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«International support for Ukraine should increase» – statement platform CivilM+

April 21, 2020

In April 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the seventh year of the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine has begun. While the emergency has revealed gaps in the healthcare system throughout the country, the situation in the conflict zone is nearly critical. The infrastructure has been damaged by the hostilities and there is a severe lack of medical personnel. Small and medium-sized enterprises which barely started recovering after the first years of the war with the support from humanitarian organizations, have been suffering losses and are on the brink of bankruptcy during the quarantine.

Of particular concern is the situation in territories that are not controlled by the government of Ukraine: there is no credible information about the situation there, freedom of expression is seriously limited, monitoring and humanitarian organizations, for example, OSCE SMM are facing problems with accessing and operating in the territory of the self-proclaimed “DPR” and “LPR”.

We, the undersigned members of the international civil society platform CivilM +, are calling on the Government of the EU member-states to:

  • ⚫️ allocate all the resources available to support the region in its fight with COVID-19. Along with the unconditional support of medical sphere, the aid should go to small and medium business, local Ukrainian authorities and civil society organizations
  • ⚫️ keep exerting pressure on the Russian Federation to make sure that ‘DPR’ and ‘LPR “, which are under the RF control, provide unhindered access to humanitarian and monitoring organizations (firstly to the OSCE SMM, as well as to the ICRC so that it has access to all persons deprived of liberty), and stop arbitrary political persecutions.

We are also urging the Government of Ukraine to ensure that the restrictions of the freedom of movement across the contact line are only applied if they are necessary and proportionate to possible threats. All citizens, including those residing in non-government-controlled territory, should have unrestricted access to medical assistance.

We underline that new pandemic-related challenges should not diminish priority measures on the peaceful resolution of the conflict set out in the Minsk agreements and reconfirmed during the talks in the Normandy format. Those are:

  • ⚫️ ceasefire
  • ⚫️ continuation of the release of arbitrarily detained persons, both military and civil detainees
  • ⚫️ preventing further human rights violations and war crimes, and ensuring effective investigations into such crimes committed on both sides of the contact line
  • ⚫️ preparing the process of the transitional justice in all its aspects.

While welcoming the release of the detainees on 16 April 2020, we are drawing attention of the OSCE, as well as the governments of Germany and France that the bottom line should be the release of all individuals who are arbitrarily deprived of their liberty . To achieve this, we need to see consistent and coordinated efforts to complete the lists of detainees , to search and to identify their location. Having the control over “DPR” and “LPR”, the Russian Federation should influence them, as in a number of cases they refuse to admit having derived certain people of their liberty (despite the fact that the relatives of these people have confirmation papers issued by the  de-facto authorities of the self-proclaimed “republics”). Moreover, “DPR” and “LPR” refuse to release even those individuals whose names in the lists they have confirmed. As a result, it takes years for many detainees and their loved ones to wait for the ‘next stage of the exchange “.

Independent civil society organizations from Ukraine, Russia and the European Union are ready to provide civic consultations for the Minsk negotiations . The international platform CivilM + has already sent the letters with this proposal to the Office of the President of Ukraine , to the Vice-prime minister / Minister on reintegration of the temporary occupied territories and to the Minister of foreign affairs . The position and the suggestions on these matters are also  available on the CivilM + website .

 

Signatories:

Centre for Civil Liberties, Ukraine

Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, Ukraine

Truth Hounds, Ukraine

Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, Ukraine

“Citizen and Army”, Russia

DRA, German-Russian Exchange, Germany

Helsinki Citizens ‘Assembly (HCA), France

Human Rights Centre “Memorial”, Russia 

MEMORIAL Deutschland eV, Germany

For more information, please contact the Platform Secretariat: Yulia Erner, coordinator – yuliya.erner@austausch.org.  With media-requests, please contact Iryna Yakovlieva, communications coordinator –  iryna.yakovlieva@austausch.org.

Religious Freedom Roundtable. Held Online for the First Time

April 21, 2020

Experts from human rights organisations and religious leaders have developed for the Cabinet of Ministers a number of proposals intended to ensure religious freedom for the period of quarantine restrictions . As reported by ReligiousFreedom.in.ua, an online conference to iscuss these topics in the format of the Religious Freedom Roundtable in Ukraine was held jointly by the Institute for Religious Freedom and the Centre for Civil Liberties Religious figures of various faiths, including from Christian , Jewish, and Muslim religious associations of Ukraine, as well as leaders from the Kharkiv Human Rights Group and Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union , joined the discussion.

 

Lawyer Kseniia Prokonova, managing partner of the Ukrainian branch of SBH Law Offices , clarified legal aspects of quarantine restrictions to the attendees and offered practical advice on protecting the believers :


«Violated rights in the instances when actions by the police do not conform to law . Quarantine is a time when everyone, including churches, should search for new opportunities. They also have to contend for the parishioners “attention within the confines of the law and public interest . It is the first time when the
church must learn how to talk to the police efficiently.»

 

As a result, the human rights activists, together with the religious leaders, developed the following suggestions for the government:

 

● When holding daily and festive services during the quarantine period , the
recommendations, made public by the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and
Religious Organisations on April 8, for avoiding congestion in temples and
other premises of religious organisations should be observed (that is, a total of
10 persons, based on 1 person per 5 sq m, are allowed to be in the temple or
other premises of a religious organisation at the same time)

 

● The self-isolation requirement on persons over 60 years of age should not
apply to the clergy and persons involved in the organisation of services, as
well as to other employees of retirement age;

 

● Given the ban, imposed by the order of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine , on
access for priests to prisoners and convicts, administrations of detention
centres and penitentiary institutions should provide an opportunity for viewing
religious services and sermons that are regularly transmitted by the Public
Broadcaster on the UA: FIRST and UA: CULTURE TV channels and, where
requested by prisoners and convicts, arrange for individual remote meetings
with chaplain priests using videoconferencing facilities;

 

● Offer an opportunity for meeting religious needs of persons accommodated
at social protection or palliative care establishments, including by providing
access to them for chaplain priests or by arranging for individual remote
meetings using videoconferencing facilities;

 

● Local authorities, together with religious figures and volunteers, should be
encouraged to set up the facilities and develop the procedure for delivery of
free humanitarian aid to the destitute, including by providing food to persons
of no fixed abode, while observing sanitary and quarantine requirements and
avoiding mass convergence.

 

We would like to remind you that the Religious Freedom Roundtable in
Ukraine, founded in April 2019, is a civil society platform for dialogue and
liaison between religious, human rights and other civil society organisations.

