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To our community,

The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) started 2024 off strong with meaningful advancements in the struggle for freedom worldwide. In this edition of Freedom in Focus, you’ll learn more about our accomplishments so far this year, including our involvement at global conferences, new avenues to popularize pressing human rights issues, and legal efforts to defend those speaking out against tyranny.

We would like to acknowledge our community’s tremendous support and solidarity, without which our accomplishments would not be possible. Thank you for being a part of this movement and helping us make the world more peaceful, prosperous, and free.

With gratitude,

The Human Rights Foundation

Vote for HRF in the Webby Awards!

HRF is proud to announce that its Wear Your Values (WYV) program video has been nominated for the Public Service & Activism Webby Award, the leading international award honoring excellence on the Internet. Produced by Cultivator Content Labs, the video features several program initiatives, including award-winning Swedish designer Louise Xin’s fashion show at the 2023 Oslo Freedom Forum, HRF’s Discounted Lives installation, and a fashion week projection campaign.


With the recognition and acclaim of a Webby Award, HRF will have a greater platform to demand transparency in global supply chains, hold the fashion industry accountable, and bring awareness to the hidden social costs of the industry.

From Prison to Presidency: HRF Petition to Release Senegal’s Now President

Senegal’s President-elect, Bassirou Diomaye Faye, was among an estimated 1,000 political prisoners in the West African country. Imprisoned last April over a Facebook post criticizing the judicial harassment of main opposition figure Ousmane Sonko, Faye ran a presidential campaign from prison. Similarly, Aliou Sané, a well-known human rights activist, had also been languishing in pretrial detention since May, having been arrested on his way to a meeting at Sonko’s residence while campaigning for free and fair elections.

Faye and Sané’s cases are emblematic of the growing repression in Senegal. As a result, HRF submitted a petition to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD) on Feb. 28 on their behalf. The petition urged UNWGAD to investigate their cases, deem their detentions arbitrary, and call on the Senegalese regime to release Faye immediately.

HRF’s petition received significant coverage in Senegalese media, and 11 days later, Faye was released from prison. His release allowed him to resume his presidential campaign and eventually win the elections, becoming Africa’s youngest elected president. About a month prior, Sané was released from prison in an effort to appease renewed tensions in the country following former President Macky Sall’s failed attempt to postpone elections.



Last month, HRF brought human rights to the forefront of discussions at South by Southwest (SXSW), the world’s largest creative conference, in Austin, Texas.

At the Creative Industries Expo, HRF exhibited Picture It: Destination Unfiltered, which shed light on the harsh reality of dictatorship in popular travel destinations. Visitors chose between four different travel experiences — Cuba, Rwanda, the United Arab Emirates, and Thailand — and took a photo in front of a picturesque scene. When printed, the final photo revealed the dark reality of life under tyranny: poverty, political repression, and worker exploitation. Seeing these destinations “unfiltered” encouraged visitors to look beyond the postcard-perfect façade and be informed, conscientious travelers.

HRF also hosted a panel, Documenting Conflict Zones: Photojournalists vs. Influencers, which examined the ethics of documenting conflict zones and how the general public can decipher between the reality of these situations captured by photojournalists and influencers’ white-washed, distorted portrayals.

Launch of NK Insider

In February, HRF’s North Korea Desk launched NK Insider, an English news website that provides analyses and op-eds about North Korea written by North Koreans. In addition to human rights, the site explores North Korean society, politics, diplomacy, military, and culture.

The site strengthens the voices of North Korean defectors, drawing from their knowledge, experiences, and opinions. By connecting to those networks inside and outside of North Korea, the program is increasing the operability of our Flash Drives for Freedom (FDFF) program. While FDFF works to get information into the country, NK Insider strengthens the effort to get information out of the country and offers unique insights into the complexity of North Korean affairs.


College Freedom Forum at UFM & Stanford

Last week, HRF hosted the seventh edition of the College Freedom Forum (CFF) at the Universidad Francisco Marroquín (UFM) in Guatemala. CFF is a series of one-day events designed to educate students about democracy and human rights worldwide. At UFM, students and faculty had the chance to learn about the work, challenges, and personal stories of the Founder and President of Ideas Beyond Borders Faisal Saeed Al Mutar, Venezuelan human rights activist Olga González, Cuban artist and activist Yunier Suárez, Hong Kong activist Carmen Lau, and Bolivian assemblywoman and opposition leader Toribia Lero Quispe.

Yesterday, HRF returned to Stanford University for a CFF focused on the Asia-Pacific region, featuring Uyghur advocate and daughter of imprisoned scholar Ilham Tohti Jewher Ilham, North Korean defector Eunhee Park, Vietnamese pop star and political activist Mai Khoi, and Prime Minister of the Central Tibetan Administration’s government-in-exile Lobsang Sangay. After the panel discussion, Stanford students had the opportunity to meet and interact with the speakers.


HRF at Bitcoin Atlantis

On March 1-3, HRF traveled to Madeira, Portugal, to attend Bitcoin Atlantis, one of the largest gatherings to discuss Bitcoin’s technology and innovation. This year, HRF supported the conference and led a track exploring Bitcoin as a liberation tool in countries ruled by authoritarian regimes.

HRF led five discussions on the mainstage in front of a stadium-sized audience, including a fireside chat on Bitcoin as a tool for freedom, led by HRF Chief Strategy Officer Alex Gladstein and Block Co-Founder and CEO Jack Dorsey, with investment strategist Lyn Alden and Togolese human rights activist Farida Nabourema; and a conversation on activists’ use of Bitcoin to fund their movements with HRF Freedom Fellowship Lead Jhanisse Vaca-Daza and Anna Chekhovich, the financial director of Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation.


Join HRF at the 2024 Oslo Freedom Forum

On June 3-5, HRF will return to Oslo, Norway, for the 16th annual Oslo Freedom Forum (OFF). Every year, OFF offers an important platform for human rights advocates to share their efforts to defy repression, speak out against injustice, and promote democracy.

This year’s theme, Reclaim Democracy, emphasizes the pivotal role that every individual plays in the global struggle for freedom. Through keynote talks, panel discussions, creative installations, and interactive workshops, OFF brings together a community of dissidents, journalists, artists, tech entrepreneurs, and world leaders to brainstorm ways to expand freedom globally.

Join us in Oslo to become a part of the global movement for freedom and human rights. Find regular updates on oslofreedomforum.com and our X and Instagram.

Take Action

There are many ways to support our community and the ongoing struggle against tyranny. As a charitable nonprofit organization, HRF is able to conduct our work thanks to the generosity of committed individuals like you.

Donate today

Donate Bitcoin

-Shop at our HRF Store

-Donate stock by emailing [email protected]

Donate your USB sticks for Flash Drives for Freedom

Register for the 2024 Oslo Freedom Forum in Norway

More by HRF

The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that promotes and protects human rights globally, with a focus on closed societies.

For interview requests or media inquiries, please email [email protected].