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The International Criminal Court (ICC) is experiencing difficult times. After criticising the ICC for addressing international crimes only in Africa, three African states recently indicated that they will withdraw from the Court (Burundi, Gambia, and South Africa). However, this criticism is no longer valid. The ICC is stepping up activities outside Africa, including in Europe.
20 November is the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR), dedicated to the memory of trans and gender-diverse persons who have been victims of homicide worldwide.
Regjeringen ønsker ikke at Norge skal knytte seg til individklageordningene i FN for barnets rettigheter, for rettighetene til personer med nedsatt funksjonsevne og for økonomiske, sosiale og kulturelle rettigheter. Helsingforskomitéen og Amnesty beklager dette og mener dette bryter med en hovedlinje i norsk menneskerettighetspolitikk. Under finner du hele høringsinnspillet fra Den norske Helsingforskomité og Amnesty som blir presentert for Stortingets utenriks- og forsvarskomité på morgendagens høring for «Meld. St. 39: Individklageordningene til FNs konvensjoner om økonomiske, sosiale og kulturelle rettigheter, barnets rettigheter og rettighetene til mennesker med nedsatt funksjonsevne (2015-2016)».
Den norske Helsingforskomité reagerer sterkt på at Fritt Ord og Kunst i offentlige rom (KORO) på konferansen Public Calling på Nationaltheatret 1. og 2. november lar Torstein Grude fra Piraya Film, produsenten for Andrei Nekrasovs Film The Magnitsky Act: Behind the Scenes, uimotsagt få komme med uriktige påstander om Helsingforskomitéen. Han fremsetter svært kontroversielle, og etter Helsingforskomitéens mening, feilaktige påstander om den kjente russiske varsleren Sergei Magnitskij, som døde i et russisk fengsel som følge av manglende legehjelp og tortur i november 2009.
8 of November is the Intersex Day of Solidarity and Remembrance. It is a day to acknowledge the suffering and injustice caused to intersex people in the past, and call for adequate redress, reparation, and access to justice. It is also a day to challenge the faulty categorization of human beings as being strictly “male” or “female” to inspire respect, inclusion and human rights for all.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee sent a letter to Norway’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations today to express a deep concern for a scheduled 8 November vote in the General Assembly Third Committee which may revoke the mandate of the UN Independent Expert to monitor violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI). The letter was also sent to other Permanent Missions to the UN.
The NHC is proud to announce that we today are launching our first podcast. The podcast series "Human Rights in Focus" will shed light on some of the most pressing human rights challenges we are facing in Europe today. In this first episode we are discussing the situation for human rights in Azerbaijan with prominent human rights activist Leyla Yunus. She is joined by NHCs senior adviser and Azerbaijan expert Berit Lindeman.
NHCs Enver Djuliman is currently in Odessa, Ukraine, where Russian and Ukrainian youth are together for dialogues for reconciliation between Russian and Ukrainian youth. Symbolically, the participants planted trees of peace.
Human rights defenders and former political prisoners Leyla and Arif Yunus from Azerbaijan have visited Norwegian Helsinki Committee to join the “finissage” of the exhibition at Akershus Art Centre exhibiting art depicting the situation of political prisoners in Azerbaijan. –Human rights are violated more than ever in our home country, Leyla Yunus said. –The numbers of political prisoners keep increasing, and every year around ten prisoners die from torture and ill-treatment in the brutal Azerbaijani jails.
Terrorism and Death Penalty:
Today, on 10 October 2016, the 14th World Day Against the Death Penalty, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee is joining an international campaign raising awareness about the application of the death penalty for terrorism-related offences and to reduce its use. NHC urges the abolishment of all forms of death penalty.
(Brussels, Oslo and Tbilisi, 9 October 2016) During the Georgian Parliamentary Elections on 8 October 2016 a violent incident occurred in Western Georgia. A group of unidentified men broke into polling station 79 in the village of Jikhashkari in the Zugdidi district, disrupted the counting procedure and physically attacked international election observers, who represented the joint mission of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC), International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR) and European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE).
