Ivar is our Senior Policy Advisor.
Ivar began his work in the Norwegian Helsinki Committee in 2006, when he opened the NHC’s first Central Asia Regional Office, located in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. After a few years, the office was shut down by the authorities, but relocated to neighbouring Almaty. Ivar continued to run the organization’s Central Asia work from Kazakhstan for another three years, before moving to Geneva to focus on human rights in the UN system.
From Geneva, Ivar worked to strengthen our engagement with the treaty committees, special rapporteurs, and other UN mechanisms, as well as delegations seeking reliable information about ongoing human rights violations. Finally, after a period representing the organization from Kyiv, Ukraine, Ivar is again based at the headquarters in Oslo.
In addition to policy work and media work, Ivar has administered our many large and small projects in Central Asia, including the popular Small Grants Fund, which has successfully supported civil society initiatives in the region since its conception in 2007.
Ivar’s relationship with the countries of the former Soviet Union began in 1998 and withs Russian studies at the Smolny Institute at the State University of St. Petersburg (SPbU). He has a Master’s degree equivalent in Russian, English and Political Science from the University of Oslo (UiO). He travelled extensively in the Caucasus as a freelance journalist and published articles in several Norwegian and foreign news outlets.
You’re never done learning in this job, not about human rights or about the region. Whether it’s Ukraine in the west or Tajikistan in the east, change is continuous, and you just have to try and keep up. Working in the NHC can be all-consuming, but it’s a great privilege to play a small part in all that change.
Prior to joining the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, Ivar spent four years as assessing asylum claims and interviewing asylum seekers at the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI). As a student, he worked parallel in Amnesty International, and also spent his alternative military service there.
Related to Ivar
At the foot of the Tian-Shan mountains, the struggle continues about which direction Kyrgyzstan should take. After two revolutions, the answer is still not given.
On the rare occasion when Turkmenistan is mentioned in the media, it is often in connection with something ludicrous undertaken by the country’s President. For Turkmens themselves, the situation is anything but comical.
North of Afghanistan and west of China lies Tajikistan – the poorest of all former Soviet republics, and perhaps the most beautiful among them!
Located in the very heart of Central Asia, Uzbekistan has developed its own unique culture that separates it from the surrounding nomadic nations.
In Central Asia’s largest country modern cities blend with monuments of Soviet past and ancient nomadic traditions.