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

The First anti-racism and anti-discrimination on-the-spot visit to the Netherlands came to an end

Дата публикации: 

From 9 to 13 of November the anti-racism and anti-discrimination exchange, as well as the exchange of alternative social projects, took place in Amsterdam (Netherlands). Initiators of the on-the-spot visit for young Russian activists were European Network against racism UNITED for Intercultural Actions, Youth Human Rights Movement and Youth Network against Racism and Intolerance.

The main goal of the visit was the review of new techniques, tactics and strategies of the anti-fascism and anti-racism work, as well as the comparison of Russian and Dutch experience of civil works. .

During four days the participants of exchange (activists, developing various anti-fascism and anti-racism initiatives in Russia, correspondents and the YHRM members from Murmansk, Rostov-on-Don and Voronezh) got together and communicated with Dutch NGO (Amsterdam anti-discrimination office and Youth center), networks (UNITED), action teams (anti-fascist Alert! magazine), alternative and social spaces (communes in squats) who are occupied with education, victim assistance, support of migrants and minorities and etc. in Amsterdam and all over the country.
The Netherlands has a rich and complicated history in discrimination counteraction, especially during the World War Two Period. This is proved by the exposition of the Museum of Resistance, that shows the history of Dutch people in the 30-50es: how it turned out that thousands of citizens (first of all - Jews and homosexuals) were removed from the country and died in “death camps”, about the choices made by people who wasn’t directly affected by Nazi regime – to assist occupiers, to take refuge in silence or to resist. The Dutch Theatre, where Nazis herded Jews before sending them to “death camps”, reminds about that time, it is the place where the music and human laughter will never be heard again. The memorial “Never again, Auschwitz” also reminds about the time of concentration camps, its broken mirror reflects the contemporary Dutch sky that never will be the same after this experience…

Another witness of gloomy past is the story written by Jewish girl Anne Frank in her diary, hiding for a long time with her family from Nazis, she was betrayed by someone of her acquaintances and her short life closed in concentration camp. But for the founders of Anne Frank House in Amsterdam is not enough just to tell their visitors “the story that happened in this house”, it is important for them to talk also about today’s world. Can we really say that the terrible events of early 40’s in Europe are in the past and will never come back? Researches and educational programs of Anne Frank House are aimed at work with the memory of past events, in order to build the future without killing and repressions based on discrimination of any kind. There are the plans to revive educational work in Russia since this year: to hold exhibitions and screenings.

The Netherlands have also the Present that is very complicated and ambiguous. Like all over the Europe, the nationalist parties are gaining more influence, anti-emigrant slogans are coming not only from leaders and members of far right groups, but also from ordinary people. Detention centers for refugees and migrants thrive, the conditions in these centers don’t correspond the conception of Human Rights and Human Dignity.
But in Netherlands there are people who don’t accept the fact, they are looking for alternatives; squatting in abandoned property intended for demolition; they are building their communes and communities, where people live under other rules and appreciate other values than all over the Europe; they are protesting against repressive laws and measures; joining in initiative groups and extensive networks (such as UNITED or YHRM), in order to defend their ideals, to look for justice jointly and to prove the possibility of another world by everyday actions.

Besides the acquaintance with the experience of local initiatives and organizations, the participants of exchange gave an open lecture in The Hague University on discrimination and xenophobia situation in Russia. Students who study politics, economics and social aspects in modern Europe, showed their interest in the subject, they were asking a lot of questions to speakers, discussing.

The exchange gave a rise to the series of study-visits, planned jointly by the YHRM and UNITED. All follow-up visits, as well as the visits that took place in October, are planned within the bounds of 3-years project “Civic organizations on Society service: youth action - against racism, nationalism, xenophobia and for – human rights and intercultural dialogue”, the project began in November, 2009 supported by the “MATRA” program of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Netherlands.

The info on the opportunity of participation in following exchanges will be provided later by the regular YHRM broadcast, it will be available also on website.

The YHRM Information Service