| Den norske Helsingforskomité

Council of Europe Committee of Ministers Calls for Eynulla Fatullayev’s Release

Council of Europe Committee of Ministers Calls for Eynulla Fatullayev’s Release

(10/12-2010) Members of the International Partnership Group for Azerbaijan call on the Azerbaijani government to immediately and unconditionally release Fatullayev from prison.

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Serbian activists denounce Serbian boycott of ceremony

(09/12-2010) A large number of Serbian human rights activists have signed a petition in which they strongly disapprove their government’s decision to boycott the ceremony of The Nobel Peace Prize bestowal on Liu Xiaobo.

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Training of prison monitors from Russia

Training of prison monitors from Russia

(14/12-2010) The Norwegian Helsinki Committee held its second training seminar for representatives from the Public Observation Commissions of Archangelsk, Murmansk and the Karelian Republic.

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Revolution, reform or stagnation?

Revolution, reform or stagnation?

(06/12-2010) -On the surface we have been seeing a different kind of Lukashenko the last few months, with less tension, repressions and sense of intimidation, both Tatiana Reviaka and Pavel Sheremet noted during the seminar at the House of Literature.

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A boycott will leave the Serb community stuck in a ghetto

A boycott will leave the Serb community stuck in a ghetto

(06/12-2010) In an open letter signed by 104 of Serbia’s leading intellectuals, the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia appeals to Serbs in Kosovo to vote in the upcoming extraordinary parliamentary elections to be held on 12 December 2010.

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Parallel OSCE Civil Society conference concludes with critique and recommendations

Parallel OSCE Civil Society conference concludes with critique and recommendations

(03/12-2010) In Astana, more than 100 civil society activists from all over the OSCE region have discussed for two days ways to increase the attention on the OSCE human dimension during a parallel conference.

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Ramzan Kadyrov should testify about his alleged involvement in the Israilov case

Ramzan Kadyrov should testify about his alleged involvement in the Israilov case

(02/12-2010) -The Russian government needs to cooperate with Austrian judicial authorities, says Bjørn Engesland of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, on behalf of a coalition of human rights groups monitoring the Israilov-trial in Vienna.

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Persona Non Grata

Persona Non Grata

(26/11-2010) The Norwegian Helsinki Committee's new report Persona Non Grata: The CIS ban system for human rights defenders and journalists, shows that over the past several years, six members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) have developed a common system reminiscent of the Schengen system in Europe, where individuals who are denied entry to one of the six member states automatically are denied entry to the others.

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Åpen høring i Stortinget om papirløse

Åpen høring i Stortinget om papirløse

(26/11-2010) KRF, V og SV inviterer til åpen høring om papirløse immigranter i Stortinget tirsdag 30. november klokken 10.15-14.30.

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Norway must address contradictions in Kazakhstan’s OSCE chairmanship

Norway must address contradictions in Kazakhstan’s OSCE chairmanship

(25/11-2010) Over the following week two significant OSCE events will take place in the capital of Kazakhstan, Astana. The NHC will be represented with Secretary General Bjørn Engesland, Program Coordinator Central Asia Lene Wetteland and Program Manager of the Almaty NHC Representative office Parvina Abduvakhobova.

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Evgeny Zhovtis protest against treatment in penitentiary

Evgeny Zhovtis protest against treatment in penitentiary

(24/11-2010 -The Ill-treatment of Evgeniy Zhovtis in the Ost-Kamenogorsk penitentiary institution must end immediately, says secretary general of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee Bjørn Engesland.

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Imprisoned blogger freed at last

Imprisoned blogger freed at last

(18/11-2010) Today the Baku Appeal Court surprisingly ruled that the blogger Adnan Hajizade, who was sentenced to 2 years of imprisonment was to be conditionally released after serving approximately half of his prison term.

