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

IV Regional NGO Congress of the Council of Europe was held in Vilnius

Дата публикации: 

On 10-12 of June IV Regional NGO Congress of the Council of Europe was held in Vilnius. 150 participants arrived from Ukraine, Belarus, Russia and also from Poland, Lithuania, South Caucasus countries to take part in the Congress. It was first event of that kind after the Congress in Penza (more info about the Congress organization and civil activities around it is available here
Before the Congress started additional discussion about the consequences of Georgian-Russian conflict and possible actions of civil organizations for the peace-making (reconciliation) and post-conflict work was organized. The Congress was hosted on the site of Lithuanian Sejm and was opened with the speeches of its members, representatives of the International NGOs Conference of the Council of Europe as well as with the speech of the main organizer – president of the Foundation for civil rights protection Stasis Kausinis.
The Youth Human Rights Movement has played active role in preparation and holding this Congress: Andrey Yurov, honorary president of YHRM, became a member of Preparative Committee, over 15 YHRM correspondents, participants and honorary members participated in the Congress.
The work of the Congress was organized in 9 thematically divided groups, covering among others decision-making groups for international level work, groups for protection of civil activists, for NGO legislation, for regional cooperation, etc. The outcome of the groups work was set of recommendations addressed to different bodies of the Council of Europe. Ukrainian delegation also initiated a resolution, outlining the radical worsening of human rights situation and democracy standards in Ukraine.
However those suggestions for improving along with the results of other groups discussions were excluded from the final version of resolution, developed by representatives of Secretariat of the INGO Conference. For that matter participants of the Congress refused to adopt the resolution in this version proposed by organizers. The wrap-up discussion brought in diversified views on the situation with fundamental rights in the region and ended with disagreement on which questions should be considered firstly. The participants expressed their confusion from the continuance of “Penza syndrome”: non-transparency in preparation of the Congress events and reluctance of the representatives of the INGO Conference to take into account questions raised by participants of discussion.
Those discussion are particularly important in the context of the reform of the Council of Europe (check, in which the role of NGOs and participation model of civic society institutions in organization work need to be defined. Topic text by Andrey Yurov was distributed at the Congress, emphasizing the decline of the Council of Europe and suggesting as the only way to save it - to take the responsibility for its future and for its role and influence definition.
Regional platforms are of great importance for civil organizations cooperation, for development and promotion of common suggestions and recommendations (“civil platforms”) on topics of civic society (freedom of meetings, associations, freedom of expression, human rights activists protection, regional activists protection). The shape of these platforms and correspondence of the future Congresses held under umbrella of the Council of Europe with those objectives will depend on the civil organizations from Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Poland. It is not by chance that one of the repeated suggestions of the participants was to create a coordination section from NGO of the region that will act in intervals between the regional congresses.

Dmitri Makarov,
Anna Dobrovolskaya
YHRM International Service