Authorities in Kazakhstan must drop all charges against civil society activists Max Bokayev and Talgat Ayan, and immediately free them, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee said in a statement today. The trial against Max Bokayev and Talgat Ayan is scheduled to start on October 12 in the city of Atyrau. The two peaceful activists risk five to ten years imprisonment if found guilty on charges that appear trumped-up in retaliation for their role in organizing peaceful protests earlier this year, the NHC said.
Yesterday the Norwegian Helsinki Committee arranged our annual Anna Politkovskaya-seminar, to honour our dear friend and colleague who was brutally murdered just outside her apartment in Moscow ten years ago today.
Serious Blow to Independence of Legal Profession. – A court in Tajikistan on October 6, 2016, sentenced two prominent human rights lawyers to long prison terms, Human Rights Watch, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, and Association for Human Rights in Central Asia said today
A delegation from the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, in cooperation with the European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE) and International Partnership for Human Rights, is in Georgia to observe the upcoming Parliamentary Elections 8 October 2016.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee was active at this years Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM), which took place in Warsaw 19-30 September. Photo: OSCE/Piotr Markowski.
Together with our partners in the Civic Solidarity Platform (CSP), the Norwegian Helsinki Committee is seriously concerned about threats received by leading Kyrgyz human rights defenders Tolekan Ismailova and Aziza Abdurasulova in relation to their participation in the 2016 OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM) and call for immediate and effective measures to ensure their safety.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is deeply concerned about the situation at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (‘ICTY’), created by acquittals in 2012-2013 and a deep split among its judges. The concerns have been conveyed in a letter to President of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (‘MICT’), former ICTY President, current ICTY judge and a key player of the institution. According to the letter, the acquittals represent changes in the direction at a very late stage of the ICTY’s life. They “disorient victims, their families, and the wider struggle against impunity ... there remains a strong, unanswered case for [Theodor Meron] to take responsibility for the unfortunate situation at ICTY”.
On March 17, Azerbaijan's authoritarian President Ilham Aliyev was merciful. He signed a long-awaited decree of pardon, which was timed to mark the upcoming Novruz holiday. Aliyev pardoned 148 prisoners, among them 13 activists that human rights groups have labeled as political prisoners.
I en kronikk publisert i Aftenposten 17.12 oppfordrer Den norske Helsingforskomité statsråd Sylvi Listhaug til å be om en redegjørelse fra UNE i forbindelse med at to russiske statsborgere som søkte asyl i Norge ble torturert og drept etter retur til hjemlandet i 2012 og 2013.
I denne ukens Ny Tid avsløres det at to tsjetsjenske asylsøkere, Apti Nazujev og Umar Bilemkhanov, ble torturert og drept i Tsjetsjenia etter å ha fått avslag på sine søknader om politisk asyl i Norge. Den norske Helsingforskomité og russiske Memorial advarte norske myndigheter sterkt mot å sende de to tilbake til Tsjetsjenia eller Russland.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee appealed to Missions to the UN to support resolution on human rights defenders, which comes up for vote in the UN General Assembly on the 17 December. The resolution contains a strong message to the world’s governments that they should support and protect human rights defenders; not attack them. The appeal was backed with signatures of people from across the world.
Den 15.desember underskreiv President Vladimir Putin ei lov som gjev rettsleg heimel for den russiske grunnlovsdomstolen til å avgjera om dei skal gjennomføre eller ikkje gjennomføre vedtak mot Russland, mellom anna frå Den europeiske menneskerettsdomstolen (EMD).
Den norske Helsingforskomité ber i et brev sammen med Oslosenteret for fred og menneskerettigheter og Stefanusalliansen Utenriksminister Børge Brende sørge for at ordningen med en spesialutsending for minoriteter blir opprettholdt.
