Our work for human rights

Civil Rights Defenders strive to defend people’s civil and political rights and to empower human rights defenders at risk. We work in some of the world’s most repressive regions, in collaboration with local forces to achieve long-term sustainable change. Civil Rights Defenders is also active in Sweden, taking responsibility for the protection of human rights at home.

To achieve change we target several levels in society:

  • We monitor the state authorities and demand accountability, justice and reparations when people’s human rights have been violated.
  • We inform the public so they will have the knowledge and tools to claim their fundamental rights and freedoms, and conduct lobbying and advocacy towards decision makers.
  • We empower individual human rights defenders and organisations by providing expertise, training and support.

Read about our special initiatives directed at supporting human rights defenders

Go directly to a country or region:

Sweden | Albania | Azerbaijan | Belarus | Bosnia and Herzegovina | Burma | Cambodia | Erithrea | Ethiopia | Kazakhstan | Kenya | Kosovo | Kyrgyzstan | Macedonia | Moldova | Montenegro | Russia | Serbia | South Sudan | Thailand | Turkmenistan | Uganda | Ukraine | Uzbekistan | Vietnam |

Central Asia | East Africa | Eastern Europe | Southeast Asia | Western Balkans

Use these links to read about the work we do and the changes we contribute to:

Two main categories of human rights

Human rights can be divided into two categories, civil and political rights and economic, social, and cultural rights. Civil Rights Defenders focuses on civil and political rights, as expressed in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Freedoms. Included in the civil and political rights are for instance: the right to life, the right to protection against torture and arbitrary detention, the right to protection against discrimination, the right to freedom of expression, the right to fair trial and an effective remedy, and the right to free elections.

Read more about Universal Human Rights Instruments.

For more detailed information about our work – read our Strategy

Maria Leissner, speaking about discrimination of Roma in Sweden at one of our regular breakfast seminarsDisappearances in Chechnya 2005. Photo: Joanna KuroszObservation of parliamentary election in Belarus 2008