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Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority It is time to sit back and reflect.
- Today Alexander Esenin-Volpin is 86 years old. He lives in the Boston (USA), where he went in 1971 because of the conflict with the Soviet authorities.
Alexander Esenin-Volpin is a son of the poet S.Esenin and poet and translator N.Volpin.
After the arrest of writers Y.Daniel and A.Sinyavsky in September 1965 he, E.Stroeva and V. Nikolsky made the text of "Civil appeal" with an request to gather on 5 of December, 1965, at Pushkin Square in Moscow for the "meeting of publicity". Since this meeting, it's considered, the history of the human rights movement in the USSR has been starting.
At the end of 1967 - the beginning of 1968 he became one of the organizers of the petition campaigns concerning the "process of four, he consistently argued against violations of the law permitted in the course of criminal and mental harassment of dissidents, signed dozens of human rights documents
In November 1970 Alexander became an expert of the Committee of Human Rights in the USSR, and a half and a year actively participated in the work of the Committee, wrote a few reports (on the right to protection, on the rights of mentally ill patients, on the International Covenants on Human Rights).
- Youth Human Rights Movement has joined the congratulations: "Many of us know and appreciate you and your contribution to the establishment and development of the human rights movement in the USSR. Your poem. Your ideas and thoughts. Once we have set a goal: educating a new generation of human rights defenders. And all 10 years of the YHRM project in our activity (education and training, as well as direct advocacy) we try to follow the ideas and values, which once we have heard from your friends and colleagues - members of the Moscow Helsinki group, writers and public figures who have identified for themselves and other people the border of state interference in private lives of citizens.
Now we understand that we shouldn't use singular in our goal, that the whole world need not one, but new and new generations of people, for whom human rights and freedom, human dignity are values and an indispensable component of life of any society.
- That is why today we want to say THANK YOU - for your courage to be different and your honesty and openness in expressing your positions and views; for the fact that we have the answer for the questions of teenagers about who may be an example of an open, intelligent and non-violent resistance to pressure from the authorities”.
- In April we were asked by the guys from the student union “Priama dija” (“Direct Action”) (direct-action.org.ua) (Kyiv, Ukraine). As a result of joint efforts of many people, including representatives of the YHRM, ie you and us, the first success of the campaign in support of the union was achieved. Below you'll find a letter from the "Direct action" in which they talk about the present situation, and tell thanks everyone who supported them.
International Network on Students' Rights
- Letter from the student union "Direct action"
As it became known, our campaign has already achieved its first results. Special services of Ukraine have decided not to engage in further development of the conflict concerning the repression against the student union and retreated.
The day before the action, we received a promise from the representative of the SBU that no reprisals against the union and its individual members, their relatives or friends from the side of special services or their agents will not be.
- It also became known that the SBU has opened a hotline for complaints about its employees.
We understand that all this wouldn't have happened if we were alone. This international solidarity has given such a result. Without you, comrades, we would have lost.
In addition, your solidarity, participation and attention to this problem did not let us lose heart.
Our campaign does not end there. Adminitsration of the Taras Shevchenko University, it seems, is not going to hear no other language except the language of force. So much the worse for them. Now we are confident of their victory and will not give up.
- We, the student of the union "Direct action", express our deep gratitude for your solidarity. You, in turn, could always count on our fraternal hand.
"When we stand united - we are not to defeat!"
Yours fraternally, the student union "Direct action"
On May 11, 2010 attorney Marina Dubrovina, received a reply from the Krasnodar krai prosecutor's office, which stated that the criminal case against Anastasia Denisova had been closed on April 19, 2010 because of the absence of the elements of a crime. Earlier Youth Human Rights Movement had also got a response to its appeal, which as well declared the action withdrawn. When journalists obtained the information, the head of the press-center of a municipal police Ilya Shakalov confirmed it.