10 December: We — members of the Civic Solidarity Platform and the Sports For Rights Campaign — were relieved to learn that one of Azerbaijan’s most well-known political prisoners, Leyla Yunus, was released from detention yesterday and that that the Baku City Court of Appeal changed her sentence and that of her husband Arif into suspended sentences of 5 years, on probation.
Political prisoners in Azerbaijan:
On Tuesday 8 December, 2015 more than 30 works of art produced by Norwegian artists thematically related to political prisoners in Azerbaijan were displayed at the main town hall (Hôtel de Ville) in Paris, France.
Leyla Yunus has been released from prison today following a request by her lawyers due to her deteriorating health condition.
– The poor quality of the 6 December 2015 constitutional referendum was unprecedented in the country. There were blatant violations of the electoral code and verbal and physical attacks on observers and journalists, said Lene Wetteland, senior advisor of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC). "We are critical both of the campaign, the contents of the amendments as well as of the conduct of the vote itself."
The anniversary of journalist Khadija Ismayilova’s arrest one year ago highlights the Azerbaijani regime’s unprecedented repression in 2015.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is deeply disappointed to learn of the decision by Kyrgyzstan to declare Mihra Rittmann, researcher for Human Rights Watch in Central Asia, persona non grata in the country. Rittmann was deported from Kyrgyzstan upon her arrival to Manas International Airport in Bishkek on 2 December, after living and working for several years in the country.
– Uzbek authorities should immediately release from detention and drop their criminal case against Uktam Pardaev, a prominent human rights activist arrested on November 16 in Jizzakh, Uzbekistan, the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia, Human Rights Watch, International Partnership for Human Rights and the Norwegian Helsinki Committee said today.
On the 25 November, the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution that recognises the important role of human rights defenders.
As a member of the Prove They Are Alive! campaign, the NHC has joined a statement where we express our disappointment and regret at the failure of the government of Turkmenistan to provide a substantive reply to the United Nations Human Rights Committee on its decision on the case of Boris Shikhmuradov within the period established by the Committee.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC) Freedom of Belief Initiative outlines in this report, covering the period from July 2014 to June 2015, the need for Turkish legislation and practice to be brought into harmony with human rights standards on freedom of religion or belief.
Transgender Day of Remembrance:
20 November is the Transgender Day of Remembrance, dedicated to the memory of trans*persons who have been victims of homicide. It is also a day to remind all of us that it is Our obligation to fight hate crimes, prejudices and hatred towards gender minorities not only today but every day.
A new list of political prisoners in Armenia has just been published. The list now comprises of 12 names. These are political activists who have used the freedom of assembly and freedom of speech to express their discontent with the current government of Armenia.
Den norske Helsingforskomité, NOAS og en rekke andre organisasjoner sendte i går et brev til alle partier på Stortinget der det advares mot hastebehandling av innstrammingsforslag som innebærer en dramatisk svekkelse av asylsøkeres rettssikkerhet.
The presentation of the Sergei Magnitsky Human Rights Awards 2015, honouring nine prominent politicians, lawyers, and journalists for their support of the Magnitsky campaign, took place in London on 16 November, six years after the death of the Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky.
On 12 November the Ukrainian Parliament adopted Amendment Nº 3442 to the Labor Code, where protection against discrimination in the labor sector explicitly mentions sexual and gender minorities (LGBTI) among other vulnerable groups*. The amendment is the first Ukrainian Law where LGBTI persons are granted legal protection, and it was the final law that needed to be adopted before Ukraine could achieve a visa liberalization agreement with the European Union.
On 5 November 2015 a controversial draft law pertaining to the activities of the non-governmental sector passed its second reading in the Kazakhstani Senate. Approved by the Senate, a signature by the president of Kazakhstan is the next step.
– One of the world’s longest imprisoned peaceful political activists, Murod Juraev, was finally released from a jail in Uzbekistan on November 12, 2015, after 21 unjustified years behind bars, nine human rights groups said today. The nine rights groups, including the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, now calls on UN to hold Tashkent accountable for arbitrary detention.
Arif Yunus was today released from prison and transferred to house arrest because of his deteriorating health.
