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

Appeal on detention conditions and health status of political prisoners in Belarus


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


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