Analytics and Interview

On 16 January 2015 late in the evening the website of the Ministry of Justice published a statement that the NGO Committee Against Torture had been added to the register of non-profit organizations designated as ‘foreign agents’.
Tanya Lokshina is the Russia program director at Human Rights Watch and Honorary Participant of International Youth Human Rights Movement: As the crisis in Ukraine escalated this spring, the Kremlin’s vicious crackdown on civil society also escalated. Space for independent civic activity in Russia is shrinking dramatically, but international policymakers and the media have been understandably too distracted to do much about it. Since early spring, it seems as though every week brings a new pernicious law or legislative proposal.
Earlier this year, the correspondent of Youth Human Rights Movement from Germany Jakob Stürmann interviewed Konstantin Baranov, member of the Coordination Council of the International Youth Human Rights Movement. They discussed so called “law against homosexual propaganda” and the overall situation of LGBT in Russia.  

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Oleg Sentsov, Olexander Kolchenko, Hennadiy Afanasiev and Oleksiy Chyrniy have been held in Russian jails for two years already under fabricated charges of ‘terrorism’. We consider it being necessary to express solidarity with those who are persecuted due to their pro-Ukrainian views, civic stand and desire for freedom in Russia-annexed Crimea.
Helsinki Committee of Armenia has published “Human Rights in Armenia 2014” Annual Report. The report reflects on the Right to Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association, Torture, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment, Political Persecutions, Freedom of Conscience and Religion, The Rights of the Child, Protection of Labor Rights.
«We have a few questions for you,» a border guard told Sinaver Kadyrov, a Crimean Tatar activist, at the Armyansk checkpoint in northern Crimea on Jan. 23. Kadyrov was on his way to Kherson, in southern Ukraine, to fly to Turkey for medical treatment. It was the beginning of an ordeal that ended with a local court expelling him from Crimea, his home of almost 25 years.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority It is time to sit back and reflect.

Mark Twain


Youth Human Rights Movement

The EU must pay more attention to supporting civil societies in Eastern Europe

The international conference "Giving a stronger voice to civil society in the European Neighbourhood C Development of civil dialogue and partnership relations between civil society, national governments and EU institutions" was held at Brdo, Slovenia on April 2, 2008 in the framework of the Slovenian Presidency in the European Union.

The conference brought together around 150 civil society representatives from 29 European countries, officials from the EU Institutions, as well as experts from the region and the EU. Russia was represented by the YHRM participant Konstantin Baranov.

The International Holocaust Remembrance Day

In the evening of the 27th of January the Great Hall of the Central House of Literary Men in Moscow was overcrowded. War veterans and pupils, teachers and students, politicians and cultural workers gathered in a token of memory about the six million killed people during the Holocaust.

In 2005 UN General Assembly declared the 27th of January as the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
In Russia the “Holocaust” Centre and Foundation in cooperation with the Moscow government, Israel Embassy in Russia, Russian Jewish Congress and other organizations have arranged memorial evenings since 1995.

This year on the initiative of the Moscow mayor the Department of Education offered all schools to conduct lessons for tolerance devoted to the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The memorial evening was finished by awarding the winners of the VI International contest “Lessons of Holocaust – the way to tolerance”.

Police against activists and journalists

On the 26th of January the representatives of opposition to the President of the Republic Ingushetia tried to arrange a protest action in the centre of Nazran. The idea of the meeting was to support “Putin’s course against corruption and terrorism”. The other aim was to make a decision what do with the signatures collected during the action “I haven’t voted”, which disclosed that the real number of people who came to election on the 2nd of December (election to the State Duma) was twice less than official results.

Law enforcement bodies declared this action illegal. In some regions of the republic a so-called contr-terroristic operation started. During the meeting there was a collision between the police and the demonstrators. Then fire was opened. Mass action was stopped.

St.Tatiana's Day: student holiday – for the student?

On the 25th of January, which is the traditional holiday for all Russian students, initiative groups of students from sociological (“OD-group”) and biological (“For humane education”) faculties of the Moscow State University (MSU) made a joint action of solidarity. The aim of this action was to attract the attention of Chancellor, MSU students and
general public to a complicated and stressful situation at the both faculties – law quality of education (sociological faculty) and violations of rules and laws (biological faculty) together with the administrative tyranny against teachers and students.