In Ingushetia on 6 November, armed security servicemen carried out a raid in the offices of the human rights organization MASHR and in the private home of the organization’s head Magomed Mutsolgov. The masked men removed large amounts of documents, office computers and even the children’s iPad.
Helsingforskomitéen har sammen med andre organisasjoner i NGO-Forum for menneskerettigheter sendt brev til statsmininister Erna Solberg med kritikk av Regjeringens forslag om å kutte i støtten til menneskerettighetsarbeid i budsjettet for 2016.
On 5th November the Ukrainian Parliament was only able to adopt two of 13 laws demanded by the EU in order to start the visa-liberalization process, rejecting among others the amendments on key-norms of anti-discrimination and anti-corruption measures.
As a founding partner of the European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE), the Norwegian Helsinki Committee expresses its concern over international election observation missions delegitimizing the institution of election observation as well as damaging the reputation of those parliaments and international institutions that they represent.
In a joint press release after the parliamentary election in Azerbaijan 1 November, FIDH and Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC) urge the international community to unanimously condemn the lack of civil and political freedoms in Azerbaijan, and voice a strong support to its targeted civil society.
- It is obvious to us that an increased international presence is needed on the Crimean peninsula. The human rights situation, especially with regard to freedom of speech and assembly, has deteriorated rapidly following the Russian takeover. This cannot continue, says secretary general Bjørn Engesland.
On November 1, 2015, Azerbaijan will go to the polls to elect a new parliament. FIDH, OMCT and the Norwegian Helsinki Committee wishes to extend our deepest concern regarding the conditions in which the polls are being organised, which cannot meet international standards for free and fair elections.
No political prisoners:
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee has launched a webpage with information and updates about the situation for the political prisoners in Europe.
Nasjonal institusjon for menneskerettigheter:
Den norske Helsingforskomité har i samarbeid med Amnesty International Norge skrevet et brev til Stortingets presidentskap der vi foreslår at det arrangeres en åpen høring i forbindelse med ansettelsen av en ny direktør ved nasjonal institusjon for menneskerettigheter.
Two NHC representatives, Mina Skouen and Olga Shamshur Flydal, were on Sunday visiting polling stations in suburban Kiev as a part of a larger group of EPDE (European Platform for Democratic Election) election experts from Poland, Germany and former Soviet Union countries. This time Ukrainians cast votes electing over 168 000 representatives to local governments and mayors.
Lokalvalget i Ukraina 25. oktober gir er en mulighet til å reflektere over hvorhen Ukraina er på vei. Mens arbeid med lovreformer styrkes, lever flere problemer i det skjøre demokratiet i beste velgående. Å støtte det ukrainske sivilsamfunnet videre på vei mot rettstat og demokrati bør stå høyt på Norges og Europas prioriteringslisten.
”The Norwegian Helsinki Committee welcomes the decision by Fatou Bensouda, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, on October 8 to submit a request to the Pre-Trial Chamber of the ICC to open an investigation of core international crimes during the war in Georgia in 2008,” says Secretary General Bjørn Engesland.
Anna Politkovskaja seminar:
-President Putins behandling av sivilsamfunnet i Russland gjør at staten mister sin legitimitet. Dette kan føre til omveltninger i Russland, omveltninger som bare president Putin selv vil være ansvarlig for, sa Svetlana Gannusjkina på forrige ukes godt besøkte Anna Politkovskaja seminar på Litteraturhuset i Oslo.
-The elections in Kyrgyzstan 4 October highlight the country's uniquely democratic position in Central Asia, says Marius Fossum, Norwegian Helsinki Committee Regional Representative in Central Asia, who was present in the capital Bishkek on election day and during the last days of campaigning.
Yesterday’s presidential election in Belarus gave no surprises in the reelection of Alexander Lukashenko to his fifth term as the country’s authoritarian president. With no real competition, control over administrative resources and massive coercion and pressure to participate in early voting, the election process gave the incumbent leader a simple walk-over.
