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

Statement No.13 “On the execution of the death sentences in the Republic of Belarus”

Дата публикации: 

Acting on behalf of the Committee on International Control over the Situation with Human Rights in Belarus (CIC), which brings together representatives of human rights organizations from the OSCE countries, as well as international civil society networks and organizations;
monitoring the overall situation with the observance of fundamental human rights in the Republic of Belarus;
emphasizing that human rights are subject of direct and legitimate concern of international civil society;
urging the Belarusian authorities to follow the undertaken international obligations on human rights, in particular, to guarantee the right to life,

the International Observation Mission:
1. Expresses condolences to the families and friends of Vladislav Kovalev and Dmitry Konovalov, due to the fact that on March 17, 2012 it became known that death sentences have been executed in relation to them.

2. Once again expresses its strong sympathy with the families and friends of the victims of the terrorist attack in the Minsk subway on April 11, 2011, and believes that the perpetrators of the act should be punished in accordance with the national legislation and international law.

3. Regrets, though, that the President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko did not use his statutory right to the grant clemency petition by Vladislav Kovalev, despite a strong public concern and numerous calls from intergovernmental organizations.

4. Recalls that in the Republic of Belarus death sentences are passed by the Supreme Court and there is no mechanism for court appeal against them, which is contradictory to paragraph 6 of the Safeguards guaranteeing protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty, adopted by the UN ECOSOC ("Anyone sentenced to death shall have the right to appeal to a court of higher jurisdiction, and steps should be taken to ensure that such appeals shall become mandatory").

5. Stresses that the execution of this death sentence became another violation of the international obligations undertaken by the Republic of Belarus in the field of human rights and the rule of law, as far as the execution of punishment for the persons sentenced to the death penalty, who appealed against the violation of their rights to the UN Human Rights Committee, should be suspended for the period of consideration of the appeal. This requirement has been violated in the case of Vladislav Kovalev, as well as in several other recent cases (inter alia, in the cases of Oleg Grishkovtsov and Andrey Burdyko in 2011).

In relation to the above, the International Observation Mission calls upon:
- the authorities of the Republic of Belarus to immediately impose moratorium on execution of the death sentences as a first step towards the complete abolition of the death penalty as inhumane and ineffective punishment, which has already been done by an overwhelming majority of the OSCE Participating States and have been repeatedly recommended to the Republic of Belarus by intergovernmental organizations, in particular by the UN Human Rights Council within the process of the Universal Periodic Review (2010), in the recommendations of the OSCE Moscow Mechanism report (2011) and in the Concluding Observations of the UN Committee against Torture (2011);
- the OSCE Participating States to make every possible effort to promote complete and final abolition of the death penalty throughout the OSCE area, including the Republic of Belarus, in accordance with the provisions of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Resolution “On a moratorium on the death penalty and towards its abolition” (Vilnius, June 19 – July 3, 2009);
- the authorities of the United States of America to demonstrate the political will to abolish the capital punishment at the level of federal legislation, thereby contributing to the achievement of the goal of final abolition of the death penalty throughout the OSCE area and giving a positive example to the authorities of the Republic of Belarus;
- national and international non-governmental organizations from the OSCE area to launch a broad international advocacy campaign for the complete and final abolition of the death penalty in our countries.

March 19th, 2012