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Iryna Horobtsova, a woman human rights defender from Kherson, Ukraine

Iryna Horobtsova


Iryna Horobtsova is a woman human rights defender and a grassroots activist from Kherson, Ukraine. After the Russian forces occupied Kherson at the beginning of March, the woman human rights defender started providing help to healthcare workers to get to the local hospital as a driver-volunteer. She also organised a crowdfunding campaign to purchase essential medical supplies for the hospital and blood drive center to support local residents who were subjected to violence by the Russian military. In her social media, Iryna Horobtsova posted about the peaceful rallies against the occupation of Kherson she attended, and her experience living in the occupied city.


Since the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula, HRDs who defend the rights of Crimean Tatars or ethnic Ukrainians, and those who monitor and document violations of human rights in the peninsula that is currently governed de facto by the Russian Federation, and those who work in Luhansk and Donetsk and have refused Russian citizenship became the main targets of systemic and severe intimidation and harassment. Thus, HRDs, journalists, lawyers, and bloggers in Crimea and eastern Ukraine have been repeatedly harassed by security forces and subjected to abduction, physical attacks, home searches, surveillance, interrogation, unlawful detention, criminal prosecution, accusations of alleged terrorism and propagation of extremism, deprivation of the right to a fair trial, forced psychiatric examinations, and threats to family members. Several HRDs have been denied access to the peninsula.