“The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is concerned over the escalation of fighting between Turkish security forces and the Kurdish Labour Party (PKK) as well as the ongoing polarization of society which could jeopardize years of efforts to find a peaceful solution to the Kurdish issue,” said Gunnar M. Ekelove-Slydal, Deputy Secretary General of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee.
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) is planning to monitor the 1 November parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan. The Norwegian Helsinki Committee strongly opposes such a decision.
Václav Havel Human Rights Prize 2015:
During the opening of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly autumn session today, prominent Russian human rights defender Ludmilla Alexeeva was awarded the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize. The award honours outstanding civil society action in defence of human rights, and it includes a €60 000 prize. - NHC warmly congratulates Ludmilla, she is one of the founders of the Russian human rights movement. To award the prize to her this year in particular, while we are celebrating the 40 year anniversary of the Helsinki Declaration, carries a lot of symbolic weight, Secretary general Bjørn Engesland says at the news of the prize.
NHC is active at the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting 2015 which is currently taking place in Warsaw.
Drawing for freedom:
In September, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC) and the National Art Academy of Fine Arts Oslo (KHIO) jointly kicked off an art project with focus on the political prisoners in Azerbaijan. More than 80 political prisoners are now behind bars in the country, many of which were arrested while Azerbaijan was chairing the Council of Europe.
Onsdag 7. oktober arrangerer Den norske Helsingforskomité det åpne seminaret "40 år for fred, tryggleik og menneskerettar: Helsingforserklæringa framleis høyaktuell", på Litteraturhuset i Oslo. Seminaret er vårt årlege Anna Politkovskaja seminar, og finn i år stad på dagen ni år etter at ho blei drepen utanfor sin eigen leiligheit i Moskva.
Tajik authorities detained at least 13 activists of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT) on September 16, 2015, Human Rights Watch, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, and the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia said today. Authorities should immediately release or, if there is credible evidence that they have committed a legitimate offence, promptly charge them and ensure due process for all the detainees, including timely access to independent counsel and contact with family members. Photo: 2013 HRW
Klar dom frå russiske valobservatørar i GOLOS: Resultata frå det russiske regionsvalet søndag 13. september er avgjort i forkant, og valdagen tener kun som legitimering.
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.
Den norske Helsingforskomité støtter en uttalelse om at Norge bør ratifisere den valgfrie protokollen til FNs konvensjon om rettighetene til personer med nedsatt funksjonsevne.
The Tajik government should reverse its decision to order the closure of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT) and allow the party to operate freely, Human Rights Watch, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, and the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia said today. Tajik authorities should also halt their ongoing campaign of harassment against the party and its members and allow independent political parties to operate freely in Tajikistan.
- The Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC) welcomes the Ukrainian government’s decision to accept International Criminal Court (ICC) jurisdiction over international crimes committed on its territory since February 2014, i.e. since the start of the armed conflict in the Eastern Ukraine and the occupation of Crimea by Russia, says Secretary General Bjørn Engesland. – We consider this a milestone in the fight against impunity in former Soviet countries.
Belarus and Moldova:
In two joint letters to the governments of Belarus and Moldova, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee and the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia urge them to uphold their international obligations and secure two peaceful Tajik opposition activists from extradition to Tajikistan and possible torture and other ill-treatment. Moldova and Belarus are bound by international refugee law as well as the UN Convention against Torture. They cannot lawfully return Mr. Sobir Valiev and Ms. Shabnam Khudoydodova to Tajikistan where torture remains widespread.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is arranging the open seminar "Talk where you can´t talk" at Cinemateket, Lillebil 15 September 17:00-19:00. The seminar is a part of the Oslo Fusion International Film Festival, and is organized in cooperation with LLH, the Norwegian LGBT organisation. Read more about the program below.