Religious Freedom Roundtable. Held Online for the First Time

April 21, 2020

Experts from human rights organisations and religious leaders have developed for the Cabinet of Ministers a number of proposals intended to ensure religious freedom for the period of quarantine restrictions . As reported by Religious Freedom.in.ua, an online conference to iscuss these topics in the format of the Religious Freedom Roundtable in Ukraine was held jointly by the Institute for Religious Freedom and the Centre for Civil Liberties Religious figures of various faiths, including from Christian , Jewish, and Muslim religious associations of Ukraine, as well as leaders from the Kharkiv Human Rights Group and Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union , joined the discussion.

 

Lawyer Kseniia Prokonova, managing partner of the Ukrainian branch of SBH Law Offices , clarified legal aspects of quarantine restrictions to the attendees and offered practical advice on protecting the believers :


«Violated rights in the instances when actions by the police do not conform to law . Quarantine is a time when everyone, including churches, should search for new opportunities. They also have to contend for the parishioners “attention within the confines of the law and public interest . It is the first time when the
church must learn how to talk to the police efficiently.»

 

As a result, the human rights activists, together with the religious leaders, developed the following suggestions for the government:

 

● When holding daily and festive services during the quarantine period , the
recommendations, made public by the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and
Religious Organisations on April 8, for avoiding congestion in temples and
other premises of religious organisations should be observed (that is, a total of
10 persons, based on 1 person per 5 sq m, are allowed to be in the temple or
other premises of a religious organisation at the same time)

 

● The self-isolation requirement on persons over 60 years of age should not
apply to the clergy and persons involved in the organisation of services, as
well as to other employees of retirement age;

 

● Given the ban, imposed by the order of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine , on
access for priests to prisoners and convicts, administrations of detention
centres and penitentiary institutions should provide an opportunity for viewing
religious services and sermons that are regularly transmitted by the Public
Broadcaster on the UA: FIRST and UA: CULTURE TV channels and, where
requested by prisoners and convicts, arrange for individual remote meetings
with chaplain priests using videoconferencing facilities;

 

● Offer an opportunity for meeting religious needs of persons accommodated
at social protection or palliative care establishments, including by providing
access to them for chaplain priests or by arranging for individual remote
meetings using videoconferencing facilities;

 

● Local authorities, together with religious figures and volunteers, should be
encouraged to set up the facilities and develop the procedure for delivery of
free humanitarian aid to the destitute, including by providing food to persons
of no fixed abode, while observing sanitary and quarantine requirements and
avoiding mass convergence.

 

We would like to remind you that the Religious Freedom Roundtable in
Ukraine, founded in April 2019, is a civil society platform for dialogue and
liaison between religious, human rights and other civil society organisations.

CCL joined the statement on the need to release human rights defenders from prisons because of COVID-19

April 10, 2020

COVID-19: Jailed Human Rights Defenders Must Be Released Immediately

Check out FIDH’s #ForFreedom campaign for the release of imprisoned human rights defenders threatened by the pandemic: http://en.freedom-defenders.org

→ Read the press release in ArabicFrenchRussianSpanish, or Turkish

Paris, 8 April 2020 — In light of the serious threat posed to prisoners by the rapidly spreading novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, FIDH and its undersigned member organisations recall governments’ obligation to ensure the safety and health of detained individuals that are under their responsibility, and launch a campaign, #ForFreedom, to call for the release of all jailed human rights defenders (HRDs).

As the spread of COVID-19 poses an unprecedented threat, the need to release HRDs is more urgent than ever. Our rights and those who defend them must not become a casualty of this pandemic. FIDH and its undersigned member organisations are launching today a new global campaign #ForFreedom for the release of all HRDs detained worldwide. They should be freed and allowed to conduct their legitimate activities to defend the rights of individuals against injustice, discrimination, violence, and other forms of human rights violations.

“Hundreds of people all over the world are imprisoned not because they committed a crime, but because of their work to defend human rights. As legitimate actors of change, they should never have been detained in the first place,” declared Alice Mogwe, FIDH President. “As COVID-19 continues its rapid spread across the globe, it is time for governments to put an end to this injustice and release those who fight to uphold human rights,” she added.

As stated by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, “Now, more than ever, governments should release every person detained without sufficient legal basis, including political prisoners and others detained simply for expressing critical or dissenting views.” This concerns minors, migrants, refugees, political opponents, journalists, and HRDs.

The campaign website profiles imprisoned HRDs, including Loujain Al-Hathloul (Saudi Arabia); Azimjan Askarov (Kyrgyzstan); Sevda Özbingöl Çelik and Hasan Ceylan (Turkey); Yuri Dmitriev (Russia); Leila de Lima (Philippines); Pablo Lopez Alavez (Mexico); Khalil Maatouk (Syria); Narges Mohammadi (Iran); Miyan Abdul Qayoom (India); Nabeel Rajab (Bahrain); Germain Rukuki (Burundi); Patrick Zaki (Egypt). The website will be regularly updated with additional arbitrarily detained HRDs.

The urgency of the current health crisis presents authorities with an opportunity to redress the unjust deprivation of liberty of all these individuals, many of whom are incarcerated in deplorable sanitary conditions and are denied adequate health care.

In such a context, FIDH and its undersigned member organisations more generally call on governments to relieve congestion in prisons by releasing vast numbers of prisoners on a temporary, permanent or conditional basis for public health reasons. Along with human rights defenders, priority should be given to the elderly, children, those with health conditions, prisoners of conscience, prisoners detained for expressing their opinions, administrative detainees, prisoners detained for minor or non-violent offences, untried detainees, and individuals held in immigration detention centres.

In times of crisis, governments have an obligation to protect those who are most vulnerable. Prison populations, confined to detention facilities that can easily become virus hotspots, are among those most vulnerable to the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a particular risk in countries where minimum standards for detention conditions are not met, overcrowding is the norm, and social distancing is impossible to achieve. The spread of the virus in places of detention will be inevitable unless urgent measures are taken to mitigate this risk. Otherwise, incarceration could be equivalent to a death sentence for many detainees who contract, or are at risk of contracting, the COVID-19 virus.

Such measures would be consistent with the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (revised and adopted as the “Nelson Mandela Rules”), which detail measures aimed at ensuring adequate personal hygiene, health, and safety of prisoners, as well as the specific advice issued by the UN Subcommittee for the Prevention of Torture.

We welcome the move by a number of countries, including TurkeyTunisiaEthiopiaIndonesia, Senegal and Bahrain, to begin releasing prisoners in an effort to reduce overcrowding and prevent the spread of the virus. We urge these and other countries to include HRDs among those who should be released immediately. Many countries have excluded prisoners convicted of terrorism-related offences from the release, thus penalising HRDs unjustly criminalised on trumped-up terrorism charges. HRDs should be exempt from such blanket disqualifications as their human rights work must not be conflated with terrorism.