Without exaggeration this can be called our common victory! :)
Only several months ago some of us were sure that Anastasia's situation is fraught with a real imprisonment; only several weeks ago nobody believed that the case, handed over to the court could ever be returned to the prosecutor; only several days ago we considered that chances were slim that the case would be closed, and now we are ready to demand apology and compensation for moral damage. We think it is a huge difference!
It is especially important to us that we helped the person, dear to us, the participant of Youth Human Rights Movement, member of its Coordinating Council. That means that we are able to be there for a friend in a plight. We would like to say Thank you to all those people, who were actively involved in the solidarity campaign with Stasya, to those, who forwarded appeals, assisted in compiling documents, sent letters of support, posted information in blogs and mass media or attracted attention to the case by different means and demanded to stop criminal persecution. This victory would not be possible without your vigorous participation and support!
We express our gratitude to Anastasia's lawyers – Marina Dubrovina and Ramil Akhmetgaliev and to Association “AGORA”, which was responsible for the legal side of the case and defended Anastasia in court.
By officially closing the case due to the absence of the body of a crime, the law enforcement agencies have acknowledged what we stood upon from the very beginning: criminal proceedings were unlawful. But we do not think we should stop at this moment and we plan to do the following.
Firstly, we consider important to receive official apology in writing, as well as documents about the dismissed obligation not to leave the territory, the statement about the criminal case closure, as it is provided by law. Anastasia says: “It is weird to get to know that the criminal case against you was closed from the organization in Voronezh and from my lawyer. I have not been personally informed either about the initiation or about the closure of the case. It is hard for me to realize that such a mechanism has been broken at last. Anyway I would like to express my sheer gratitude to all YHRMers, their friends and partners, who supported me!”
Secondly, we will keep clarifying the position of Microsoft Corporation and its representatives in Krasnodar. In our opinion such activities from its behalf, harm its image. Microsoft policy in terms of its representatives gives room for such politically-motivated cases and persecution of activists, human rights defenders, journalists.
We would like this scheme to be stopped or hard to use. That is why we will need your support and ideas: when our complaints about the unlawfulness of the written obligation not to distribute the information of the case are going to be looked into; when we going to further investigate the role of rights holder representatives and doubtful expert institutions.
Hopefully you will support our efforts. Our mutual assistance is vital and, as in an example of the solidarity campaign with Anastasia Denisova shows, is capable of real changes! If you are ready to assist in other cases when human rights defenders are being persecuted, join our network of human rights defenders protection! firstname.lastname@example.org
We again would like to say how much we appreciate the efforts of all those who supported Anastasia Denisova! All together we were able to win!
Human rights defenders protection team
Dmitry MakarovSergey Sabanov
On April 15 “Transparency international – Russia” and Human Rights Center “Memorial” received an official reply from Corporation “Microsoft-Russia” to their common appeal, where NGOs expressed their concern about involvement of the company in non-transparent schemes and in notorious criminal cases against civil activists and human rights defenders. Although the appeal was sent to the headquarters in the USA, the reply came form the legal affairs department of Microsoft-Russia.
Alexandr Strakh, intellectual property attorney of Microsoft-Russia, underlines that all actions of the Microsoft representatives are strictly regulated by the company and that is why Microsoft involvement in corruption schemes is out of the question. It is possible that these are some fraudsters who claim to represent Microsoft without having any authority to do so. In terms of corporation stance on politically motivated criminal cases against independent mass media and non-profit organizations, Alexandr Strakh points out that cases of “Novaya Gazeta” and Baikal Ecological Wave were initiated, investigated and brought by Russian authorities without any prior knowledge of Microsoft. Microsoft attorneys participate in the cases mainly to assist in the evidence evaluation and the calculation of any damages.
In this reply there are no comments about criminal charges against Anastasia Denisova, the head of non-profit organization “ETHnICS”, which was mentioned in the appeal along with “Novaya Gazeta” and Baikal Ecological Wave cases.