On the 2nd anniversary of the murder of independent Russian journalist, Akhmednabi Akhmednabiyev, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee signed a joint letter with 27 other NGOs calling for the investigation into his case to be urgently raised to the federal level.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee strongly condemns the sentencing of Azerbaijani journalist Khadija Ismayilova to a staggering 7,5 years in jail today. - We are shocked and saddened at yet another cruel decision to imprison one of the nations' finest citizens. We call on this verdict to be nulled, and that Khadija is released from jail immediately. Failing the release of Khadija Ismayilova, Leyla and Arif Yunus, Rasul Jafarov, Intigam Aliyev and so many other poltical prisoners, we continue to repeat that it is time to impose targeted sanctions against Azerbaijan´s main human rights perpetrators, says Secretary General Bjørn Engesland.
“The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is deeply concerned about the fate of Saparmamed Nepeskuliev, an independent journalist and activist who is still unaccounted for following his arrest near the seaport town of Turkmenbashi (formerly Krasnovodsk) in Turkmenistan on 7 July 2015”, said Ivar Dale, Senior advisor in the Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC). “On the international level, the Turkmen government has made promises to improve the human rights situation in the country. Yet, time and again, we see evidence of the opposite happening. Nepeskuliev’s arrest is yet another grave example of this. He must be released immediately.”
Together with six other international human rights organisations, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee today sent a letter to the Prosecutor General of Kazakhstan, Askhat Daulbaev. The letter concerns a recent case of intimidation, pressure and obstruction of the work of lawyer Snezhanna Kim in Kostanay, Kazakhstan.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee condemns the harsh sentences against the Azerbaijani human rights defenders Leila and Arif Yunus. If the verdicts are not nullified immediately, then it is time to impose targeted sanctions against Azerbaijan´s main human rights perpetrators.
Seniorrådgiver i Den norske Helsingforskomité Aage Borchgrevink var i mai i år på en omfattende reportasjereise i Øst-Ukraina. Skildringene hans fra reisen ble publisert i Dagbladet og Klassekampen. Nedenfor finner du lenker til artiklene i fulltekst, og til Dagbladets nettutgave. For å lese artiklene på nett trenger du Dagbladet+ abonnement.
I et brev til Utenriksminister Børge Brende ber Helsingforskomiteen norske myndigheter gjøre rede for hva den har gjort for seks usbekiske asylsøkere, som etter endelig avslag på sin asylsøknad ble returnert til hjemlandet. Det ble senere kjent at alle seks var blitt dømt til lange fengselsstraffer og høyst sannsynlig torturert. UNE har senere stanset tvangsreturer til Usbekistan.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee publishes a new report today, focusing on how universities can play a positive role in peacebuilding processes in the Western Balkans.
Last night, on 23 June, the Summer 2015 session of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) adopted the new monitoring report on Azerbaijan, The functioning of democratic institutions in Azerbaijan, Resolution 2062 (2015). From a relatively weak draft presented by the co-rapporteurs from Spain and Poland, the report was significantly improved by the adoption of several important amendments during the session. Most significantly, the report now includes a demand for the release of political prisoners in Azerbaijan, mentioning several of them by name.
Thousands of demonstrators gathered yesterday in Armenias capital Yerevan to protest against state regulators decision to raise electricity prices by 16 %. This morning the Armenian police forcefully dispersed the demonstrations, leaving 18 persons injured.
A new list of political prisoners in Russia has just been published by Memorial Human Rights Centre. The list now comprises 50 names, as compared to the 46 which were included in the list published in October last year. 10 people have been released, but 14 have been arrested. None of the political prisoners were acquitted, amnestied or pardoned during this time.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee supports a letter sent to the President of the European Council Mr. Donal Tusk, sent from the Sports for Rights campaign and supported by members of the European Parliament, urging Mr. Tusk to postpone his planned visit to Azerbaijan this week, and to call for the immediate and unconditional release of the country´s jailed journalists and human reights defenders.
Today is the official opening of the European Games in Baku. To mark the opening ceremony, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, together with other organisations in the Human Rights House Oslo, is demanding the unconditional release of the country´s jailed journalists, human rights defenders and activists.