Africa

  1. Botswana: Ditshwanelo

  2. Burundi: ITEKA

  3. Cameroon: Maison des Droits de l’Homme du Cameroun

  4. Djibouti: LDDH Djibouti

  5. Ethiopia: Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRCO)

  6. Mauritania: Association Mauritanienne des Droits de l’Homme (AMDH)

  7. DRC: Groupe LOTUS

  8. DRC: Ligue des Électeurs

  9. Rwanda: Association Rwandaise pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme et des Libertés Publiques, ADL

  10. Senegal: RADDHO

  11. Tanzania: Legal and Human Rights Centre

 

Americas

  1. Argentina: Comité de Acción Jurídica (CAJ)
  2. Argentina: CAJ
  3. Brazil: Justica Global
  4. Brazil: Movimento Nacional de Direitos Humanos – MNDH Brasil
  5. Chile: Observatorio Ciudadano
  6. Colombia: CAJAR
  7. Ecuador: Acción Ecológica
  8. El Salvador: Comisión de Derechos Humanos de El Salvador (CDHES)
  9. Honduras: CIPRODEH
  10. Honduras: COFADEH
  11. Mexico: Limeddh
  12. Mexico: IDHEAS
  13. Nicaragua: CENIDH
  14. Peru: APRODEH
  15. Peru: Perú Equidad (Centro de Políticas Públicas y Derechos Humanos)

 

Asia

  1. Bangladesh: Odhikar
  2. Cambodia: Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)
  3. China: Human Rights in China (HRIC)
  4. India: Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI)
  5. Indonesia: Commission for Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS)
  6. Iran: League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI)
  7. Iran: Justice for Iran (JFI)
  8. Laos: Lao Movement for Human Rights (LMHR)
  9. Malaysia: Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
  10. Maldives: Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN)
  11. Myanmar: Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma (ALTSEAN-Burma)
  12. Myanmar: Myanmar Alliance for Transparency and Accountability (MATA)
  13. Pakistan: Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP)
  14. Taiwan: Covenants Watch

  15. Thailand: Internet Law Reform Dialogue (iLaw)
  16. Thailand: Manushya Foundation

  17. Thailand: Union for Civil Liberty (UCL)
  18. Vietnam: Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR)

 

Eastern Europe and Central Asia

  1. Armenia: CSI – Armenia
  2. Belarus: HRC Viasna
  3. Georgia: Human Rights Center
  4. Kazakhstan: International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law
  5. Kyrgyzstan: Adilet (Kyrgyzstan)
  6. Kyrgyzstan: Bir Duino
  7. Kyrgyzstan: ILI Foundation
  8. Kyrgyzstan: Kylym Shamy
  9. Russia: ADC Memorial
  10. Russia: Citizen’s Watch
  11. Russia: HRC Memorial
  12. Ukraine: Center for Civil Liberties

Middle East and North Africa

  1. Algeria: CFDA (Comité des familles de disparus en Algérie)
  2. Algeria: LADDH (Ligue Algérienne des Droits de l’Homme)
  3. Bahrain: BCHR (Bahrain Center for Human Rights)
  4. Gulf: GC4HR (Gulf Center for Human Rights)
  5. Lebanon: CLDH (Centre Libanais des Droits Humains)
  6. Morocco: AMDH (Association Marocaine des Droits de l’Homme)
  7. Morocco: OMDH (Organisation Marocaine des Droits de l’Homme)
  8. Palestine: PCHR (Palestinian Center for Human Rights)
  9. Saudi Arabia: ALQST
  10. Syria: SCM (Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression)
  11. Tunisia: LTDH (Ligue Tunisienne des Droits de l’Homme)
  12. Tunisia: ATFD (Association Tunisienne des Femmes Démocrates)
  13. Yemen: SAF (Sisters Arab Forum)

Western Europe

  1. Albania: Albanian Human Rights Group
  2. Belgium: Ligue des droits humains – Belgique
  3. Croatia: Civic Committee for Human Rights
  4. Finland: Finnish League for Human Rights,
  5. France: Association Européenne pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme (AEDH)
  6. France: Ligue des Droits de l’Homme
  7. Germany: Internationale Liga fur Menschenrechte
  8. Hungary: Hungarian Helsinki Committee
  9. Lithuania: Lithuanian Human Rights Association
  10. Latvia : Latvian Human Rights Committee
  11. Portugal: Portuguese League for Human Rights – Civitas
  12. Romania: League for the Defence of Human Rights (LADO)
  13. Spain: Asociacion pro Derechos Humanos de Espana
  14. Spain: Federacion de Asociaciones de Defensa y Promocion de Derechos Humanos de Espana
  15. Turkey: Human Rights Association (IHD)
  16. Turkey: Human Rights Foundation of Turkey
  17. UK/Northern Ireland: Committee on the Administration of Justice

Press contact:

Eva Canan (EN, ES, FR, AR): +33 6 58 05 91 57 | http://twitter.com/EvaCanan | ecanan@fidh.org

COVID-19 in closed prisons in the occupied Crimea and Donbas which is under Russia effective control

March 24, 2020

COVID-19 in closed prisons in the occupied Crimea and Donbas which is under Russia effective control. Immediate response from international organizations is required.

 

We, the below-signed, appeal to the international organizations and their member states to prevent the spread of coronavirus to detention facilities (prisons and pretrial detention centers) in Crimea which is temporarily occupied  by the Russian Federation, the Donbas which is under Russian effective control and in the territory of the Russian Federation itself.

 

Situation in the Occupied Crimea and the Russian Federation

Since March 16, 2020, the Federal Penitentiary Service of the Russian Federation (FSIN) has suspended all visits to detention facilities in order to prevent the spread of the disease among the suspects, those accused and convicted, as well as employees of the penal system. 

At the same time, penitentiary administrations are unable to implement WHO recommendations against the spread of coronavirus. The health services of these institutions lack staff, medications and equipment. They are not capable of coping with common widespread diseases, let alone a global health crisis.

Moreover, detention facilities present an extremely high risk for the transmission of infectious diseases. The buildings are often poorly ventilated, and the prison authorities cannot ensure adequate sanitation and hygiene conditions, i.e. sufficient access to water to wash hands. The detainees continue to be exposed to high risks daily at work, often gatherings, showers, etc.  The prison authorities conduct personal examinations of detainees and perform searches of cells on a daily basis, entering in body-to-body contacts with inmates. Masks for the people showing symptoms of respiratory diseases, both inmates and staff, are not available.

“On March 19, when the ambulance requested in court that I should be taken to the hospital, no one ever took me there. I was just taken to a small box in the courtroom. There, I was lying on the floor until 9 pm, because there was very little room on the bench, and I wanted to lie down, as I was cold and shivering. The schedule of the court hearings is very intense, we are on our feet for 12-14 hours without water and food. I returned to my cell close to 11 pm. I went to another paramedic, but he did not give me any medication besides the antibiotics. On that day, I had a temperature of 39.3 C, and then it even rose to 39.8 C. The cough is dry, very unpleasant. The nose is stuffy. It is difficult to breathe. Three to four other people are also sick in the cell. They are also given aspirin and the same antibiotic. Today [March 23] I do not know how high my temperature is. I wrote a statement asking for a doctor to listen to my lungs. But I was taken to a videoconference to participate in a court hearing, and I was never taken to see a doctor. I do not want to complain, but this is torture. In prison, a person simply does not have the opportunity to protect themself,” comments Server Mustafayev, a prisoner of conscience, the coordinator of the Crimean Solidarity.

