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

“Vostok Forum”: meeting point – Russian North

Дата публикации: 

The International Academy "Vostok Forum" is a project on political education and a platform for discussion of topical social issues for young people from different countries. For the past 5 years the traditional venue of the Forum has been the region of Murmansk.

This year, 37 activists of various social, human rights and anti-fascist organizations and projects from Russia, Germany and Serbia attended the Academy; among them was Irina Aksenova, member of the YHRM Coordinating Council and other YHRM members such as Konstantin Baranov, Maxim Ivantsov and Alexander Drook.

This year's common subject of the Forum was “Freedom and security in modern society”. The main work was done within three discussion groups on the correlation of concepts of freedom and security, strategies of counteraction to radical discriminatory ideologies and on the critical analysis of discourse and extremism.

A special feature of the “Vostok Forum – 2010” was a new format of work, that was called “co-creativity”, which required both a greater degree of freedom and responsibility for the process and results from each individual member. The program, forms and methods of work were jointly determined by the participants, each of them acted as "expert" and contributed with their experience, skills and knowledge. The result of an intensive seven-day work was a collection of theses, reviews of situations in different countries, the exchange of methods of political education, as well as ideas of new common projects and campaigns.

One of the organizers of the Academy, Natalia Stepakova, commented: “the format of the fifth “Vostok Forum” was completely different. The work of the Academy was based on the principles of self-organization within the three thematic working groups. It was difficult and interesting at the same time: on one hand the participants had to spend much time on the organization of work in groups, on the other hand - the discussion and interaction process were very intense. I think the results of the “Vostok Forum” will be very interesting. In general, the most important goal of the "Vostok" for me is the checking of coordinates, meanings and goals for civic activists. It’s a unique opportunity to look at the European area and to jointly reflect on the problems and modern challenges - because the situation is constantly changing. In my opinion, one of the most important problems is whether we are a united force, or a scattered, exhausted group of activists ?..”.

“The specific results of the thematic groups are, first of all, ideas for new joint projects, such as a guide for activists in counteraction to repressions, the study of the ideas of neo-Nazism as a subculture and the political environment of Russia and Germany, a Europe-wide campaign against Nazis, the International Security Network protecting human rights activists and anti-fascists, etc. Moreover, the participants suggested various topics for future work of the Academy, such as historical memory, or utopia and models of the future” - commented Alexander Drook.

“Vostok Forum" is a partnership project of Russian and German organizations: Murmansk's regional public organization for youth "Humanistic Movement of Youth», linXXnet-Netzwerk Sachsen and the Brandenburg Youth Democratic Forum. From Germany's side “Vostok Forum” is supported by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, from Russian side the Committee of Cooperation with NGOs and the Youth Affairs of the region of Murmansk is contributing.