The outcome of the 7 June 2015 Parliamentary Elections in Turkey sends a strong signal that the people of the country do not favour strengthening the power of President Recep Tayyip Erdogen’s office at the expense of accountability and checks and balances, said Gunnar M. Ekeløve-Slydal, Deputy Secretary General of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee.
The NHC supports a letter sent yesterday to the Council of Europe and the OSCE urging them not to support proposed constitutional amendments that would strengthen the incumbent president's position in Armenia.
The office of the Joint Mobile Group in Grozny, Chechnya, was earlier today on 3 June attacked by a group of masked men.
Human Rights House Foundation, Den norske Helsingforskomitè og Norsk PEN inviterer til lukket norgespremiere på Erling Borgens
dokumentar om menneskerettighetsforkjemperen Ales Bialiatski:
Hviterussland: Europas siste diktatur
Regi: Erling Borgen
Produsert for DR2/NRK av Borgen & Heinemann. (2015)
Tid: Onsdag 10. juni kl 17.00-18.30
Sted: Cinemateket, Tancred
A new list of political prisoners in Azerbaijan has just been published. The list now comprises of 80 names, as compared to the 98 which were included in the list published in August last year. Although this means that there have been some very welcome releases, the Government of Azerbaijan continues its policy of imprisoning what they consider opponents. The last few weeks, prominent human rights defenders Rasul Jafarov and Intigam Aliyev were convicted to many years' prison. In 2014, Political Prisoners in Azerbaijan received the Sakharov Freedom Award from NHC.
The European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE), of which NHC is a foundig member, has issued a statement today strongly protesting severe harrassment and intimidation of election observers from the Russian election observer organisation GOLOS.
On 26 April 2015 presidential elections were held in Kazakhstan. Incumbent Nursultan Nazarbayev, in office since 1991, expectedly won the race with an official 97.7 % of the vote, in an election characterized by lack of genuine choice.
Council of Europe:
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC) commends the resolution Discrimination against transgender people in Europe, adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on 22 April 2015. The resolution urges member states to abolish sterilization and other medical requirements such as a mental health diagnosis as a basis for gender recognition. They should adopt legislation that protects gender minorities in all parts of society.
Den norske Helsingforskomité gjennomførte 29. april sitt årsmøte med våre styre- og rådsmedlemmer på Litteraturhuset i Oslo. Møtet ble ledet av rådspresident i Den norske Helsingforskomité Kristin Clemet. Generalsekretær Bjørn Engesland la fram året 2014s svært omfattende aktiviteter. Årsmøtet ber i en uttalelse den norske regjeringen om å gi reell støtte til det stadig økende antallet politiske fanger i OSSE-området.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is among numerous NGOs who demand the release of imprisoned human rights defenders, journalists and activists all considered political prisoners in Azerbaijan. The call comes after the human rights defender Rasul Jafarov and human rights lawyer Intigam Aliyev were sentenced to 6,5 and 7,5 years respectively in Baku. The charges against them were trumped up and politically motivated, their trials deeply flawed.
Young, prominent and dedicated human rights defender Rasul Jafarov, was convicted to six and a half years in prison in a Baku, Azerbaijan court today. -It is hardly news anymore that human rights defenders are handed long prison sentences in Azerbaijan, where punishing the dissent on bogus charges has become commonplace for the government in past years, Secretary General Bjørn Engesland says.
The EU leaders should prominently address human rights issues with Kyrgyzstan’s President Almazbek Atambayev, who is in Brussels for meetings on 26-27 March, and insist that he use his powers to ensure compliance with the country’s international human rights obligations.
On 24 March, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC) sent a letter to the President and the Government of Turkey, calling for support to the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (HRFT).
18 March the Norwegian Helsinki Committee sent a letter to the Latvian Prime Minister Mrs. Laimdota Straujuma, expressing our concern that the Latvian organisation Association Antiglobālisti attempt to use legal loopholes to prevent EuroPride from taking place in Riga in 2015. The loophole is of an administrative nature.