The situation is considerably aggravated by the overcrowding of Russian prisons and detention centers, with inmates kept in poor sanitary conditions and the transfer of prisoners from the occupied Crimea into the Russian Federation taking a long time in breach of the norms of international humanitarian law. Due to the prevalence of torture in Russian prisons, restricting the contact of prisoners with the outside world increases the risk of ill-treatment, especially during crisis situations.

Situation in the Donbas effectively controlled by the Russian Federation

The situation in the Donbas which is under the effective control by the Russian Federation, looks even worse. After 6 years of war,  even the International Committee of the Red Cross has no access to detained people. In addition to the so-called official detention centers, there exist an extensive network of secret detention facilities. One of such places was mentioned in the latest report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. It is called “Isolation”, and it is located in the building of a former plant in Donetsk. The conditions of detention in both “official” and secret detention facilities can be equated to torture and ill-treatment and are inappropriate even for short term detentions

 

“I was held in the 13th post of the Donetsk detention facility, considered one of the “best” ones when it came to the conditions for the prisoners. Cell conditions  were appalling: poor sanitation, many bugs and cockroaches, I could not even use the mattress — it was all dirty and riddled with bed bugs — so I slept on the metal bunk, under which I put a blanket sent to me from home. Part of the window was broken, so the air in the room was constantly cold. At the 10th post, which is the worst one, the situation is extremely critical: there are rats, and the sewage often overflows into the cell.here is almost no space – cells barely fit two people, darkness, no daylight, because the post is located in the basement of the detention facility”- comments Donetsk journalist Stanislav Aseev, who was released during an exchange in December 2019.

 

The report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights highlights the widespread practice of torture and ill-treatment of detained persons. Recently released detainees reported beatings, including with electric shocker, strangulation (“wet” and “dry” methods), sexual abuse, torture, the removal of body parts (nails and teeth), deprivation of water, food, sleep, or access to the toilet, imitation of execution, threat of violence or death, and threat of harm to the family.

 

The quality of medical care in these institutions is described in testimonies provided to the OHCHR by several “Isolation” detainees. According to them, a medical worker was present during their interrogations and torture. He revived those who had lost consciousness and pointed out how to torture in order to inflict the greatest pain but not to cause death. He also examined the detainees before torture began, asked about their illnesses, measured their blood pressure or checked their pulse, and injected them. 

 

Even in those facilities where the detention of people is officially confirmed (as opposed to the situation with secret detention centers), the prisoners are provided with necessary medicine and goods by their relatives. For the quarantine period, restrictions were imposed on crossing the demarcation line in the Donbas. Today, those prisoners, whose relatives live in the territory controlled by Ukraine, will not be able to receive the necessary medicine and goods.

 

Therefore, there are no illusions that there will be any medical assistance in case of the spread of coronavirus in prisons and detention centers of Donbas which is currently under the effective Russian control. Moreover, the question arises as to what measures will be undertaken by the Russia-controlled illegal armed formations in charge of the territory, to deter the spread of the coronavirus in prisons and detention centers, in the first place, to protect themselves from contracting the disease.

 

The aforementioned problems in the penitentiary institutions and detention centers in the Ukrainian territories occupied and controlled by Russia pose a real threat not only to prisoners and staff, but also to the wider population. And because, according to scientists, the pandemic can continue in waves, it can threaten the populations of other countries. 

 

In view of the foregoing, and taking into account the position of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment of March 20, 2020, we call for the urgent reaction of the international organizations, the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the European Union, the OSCE, and their member states participants to:

 

  1. 🔹   Appeal to the Russian Federation to take immediate steps to fulfill its international obligations to protect the life and health of its detainees, both officially, such as in the Russian Federation and occupied Crimea, and unofficially, through the Kremlin-controlled illegal armed formations, such as those in Donbas which is currently under the effective Russian control, to develop the necessary plans for prevention and response to the spread of infection, in accordance with the “Statement of principles relating to the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty” in the context of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic (ECPT, 03/20/2020), and to implement the WHO recommendations.

 

  1. 🔹   To urge the Russian Federation to reduce the prison population immediately (in particular, by changing the precautionary measures for house arrests for crimes of minor public danger and the immediate release of all illegally detained political prisoners), considering that the very configuration of the cells, penitentiary facilities, and detention centers does not allow for any preventive measures, such as compliance with social distance, to be carried out.

 

  1.  🔹  The Council of Europe bodies, including the Committee of Ministers, the Secretary-General, and the Commissioner for Human Rights, must swiftly adopt recommendations to encourage the Russian Federation with its 140 million population to take these decisive steps. The Russian Federation has a wide range of measures that can have a swift effect, from criminal policy guidance to prosecutors to emergency pardon and amnesty.

 

  1. 🔹   All monitoring, judicial and quasi-judicial mechanisms of international organizations respecting fundamental human rights must take exceptional measures to be able to play their full role in a pandemic. In particular, the European Court of Human Rights should strengthen its capacity to review requests for urgent measures under Rule 39, which are important to protect human life. The number of such requests is expected to increase in the near future.

 

  1. 🔹   International organizations, and in particular the OSCE, during the upcoming meeting of the trilateral contact group in Minsk on March, 25, should raise the issue of the immediate granting by the Russian Federation of unhindered access to the occupied Crimea and Donbas to international intergovernmental organizations, in particular, the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission, the OSCE Human Rights Assessment Mission on Crimea, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, other Council of Europe convention and institutional mechanisms, etc., as well as international humanitarian organizations, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross.

 

  1. 🔹   France and Germany as members of the Normandy Format, as well as the United States and the United Kingdom as signatories to the Budapest Memorandum, should urge the Russian Federation to use its effective control over parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions to comply with the provisions of the Minsk agreements on the immediate release of persons whose freedom is restricted due to direct involvement in the armed conflict, as well as political prisoners in the occupied Crimea and the Russian Federation.

 

We also urge the Ukrainian authorities to implement all the recommendations set out in the appeal of European NGOs to prevent epidemic of the COVID-19 in detention facilities, according to Ukraine’s international obligations to protect life and health of persons who are under its effective control.

