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

Member of the Presidential Council announced persona non grata in Belarus



On August 27 at the intersection of Belarusian-Lithuanian border, the Belarusian border guards said to Yuri Dzhibladze, a member of the Russian Presidential Council on Civil Society and Human Rights, the President of the Center for Democracy and Human Rights, that he "was denied entry to Belarus".

The staff of the State Border Committee of Belarus informed the human rights defender on the ban of entry, providing no written rulings. They also did not place any stamp in his passport.  The incident occurred at the Border Crossing Point "Gudaguy." The human rights defender was heading to Vilnius on the coordination meeting of representatives of the Committee of International Control over the Human Rights Situation in Belarus. The day before, in Minsk, Yuri held meetings with the representatives of Belarusian civil society. Dzhibldaze takes an active part in the Committee of International Control on several areas.

The train with Dzhibladze was delayed at the border for half an hour. The border guards told their superiors on the radio that there is an “orientation” on the passenger, and then they took Dzhibladze’s passport into the building of the Border Crossing Point and told him "Let’s deal with you". Russian human rights defender was questioned in detail when and where he came to Belarus; the border guards also conducted a thorough re-examination of his personal belongings. "They were noticeably nervous," - said Yuri Dzhibladze. "Probably, I should not have been allowed into the country at all; and when they discovered that I entered in Belarus from Russia and stayed easily in Minsk for two days, the guards were frightened to get a scolding from the bosses". Not finding any "compromising", the border guards announced that Dzhibladze was in the "black list". They refused to inform him when this decision was made and for how long.

Previously, on May 4, 2011 Yuri Dzhibladze was detained in Minsk by law enforcement officers. He was to speak at a press conference at the Human Rights Centre "Viasna" with the presentation of the report of the Committee of the International Control on the legal analysis of the events of December, 19. Back then, after a stay at the police station, russian human rights defender was released; although some of his colleagues from Russia and Ukraine, who were detained with him, received a notice to leave the country within 24 hours and a ban on entry for two years. It is likely that the ban on entry in Belarus of the member of the Russian Presidential Council was taken back then, but, for political reasons, it was not made public.

"For me, it is clear that the ban on entry is directly related to my legal professional human rights activities. I understand that the state reserves the right not to let people into their territory for safety reasons. But this mechanism is totally non-transparent in Belarus. It is unclear who makes decisions and how to dispute them, which runs counter to the standards of international law. Taken into account that there is no passport control between Russia and Belarus, those Russian citizens, who are included in the “black lists”, but do not know about it, actually fall under the sanctions of the Criminal Code in case of entering the country. All in all, Belarus has obligations under the UN and the OSCE to promote and protect activities of human rights defenders, and therefore, prohibiting them entry to Belarus - is a direct violation of international norms and the height of cynicism", - commented Yuri Dzhibladze.

Since the beginning of 2011 the Russian Presidential Council for Civil Society Development and Human Rights has repeatedly expressed its concern over the human rights situation in Belarus, particularly, in February - in a statement on human rights violations in Belarus after the presidential elections; in March - in connection with repeated cases of expulsion of russian human rights and civil society activists, who were engaged in human rights activities in the Republic of Belarus. Early August, the Chairman of the Board Mikhail Fedotov said that the problem of "black lists" in Belarus will be one of the priority themes of the joint liaison Committee for the development of civil society in Russia and Belarus, which also includes Yuri Dzhibladze.

Beginning in March 2011, 10 more people - citizens of Russia and Ukraine, engaged in the work of the Committee (including the head of its International Monitoring Mission, Development Director of the Moscow Helsinki Group Andrey Yurov) were expelled from Belarus or not admitted to enter, getting the ban on entry into Belarus for several years. Almost all inquiries to the Foreign Ministry of Belarus on this question remained unanswered from the Belarusian side.

"The authorities of Belarus have crossed all limits on the issues of bans on entry. Obviously, they see a threat in international monitoring of human rights situation in their country. For the Russian authorities, it should be clear that it is no longer a question of good-neighborly relations, because Belarusian authorities prohibit entry to the country to a member of the Presidential Council of the Russian Federation. The situation itself is absurd, since Russia and Belarus formally belong to the so-called Union State. It follows from this that both de jure and de facto there is no border between Belarus and Russia, there is only an imaginary line on the map ", - said Andrey Yurov.

On his return to Moscow, Yuri Dzhibladze said that he would make a formal inquiry to the Republic of Belarus with the request to provide information about the reasons for a ban on entry and appeal of this decision. He also expects an appropriate response from the Russian Foreign Ministry.