Human Rights Defenders

Since 2008 we have hosted 62 visiting human rights defenders from across the world.  Their work covers civil and political rights as well as social, economic and cultural rights.

Hear some of our former defenders tell their stories about risk and repression, and why taking time out from difficult working environments benefits their activism in the long run, in this short film by Sanna Eriksson and Emilie Flower.

Current Defenders

This year we have defenders from Burundi, Chad, Colombia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Somalia and Tajikistan.

Marc Niyonkuru is an independent journalist from Burundi who has reported on human rights violations since 2008. He has investigated and disclosed arms trafficking and human rights abuse during the electoral process.

Nodjigoto Charbonnel is the director of the Centre de RĂ©habilitation des Victimes de la Torture (AJPNV) in Chad. AJPNV works primarily towards the rehabilitation of torture victims, the abolition of torture, and the education of citizens of Chad on human rights. It provides medical, psychosocial and legal support to victims of torture, IDPs, and female victims of sexual violence.


Human rights lawyer Johana Rocha Gomez is the Secretary General and Co-founder of Centro de Estudios para la Justicia Social 'Tierra Digna', and currently in charge of its litigation department. She also works in the field, accompanying rural communities, designing and implementing strategies for the defense of their rights. She works with fisher and small scale farmers' communities affected by coal mining operations; Afro-descendant communities involved in restitution mechanisms in relation to armed conflict and forced displacement; and with indigenous communities on right to water.


Doaa Mostafa is a lawyer and Criminal Justice Programme Director at the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF), an NGO that was established in 2013 and has quickly become one of the leading human rights organisations in the country. ECRF have led the campaign to Stop Enforced Disappearances in Egypt, a human rights violation that has increased dramatically over the past few years.

Starting in 1997, Getachew Simie worked as a freelance journalist for newspapers published in the official language, and later on as a reporter for a weekly official language newspaper. Beginning from 1999, he has worked as a senior reporter, Editor and Editor-in-Chief in highly circulated privately owned national newspapers and magazines.


Mahad Omad Diriye is a Somali radio journalist working in Kenya, trying to improve the human rights situation for Somali media workers in exile. His organization, the Somali Exiled Journalists Network Association (SEJNAS), monitors and documents violations and provides assistance to journalists who have fled Somalia to countries such as Kenya and Uganda.