 

Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine) 

Regional Center for Human Rights (Ukraine)

Ukrainian Institute for Human Rights (Ukraine)

Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People (Ukraine)

The Institute of Mass Information (Ukraine)

Detector Media (Ukraine)

The Eastern Ukrainian Center for Civic Initiatives (Ukraine)

Luhansk Regional Human Rights CenterAlternative (Ukraine)

Human Rights House in Chernihiv (Ukraine)

Ukrainian Legal Aid Foundation (Ukraine)

Ukrainian Center for the Prevention of Torture (Ukraine)

Donbas SOS (Ukraine)

Union of Relatives of Kremlin’s Political Prisoners (Ukraine)

Crimean Tatar Resource Center (Ukraine)

Political Science Association (Ukraine)

Territory of Success (Ukraine)

Kryvyi Rih City Human Rights Society (Ukraine)

Association of Ukrainian Monitors on Human Rights Conduct in Law Enforcement (Ukraine)

The Pylyp Orlyk Institute for Democracy (Ukraine)

Congress of Ethnic Communities of Ukraine (Ukraine)

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research (Ukraine)

All-Ukrainian civic movement of mothers and relatives of participants of ATO “Bereginya” (Ukraine)

Charity Foundation Stabilization Support Services (Ukraine)

Vinnitsa NGO of Social Development of Vulnerable Youth “Sprout” (Ukraine)

All-Ukrainian Youth Organization “The Foundation of Regional Initiatives” (Ukraine)

Youth Organization “STAN” (Ukraine)

Anti-Corruption Action Center (Ukraine)

Institute for Religious Freedom (Ukraine)

Ternopil Human Rights Group (Ukraine) 

IAC Civic Space (Ukraine)

Institute for Black Sea Strategic Studies (Ukraine)

Human Rights Initiative (Ukraine)

Theatre for Change (Ukraine)

Human Rights Platform (Ukraine)

Center Eidos (Ukraine)

Liberation Movement Research Center (Ukraine)

NGO All-Ukrainian Democratic Forum (Ukraine)

International Federation for Human Rights (France)

Citizens’ Watch (Russia)

Open Dialogue Foundation (Belgium)

Norwegian Helsinki Committee (Norway)

Human Rights Movement Bir Duino-Kyrgyzstan (Kyrgyzstan)

Internews Ukraine (Ukraine)

UkraineWorld (Ukraine)

NGO Ukraine Without Torture (Ukraine)

All-Ukrainian Active Community Initiative (Ukraine)

Institute Respublica (Ukraine)

International Federation for Human Rights (France)

Macedonian Helsinki Committee (North Macedonia)

The Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan (Azerbaijan)

Memorial-Germany (Germany)

Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (Bulgaria)

Assemblée Européenne des Citoyens, France

German-Russian Exchange (Germany)

Human Rights Monitoring Institute (Lithuania)

New Europe Center (Ukraine)

Netherlands Helsinki Committee (Netherlands)

Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly – Vanadzor (Armenia)

Public Association “Dignity  (Kazakhstan)

Human Rights Matter (Germany)

Minority Rights Group Europe (Hungary)

Italian Coalition for Civil Liberties and Rights (Italy)

International Partnership for Human Rights (Belgium)

Helsinki Committee of Armenia (Armenia)

Austrian Helsinki Association (Austria)

Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law (Kazakhstan)

Promo-LEX Association (Moldova)

Public foundation “Golos svobody” (Kyrgyzstan) 

Helsinki committee for human rights in Serbia (Serbia)

Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland) 

Center for Participation and Development (Georgia) 

Zivilcourage und Anti-Rassismus-Arbeit (Germany)

Italian Federation for human rights (Italy)

Society in Support of Ukraine (Latvia)

Association for Solidarity, Mutual Assistance, and Culture “Good Heart” (Portugal)

The Association of Ukrainians in the Republic of Ireland “AURI” (Ireland)

Ukrainian Cultural Association of Malaysia (Malaysia)

Volunteer Hundred in Brescia (Italy)

The Ukrainian-Slovak Initiative (Slovakia)

The Ukrainian Women Organization in Sweden (Sweden)

London Euromaidan (Великобританія)

United Help Ukraine (the United States)

AG Ukraine – Chemnitz – Europa e.V. (Germany)

The Union of Ukrainian Culture and Solidarity (Turkey)

The Ukrainian-Austrian Cultural and Educational Center in Vienna (Austria)

Ukrainians in Mongolia (Mongolia)

The Information Portal “Irish House” (Ireland)

Central Association of Ukrainians in Germany (Germany)

Ukrainian Community in the Philippines(the Philippines) 

The Global Movement of the Ukrainian Patriots in Munich (Germany)

Fairness Corps (Ukraine)

All-Spanish NGO “Ukrainian Patriotic Association WILL,” Madrid (Spain)

Ukrainian League Taragony “Панна, Дівочі посиденьки” (Spain)

Civil Initiative “Euromaidan-Warsaw” (Poland)

Institute for Religious Freedom (Ukraine)

International Association of Ukrainians EuroMaidan/ Mezinárodní Asociace Ukrajinců EuroMajdan z.s. (Czech Republic)

Saint Olha Association  (Australia)

Ukrainian Free Kozaks of Australia (Australia)

Israeli Friends of Ukraine (Israel)

Community of Ukrainians, Vilnius (Lithuania)

Community of Ukrainians,  Guadalajara (Mexico)

Community of Ukrainians in Finland (Finland)

Young Ukraine Association, Madrid (Spain)

Bureau of Social and Political Developments (Ukraine)

Ukraine Needs You (Ukraine);

Stronger Together (Ukraine);

Liberal-Democratic League of Ukraine (Ukraine)

Defender, Nosivka, Chernihivs’ka oblast (Ukraine)

Legal Development Network (Ukraine)

Natural Rights Ukraine (Ukraine)

Center for International Security and Euro-Atlantic Integration (Ukraine)

Development foundation (Ukraine)

Non-Governmental Centre “Women’s Perspectives”(Ukraine)

Institute of Political Education (Ukraine)

Ukrainian Institute for the Future (Україна) 

Luhansk Regional Human Rights Women’s Organization “Chaika” (Ukraine)

Platform for Social Humanitarian Initiatives and Innovation “Single Coordination Center” (Ukraine)

NGO Docudays (Ukraine)

Charity Organization “Charity and Health” (Ukraine)

NGO Group of Influence (Ukraine)

Center for Economic and Legal Analytics (Ukraine)

NGO Creative Center Dagaz (Ukraine)

Media Initiative for Human Rights (Ukraine)

Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Studies (Ukraine)

PCO  “Foundation for defence of Ukraine” (Ukraine)

Social Action Center (Ukraine) 

“Sich” Human Rights Protection Group (Ukraine)

DEJURE Foundation (Ukraine)

Vostok-SOS (Ukraine)

NGO “Right to Protection” (Ukraine)

NGO “Female veteran movement” (Ukraine)

November 30 Group (Ukraine)

NGO “Women’s Rights League” Harmony of Equals” (Ukraine)

NGO St. Clement’s Center (Ukraine)

NGO Spirit and Letter (Ukraine)

NGO Alliance of Ukrainian Unity (Ukraine)

Charitable Organization “Right of a Human” (Ukraine)

Сenter for democracy and rule of law (Ukraine)

NGO “Forpost” (Ukraine)

Women in media: Balance the imbalance!