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Editor Eynullah Fattullayev remains imprisoned

Editor Eynullah Fattullayev remains imprisoned

Last week, the Azerbaijani Supreme Court decided that imprisoned opposition editor Eynullah Fattullayev would not be released from prison, despite repeated calls from the Council of Europe and other international organisations.

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Hope of finally holding all perpetrators accountable

Hope of finally holding all perpetrators accountable

(17/11-2010) The International Federation for Human Rights, together with Human Rights Center “Memorial”, People in Need, Norwegian Helsinki Committee, Austrian Helsinki Association for Human Rights and Russian Novaya Gazeta welcome the opening of the trial in Vienna, Austria, of the alleged perpetrators of the murder of Umar Israilov, a Chechen refugee in Austria. This coalition has decided to send an observation mission to Vienna from 16 to 26 November 2010, for the purpose of observing the court hearings.

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Business lawyer Sergey Magnitsky died in Russian detention one year ago today

Business lawyer Sergey Magnitsky died in Russian detention one year ago today

(16/10-2010) One year ago, on November 16, 2009, the Russian lawyer and whistle blower Sergey Magnitsky died in the pre-trial detention centre Matrosskaya Tishina at the age of 37.

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New president elected

New president elected

(15/11-2010) On Saturday, November 13, 2010, Vera Jovanović was elected as the new president of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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The Zhovtis case reaches the UN Human Rights Committee

The Zhovtis case reaches the UN Human Rights Committee

(11/11-2010) A complaint concerning the unfair trial and subsequent degrading treatment of Yevgeniy Zhovtis, one of Kazakhstan’s leading human rights defenders, was filed to the UN Human Rights Committee this week. Zhovtis received the 2010 NHC Sakharov Freedom Award.

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Dealing with war crimes in Serbia

Dealing with war crimes in Serbia

(08/11-2010) - The ICTY legacy must be imposed on Serbia. Serbian elites won't accept the findings of the court on their own, said Sonia Biserko, Chair of the Helsinki Committee for Human rights in Serbia, and this years' winner of the Leo Eitinger Award, at a seminar today arranged by the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights and the Norwegian Helsinki Committee.

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Dealing with war crimes in Serbia

Dealing with war crimes in Serbia

(28/10-2010) State and society in Serbia has yet to face the past. War crimes must be and has been prosecuted before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) as well as before courts in Serbia and in the region. While this is an important goal in itself, it is not sufficient for Serbia to truly face her past and learn the lessons from it. Sonja Biserko, Chair Helsinki of the Committee for Human Rights in Serbia and this years' winner of the Leo Eitinger award will be the main contributor at this seminar co-arranged with the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights.

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Solidaritet med russisk krav om forsamlingsfrihet

Solidaritet med russisk krav om forsamlingsfrihet

(28/10-2010) Norske organisasjoner markerer søndag 31. oktober kl. 16:00 solidaritet ved å samles foran Stortinget og kreve forsamlingsfrihet i Russland. Strategi 31 er en spontan og bred sivil russisk bevegelse som siden 31. juli 2009 har holdt protestmøter for å kreve forsamlingsfrihet i Russland. Hensiktene er å fremme og forsvare retten til å holde fredelige demonstrasjoner. ”31” – er referanse til artikkel 31 i den russiske grunnloven, som slår fast at alle har rett til å samles på fredelig vis for å holde demonstrasjoner og markeringer. Manglende forsamlingsfrihet har blitt et viktig symbol for krav om demokrati og respekt for menneskerettighetene i Russland. Aksjonen er støttet av følgende organisasjoner: Amnesty International Norge, Bellona, Den norske Helsingforskomité, Human Rights House Foundation, Norsk PEN, Anti-rasistisk senter, Norsk Misjon i Øst og Senter for studier av Holocaust og livssynsminoriteter.