Activists in bright clothes with red balloons circulated informative leaflets about situation and collected signatures under the open address to Ministry of Education and Chancellor of the MSU Sadovnichiy. This performance and the idea in general were activly supported by the students from different faculties.

Research among Russian NGOs

The workgroup of the program "Defending Civil Society in the Newly Independent States" coordinates in Russia a research initiated by our partners European Citizen Action Service, ECAS (Brussels) This research is a part of a wide campaign for better involvement of the civil society organizations of the EU neighbouring countries into foreign policy-making of the EU. It aims at gathering key information from CSOs working in Western Balkans, Turkey, Moldova,
Belarus, Ukraine and Russia on the implementation of the "partnership principle" as a tool for improving effectiveness of bottom-up strategies and empowerment of civil society. Pointing out shortcomings and obstacles occurring at the EU and national levels in applying the partnership principle in practice, this survey should result in more detailed recommendations and a background paper as how to make the partnership principle work.

European Youth Unites to Combat Organized Crime (Poland)

On January 15-20 the second international meeting of the newly formed FLARE (Freedom, Legality and Rights in Europe) network was organized in Krakow (Poland). International Youth Human Rights Movement representatives took part in the meeting.

FLARE unites NGOs from such countries as Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Italy, Romania, France, the Netherlands, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, etc. It was initiated last year by two Italian NGOs: "Libera" (Liberty) and "Terra del Focca" (Land of Flames) which deal with the organized crime problems in their country. It is supposed that the new network will act
on all the Western part of Eurasia and deal with the issues of freedom of information, eco-crimes, arms trade, drugs and human trafficking.

Borders Became Insuperable Again?

On the night of December 15 to 16th, the "New Times" magazine correspondent Natalia Morar was not allowed to enter Russia after her return to Moscow from foreign assignment. In the Domodedovo airport the border guards blocked her way to the territory of the Russian Federation pleaded to the instruction from the Federal Service of Security.

She had to pass the night in the room for deported persons and then take a plane to Chisinau (as she has a Moldavian citizenship) without receiving any official explanations of the reasons for her deportation.
Natalia has been living in Moscow for six years, she graduated from the Moscow State University and worked as a journalist in Russia. She has submitted the papers to obtain the Russian citizenship.

One of the versions explaining the actions of the Russian security forces is the reaction to her recent publication revealing scandalous facts of corruption inside the Kremlin.

A biscuit and a quotation: how to make people aware

In 1995 the UNESCO declared a day to generate public awareness of the dangers of intolerance: the International Day for Tolerance that is observed on November 16. This day marks the finale of the international week against discrimination and intolerance “Crystal night – never again!” that is annually organised by Youth Human Rights Movement in different Russian and Ukrainian cities.

Guantanamo - "anybody of you may take the stand"

15th of Novemebr 2007 activists of Amnesty International from different cities of Russia and activists of International Youth Human Rights Movement from Moscow and Voronezh hold the public action behind US Embassy in Russia, requiring quitting illegal prison for suspected terrorists – Guantanamo.

Passers-by walking along Sadovoe kol’tso area could have a chance to see outstanding performance. Against the background of the US Embassy two prisoners in orange clothes staing on knees and hunched, in handcuffs and blindfolded, have been sitting under the guard of harsh American navy officer. Behind, two content people were standing, looking very much similar to George Bush and Condolisa Rice. They hold the placard telling “We rush in where angels fear to tread (there is no rule for us). Anybody of you may take the stand”.

“Citizen. Society. Army.“ – A new section in the network of the All Russian Civil Congress

In the middle of October participants of the public initiative “Citizen and Army” registered a thematic section for the network of the All Russian Civil Congress. The section is meant to deal with the compliance of human rights in the context of military and alternative civil service, with the reformation of the army and its change to a free-will system of recruiting, with the realising of actions and campaigns, with the protection of military servants’ rights, with the demilitarisation of the common consciousness and with the enlightenment of the civil society in the field of law.