March 10, 2020

In a joint statement, IMS and 38 other organisations urge media leaders and journalists to take action against the gender inequality in the news.

 

On International Women’s Day 2020, we want to call upon all media leaders and journalists around the globe to take action against the skewed balance and representation of gender in the news – both in terms of numbers and in portrayal.

A balanced presence of women and men in news and current affairs would to a higher degree reflect the composition of society and showcase a greater variety of human experiences, views and concerns. However, statistics show that media is far from balanced:

– A majority of media content portrays women in stereotypical roles such as homemakers, models or victims.

– Women are more likely than men to be referred to in terms of superficial attributes such as appearance, age, clothes and marital status. Men, on the other hand, are more likely to be portrayed as powerful public figures, with the media focusing on profession, skills and opinions. This perpetuates a limiting and unequal perception of gender.

– Only 4% of all newspapers, radio and TV reports worldwide challenge gender stereotypes.

– Only 24% of news subjects – the people who are interviewed, or whom the news is about – are female.

– Women are used as experts only 19 % of the time.

– In only 16 % of news that relates to politics and government, women are the subject of the stories.

The numbers are not only indicative of the media sector’s gender inequality challenges but is also a serious impediment to media development and democracy. A functioning democracy requires gender equality and the media need to do much better to contribute to this goal.

Media have the power and responsibility to challenge stereotypes in content production and together we need to set an example for current and future generations. That is why today we ask you, as part of a media organisation, to:

Engage in gender media monitoring to keep track of who is represented in your content and in what capacity

Create your database of women experts on various topics — or make use of existing ones

Revise your editorial guidelines to make sure that a gender perspective is included

Conduct a gender audit of your internal work to make sure that you have a diverse workforce and identify the gender gaps in your organisation — a diverse workforce is more likely to produce pluralistic content.


The undersigned organisations stand ready to support in such efforts:

Ordinary people who do extraordinary things. Devoted to Ukrainian volunteers

February 17, 2020

Alfredo Garcia (Euromaidan Volunteer Nominee 2018)

Canadian teacher, pro-Ukrainian activist, language instructor with 20 years of experience facilitation student driven and instructor generated curricula, modules, and lesson plans.

Alfredo works for The Toronto District School Board (TDSB), one of the largest and one of the most diverse school boards in Canada. We serve approximately 247,000 students in 583 schools throughout Toronto, and more than 130,000 life-long learners in our Adult and Continuing Education programs. Please feel free to find more details following next link: https://www.tdsb.on.ca/About-Us

In the past I shared with Mr. Garcia the latest Ukrainian historical moments of Revolution of dignity and Russian Aggression later and he offered help to support people in Ukraine. I suggested him to share 1-2 hours his time per week to provide free English classes kids and adults.  Finally we selected best students in Ukraine: one children group and one adult (mostly individuals whose lives were affected by Revolution and War: military family, volunteers).

Our initiative has started in February 2018 and this projects still going in. Alfredo constantly every week dedicate 2 h of his own life time to teach English for Ukrainian students  and we have a great success, now both group are able to study without me as a translator, they can communicate and interact with native speaker and 100 % Canadian professional teacher.

Dear friends,would be great to gain and develop the friendly relationship, initiatives and partnership with motivated people and organization that are located abroad and willing to help and put human effort to support people in Ukraine around Russia’s hybrid war against Ukraine.

If you would share this information on Ukrainian (English) mass media I could transfer it also to Canadian mass media and Toronto Municipality to make this story read.

Thank our big friend abroad for supporting Ukrainians in Ukraine.

Constitutional Coup in Russia : Putin’s Move to Devalue International Human Rights Treaties Could Set Dangerous Global Precedent

February 12, 2020
On 20 January 2020, the President of Russia proposed radical changes to the Russian Constitution, but the chilling implications for human rights could echo far beyond Russia’s borders. The draft legislation introduces significant amendments to 14 articles of Russia’s supreme law of the land. FIDH and 37 of its member organisations believe that the proposed amendments contradict the letter and spirit of the Constitution, diminish the fundamental rights of Russian citizens under the guise of legitimate State concerns, and constitute an attempt to further consolidate power in the hands of the current regime. Our organisations fear that, if adopted, these measures would compromise human rights not only in Russia, but also set a dangerous precedent that may be emulated by other countries.
The speed with which the draft law was prepared – just four days – and the gross violations of constitutionally prescribed procedures for such changes, have evoked strong criticism from civil society and the public at large.One of the proposed amendments would effectively legalise the selective implementation of decisions of international treaty bodies deemed contrary to the Constitution. Russia is normally bound to abide by these decisions, by virtue of its having ratified international or regional conventions, such as the European Convention on Human Rights. But, with this proposed amendment, Russia would be able to invoke the supposed unenforceability of “interpretations” of treaty provisions as justification to not follow them, under the guise of protecting national sovereignty. In practice, the amendment would allow Russian authorities to avoid implementing decisions of the likes of the European Court of Human Rights that the latter often perceive as contrary to national interests.

“Putin’s brazen move to put in place a constitutional mechanism to avoid implementing international treaties could severely undermine international law. If adopted, the proposed legislation would not only likely aggravate the human rights situation in Russia; it could also serve as a dangerous model, paving the way for other countries to shirk international human rights obligations.”

Alice Mogwe, FIDH President.

The legislation was designed by an ad hoc working group convened on 15 January, the same day that Putin first announced the constitutional changes during his annual address. The document, drafted in just four days and without a meaningful consultation with the civil society, proposes substantive changes to 14 articles of the Constitution, contrary to a federal law requiring a separate draft law for each amendment. As early as 23 January the draft law was unanimously accepted in the first reading by the lower chamber of Russia’s Parliament. The final reading, to be followed by a vote, is expected at the end of February.

Not only is the substance of the amendments worrying; the authorities’ disregard for constitutionally prescribed procedures required to adopt them gives cause for alarm. Since the proposed changes concern the first two chapters of the Constitution, the “Fundamentals of the Constitutional System” and the “Rights and Freedoms of Man and Citizen”, Article 135 requires that a new Constitution be adopted by a Constitutional Assembly, followed by a referendum. Neither the law governing the formation of the Constitutional Assembly, nor the organ itself, are currently in existence. Rather than abide by these procedures, the authorities plan to hold a nationwide constitutional vote this spring, in an attempt to give the proposed amendment an air of legitimacy.

