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“Harassment and obstruction by state agents of the professional work of independent defence lawyers working on high-profile cases in Armenia should immediately come to an end", said Lene Wetteland, senior advisor at the Norwegian Helsinki Committee. “Together with other members of the Civic Solidarity Platform (CSP) we call on Armenian authorities to put an end to a worrying pattern of abuse and ensure that all lawyers can carry out their work without hindrance.”
The creation of a permanent international criminal court (ICC), which seeks to punish individuals most responsible for the gravest international crimes, such as genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes has been a significant development for the protection of human rights and an important achievement for the international community. July 17 marks the adoption of the Rome Statute – the founding treaty of the ICC – and is therefore commemorated as an International Justice Day worldwide. On this occasion, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee and a group of Georgian human rights organisations issued a letter to the ICC regarding its ongoing investigations in Georgia. The letter recommends strengthened ICC presence and outreach in the country.
Together with Civil Rights Defenders, Sweden, and Freedom Now, USA, NHC has written a letter to the UN Secretary-General António Guterres ahead of his visit to Tajikistan, reminding him of the grave human rights situation and the negative development in the country. Since 2014, the Tajik government has undertaken a widespread crackdown to dismantle and discredit the country’s peaceful political opposition.
NHCs Gunnar Ekeløve-Slydal was part of an international delegation of trial monitors to Şırnak, Turkey. This report sets out the joint findings of two observation missions in the trial of Dr. Serdar Küni. An international delegation of trial monitors, composed of legal and medical health experts, observed the first hearing against Dr. Küni before the 2nd Heavy Penal Court on 13 March 2017 and the second hearing before the same court on 24 April 2017. The report reflects the observations of the international delegation of trial monitors and identifies several issues of concern in relation to the prosecution and fairness of the trial of Dr. Küni.
On June 13 the Norwegian Helsinki Committee and Human Rights Watch sent letters to the president and foreign councillor of Switzerland and the president of Finland, urging them to raise human rights issues during their official visits Kazakhstan this summer. June 10 marked the official opening of the Expo 2017 in Astana. The expo, dedicated to energy of the future, is the first world exposition to be held in Central Asia, and is estimated to have cost between $3 and $5 billion. According to local news, at least 17 heads of state will visit the expo before it closes at September 10.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee joins protests in reaction to credible reports of the arrest, torture, and conviction following unfair trials, and imprisonment under inhumane conditions of 18 men in Turkmenistan. The sentences, from 12 to 25 years, were handed down in a closed, two-hour trial, and set out in a summary of the verdict that lacks any information about the specific acts the men are accused of committing or the evidence against them.
Civil society for dialogue in Ukraine:
NHCs Enver Djuliman participated in the round-table discussion "Russian-Ukrainian dialogue: capabilities of civil society", organised by the Civic Union Educational Human Rights House in Chernihiv in partnership with a wide group of NGOs. The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) and the Norwegian Helsinki Committee supported the discussion financially.
Human Rights Education:
Journalists in North West Russia and Norwegian journalists across the border experience some of the same challenges in their daily work. The Norwegian Helsinki Committee and the journalist association Barents Press are pleased that we are able to continue our cooperation and organise sessions where Norwegian and Russian journalists meet to exchange experiences and discuss human rights in journalism.
Policy Paper 2/2015:
A new policy paper from the Norwegian Helsinki Committee presented today argues that Norway and other democratic countries should establish mechanisms to freeze the assets of persons who commit gross violations of human rights with impunity and prohibit their entry into the country – the victims of these violations being human rights defenders or whistle-blowers.