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

On November 2nd 2011 in Minsk the trial of Ales Bialiatski, vice president of the International Federation for Human Rights and head of the human rights center Viasna, has begun.
The trial of Belarusian human rights defender and prominent civil society leader Ales Bialiatski is slated to begin on 2 November in Minsk. It has the potential to ignite the fight for freedom in Belarus, but only with more creative coordination and long-term planning by international civil society.
  To the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Belarus
Mr. Alexander Konyukov To the Head of the Department of Execution of Punishments of
the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Belarus
Mr. Alexander Barsukov To the Minister of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Belarus
Mr. Anatoly Kuleshov APPEAL During the last months mass media increasingly reported that the individuals, who are currently serving sentences in penal institutions of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and are considered by the human rights community to be political prisoners, are subjected to acts that can be qualified as ill-treatment or even torture. This information is confirmed by the statements of the prisoners’ relatives and colleagues. Thus, the transfer of the former presidential candidate Andrei Sannikov and the leader of the international organization “Young Front” Dmitry Dashkevich from one penal institution to another can at least be characterized as ill-treatment. The process of escorting was long; at that time the prisoners were not able to obtain clothing and food, and this can lead to health deterioration due to changes in temperature. In addition, meetings with lawyers were not available during this period. In this connection, the process of transfer from one place to another causes extra physical and psychological suffering; and failure to provide relatives with information about whereabouts of prisoners causes even greater concern. In addition, on September 28th, 2011 at a press conference it was voiced that currently there is an imminent threat to the life of Sannikov and Dashkevich due to poor health conditions and a high probability of provocations against them. It was also voiced that for more than two weeks there is no information about the ex-presidential candidate, political prisoner Statkevich. At the moment, this information was neither confirmed nor refuted by the official authorities of the Republic of Belarus. In connection with the facts mentioned above, the International Observation Mission: • reminds that the Republic of Belarus is party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as committed itself to the OSCE documents in the field of human dimension and thereby, it is obliged to investigate all facts of the alleged torture, cruel and degrading treatment and punishment;
• emphasizes that such an investigation should be based on the principle of presumption of guilt of the State, which presupposes that the persons in charge provide objective evidence of their innocence or recognize their guilt and are punished for allowing the acts of ill-treatment;
• draws attention to the publicity of these individuals and the high level of public interest, including from the international community, to their prison and health conditions. The International observation mission addresses its demands: • to the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Belarus – to conduct an immediate impartial public investigation of the incoming information on torture, cruel and degrading treatment against Andrei Sannikov, Dmitry Dashkevich, Nikolai Statkevich and other political prisoners, and to report about the process and outcome of the investigation to the media, to publish this information on the official website of the General Prosecutor's Office;
• to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Belarus, in particular the Department of Execution of Punishments – to provide immediately the general public, including international, with an opportunity to assess the conditions of detention of political prisoners and their level of health through access to them of international observers (including representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, as well as representatives of the International Observation Mission), representatives of Belarusian NGOs and journalists with an opportunity to publicly express their opinions and with guarantees of safety provided by the authorities of the Republic of Belarus;
• to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Belarus, in particular the Department of Execution of Punishments – to guarantee the prevention of torture, cruel and degrading treatment and punishment of political prisoners.
October 3rd, 2011
Head of the Mission
Andrey Yurov
Belarus is referred to as the last dictatorship in Europe and its human rights situation has long been dire, yet the arrest of one man has signalled even darker times ahead for local civil society.
  I was coming to Tver, a city somewhere between Moscow and Saint-Petersburg not knowing if the investigation against me and the newspaper where I work was finished. The investigators from investigation committee potentially blamed me for committing crime using one of the most debatable articles in Russian criminal law.  They told me I could be an “extremist”.
 I left the hotel Cosmos on a rainy Moscow Sunday morning, met Lena at the train station. Lena is a member of the Youth Human Rights Movement (YHRM) and was to be my guide on the way to Voronezh where I am to spend the next three months working with Russian human rights defenders.
Opposition spells politics and we are not a political party. So we are not in opposition. We have to interact with the authorities, we force them into cooperation even if they do not want it. Our main purpose is to force the authorities to observe the Constitution and human rights and to respect our citizens’ dignity.
A number of activists of the Movement Against Illegal Immigration have committed politically motivated crimes of violence. The organisation has never tried to deny that. This is not just a formality: in reality the Movement Against Illegal Immigration has consisted to a large extent of people practising racially-based violence. Or at least openly approving it.
Inspired by the up risings and calls for democracy in the Middle East and North Africa, citizens of Azerbaijan attempted to peacefully assemble to call for the resignation of Azeri President Ilham Aliyev who many regard as a corrupt dictator propped by foreign economic interests. Their attempts on April 2 to make their voices heard on the streets of the nations’ capital, Baku, were met with violent resistance from police forces.
The International Observation Mission had prepared another systematized compilation of the facts that illustrate intervention into activities of journalists’ community in the Republic of Belarus. The analytical review is the logical continuation of the work presented in the Analytical review No.
The International Observation Mission has prepared an analytical review about the situation with human rights defenders and human rights organizations in the Republic of Belarus from January, 12 to March, 8, 2011.
By Kanstantsin ‘Kastus’ Lashkevich, journalist, member of the Belarusian Association of JournalistsThe Stalin era of 30-s has come back to Belarus. It is said “Stalinism is impossible at the XXI century right in the center of Europe”. Belarus authority proved the opposite.
The report "Persona Non Grata: The CIS ban system for human rights defenders and journalists" from the Norwegian Helsinki Committee details a number of cases of HR defenders and journalists who have been barred from entry or deported from the CIS over the past several years. It also sheds light on the development of an electronic system in the CIS that may result in a ban from one country automatically spreading to several other CIS member states.
On November 12 Uzbek president Islam Karimov addressed the joint session of the Legislative Chamber and Senate of the Oliy Majlis (Parliament) with a so called “Concept of further deepening of democratic reforms and establishment of civil society”. Section 4 of this Concept named “Establishment and development of the institutes of civil society” focuses on the current stage of the civil society in Uzbekistan and its perspectives.1