Five human rights activists share hard-hitting stories in new Amnesty International podcast

Five courageous human rights defenders from around the world have shared their hard-hitting stories on Amnesty International’s new podcast: ‘On the Side of Humanity. How human rights defenders fight for our present and future’.

The three-part series was released to mark the 25th anniversary of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. The documentary explores how the human rights movement has evolved since the adoption of the watershed declaration.

In the podcast, Amnesty International’s Tatyana Movshevich discovers the story behind the declaration and meets brave activists from Chile, the USA, Nepal, Ireland and Ghana, all of whom have been fighting for the rights of marginalized people — and risking their lives in the process.

“Every day, human rights defenders are risking their lives, sometimes at a significant personal cost. They experience violence and discrimination simply for defending the rights of others,” said Tatyana Movshevich, Amnesty International’s Campaigner.

“For this podcast I have interviewed five incredible human rights defenders and it was inspiring to hear about their work, but also distressing to realise the enormous dangers they are facing. During our interview, Anas Aremeyaw Anas, a journalist from Ghana, told me a chilling story of how his investigation into killings linked to ritual magic in Malawi had gone terribly wrong. And it was not the only time when Anas found himself in mortal danger because of his human rights work. Far from it.”

Every day, human rights defenders are risking their lives, sometimes at a significant personal cost.

Tatyana Movshevich, Amnesty International’s Campaigner

Others featured in the podcast include Lorena Donaire, a water defender from Chile whose life was turned upside down as she was tackling the catastrophic results of a mega-drought; Monica Simpson, a queer activist and artist from the USA and Durga Sob, a Dalit woman and Nepalese feminist activist, who have both been confronting long-ignored issues of racism and caste-based discrimination; and Sean Binder, a migrant rights defender from Ireland whose freedom was compromised while he was volunteering on an idyllic Greek island.

For Monica Simpson speaking out brings risk, but, just like the others, it will not stop her from defending the rights of others. She said: “I’m a Black woman [who] does work in the south of the United States of America. I am queer. I am talking about sex and bodies, talking about art as a revolutionary act. It’s like every issue area that has been criminalized and violated, I’m embodying that on a daily basis.”

International experts that took part in the series include Mary Lawlor, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights Defenders, and Hina Jilani, women rights activist and co-founder of Pakistan’s first all-women law firm.

The podcast is out now and available to stream on Spotify, Apple, Google and Deezer.

Interviews are available with Tatyana Movshevich, as well as the Human Rights Defenders featured in the podcast.