Spread the Stories of Human Rights Violations – and of the Human Rights Defenders

December 10, 2022
By Amloud Alamir

It is 75 years since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed, recognized as a milestone in the history of human rights. Three generations down the road these rights are violated and questioned. Yet the people who stand up for their protection outnumber the antagonists.
Amloud Alamir met with three human rights defenders at a conference in Krakow on human rights at the European borders.

– Now it’s becoming really cold. Every year people share stories of how the police made them take their clothes off and walk barefoot for miles in the cold winter. A foreigner who is found inside Hungary anywhere, without valid documents and a valid visa should be immediately removed to Serbia. There is no hearing, there is no decision. You cannot apply for asylum. It happens in a second, says András Léderer, Hungarian Helsinki Committee.

– I think growing up in a country where you know that a certain group of people is excluded and marginalized and left in the forest to die, or in sea to drown, just because they come from certain countries is very wrong, says Alice Szczepaniková, migration and freedom of movement advisor at ODIHR.


– It’s wrong for those people, obviously, who are in that situation, but it’s also wrong for those who are growing up in the country, who may think that this is normal, that this is the right thing to do.
– We need pressure to come from different angles: from international organizations, but also from civil society and from human rights monitors. We need evidence about
these violations and then we need political will to listen to this evidence and we need pressure applied by international bodies on countries, to respect their legislation and the international law, says Alice Szczepaniková.

– We represent clients; a single mother with small children who was pushed back in the middle of the night. We represent unaccompanied children who where removed from Hungary and thrown out in the middle of nowhere in Serbia. This is unique in Europe that this is legalized, but this is happening on so many borders. It also happens not only on land borders, then they “just” push people to the other side of the border, but it happens on
the sea as well, which really puts lives at risk, says András Lédrer.

At this, the younger generation is at stake.

– So I think for the younger generation, it’s really important to live in a world where
international law is respected and human rights law is respected, and they don’t need to feel ashamed of their government for what they are doing and how they’re treating people in need, says Alice Szczepaniková.

– You don’t have to work at a human rights organization to actually do something good. One of the things you can do is to follow what they do and speak to your friends about what these organizations do to spread the word that there are human rights violations, but also that there are people who try to stop those violations from happening.

– The International Day of Human Rights is supposed to commemorate the anniversary of the Declaration this year. I think it’s important to have these symbols. I think that symbols and rituals are important especially for the younger generations for them to learn
that it took a lot to make it all the way up here. To hear, now, today despite the fact, we still need to be very vigilant about the violations that are taking place, says Araceli Garciá del Soto, expert on psycho-social and physical safety.