Working 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, partnering with local organisations to achieve long-term sustainable change. Civil Rights Defenders is also active in Sweden, taking its responsibility seriously for the protection and preservation of human rights at home.

To achieve change we target several levels in society:

  • We monitor state authorities and demand accountability, justice and reparations when people’s human rights have been violated.
  • We keep the public informed so they have the proper tools and knowledge to claim their fundamental rights and freedoms,
  • We lobby and advocate decision makers so they can make informed choices on important human rights issues, and
  • We empower individual human rights defenders and organisations by providing expertise, training and above all long-term support.

Read about our special initiatives directed at supporting human rights defenders.

Go directly to a country or region:

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

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

Please refer to the following links to read more on what we are about 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 outlined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Freedoms. Under civil and political rights for instance is:

  • 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
  • the right to free elections


Read more: Universal Human Rights Instruments.

For more 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