Committee against Torture in Russia
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee congratulates our partner in Russia, the Committee against Torture, who in April 2011 was awarded the Human Rights Prize by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe’s (PACE). The NHC also nominated our partner to this prestigious award.
Since 2006, the NHC has supported the English version of Committee against Torture (CAT)’s website www.pytkam.net. In addition, the NHC has supported some of CATs projects. The project “Getting the roots of torture”, where CAT has investigated cases of torture and inhuman treatment, conducted analytical research and cooperated with media in order to provide information about the torture cases and contributed to promotion of values. “Education as a way of torture elimination” is a CAT education project. The idea of the project is to change the attitude of law enforcement towards human rights, as most of them are not even aware that they may be violating human rights. CAT and NHC cooperate also in the NHC’s project “Natalia Estimirovas documentation centre." In September 2010, the CAT director Igor Kalyapin participated in the conference about the strategy of working with human rights issues in Russia, arranged by NHC and Amnesty International Norway here in Oslo.
The leader of CAT, Igor Kalyapin, is an engaged person who has created a team of experienced and professional lawyers, devoted to their work to eliminate the cases of torture in the Russian law enforcement agencies. Thanks to CAT, the problems of torture have become known in Russia and CAT has influenced Russian authorities to cooperate with Russian NGOs and the efforts to change the practice of Russian law enforcement.
CAT started their activities by registration and examination of the cases where the police used torture as a method of investigation in the Nizhny Novgorod region. Later, CAT prepared cases to the European Court of Human Rights and has won several of them. Today, CAT has expanded their activities to several regions in Russia and created a network of organizations working to achieve the same aims. After the murder of human rights activist Natalia Estimirova, CAT has initiated a Joint Mobile Group, a network of organizations to secure the presence of NGOs in Chechnya, to monitor the human rights situation and investigates the cases of abuse.