At the same time Ivan Ninenko, the Deputy Director of Transparency international – Russia, informed us about his recent official meeting with Microsoft-Russia, devoted to anti-corruption actions against representatives of Microsoft in the regions of Russia. At this meeting Alexandr Strakh stated that in Anastasia Denisova's case Microsoft is going to limit its role to evaluation of evidence and the damage calculation. He discounted any possibility of bringing a civil action against Anastasia as Mr. Ivut stated in the written record of his questioning as a solid intention. At the same time a pack of documents about involvement of the representative into the initiation of the case and the accuracy of software cost estimation was handed over to the attorney. Mr. Strakh promised to look into the case.
In this way, it is still unknown, what other actions of corporation representative in the South of Russia contradict with the Microsoft-Russia authorities' position in the criminal case against non-profit organization “ETHnICS”
- Text of the open appeal of “Transparency international – Russia” and Human Rights Center “Memorial”: page 1, page 2.
- Is Microsoft able to control its representatives? the response from Microsoft Corporation to the appeal of Lyudmila Alexeyeva, the head of Moscow Helsinki Group
More information about Camaign in support of Anastasia Denisova at the web-site: www.denisova.yhrm.org
15-16 April in Vienna (Austria) the 3rd Fundamental Rights Platform annual meeting took place.
As we already reported, in February this year YHRM-Berlin officially joined the NGO Platform of the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA). This meeting was the first event of the Platform to be attended by representative of the YHRM-Berlin.
The meeting brought together about 150 representatives of civil society organisations from across the European Union. The main issue for discussion was the human rights dimension of poverty and social exclusion, the theme of the 2010’s European Year. Participants were also invited to put forward ideas for the Agency’s 2012 Work Programme and discuss the Treaty of Lisbon and its implications for the protection of fundamental rights in the EU.
The purpose of the regular meetings of the Platform, consisting of various European NGOs (human rights, religious associations, trade unions, etc.), is establishing dialogue with the organisations working directly with people. Fundamental Rights Agency thus serves as a kind of “mediator” in the field between civil society organisations, on the one hand, and the EU political institutions – on the other.
During the meetings non-governmental organisations – members of the Platform have an opportunity to influence the Agency’s Work Programme and to draw its attention at current issues that in their view are crucial, as well as to elect their representatives to the Advisory Panel acting in the intervals between sessions.
“This year special attention was paid to the problems of poverty and children's rights. Nevertheless, from part of the organisations representing Roma and Sinti clear concerns on the rise of the right-wing in Eastern Europe (especially Hungary) were heard. In my group I also called attention to the problem of a concrete youth participation in human rights activism and volunteering and, in particular, to the opportunities to “socialise” certain groups of young people fighting for their rights through human rights education", - says Alexey Gorin, YHRM correspondent who took part in the meeting.
The meeting served to identify possible areas of cooperation of the YHRM with the Agency, including the issues of awareness-raising and human rights education (the Agency plans to conduct in 2010 a number of activities dedicated the 10-th anniversary of the adoption of the EU Charter on Fundamental Rights), as well as human rights monitoring of the EU visa policy and third country nationals treatment on its borders.
YHRM International Service
From March 24 till April 2 at the European Youth Centre (Budapest, Hungary) regular training for trainers in human rights with the participation of young people was held.
"For all those who are involved in human rights education it is good opportunity to get acquainted with one of the largest schools in the space of Europe, to learn about current trends and tendencies and try to evaluate its pros and cons, - states Maria Gordeeva, a member of the Coordinating Council of the International Youth Human Rights Movement, member of the Training, - look when it comes to the serious problems. And for any trainer it's important to go through such training and decide the way it suits his value system coordinates".
The 37th Congress of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) took place in Yerevan from April 6 till April 8. FIDH is the oldest human rights international organization that comprises 164 international human rights organizations on five continents.