The authorities’ move to prize sovereignty above all, in disregard for international law, could usher in a dark time for human rights in Russia, with the potential to set a dangerous global precedent. FIDH and its 37 member organisations urge the Russian parliamentarians and the Russian people to vote against the proposed amendments.

  • Anti-Discrimination Center Memorial (ADC-Memorial, Russia)
    Adilet (Kyrgyzstan)
    Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma (ALTSEAN-Burma)
    Armanshahr/OPEN ASIA
    Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
    Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
    Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)
    Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
    Citizens’ Watch (Russia)
    Civil Society Institute (Armenia)
    Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI)
    Dutch League for Human Rights
    Finnish League for Human Rights
    French Human Rights League – Ligue des droits de l’Homme (LDH, France )
    Human Rights Association – Insan Haklari Dernegi (Turkey)
    Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP)
    Human Rights Center Georgia (HRIDC)
    Human Rights Center Memorial (Russia)
    Human Rights Center Viasna (Belarus)
    Human Rights in China (HRIC)
    International Legal Initiative (Kazakhstan)
    Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights
    Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC)
    Lao Movement for Human Rights (LMHR)
    League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI)
    Ligue Iteka (Burundi)
    Lithuanian Human Rights Association
    Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN)
    Manushya Foundation (Thailand)
    Odhikar (Bangladesh)
    Portuguese Human Rights League – Civitas (LPDHC)
    Promo Lex (Moldova)
    Regional Watch for Human Rights (Liberia)
    The League for Defence of Human Rights (LADO, Romania)
    The Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC, Tanzania)
    Union for Civil Liberty (UCL – Thailand)
    Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR)

Crimean citizen journalists

February 4, 2020

Результаты поиска:

«International support for Ukraine should increase» – statement platform CivilM+

April 21, 2020

In April 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the seventh year of the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine has begun. While the emergency has revealed gaps in the healthcare system throughout the country, the situation in the conflict zone is nearly critical. The infrastructure has been damaged by the hostilities and there is a severe lack of medical personnel. Small and medium-sized enterprises which barely started recovering after the first years of the war with the support from humanitarian organizations, have been suffering losses and are on the brink of bankruptcy during the quarantine.

Of particular concern is the situation in territories that are not controlled by the government of Ukraine: there is no credible information about the situation there, freedom of expression is seriously limited, monitoring and humanitarian organizations, for example, OSCE SMM are facing problems with accessing and operating in the territory of the self-proclaimed “DPR” and “LPR”.

We, the undersigned members of the international civil society platform CivilM +, are calling on the Government of the EU member-states to:

  • ⚫️ allocate all the resources available to support the region in its fight with COVID-19. Along with the unconditional support of medical sphere, the aid should go to small and medium business, local Ukrainian authorities and civil society organizations
  • ⚫️ keep exerting pressure on the Russian Federation to make sure that ‘DPR’ and ‘LPR “, which are under the RF control, provide unhindered access to humanitarian and monitoring organizations (firstly to the OSCE SMM, as well as to the ICRC so that it has access to all persons deprived of liberty), and stop arbitrary political persecutions.

We are also urging the Government of Ukraine to ensure that the restrictions of the freedom of movement across the contact line are only applied if they are necessary and proportionate to possible threats. All citizens, including those residing in non-government-controlled territory, should have unrestricted access to medical assistance.

We underline that new pandemic-related challenges should not diminish priority measures on the peaceful resolution of the conflict set out in the Minsk agreements and reconfirmed during the talks in the Normandy format. Those are:

  • ⚫️ ceasefire
  • ⚫️ continuation of the release of arbitrarily detained persons, both military and civil detainees
  • ⚫️ preventing further human rights violations and war crimes, and ensuring effective investigations into such crimes committed on both sides of the contact line
  • ⚫️ preparing the process of the transitional justice in all its aspects.

While welcoming the release of the detainees on 16 April 2020, we are drawing attention of the OSCE, as well as the governments of Germany and France that the bottom line should be the release of all individuals who are arbitrarily deprived of their liberty . To achieve this, we need to see consistent and coordinated efforts to complete the lists of detainees , to search and to identify their location. Having the control over “DPR” and “LPR”, the Russian Federation should influence them, as in a number of cases they refuse to admit having derived certain people of their liberty (despite the fact that the relatives of these people have confirmation papers issued by the  de-facto authorities of the self-proclaimed “republics”). Moreover, “DPR” and “LPR” refuse to release even those individuals whose names in the lists they have confirmed. As a result, it takes years for many detainees and their loved ones to wait for the ‘next stage of the exchange “.

Independent civil society organizations from Ukraine, Russia and the European Union are ready to provide civic consultations for the Minsk negotiations . The international platform CivilM + has already sent the letters with this proposal to the Office of the President of Ukraine , to the Vice-prime minister / Minister on reintegration of the temporary occupied territories and to the Minister of foreign affairs . The position and the suggestions on these matters are also  available on the CivilM + website .

 

Signatories:

Centre for Civil Liberties, Ukraine

Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, Ukraine

Truth Hounds, Ukraine

Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, Ukraine

“Citizen and Army”, Russia

DRA, German-Russian Exchange, Germany

Helsinki Citizens ‘Assembly (HCA), France

Human Rights Centre “Memorial”, Russia 

MEMORIAL Deutschland eV, Germany

For more information, please contact the Platform Secretariat: Yulia Erner, coordinator – yuliya.erner@austausch.org.  With media-requests, please contact Iryna Yakovlieva, communications coordinator –  iryna.yakovlieva@austausch.org.

Religious Freedom Roundtable. Held Online for the First Time

April 21, 2020

Experts from human rights organisations and religious leaders have developed for the Cabinet of Ministers a number of proposals intended to ensure religious freedom for the period of quarantine restrictions . As reported by ReligiousFreedom.in.ua, an online conference to iscuss these topics in the format of the Religious Freedom Roundtable in Ukraine was held jointly by the Institute for Religious Freedom and the Centre for Civil Liberties Religious figures of various faiths, including from Christian , Jewish, and Muslim religious associations of Ukraine, as well as leaders from the Kharkiv Human Rights Group and Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union , joined the discussion.

 

Lawyer Kseniia Prokonova, managing partner of the Ukrainian branch of SBH Law Offices , clarified legal aspects of quarantine restrictions to the attendees and offered practical advice on protecting the believers :


«Violated rights in the instances when actions by the police do not conform to law . Quarantine is a time when everyone, including churches, should search for new opportunities. They also have to contend for the parishioners “attention within the confines of the law and public interest . It is the first time when the
church must learn how to talk to the police efficiently.»