Policy Paper 1/2015:
Den norske Helsingforskomité presenterer i dag et Policy Paper som argumenterer for at Norge bør etablere en global Magnitskij-mekanisme.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee today publishes a new report on the right to public protest in Kazakhstan, an essential part of the country’s obligation to ensure Freedom of Assembly and Association.
Fritt ords pressepris for Øst-Europa:
Stiftelsen Fritt Ords og ZEIT-Stiftungs pressepriser til Russland og Øst-Europa for 2015 går til seks modige journalister og medier fra Russland, Ukraina og Georgia som ikke lar seg skremme av sensur og represalier. To av årets prisvinnere er nominert av Den norske Helsingforskomité.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee was shocked and saddened to learn of the assassination of Tajik opposition leader Umarali Kuvatov, who was shot at close range by an unknown person outside his home in Istanbul, Turkey, on the evening of 5 March. Kuvatov was in the presence of his wife and children when he was killed by a gunshot to the head.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee visited Tajikistan last week to gain an impression of the climate in which the 1 March parliamentary elections were carried out. With 54 out of 63 seats in parliament, the ruling party has cemented the parliament's role as merely a rubber stamp body for the president. The authorities have targeted especially the Islamic Revival Party during the last year. The state-owned propaganda machinery has attacked and discredited the party and its members, linking it to extremism and terrorism among other things. Furthermore several of the party's candidates have been disqualified on questionable grounds and its campaigning material has been blocked.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is saddened and shocked by the news of the murder of Russia’s prominent opposition politician
Boris Nemtsov, shot dead the in the heart of Moscow in the late evening of 27 February.
– The murder of Boris Nemtsov must be independently and transparently investigated and the people responsible be brought to justice, whether they pulled the trigger or ordered the killing, says Bjørn Engesland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee. – We express our condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Boris Nemtsov.
Statement issued by International Partnership for Human Rights, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee and Kazakhstan International
Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law, 27 February 2015.
The Almaty City Court yesterday upheld the closure of the outspoken ADAM bol magazine over an article about the conflict in Ukraine. We condemn this decision as another serious blow to freedom of expression and media pluralism in Kazakhstan.
Together with 46 other international organisations, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee has signed a letter sent yesterday to the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation Yury Ya. Chaika, where we appeal to take all necessary measures to free environmental defender Evgeny G. Vitishko (born July 3, 1973) immediately and unconditionally; to initiate legal proceedings regarding the wrongful conviction of Evgeny Vitishko; hold those responsible for his conviction legally accountable; and clarify the withdrawal by the Office of Prosecutor General of the request to vacate the decision of the Tuapse city court of Krasnodar Krai from December 12, 2013 to revoke the suspended sentence and transfer Evgeny Vitishko to a penal settlement colony. We also ask you to investigate the facts of the violation of water and forest laws in Bzhid township (Tuapse District, Krasnodar Krai).
HRHW film festival:
- Western democracies should impose targeted sanctions against the Azerbaijani elite. Statements of concerns from European leaders are only benefitting the Aliyev regime said Vugar Gojayev, human rights defender in exile and NHC project coordinator in the discussion after the screening of Amazing Azerbaijan at the Human Rights Human Wrongs film festival on Saturday.
The ceasefire agreement, which entered into force as of Sunday 15 February, is good news for the civilian population in the Donbass region”, said Bjørn Engesland, Secretary General. – However, it is already marred by violations and important questions remain unresolved. There are also serious flaws with the agreement. – The loser after nearly a year of hostilities is the civilian population in Eastern Ukraine who have seen their houses, economy, infrastructure and key public institutions shot to pieces. The human rights situation was far from perfect before the armed conflict, but there is no doubt that it has become much worse in the rebel-controlled areas.
The government of Azerbaijan claims it supports religious tolerance but in reality seriously restricts freedom of religion or belief. It uses a tolerance facade and denials of reality to camouflage serious human rights violations.