The Federation Congresses are traditionally preceded by open international activities. And this year it was the Forum «Justice: new challenges» (The Right to an Effective Remedy before an Independent Tribunal). The Forum and Congress were symbols of paying tribute to Natalia Estemirova, Russian human rights defender, assassinated on July 15, 2009.
The Congress gathered together about 400 participants – both the representatives of Federation members and human rights activists who are not the official members of the Federation but work within the declared topics.
The Forum was designed as the occasion for debates, exchanges of experience and analyses on various themes related to the right to an effective remedy before an independent jurisdiction, at national level as well as accessing regional and international justice systems. A special focus will be given to the new problems and challenges. One of such cases was the situation in the Chechen Republic. The representatives of the Human Rights Center «Memorial» Ms. Ekaterina Sokiryanskaya (HRC “Memorial” / Russia) and Mr. Kirill Koroteev (FIDH Mission delegate / Russia, France) presented a report. It was declared that due to the bad work of national defense mechanisms the people in Chechnya don’t practically have any other defense means as to go to the European Court of Human Rights. But the use of this mechanism takes up to 10-15 years and is (besides a financial compensation) just a means of moral assistance for those who lost their relatives or suffered during the conflict or from any clashes with employees of the law-enforcement agencies or authority officers.
There were discussed different regional human rights protection systems such as the European Court of Human Rights, the Inter-American System of Human Rights Protection, the African regional mechanisms and others.
For several times there was announced such a point of view that the existence of such mechanisms gives hope that people will be able to get an aid in the specific cases. Their actions will lead to improvement and change of the national justice systems. It should be also noted that the Congress was attended by many representatives of Armenian justice system and public organizations. Much attention was given to the situation in Armenia and around it. So, the 37th Congress of the International Federation for Human Rights in the person of its president Ms. Belhassen Souhayr called for political prisoners to be released from prison in Armenia. Also as a mark of respect to memory of the Armenian Genocide victims and for member organizations efforts consolidation in Armenia and Turkey of the Civil Society Institute (CSI, Armenia), Human Rights Association (IHD, Turkey) and Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (HRFT) Congress supported their joint Declaration that was accepted within the scope of the event.
The Congress was visited by Anna Dobrovolskaya in the capacity of a guest, a representative of YHRM (International Human Rights Movement).
The YHRM seeks for ways of wider cooperation with FIDH. At the moment it is considered the possibility of becoming the Federation member. Besides taking part in the plenary sections of the Congress Anna Dobrovolskaya also met Correspondents and Participants of the YHRM in Armenia and discussed the ways of the YHRM Network development in Armenia.
The YHRM information service
Dear friends and colleagues!
We continue to inform you about the situation on Anastasia Denisova case in Krasnodar. Since summer 2009, the newsletter of the YHRM goes on informing on the events in Krasnodar. At the end of 2009, the criminal case was started against Anastasia Denisova.
A number of Human Rights activists and civil activists including participants of the YHRM team for protection of Human Rights activists has linked this pressure to the public activity of Anastasija. The position of the group for solidarity with Anastasia is presented here: http://denisova.yhrm.org/position.
First of all, THANKS to all those who have supported and go on supporting Anastasia Denisova. Thanks to your efforts it was possible to win the next round of the battle!
As a result of the preliminary court hearings of Anastasia Denisova case on March 31, the state prosecutor personally withdrew the case, admitting substantial infringements. The court complied with this request and made a decision to send the case back to the state prosecutors.
And the information on how the preliminary hearings went on you can get at this page: http://denisova.yhrm.org/court1.
Anastasia Denisova continues to describe the events through her blog and Twitter:
But as it frequently happens, this is not a definitive victory in the campaign for solidarity with Anastasia, therefore your further attention to the events in Krasnodar is extremely important.
Currently Anastasia Denisova is still under a recognizance not to leave Krasnodar. Monitoring of the situation of the ethnic minorities in villages has come to the halt, to the mere expectations of the state authorities. On April 13, the case had to be transferred to the office of the state prosecutor of the Western district.
