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

Cities are joining intercultural action „Stop racism!”

Дата публикации: 

The events have already taken place in Voronezh, St. Petersburg, Moscow, Barnaul, Kharkov, Luhansk, Gorlovka (Ukraine). The action will last till 27th of March.

First of all, on 17th of March an international event called “Human library” aiming in increasing of tolerance in society took place. The role of “human books” were played by: human right activist, Muslim, Krishna follower, Jew, mother of disabled child, gay, lesbian, former policeman, student from Iran and HIV carrier. Every guest during the half an hour could “read a book” asking question he or she was interested in, “put it back” and do the same with other “books”.

“There is lots of people in society who are not afraid of standing face to face with the stereotypes and to discuss them- commented one of “Human library”, - organizers Olga Bazueva.- Everyone showed its positive attitude- there were no signs of aggression in spite of the fact that very various type of ‘books’ and ‘readers’ were present. Lots of people asked for help and practical advice, that’s why we were talking about the problems which are passed over in society. For us a “book” is a hero because he or she could say what kind of people they are in real and we admire it a lot”.

Partners of “Human library” organizers - Youth Human Rights Movement – were the Central Library System in Voronezh City and Youth Network against racism and intolerance.

Similar lesson for 11-class pupils from School no. 7 in Voronezh was organized by The Platonov Municipal Library.

“Librarians do their best to give not boring lessons but interactive ones. We are mainly interested in what they think about ‘racism’ or ‘tolerance’, do they know about actions of preventing neo-nazism activity and do they participate in them. Involvement of 10 foreigner students made the discussion very lively. It really let increase the level of exchanging impressions and experiences, - said organizers.

Last year School no. 7 was one of the place where the exhibition “Anna Frank. Lessons of history” took place. Then 13-15 years old pupils acted as guides for their peers. As we can conclude from pupils’ comments that experience gave them the possibility to understand, much more deeply, a subject of fascism on daily base.

On the 19th of March in the St. Petersburg Library of National Cultures took place a final of competition “You are not the only one” for creating the best symbolism of tolerance. The event was organized by the first newspaper established by refugees from Central Asia called “Turan”.

“The problem of intolerance and hatred towards other nations concerning people from every age bracket, profession and nation, - believes chief editor of newspaper “Turan” Mahmud Mamatmuminov, - It is especially subject concerning St. Petersburg which has always been multinational city. We were very happy to give citizens of St. Petersburg the opportunity to express their citizen stance through an artistic work. And despite the number of participants was less than we expected, I am still very happy that on the edge of Neva I found tolerant youth. I am sure that in the future we will continue work in this direction, by the way even now we already work on new projects”.

The competition “You are not the only one” were divided into three categories: “The best poster on national tolerance”, “The logotype mark on national tolerance”, “The best sculpture symbolizing international friendship”. The effects of art works were collected from the end of October 2012 to 1st of March 2012. And now, in the Library of National Literatures book room will be organized an exhibition of those works. Future guests can see how the topic of tolerance and respect towards people from different nationalities was understood.

In Ukrainian city Gorlovka pupils of elder classes participated in training “Do the first step!” where the opportunity to empathize with feelings of people from various social groups according to their racial, national and social status were given to future graduates. Specialists gave also law assessments of phenomenons like racism, discrimination and xenophobia.

The third day of that international initiative was finalized by street action in micro-region “Eastern” which was carried out by pupils of tenth class. The biggest part of attention was attracted by colorful leaflets introducing the problem of racism in Eastern society. Everyone who wished get to know more about the problem got an access to more information.

On 18th of March as part of that action took place one-day seminar “I love you Kharkov!”. This seminar was organized by: coordinator of volunteer historical project “404- the unknown pages of history” Maria Ginsburg, one of the leader of Kharkiv club “The origins of history” (KDT) Oksana Suprun, long-term EVS volunteer from Germany Alika Wulfing (MVO- “Dawn broke- Ukraine), Piedram Raufi- KDT activist and Marian Blok- XCAM volunteer.