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NHC raises concern over European Court decision

NHC raises concern over European Court decision

(28/10-2010) - In general we would caution against complying with extradition requests from the Russian Federation concerning individuals connected to the North Caucasus conflicts, Secretary General Bjørn Engesland warns in a letter addressed to the Minister of Justice of the Republic of Slovakia. In a recent decision, the European Court of Human Rights found the complaints lodged by two Russian nationals of Chechen ethnic origin inadmissible, pointing out that Russia had given diplomatic assurances that the men would not be subject to ill-treatment and would be guaranteed a fair hearing, if returned to Russia.

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European Parliament adopts resolution on the North Caucasus

European Parliament adopts resolution on the North Caucasus

(28/10-2010) The European Parliament adopted on 21 October an important resolution on the human rights situation in the North Caucasus. The Parliament condemns the opening of a criminal investigation against the Russian human rights defender Oleg Orlov, after his remarks indicating the Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrovs responsibility for the death of colleague Natalia Estemirova last year. The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is particularly pleased that the European Parliament takes notice of our initiative to establish the ‘Natalia Estemirova Documentation Center’.

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Stans tvangsretur av tsjetsjenske asylsøkere!

Stans tvangsretur av tsjetsjenske asylsøkere!

(22/10-2010) Den norske Helsingforskomité, Amnesty International Norge og Norsk organisasjon for asylsøkere ber i et brev til Justisminister Knut Storberget om stans i tvangsretur av asylsøkere fra konfliktområdene i Nord-Kaukasus i Russland inntil utlendingsforvaltningen etablerer en praksis som samsvarer med ny landinformasjon. Saksbehandlingen av de såkalte tsjetsjenske sakene har ikke vært forsvarlig. Angrepene mot det tsjetsjenske parlamentet 19. oktober og mot president Ramzan Kadyrovs hjemby i august understreker at situasjonen i Tsjetsjenia er spent. Norsk asylpraksis er basert på et feilaktig bilde av situasjonen i Nord-Kaukasus, og må endres.

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Release Eynullah Fatullayev

Release Eynullah Fatullayev

(22/10-2010) -We call upon your government to fully comply with the European Court of Human Rights’ judgment, including by immediately and unconditionally releasing Mr Fatullayev. We further urge your government to do its utmost to ensure Mr Fatullayev’s health and safety in detention, in accordance with Azerbaijan’s international legal obligations. Eleven international NGOs, including Norwegian Helsinki Committee, today urges the President of Azerbaijan to comply with the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights. On 4 October the Azerbaijani Government's request for a referral to the Grand Chamber was rejected by the Court, and the imprisoned editor is now on a hunger strike. In July, Fatullayev was convicted on new and highly improbable charges, this time for drug possession while in prison.

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Gay Pride 2010 in Serbia attacked with stones and firebombs

Gay Pride 2010 in Serbia attacked with stones and firebombs

The Gay Pride parade in Belgrade was completed Sunday, despite violent attacks and 500 protesters who shouted "Death over gays," and “Serbia, Serbia, Serbia.” More than 1,000 participants walked through the streets of Belgrade, protected by 5,000 police who used tear gas to stop the protesters. Both the march and the planned following party were carried out despite the challenges. Photo: Civil Rights Defenders

During Sunday afternoon, Belgrade city center became a battleground for protesters – mostly ultranationalists and hooligans – and the police. Buildings and shops were set on fire and ruined. The party office of the ruling party Serbian Democratic Party was burnt, and protesters also tried to set fire to a mobile mammography station. About 60 people were injured during the clashes, mostly police officers. More than 100 arrests were made, and according to Serbian TV the violent protesters risk up to six years in prison.

Robert Hårdh, Secretary General of our sister organization in Sweden, Civil Rights Defenders, participated in the parade and was impressed by the authorities' efforts to keep the participants safe from the attacks of the protesters. - In this sense the parade is a great victory to LGBT rights in Serbia and the authorities deserve credit for making this possible, Hårdh told us. - However, I am concerned that the hooligans may take revenge by attacking the LGBT community in the future. The authorities must continue having focus on the security of this group and keep a close eye on the violent gangs.

