"Human rights defenders need more solidarity from member states, their citizens and civil society, as well as solidarity among themselves", said the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, in a conference organised today in Oslo by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee in partnership with the Nobel Peace Centre with representatives of the three Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Ales Bialiatski, Memorial and the Center for Civil Liberties.
"In times of increased hostility and difficulty, it is crucial that human rights defenders remain united and supportive," said the Commissioner stressing the many risks that they face in Europe and around the world as a result of their work for democracy, human rights, and respect for everyone.
"In times of war and crisis like the current war raging in Ukraine, the contributions of human rights defenders to peace, freedom, human rights, justice, and democracy are especially needed," said the Commissioner, stressing that she will keep using her mandate to foster the safety and freedom of human rights defenders in Council of Europe member states.
On the margins of the event, the Commissioner will hold meetings with human rights defenders from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. Tomorrow, she will also attend the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony.