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

Resolution Concerning Civil Society in Belarus


1. The Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe:

- recalling its declaration concerning the situation in Belarus following the Presidential elections on 19 December [CONF/SC(2010)DEC1]
- condemning the use of brutal police force against the demonstration of 19 December 2010 and continued repressive measures by state bodies against civil society, independent media and political opponents;
- strongly deploring that opposition activists, journalists and civil society representatives are still in custody, many of them being active partners of the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe, facing charges that could lead to prison sentences up to 15 years, and that efforts continue to intimidate their lawyers;
- reaffirming its commitment to co-operating with and assisting independent civil society organisations and media in Belarus that are also inspired by Council of Europe fundamental values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law;
- welcoming the support of the Council of Europe to ensure regular participation of civil society representatives from Belarus in the sessions of the Conference of INGOs and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe;
2. The Conference of INGOs:
- calls on the authorities in Belarus to release immediately all persons detained during and after the last presidential elections, and to ensure unhindered access for the detainees to medical care, legal assistance and their relatives;
- supports international civil society initiatives by human rights defenders such as the “International Observation Mission” formed by the “Committee on International Control over the Human Rights Situation in Belarus” and stands ready to co-operate with all such initiatives;
- calls on the nearly 400 INGOs with participatory status, their national members, partner organisations, individual members and European citizens to voice their solidarity in support of the arrested civil society activists, journalists and members of the democratic opposition and the demand for their immediate release;
- draws the attention of the Council of Europe to the situation in which the Belarusian Helsinki Committee has been placed, having received a warning by the Ministry of Justice; and requests relevant Council of Europe bodies to bear this situation in mind when examining their relations with Belarus notably given that one more warning by the Ministry of Justice would suffice to shut down the Belarusian Helsinki Committee;
- expresses its full readiness to continue to play its institutional part in Council of Europe policies and programmes established to assist Belarus in attaining European standards of democracy, human rights and the rule of law, such that Belarus can in due course be accepted as a member state; these programmes should in the immediate assure the renewal of the regular meetings of the Council of Europe civil society communication platforms for Belarus which enable interaction between INGOs and civil society organisations of Belarus, in particular those working in the fields of human rights, advocacy, media, education, youth and women’s organisations;
- requests its President to initiate by June 2011 proposals for enhanced support for civil society, independent media, human rights defenders, educational institutions, youth and women`s organisations in Belarus, such proposals to be presented to the Committee of Ministers, the Parliamentary Assembly, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities and the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.