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

Presidential council defends rights of human rights ombudsman

Дата публикации: 

As deputies accuse ombudsman Vladimir Lukin of “taking sides” with some opposition figures and missing other issues, human right activists and analysts say he is doing his job properly.

Lukin, who was appointed the human rights commissioner in 2004, came under fire after he urged an inquiry into the brutal activities of the riot police during the dispersal of an unauthorized opposition rally in Moscow.

He visited Triumfalnaya Square on May 31 where protesters demanded “the implementation of the constitutional right for peaceful assembly.” The brutal response from police was not justified, the ombudsman said. He also made his position clear in the report about the results of his activities.

The report drew criticism from many politicians. Federation Council’s commission on the development of institutions of civil society has said the document describes mostly violations of political rights and does not pay much attention to socio-economic ones.

Aleksandr Pochinok, a member of the Federation Council, publicly voiced on July 6 parliamentarians’ complaints about this document. The deputies also complained that the ombudsman did not offer remedies to improve the situation.

The deputies also said the report did not consider the observance of the freedoms of movement and choosing place of residence, the rights for sufficient living standards and favorable environment, education and participation in a cultural life. However, the document often “politicizes” the assessments of the situation, the commission said.

Protecting human rights should not turn “into a political campaign, and the ombudsman should not support people only in cases where his political views coincide with opinions of those whom he protects,” the deputies concluded.

Ombudsmen in several Russian regions have also criticized Lukin for his “selective approach” while evaluating the observance of human rights.

However, the Presidential Council on Civil Society Institutions and Human Rights has supported Lukin’s activities. His work is useful and necessary for many Russians, the council said in a statement on July 5.

The analysis of complaints coming from citizens shows that “the country’s modernization is impossible without real guarantees of the protection of human rights and freedoms,” it stated. The annual commissioner’s report “reflects Russian realities and highlights violations of individual and socio-political rights of citizens,” the statement said.

The presidential council also stressed the need for effective feedback in the relations between society and the state. Although the number of complaints from citizens about the freedom of assembly is relatively small, some of them concern violations made during certain public rallies, the statement reads.

The council also cited Lukin’s words about “a high level of intolerance in society” and expressed support for his “citizen’s position.”

The ombudsman should protect human rights first of all, stressed Igor Yurgens, director of the Institute of Contemporary Development. “And the state, trade unions and employees should deal with economic and social rights,” he told Nezavisimaya Gazeta. “Lukin cannot replace everyone.”

Lukin’s defenders in the opposition and human rights community released a statement protesting this “campaign” against the Russian ombudsman, arguing that “we consider it principally important to express our moral support to the civic and professional position of Vladimir Lukin”.

The institute of the ombudsman was created to protect human rights, but mostly constitutional rights: the freedom of speech, assembly and manifestations, Yurgens aid.