31 years of defending human rights in difficult conditions

Today, November 19, the Human rights organization “Citizens’ Watch” turns 31 years old. Over these years, the organization has accumulated significant experience in protecting human rights in Russia. Despite numerous restrictions on NGOs and the status of a “foreign agent,” as well as prosecution by the Ministry of Justice and Roskomnadzor, Citizens’ Watch continues to work in all main areas of its activities.

Since the organization’s founding in 1992, the right to a fair trial has been our top priority. We have observed thousands of court hearings. Today we train others in court monitoring. Despite being banned from participating in activities of public oversight commissions, we continue to monitor conditions in places of detention, paying special attention to women’s and children’s rights.

We continue to work in such areas as access to archives, rights of people with disabilities, and anti-discrimination. We provide assistance to people facing human rights violations. We systematize and summarize data on the human rights situation in Russia in our analytical reports, develop recommendations for its improvement, and inform international organizations and the public.

For us, as human rights defenders, it is important not only to actively use legal tools, but also not to be afraid to raise awareness and openly criticize the authorities for human rights violations. A principled position is important – the position of a human rights defender. We believe that in 31 years of work we have managed to at least slightly change the human rights situation for the better. This important work continues.