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Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority It is time to sit back and reflect.
In January 2020 the Coordination Council of the International Youth Human Rights Movement made a decision to close the Network, triggering a discussion about that decision among YHRM participants.
In the 20 years of its existence the YHRM Network has introduced tens and hundreds of young people in Eurasia to human rights movement, and a number of YHRM participants in Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine continue human rights work in their countries’ leading organisations. Despite the fact that some of the projects and initiatives launched by the YHRM kept running and some of its participants continued their human rights and civil work in the past few years, the Network itself ceased to exist as an actually functioning community. It became obvious that the Network’s participants had to move on and the Youth Human Rights Movement had to make room for new initiatives and groups.
The discussion about the Network’s closure among its participants coincided with the making of allegations against Andrey Yurov, one of the founders of the Network and its Honorary President until 2019, whose actions towards his colleagues and seminar attendees crossed the boundaries of professional and human ethics. Andrey Yurov had neither actually nor nominally been a part of the Network’s management and activities for several years, but we are truly sorry that his actions might also have taken place within the Network’s space. We are deeply shocked by the information which is being revealed and genuinely sympathise and empathise with those who have been affected by those actions.
It is becoming obvious that the Network’s closure without any response to current events would be impossible. This situation is currently being discussed among YHRM participants. The co-chairs of the YHRM Coordination Council suggest creating an independent contact group of professionals who are not involved in the situation to allow for submitting information about any relationships within the Network that resulted in trauma and find ways to help those who went through such relationships. It also appears important to discuss the standards and principles that could help to avoid similar situations in different groups and communities working in human rights and/or civic engagement. We would be truly grateful for any advice or help in this matter.
It grieves and pains us that the Network’s story has to end on such a sad note, but we want to believe that those hundreds, or even thousands, of activists from different countries who have worked in or collaborated with the YHRM over the years will also remember the bright and happy pages of its history associated with our shared successes, solidarity, and mutual support.
Today, we pulish the speech he delivered during the ceremony a year ago at the Hague.
The Netherlands Helsinki Committee Award Speech
The Hague, November, 19th, 2015
The first thing we need is solidarity of all the people defending our civilization by promoting values of humanity.
The second thing we need is solidarity of all the governmental and nongovernmental institutions of the OSCE region in strengthening joint standards and mechanisms of Human Rights defense.
The third thing we need is solidarity of civil societies, their mutual help and support.
Thousands of people around the world joined the International Day of Solidarity with Belarus civil society. Human rights defenders, civil activists, politicians, artists and ordinary citizens from 15 countries of the world took part in actions of solidarity on 4 August.
Чалавек можа ўсё. Межаў яго сіле няма, калі наперадзе агонь надзеі.
Гэта вельмі добра ведаюць гуманісты, фанатыкі і закаханыя.
A human being is capable of anything.
There are no limits to his force, if led by the light of hope.
This is very well-known to humanists, fanatics and lovers.
Uladzimir Karatkevich, Belarusian writer
On 22 May 2013, the charitable foundation "International Project - Youth Human Rights Movement" (YHRM), whose office is located in Voronezh Human Rights House, received a letter from the Department of Property and Estate Relations of Voronezh City Administration that breaks their lease and enjoins YHRM to leave the premises. A similar letter was received on 17 May 2013 by the Confederation of Free Labour, an interregional trade union, whose offices are also located in Voronezh Human Rights House.
On 19th of December 2012, following the searches of the flats occupied by Voronezh-based activists, police officers entered the offices at Human Rights House Voronezh. They seized computer equipment, documents, disconnected telephones and shut off the electricity supply...
Few days ago the action “Crystal night - never again!” was finished. The action is organized every year in many countries from 9th to 11th of November and coincide with the International Day against racism and intolerance - 9th of November. In that day in 1938 pogroms of Jews in Germany started being called “The crystal night” and this way originated Holocaust.
On 18-21 of October Youth Human Rights Movement (YHRM) and UNITED for Intercultural Action organized in Moscow an international conference titled “Reflection on the past. Work at present. Dreams about the future: Developing ideas of Human Rights, humanitarian and antiracist initiatives”. A conference was part of the project “Civil organizations serving society: youth actions against racism, nationalism and xenophobia and for Human Rights and inter-cultural dialogue” supported in the framework of the MATRA program run by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. During the conference there were also separated events carried with help of participants of “The coalition for defending fundamental freedoms in Euroasia”.
During this week participants from Russia, Belarus, Macedonia and Ukraine got acquainted with formal and non-formal educational structures for intercultural learning, civil society initiatives and met with Dutch activists and officials to discuss and exchange good practice in anti-discrimination youth work.
On the 12th of October took place meeting of experts titled “Perspectives of anti-discriminatory politics development in Russia”. The event was organized by international Youth Human Rights Movement and United for Intercultural Action in the framework of common 3 years lasting project “Civil organisations serving society: youth actions against racism, nationalism and xenophobia and for Human Rights and inter-cultural dialogue”.
The imprisoned leader of the Human Rights Center “Viasna” Ales Bialiatski is likely to mark his birthday in prison – on September 25 he will be 50. The Human Rights Center “Viasna” suggests that everyone concerned join the birthday week actions.
During 3 days all participants together with Olga Skripnik from Center of Civil Education “Almienda” (Yalta, Ukraine) and members of Youth Human Rights Movement learnt how to assimilate media-texts by methods of organization of cinema clubs and conducting discussions after cinema shows.
International action “Stop racism” was organized in the scope of European-wide Action Week Against Racism by network United for Intercultural Action. The action is connected to International Day for the elimination of racial discrimination (21st of March).
On 4th of April representatives of NGOs and St. Petersburg authorities met at the round table. The event titled “Regional politics in the area of preventing xenophobia and hatred among youth: experience and perspectives” was organized in order to analyze, already well-established outside the city program “Tolerance”.