NHC met partners and took part in training
Norwegian Helsinki Committee Deputy Secretary General, Gunnar M. Ekeløve-Slydal and Advisor, Inna Sangadzhiyeva visited Russia from September 5 to September 9, 2011.
NHC was invited by partners in St. Petersburg, Citizen Watch and HRC Memorial to take part in a training seminar for representatives of Public Observation Commissions from regions in North West Russia. These commissions are mandated to conduct prison observations and recommend measures to strengthen compliance with Russia’s human rights commitments in the penitentiary system.
The NHC representatives also visited Moscow, where they met with Georgy Kunadze, Assistant Human Rights Commissioner in the Russian Federation, discussing possibilities for cooperation between the Office of the Commissioner and NHC.
NHC met with several of its project partners to discuss current challenges and human rights issues in the Russian Federation, including with Liudmila Alexeeva, Head of Moscow Helsinki Group; Svetlana Gannushkina, Head of Civic Assistance Committee; Oleg Orlov, Head of HRC Memorial and Tatiana Kasatkina, Director of HRC Memorial; Alexander Verkhovsky, Head of Analytical Bureau on nationalism and extremism in Russia “Sova”; Boris Timoshenko, editor of Glasnost Defence Foundation; and Naum Nim, editor of a magazine on prison conditions and reforms, “Nevolya”.
As a preparation for the 4 December 2011Parliament elections in Russia, NHC met with the director of the non-profit organization “In Defence of Voters’ Rights GOLOS”, Lillia Shibanova. During the meeting, the challenges related to the elections and possibilities of cooperation on election observations have been discussed.
The 8-9 September training seminar in St. Petersburg included members of Public Observation Commissions from Murmansk, Arkhangelsk and Karelen regions, gave the participants a forum to discuss and compare the penitentiary systems in Russia, Norway, and Germany. In addition to the NHC representatives, a German prison expert, Wolfgang Gottschalk, Representative of Baltic Sea International Campus (BSIC GmbH) took part. The seminar was supported financially by the German Consulate in St. Petersburg.
Participants at the seminar visited Detention Centre number five in St. Petersburg.