm offensive

Riot police hold brutal grip of protester at Bolotnaya square 6 May 2012, Photo Itar-Tass

As a response to criticism on Russia’s deteriorating human rights record, president Vladimir Putin recently signed an amnesty releasing the country’s most famous political prisoners, among them Mikhail Chodorokovsky and two Pussy Riot members. But others stay behind bars. Welcome to Civil Rights Defenders seminar to hear the story about Russia behind the Sochi charm offensive.

Seminar: LGBT activist fighting oppression

Siarhei Androsenka became a police target when 71 activists from all over Belarus signed a application in the attempt to register the organisation Gay Belarus with the authorities. It didn’t take long until the regime responded. Activists were called in for questioning and police conducted raids on gay clubs in Minsk and Vitebsk. Others were stopped at the border and had their belongings searched. In at least one case, a member of the organisation was beaten in a police station. Hear Siarhei talk about the situation for LGBT people in Belarus and how it feels being forced into exile.

Civil society suffocating under Putin’s rule

Over the past several years, Russia has adopted a series of laws that has impeded the work of NGO’s and severely worsened the overall human rights climate in the country. Freedoms of expression, assembly and association are constantly under threat and the increasing discrimination and aggression towards ethnic minorities, migrants, and the LGBT community is a real and serious on-going problem. Racism, homophobia and xenophobia are widespread among ordinary people and instigated in most cases by the Russian state.

No sweet songs for human rights defenders

Vugar Goyajev

A year ago Swedish TV viewers’ attention was directed towards Azerbaijan; and wile the Eurovision Song Contest was held in Baku, the regime’s human rights violations continued in the backyard. Today, the lights have gone out but the repression of civil society has reached new lows. On 14 May, Civil Rights Defenders will release a report on the situation of human rights defenders in Azerbaijan. Listen to Vugar Goyajev’s presentation of the findings of the report.

Seminar: The path to democracy

Benedicte Berner

Serbia, Hungary and the Czech Republic have all come a long way from the time when communism was overthrown. But the path from transition to consolidation of democracy is long and difficult. Where do we stand today, in the three countries? What can we learn from the past? Four panellists will share their analysis and thoughts: Borka Pavicevic and Tanja Petovar from Serbia, Jan Urban from the Czech Republic and Miklos Haraszti from Hungary.

The fight for redress


At six o’clock in the morning of 30 October 2010, Nizar Khalaili and three of his relatives were arrested after heavily armed police had raided their home. Nizar Khalaili and his relatives were suspected of preparations to commit terrorist acts but after a few days the investigation was closed down. The Police officers and the prosecutor have in their actions breached Swedish law and violated the individuals’ right to personal freedom and private life. Hear Nizar Khalaili’s own story about the fight for redress.

Human rights in the new Putin era


In May 2012, Vladimir Putin became President of Russia again. Since then, a series of laws that impede the work of human rights defenders have been adopted and in the North Caucasus the human rights violations continue. Civil Rights Defenders have gathered some of the most prominent experts on the North Caucasus to talk about how human rights are affected by Vladimir Putin’s return to Presidency.

Seminar: A dedicated fight for dignity

Blerta Cani Drenofci, ADRF

This year Albania participated in Paralympics for the first time ever. But the obstacles that Albanians with disabilities must face are still high. Their human rights are violated on a daily basis and a person with disabilities is commonly regarded as a ‘misfortune’. Welcome to a seminar on September 26 with Blerta Çani Drenofci, Executive Director at Albanian Disability Rights Foundation.

Cannot attend our seminars?


Civil Rights Defenders broadcast most of our seminars, held in Sweden, live on Bambuser. You can also see them afterwards on our Bambuser-channel. Visit We also publish films on Youtube:, you can also find these films in our video archive on this website. Click on category ”Video” down below in the foot of the page.

Criminalisation and persecution of Cambodian human rights defenders

“Free the 15” campaign (Photo LICADHO)

In May, police arrested 15 human rights defenders in Phnom Penh. Within days, 13 of them had been convicted to each 2.5 years in prison in an unfair trial. In the past several years, they have carried out peaceful protests against forced evictions and unlawful expropriation of land. Ee Sarom at Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT) tells his story about the “Free the 15” and the increasingly tough conditions for human rights defenders in Cambodia, in this autumn’s first seminar in our series “One hour of human rights”!

Seminar: Propaganda laws strangles gay activism

Demonstration mot lag

A new law prohibiting ”propaganda” for homosexuality was recently passed in St Petersburg’s local parliament. Similar laws have already been passed in Ryazan, Arkhangelsk and Kostroma, and there is a ongoing discussion about introducing propaganda laws on a federal level. Listen to Anastasia Smirnova and Alexandra Semenova about how the laws came about and how they affect the work for human rights, on Friday May 25.

The role of civil society, citizens and media in the Western Balkans: Challenges as an opportunity

Civil Rights Defenders is organising a two-day regional conference in cooperation with Transparency International Bosnia and Herzegovina (TI BiH) on the theme “The role of civil society, citizens and media in the Western Balkans: Challenges as an opportunity“. The conference will be held in Sarajevo, November 22-23. Journalists, activists and civil society organisations from the […]

Two years after independence Kosovo is still a “State of constriction”

In May 2010 Youth Initiative for Human Rights in Kosovo and Civil Rights Defenders published a report which scrutinized different parts of Kosovo governance structures. The report titled “State of Costriction” questions whether the citizens of Kosovo feel free to follow their conscience and judgment. The report concludes that the answer to this question is […]

Internal investigations within the Swedish Police

Robert Hårdh, Executive Director of Civil Rights Defenders, has been invited to comment on the report made by Professor Dennis Töllborg on how the Swedish police conduct internal investigations. The seminar is open to the public; please notify Dennis Töllborg ( or Anders Månsson ( if you are coming. Date: Thursday 9th of September Time: […]

Discussion about Sweden’s and the EU’s politics regarding Russia

Oksana Tjelysjeva är verksam inom Rysk-tjetjenska vänskapsförbundet och kolumnist för den oberoende tidningen Novaja Gazeta. Usam Bajsajev arbetar för den ryska människorättsorganisationen Memorial, som i år tilldelats det prestigefulla Sacharovpriset. Ingmar Oldberg är Rysslandsexpert och associerad forskare vid Utrikespolitiska institutet. Robert Hårdh är chef för Civil Rights Defenders. Martin Uggla är ordförande i Östgruppen för […]

Terrorist fear and Rule of law – the Guantanamo system after Bush

Public meeting with a panel discussion on terrorism legislation and human rights. Participants: Thomas Olsson, Lawyer, has represented members of al-Barakaat among other Laue Traberg Smidt, Danish Lawyer, has represented members of al-Aqsa among other Anna Wigenmark, Lawyer, Civil Rights Defenders Madelaine Seidlitz, Lawyer, Amnesty Abdirisak Aden, Gösta Hultén, Journalist, Charta 2008 Date: Saturday November […]

Human Rights Defenders are Silenced in North Caucasus

This month’s seminar is temporarily moved to the afternoon and The Royal Coin Cabinett (Myntkabinettet)! Since this summer the human rights situation in North Caucasus has deteriorated dramatically. After the murder of the prominent human rights defender Natalja Estemirova in July, harrasments of human rights defenders have increased and several people have been murdered. Who […]