The website Human Rights in Russia (HRO.org) was founded in 1996 by a group of Russian human rights defenders. The few web resources that existed at that time were mostly concerned with the work of particular organizations. HRO.org became the first Russian thematic website devoted to human rights.
Since then HRO.org has become a major web portal that enjoys popularity and prestige, not only in the human rights community, but also beyond it. The portal has remained loyal to its original conception and continues to be a resource devoted to human rights in Russia. From 1996 the list of themes covered by the website has significantly broadened. Today, HRO.org provides its readers with a wide collection of materials on 35 different topics in the field of human rights.
Each day on HRO.org up to 15 new articles are published, making a total in excess of 5,000 in the past year. In recent years the HRO.org team has focused on providing regular updating of materials and rapid reaction to events of social importance. As a result, HRO.org has achieved a reputation as a reliable source of news on human rights.
Staff of the Human Rights Network provide technical support to other human rights NGOs to assist them in developing their Internet resources. The web portal HRO.org provides 18 human rights discussion lists (by electronic mail) and mailings for our colleagues. One of the main foci of the educational work of HRO.org is the issue of information security.
The Human Rights in Russia (HRO.org) web portal has been operating as a nationwide project for more than 14 years. In recent years the web portal has become more than simply a source of information. It has also become a platform for human rights activities and campaigns.
Today HRO.org is an important part of the infrastructure of the Russian human rights community. In conditions of crisis, the online work of human rights defenders assumes a specially important role.
Professor Andrei Suslov (doctor of historical sciences), director of the Perm Centre for Civic Education: “The web portal professionally illuminates the acute problems of the country today, problems which are usually avoided by most media: violations of human rights, the development of democracy and so on. Information of this kind is important both for participants in the human rights movement, and for those trying to understand contemporary Russia. For the staff of our organization who are concerned with human rights education, the web portal’s materials, in addition to those that are of a strictly informational character, are very important for our teaching. The Centre’ s trainers use these publications in preparing classes and teaching materials...”
Elena Topoleva, director of the Agency for Social Information (ASI) writes in an analytical article, “There is only one common resource, the Human Rights in Russia (HRO.org) web portal. That’s where everyone considers it their duty to send all information. On HRO.org statements, open letters are published, and discussions conducted. This is not only information, but also a platform for communication.”
Artem Marchenko, activist of the Youth Human Rights Movement and expert with the Perm Civic Chamber: "The Human Rights in Russia web portal for the human rights movement in Russia (and not only Russia) is many things: a communications resource, a media outlet, a search machine for vital information, and an archive.”
The HRO.org web portal is valued beyond the limits of the human rights community. For example, the journal Science and Education writes about our portal: “Human Rights in Russia is the largest human rights server in the Russian Internet. As distinct from popular directories and data bases, one can find on the web portal not only the texts of laws, but also advice on how to protect one’s rights, and information about human rights defenders, human rights organizations, public activities and campaigns, books and articles, as well as links to other human rights resources in the Internet.”
Aleksandr Mironov, a teacher at Bratsk University: "The Human Rights in Russia web portal is the most relevant and detailed source of information for all those interested in the problems of the development of civil society in the Russian Federation."
Alla Tomizova, a teacher in a Novosibirsk secondary school: “The Human Rights in Russia web portal is one of the main reliable sources of information for my students when they prepare research reports on the topic of human rights and freedoms.”