Human rights defender
Irina has been working as a Human Rights Defender in Russia since the 90’s. She is the head of the NGO which focuses on human rights education and Human Rights Defenders. Moreover, in her years of experience she has participated in a wide range of projects of Human Rights institutions and mechanisms.
The situation in Russia is very difficult for human rights activists and NGOs. The country has a history of violating citizen’s freedoms of assembly, expression and association. As a result of the “Foreign Agent” law, the Ministry of Justice can register any group accepting foreign funding as a “foreign agent”.
Irina faces persecution as a result of her role as a defender of human rights and as a member of a commission in which her remit is to monitor the human rights violations of prisoners in the area of Murmansk. She has been the victim of harassment, physically attacked and has fined several times over the years for her work. She and her family have faced intimidation, used as a tool in attempts to silence her dissenting voice. In spite of this she continues to work passionately in defence of human rights in Murmansk
During Irina’s stay in The Netherlands she will get the chance to regain her strength, reassess her current safety situation in Russia and continue her work in a safe environment. She will also be afforded an opportunity to share her story- to inform government officials, NGO’s and the public about the challenges she and her colleagues are facing. She will be able to further hone her skills in areas crucial to her work through training programs and will expand her social and professional network during her stay.