The seminar passed off in very warm and friendly atmosphere in few languages. Participants discussed about stereotypes and with help of trainers tried to identify their own prejudices and got to know reasons of their appearing. Igor Dworkin (Kharkiv Polytechnic Institute) gave a lecture about Kharkov history, as a part of Sloboda Ukraine, in the context of local communities. In the evening, there was set aside special session for presentations projects and voluntary organizations which allow young people, freely work and get experience from internationality and international communities and cooperation. Besides project organizers activists from “European Information Centre”, voluntary association of Dzerzhinsky neighborhood Kharkov city, international organization “Red cross” in Kharkov and others told about their own work.

“We hope that no one left seminar with indifferent feeling- said organizers- It will manifest in details. For example, we start more often thinking is it worth to tell anecdotes which produce national stereotypes and petrify them in our consciousness”.

On 20th of March, as a part of round table “Ukrainian cultural network- experience and perspectives” Luhansk artists and representatives of Ministry of Culture discussed on an occurrence of multiculturalism in region. A special guest of the event was Seyfullah Rashidov, president of administration of Muslim parish “Salam” in Luhansk, associate professor of the Vladimir Dal Eastern Ukrainian University , doctor of philosophy. He said that other culture is a condition for developing our own culture.

“Culture in the first contact means humanizing mutual relations. And we are all plunged in the field of multiculturalism. Nowadays, there are 102 ethnic groups in the region. Every day in public transport we see foreigners, there is also lots of students what seems to be some kind of problem for Universities. Try to pay attention on people from Turkmenistan who come in big number. I witnessed how they do not even know how to cross light signals. One teach them language however they do not know Russian language but one still give them lessons. It’s a big problem for us. At our University 3 years ago there were 200 foreigner students, now there is 1100! And no one cares about their adaptation. Let’s say that on one of the Luhank universities website there was written: “educational work”. But besides lessons concerning student government in 2007 there was nothing, - told about the problem, from his point of view Seyfullah- It’s also a problem for city dwellers because suddenly appears different culture. - I came here in 1977 and I didn’t know what means “You” (Sir/Madame), I didn’t know that I should have given up bus’ seat to women or I should say “I’m sorry”, “Please”. Why I didn’t know it? Because in my mother tongue, in Dagestan- where is 40 languages- those kind of words just don’t exist. So I’ve been living here since 1977 and I hope I have something learnt. And now we see huge number of that sort of people like me”.
Rashidov called community and state institutions to organizing as much local events for foreigner and Ukrainian students as it is possible in order to increase level of mutual understanding and communication of various cultures by persistent and systematic work.

On 21st of March at the Taras Shevchenko Shevchenko Luhansk State University took place meeting of International Friends of Nigeria dedicated to International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. President of IFON Osaruman Izerbokun called all participants to open struggle against racism and every form of discrimination through mutual involvement. And exactly education and devotion are those instruments which are used by Luhansk’ friends from various countries in work with young people from this city.

Younger students with great passion asked about Nigeria tradition and history, created parallels between two countries and analyzed them finding differences and similarities. All those happened during friendly discussion around one table.

Besides representatives of the Taras Shevchenko Shevchenko Luhansk State University in the IFON meeting participated also representatives of Human Right Center “Step” and Youth Organization “Thunder”. Human rights activists told about the problem of racism and xenophobia from their point of view and called students to get rid of stereotypes about other ethnic groups existing in Ukrainian society. The IFON meeting was also visited by students from Turkmenistan who were surprised by very friendly atmosphere and willingness of Luhansk students to deepening their knowledge about other languages and culture.

On 21st of March in Barnaul also took place workshop on tolerance for eighth class pupils from Nigeria, China, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Switzerland, Mexico and United States of America.

At the same time in Saint Petersburg local social association “German-Russian exchange” as a part of  action “Stop racism!” organized film shows and discussions.

In Moscow, at school no. 1414 authors of international cartoon-project “Respect”, traditionally, carried out a lesson on tolerance.