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

Presidential Council on Human Rights asks Medvedev to Contribute to the Release of Human Rights Activist Ales Bialiatski


On April 28, 2012, at a meeting with the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev in Gorki, members of the Human Rights Council under the President gave him a letter requesting him to use his influence to contribute to the release in Belarus of the human rights activist Ales Bialiatski. The letter was given to Medvedev at the end of the meeting.

See the text of the letter below.
To the President of the Russian Federation
D.A. Medvedev:
Dear Dmitry Anatol'evich,

We ask you to use all your influence in order to contribute to the release from detention of our colleague in Belarus, the human rights activist Alexander (Ales) Viktorovich Bialiatski. Ales Bialiatski is one of the most well-known human rights activists in Belarus, the chairman of the “Viasna” Center and vice-President of the International Federation for Human Rights. We all know very well, and highly value, his work in human rights defense over the last 25 years. Many Russian human rights organizations have worked with the “Viasna” Center which he heads. Ales Bialiatski is a completely unselfish and honest man, entirely devoted to defending human rights both in his own country and throughout the world. Thanks to the work of Ales Bialiatski, many of his fellow countrymen have managed to receive legal assistance and to recover their violated rights.

Ales Bialiatski has been awarded several prizes for his human rights work, including the Swedish Per Anger Prize (2006), the Andrey Sakharov Freedom Award by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee (2006) and the diploma “For Courage and the Struggle for Freedom” (A. Belyatsky was not present at the awards ceremony at the V International Festival of Human Rights Films in Bishkek on October 2, 2011, because he was already under arrest by this time).

On October 3, 2011, A. Bialiatski was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. At the time of his nomination, four previous recipients announced their support of the nomination. Bialiatski's candidature was supported by MPs in 27 countries, the members of the Council of Europe. In April 2012, the Nobel Committee in Oslo again registered Ales Bialiatski as an official candidate for the Peace Prize.

Our friend and colleague Ales Bialiatski was arrested on August 4, 2011, under the pretext of tax evasion. On November 23, 2011, the court in the Pervomaisky District of Minsk pronounced A.V. Bialiatski guilty of tax evasion and sentenced him to four and a half years in a reinforced regime colony and confiscation of property (part 2 article 243 of the Belarusian Criminal Code).

It is absolutely clear that he is being punished for his involvement in the campaign for human rights protection in Belarus. All the resources on which he is accused of tax evasion are intended solely for human rights activities; these funds were not income for Bialiatski.

Some members of the Russian Presidential Council for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights were present as witnesses in Ales Bialiatski's trial in Minsk. They noted that the trial was conducted with a clear bias towards the prosecution, that none of the arguments of the defense was taken into account, and that the defense position was not reflected in any way in the sentence, which is clearly in contradiction to Belarusian legislation. It became clear from a number of documents read out during the trial that the prosecutors bringing the criminal case against Ales Bialiatski were following a direct political order – to cease the work of the human rights center “Viasna”.

Ales Bialiatski has been recognized by “Amnesty International” as a prisoner of conscience. We and our organizations share this view. Now from the colony where Ales Bialiatski is being held, alarming news of a significant deterioration in his health are coming. We ask you, Dmitry Anatolevich, to take all possilbe steps to contribute to the release of Ales Bialiatski.

Respectfully, Members of the Russian Presidential Council for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights:
Liudmila Mikhailovna Alekseeva, Chairman of the Moscow-Helsinki Group
Svetlana Alekseevna Gannushkina, member of the Board of the Human Rights Center “Memorial”, Chairman of the “Civic Assistance” Committee
Georgiy Dzhuansherovich Dzhibladze, President of the Center for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights
Sergey Vladimirovich Krivenko, member of the Board of the International Society “Memorial”
Ida Nikolaevna Kuklina, member of the Coordinating Council of the Union of Committees of Soldiers' Mothers of Russia
Elena Anatol'evna Panfilova, Director of the Center for Anti-Corruption Research and Initiatives “Transparency International - R”
Aleksey Kirillovich Simonov, President of the non-governmental organization “Glasnost Defense Foundation”

Before this letter was handed to the President of the Russian Federation, it was signed by eight more members of the Council. The letter was signed by a total of 15 Council members.

May 3, 2012