The LGBT (lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender) population is frequently subject to hate speech and hate crimes in the Balkans, and activists are living in fear of being attacked. There have been several attempts to implement LGBT events in the countries of the former Yugoslavia in recent years, but the resistance is strong both in the political leadership and in the population. In 2001, the first attempt to organize Pride in Belgrade ended with violent assaults on the participants, while the police were simply watching. Pride was also cancelled last year, as the police claimed they could not provide security. In Bosnia Herzegovina an attempt at organizing a LGBT culture festival in the autumn of 2008 was unsuccessful because of violent attacks by hooligans and religious extremists. In Zagreb, Croatia a parade was held in 2008 under widespread protests.

Prior to the event on Sunday, Interior Minister Ivica Dacic stated that the parade would be a test for Serbia's democracy, and that the police would do what they could to protect the participants in the parade. President Boris Tadic has already strongly condemned the violence in the streets in public statements.

The efforts of the Serbian government made it possible to carry out a parade under protection of the police, which represents an obvious and positive change. However, securing this event is not sufficient to prove that Serbia is addressing the situation for the LGBT population. Strengthening the anti-discrimination law so that it provides full and explicit protection to people belonging to sexual minorities is necessary, and the government and police should undertake the necessary measures to protect gay activists, ensure that hate crimes are properly recorded and prosecuted. Action should also be taken to to counter prejudice and educate people about LGBT and their rights.

Til inspirasjon og ettertanke

Til inspirasjon og ettertanke

(15/09-2010) I en fullsatt prøvesal i Det norske teatret mottok Svetlana Vitkovskaja, Rosa Akylbekova og Yurij Gussakov på vegne av prisvinnerne Jevgeny Zhovtis og Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law. Prisutdelingen ble en seremoni til inspirasjon og ettertanke, som viste hvordan enkeltpersoner tar høy risiko ved sitt arbeid for fremme av menneskerettigheter og demokrati i mange av de land Den norske Helsingforskomité arbeider i.

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Medvedev's Russia – moving towards democracy?

Medvedev's Russia – moving towards democracy?

(24/09-2010) With the ascension of Dmitry Medvedev to the Russian presidency, a new kind of political rhetoric entered the Kremlin. Medvedev says he wants to combat legal nihilism, and has pledged reform and modernization. Do the modernization plans offer possibilities for Russian human rights groups, asked Secretary General Bjørn Engesland in the Norwegian Helsinki Committee in his introduction at a public seminar organised by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee on 22 September.

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Behov for regularisering av oppholdet til papirløse

Behov for regularisering av oppholdet til papirløse

(18/10-2010) En rekke organisasjoner lanserte 31. august en bred kampanje for å sette fokus på såkalte papirløses livssituasjon i en aksjon kalt "Ingen mennesker er ulovlige".

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Safety of exiled Turkmen human rights activist under threat

Safety of exiled Turkmen human rights activist under threat

The exiled Turkmen human rights defender Farid Tuhbatullin has received reliable information that an order to remove him quietly has been issued in his home country, Turkmenistan. The Norwegian Helsinki Committee takes this threat seriously and urges in a letter to Austrian authorities that they ensure the safety of Tuhbatullin and his family.

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Gay Pride 2010 in Serbia attacked with stones and firebombs

Gay Pride 2010 in Serbia attacked with stones and firebombs

The Gay Pride parade in Belgrade was completed Sunday, despite violent attacks and 500 protesters who shouted "Death over gays," and “Serbia, Serbia, Serbia.”

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Establishing the Natalia Estemirova Documentation Center in Oslo

Establishing the Natalia Estemirova Documentation Center in Oslo

During a conference on Strengthening Human Rights in Russia organized by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee in cooperation with Amnesty International Norway in Oslo on September 19-22 this year, a resolution on establishing the Natalia Estemirova Documentation Center was adopted by a group of nine leading Russian and international human rights organizations.

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