12 Women on the Barricades

The campaign #12 Women on the Barricades is developed in collaboration with illustrator Jenny Jordahl. We present 12 portraits of women standing on the barricades for other women. We shed light on the greatest human rights challenges facing women in Europe today – and focus on what needs to be done to overcome them.

A mother of three against injustice

Political prisoner and mother of three, Anastasia Shevchenko, has been under house arrest since January 2019, only because of her fight for human rights in Russia. When her daughter Alina died, Anastasia’s case sparked angry protests in Russia under the name "March of Mothers’ Fury"

Challenging the strongman of Georgia

The human rights lawer Anna Dolidze has for 20 years been fighting for democracy in Georgia. "Today we have façade justice, façade law enforcement bodies, façade democracy, façade governance", says Anna Dolidze, challenging Georgia’s ruler behind the scene.

Fighting for human rights in Russia’s most dangerous region

In the North Caucasus, women who experience family violence have practically no access to justice. But Malika Abubakarova is not intimidated by this lack of legal remedies, or the many threats she gets for helping the victims. When she wins one case in court, it gives hope for many others.

Error 404 – children not found

The journalist Lena Klimova had only planned to write one article about being gay in Russia. Soon, she found herself as spokesperson for thousands of LGBT children and youth. In 2020, her book "404 – Page Found", will be published by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee.

The journalist who could not be silenced

Khadija Ismayilova's sharp pen and disclosures of corruption and financial abuse has made her a feared opponent for the Azerbaijani regime. Her work has caused her persecution and imprisonment. Today this award-winning investigative journalist is not allowed to leave the country.

A woman's place is on the barricades

Olena Shevchenko was on the barricades during the Euromaidan revolution, aiming for a democratic Ukraine that would put human rights first. Now she continues the fight for LGBTI persons and other vulnerable groups who are exposed more and more to aggressive attacks from right wing extremist groups.

Standing up against nationalism

Sonja Biserko is the head of the Serbian Helsinki Committee for human rights. For more than 20 years has her voice been a consistent corrective to warmongering and nationalist rhetoric in the Western Balkans. Even when threatened from all sides, she has never given up the fight for holding war criminals accountable.

No longer alone in the fight against violence

Galina Ustinova has dedicated her life to stop discrimination and gender-based violence in Belarus. Known as "Europe’s last dictatorship", Belarus has changed little since the fall of the Soviet Union. But where the change does exists, we see Galina's footprint.

On the barricades for the Hungarian democracy

For Márta Pardavi, co-chair of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, any regular day at work includes fighting for Hungarian democracy and the people's right to demonstrate. And fighting against violations of asylum seekers' rights, overcrowded prisons, and racially motivated violence.

Women of the revolution

Human rights activist Gohar Shahnazaryan fights for women's rights and for women to be part of building up the post-revolutionary Armenia, following the velvet revolution in 2018. The new political leadership has not taken the needs of women and other politically vulnerable groups seriously, and hate crimes are spiking.

Give Hande a voice

Hande Kader fought for the rights of LGBTI persons in Turkey, Europe's most dangerous country for transgender people. She criticized the regime for human rights violations and journalists for their silence. Her fight for justice had barely started before it was over. She was killed in 2016, only 23 years old.

Defending those who need it the most

“Almost anyone can take on the easy cases. I’m not afraid of the difficult ones”, says Aiman Umarova. The human rights lawyer from Kazakhstan has defied grave threats and harassment in order to fight against sexual abuse of women, and for the rights of stigmatized groups.



Mina Wikshåland Skouen

Senior Adviser Equal RightsEmail: [email protected]Phone: +47 90 82 50 76
Read article "Mina Wikshåland Skouen"


Inna Sangadzhieva

Director for Europe and Central AsiaEmail: [email protected]Phone: +47 97 69 94 58
Read article "Inna Sangadzhieva"