To learn more about how to support Anastasia: http://denisova.yhrm.org/what. Within the next few days there will be the updated texts of appeals to the Krasnodar authorities.
This time the team for solidarity with Anastasia has the following activities directions:
* continuation of the campaign of appeals to the office of the state prosecutor of Krasnodar with the demand for definitive cessation of the criminal prosecution against Anastasia Denisova;
* finding out the position of Microsoft Corporation in connection with Denisova case, and also frequent cases of using this brand in episodes of prosecution of civil activists and Human Rights activists. More details on the role of Microsoft Corporation in this case can be found here: http://denisova.yhrm.org/microsoft. We are to insist that “Microsoft” should reconsider its policy concerning counteraction against counterfeit, since it serves as a pretext to start cases similar to Anastasia Denisova case.
In both cases your participation is very important to us! Thanks for your solidarity and, as it is commonly said, stay in contact! :)
You can learn more on these activities directions from the team of solidarity with Anastasia Denisova: solidarity-Denisova@yhrm.org, and also at the website of the campaign for supporting Denisova: http://denisova.yhrm.org.
Best regards from YHRM,
A two-day seminar of the School for human integrity and education has taken place in Murmansk on April 12-13, 2010.
The seminar was conducted by Andrey Yurov — the well-known Human Rights activist, the expert of the Council of Europe, the Honorary President of the International Youth Human Rights Movement, the Development Director of the Moscow Helsinki Group.
Participants of the seminar have learnt much about the origin and basis of the concept of Human Rights, the methods of actions on the public interests protecting, have examined the new concept of “profound/humanitarian antifascism” introduced by the social philosopher Daniel Goretsky (Ukraine).
Dissemination of knowledge on the value and importance of humanism, humanitarian antifascism, educational and Human Rights activity is the topical problem worldwide. And this seminar is one of the steps on the way to a society where Human Rights will be the major defense for each person.
The seminar was organized by the Public organization “Humanistic Movement of Youth” (Murmansk) and the international Youth Human Rights Movement.
The seminar has taken place within the projects – “The long-term program of counteraction to intolerance and to various forms of discrimination among the Murmansk youth” supported by the “Committee for interaction with public organizations and youth affairs of Murmansk area” and the the project «Civil organisations serving society: youth actions against racism, nationalism and xenophobia and for Human Rights and inter-cultural dialogue», supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the framework of MATRA program.
YHRM information service
Blog community music_action (Music for Social and Civil Action) was selected for the shortlist of finalists of the prestigious international contest of bloggers “The Best of the Blogs”, established by the German media company Deutsche Welle. Winners according to the voting by Internet users will be awarded on April 14.
music_action is a virtual space for meetings and communication of poets, musicians, public intellectuals, academic researchers, members of civil society organisations, social movements, humanitarian initiatives, voluntary associations, youth subcultures and many others. Currently, thanks to common efforts of media activists more than 1,500 music, videos, animated films, advertising and social activism movies in many languages have been collected. Community has become the world's largest media library of this kind (on human rights, peacemaking, eco-activism, anti-fascism, defense of freedom of expression and association, etc.). Video is usually accompanied by a detailed commentary, analysis, activist cases, current information on the civil activity of non-governmental organisation and groups.
Among the community's moderators there are three activists of the International Network – Youth Human Rights Movement: Artem Marchenkov, Sergey Sabanov, Andrey Cheremnykh.
On March 23rd, 2010 in Moscow the EU Delegation to Russia held its annual human rights conference. The theme of this year was formulated as “Human Rights Defender – a profession at risk?”. The work of human rights defenders and their security in Russia and the world was at the focus of the discussion.
On March 26th in Moscow, a press-conference “Xenophobia among young people: from research to counteraction” was held, which summarized the joint work of experts in the field of xenophobia from the Moscow Helsinki Group (MHG), Youth Human Rights Movement (YHRM), as well as a number of partner organizations in the Russian regions.