BHRS represented in human rights seminar organised by “I want to help refugees”

On March 28th, the halls of 13 Alberta Street, Riga, resonated with impassioned discussions and profound insights as the seminar "Human Rights for All" unfolded, offering a deep dive into asylum law and related human rights. Hosted by "I want to help refugees," the event drew a diverse array of participants, including volunteers, students, NGOs, and government representatives eager to expand their understanding of this critical subject matter.

Kicking off the seminar, Leila Rasima, Chairperson of the Human Rights and Public Affairs Commission of the Saeima of the Republic of Latvia, and Sanita Osipova, Justice of the Supreme Court, set the stage for an enriching dialogue. The first segment, anchored in theory, provided a comprehensive overview of human rights, asylum law, and the mechanisms for defending these rights in various legal arenas. Notable speakers included Lolita Buka, a senior researcher at the Baltic Human Rights Society, and Baiba Kiršteina, a senior lawyer at the Ombudsman's Office, among others.

Transitioning to practical applications, the seminar spotlighted the advocacy efforts of numerous non-governmental organizations and activists. With a focus on LGBT and women's rights, as well as asylum rights, the session featured esteemed figures such as Nils Muižnieks, former Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, and Evita Gosha, a human rights activist. Their insights provided a roadmap for effective advocacy and underscored the importance of grassroots initiatives in safeguarding human rights.

Beyond intellectual discourse, "I want to help refugees" has been actively engaged in tangible initiatives to uphold asylum rights. Since its inception in October 2022, the organization has provided legal support to 55 asylum seekers and gathered testimonies from 50 individuals about their refugee journeys. Notably, the project has also facilitated psychological support for five asylum seekers since February 2024.

In addition to direct assistance, the organization has leveraged advocacy as a tool for change. Through participation in parliamentary meetings, public statements, and media engagements, they have consistently championed the rights of asylum seekers, confronting challenges head-on and fostering public awareness.

The seminar, made possible with the support of Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway under the EEA and Norway Grants Programme "Active Citizens Fund," exemplified the power of collaboration in advancing human rights. While "I want to help refugees" spearheaded the initiative, its success was a testament to the collective effort of all stakeholders involved.

As the seminar drew to a close, participants departed with renewed determination and a deeper understanding of their roles in promoting human rights for all. With ongoing challenges on the horizon, their commitment to advocacy serves as a beacon of hope, guiding us towards a future where dignity and justice prevail for every individual, regardless of circumstance.