 

As a result, the human rights activists, together with the religious leaders, developed the following suggestions for the government:

 

● When holding daily and festive services during the quarantine period , the
recommendations, made public by the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and
Religious Organisations on April 8, for avoiding congestion in temples and
other premises of religious organisations should be observed (that is, a total of
10 persons, based on 1 person per 5 sq m, are allowed to be in the temple or
other premises of a religious organisation at the same time)

 

● The self-isolation requirement on persons over 60 years of age should not
apply to the clergy and persons involved in the organisation of services, as
well as to other employees of retirement age;

 

● Given the ban, imposed by the order of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine , on
access for priests to prisoners and convicts, administrations of detention
centres and penitentiary institutions should provide an opportunity for viewing
religious services and sermons that are regularly transmitted by the Public
Broadcaster on the UA: FIRST and UA: CULTURE TV channels and, where
requested by prisoners and convicts, arrange for individual remote meetings
with chaplain priests using videoconferencing facilities;

 

● Offer an opportunity for meeting religious needs of persons accommodated
at social protection or palliative care establishments, including by providing
access to them for chaplain priests or by arranging for individual remote
meetings using videoconferencing facilities;

 

● Local authorities, together with religious figures and volunteers, should be
encouraged to set up the facilities and develop the procedure for delivery of
free humanitarian aid to the destitute, including by providing food to persons
of no fixed abode, while observing sanitary and quarantine requirements and
avoiding mass convergence.

 

We would like to remind you that the Religious Freedom Roundtable in
Ukraine, founded in April 2019, is a civil society platform for dialogue and
liaison between religious, human rights and other civil society organisations.

Religious Freedom Roundtable. Held Online for the First Time

April 21, 2020

Experts from human rights organisations and religious leaders have developed for the Cabinet of Ministers a number of proposals intended to ensure religious freedom for the period of quarantine restrictions . As reported by Religious Freedom.in.ua, an online conference to iscuss these topics in the format of the Religious Freedom Roundtable in Ukraine was held jointly by the Institute for Religious Freedom and the Centre for Civil Liberties Religious figures of various faiths, including from Christian , Jewish, and Muslim religious associations of Ukraine, as well as leaders from the Kharkiv Human Rights Group and Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union , joined the discussion.

 

Lawyer Kseniia Prokonova, managing partner of the Ukrainian branch of SBH Law Offices , clarified legal aspects of quarantine restrictions to the attendees and offered practical advice on protecting the believers :


«Violated rights in the instances when actions by the police do not conform to law . Quarantine is a time when everyone, including churches, should search for new opportunities. They also have to contend for the parishioners “attention within the confines of the law and public interest . It is the first time when the
church must learn how to talk to the police efficiently.»

 

As a result, the human rights activists, together with the religious leaders, developed the following suggestions for the government:

 

● When holding daily and festive services during the quarantine period , the
recommendations, made public by the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and
Religious Organisations on April 8, for avoiding congestion in temples and
other premises of religious organisations should be observed (that is, a total of
10 persons, based on 1 person per 5 sq m, are allowed to be in the temple or
other premises of a religious organisation at the same time)

 

● The self-isolation requirement on persons over 60 years of age should not
apply to the clergy and persons involved in the organisation of services, as
well as to other employees of retirement age;

 

● Given the ban, imposed by the order of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine , on
access for priests to prisoners and convicts, administrations of detention
centres and penitentiary institutions should provide an opportunity for viewing
religious services and sermons that are regularly transmitted by the Public
Broadcaster on the UA: FIRST and UA: CULTURE TV channels and, where
requested by prisoners and convicts, arrange for individual remote meetings
with chaplain priests using videoconferencing facilities;

 

● Offer an opportunity for meeting religious needs of persons accommodated
at social protection or palliative care establishments, including by providing
access to them for chaplain priests or by arranging for individual remote
meetings using videoconferencing facilities;

 

● Local authorities, together with religious figures and volunteers, should be
encouraged to set up the facilities and develop the procedure for delivery of
free humanitarian aid to the destitute, including by providing food to persons
of no fixed abode, while observing sanitary and quarantine requirements and
avoiding mass convergence.

 

We would like to remind you that the Religious Freedom Roundtable in
Ukraine, founded in April 2019, is a civil society platform for dialogue and
liaison between religious, human rights and other civil society organisations.

CCL joined the statement on the need to release human rights defenders from prisons because of COVID-19

April 10, 2020

COVID-19: Jailed Human Rights Defenders Must Be Released Immediately

Check out FIDH’s #ForFreedom campaign for the release of imprisoned human rights defenders threatened by the pandemic: http://en.freedom-defenders.org

→ Read the press release in ArabicFrenchRussianSpanish, or Turkish

Paris, 8 April 2020 — In light of the serious threat posed to prisoners by the rapidly spreading novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, FIDH and its undersigned member organisations recall governments’ obligation to ensure the safety and health of detained individuals that are under their responsibility, and launch a campaign, #ForFreedom, to call for the release of all jailed human rights defenders (HRDs).

As the spread of COVID-19 poses an unprecedented threat, the need to release HRDs is more urgent than ever. Our rights and those who defend them must not become a casualty of this pandemic. FIDH and its undersigned member organisations are launching today a new global campaign #ForFreedom for the release of all HRDs detained worldwide. They should be freed and allowed to conduct their legitimate activities to defend the rights of individuals against injustice, discrimination, violence, and other forms of human rights violations.

“Hundreds of people all over the world are imprisoned not because they committed a crime, but because of their work to defend human rights. As legitimate actors of change, they should never have been detained in the first place,” declared Alice Mogwe, FIDH President. “As COVID-19 continues its rapid spread across the globe, it is time for governments to put an end to this injustice and release those who fight to uphold human rights,” she added.

As stated by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, “Now, more than ever, governments should release every person detained without sufficient legal basis, including political prisoners and others detained simply for expressing critical or dissenting views.” This concerns minors, migrants, refugees, political opponents, journalists, and HRDs.

The campaign website profiles imprisoned HRDs, including Loujain Al-Hathloul (Saudi Arabia); Azimjan Askarov (Kyrgyzstan); Sevda Özbingöl Çelik and Hasan Ceylan (Turkey); Yuri Dmitriev (Russia); Leila de Lima (Philippines); Pablo Lopez Alavez (Mexico); Khalil Maatouk (Syria); Narges Mohammadi (Iran); Miyan Abdul Qayoom (India); Nabeel Rajab (Bahrain); Germain Rukuki (Burundi); Patrick Zaki (Egypt). The website will be regularly updated with additional arbitrarily detained HRDs.

The urgency of the current health crisis presents authorities with an opportunity to redress the unjust deprivation of liberty of all these individuals, many of whom are incarcerated in deplorable sanitary conditions and are denied adequate health care.

In such a context, FIDH and its undersigned member organisations more generally call on governments to relieve congestion in prisons by releasing vast numbers of prisoners on a temporary, permanent or conditional basis for public health reasons. Along with human rights defenders, priority should be given to the elderly, children, those with health conditions, prisoners of conscience, prisoners detained for expressing their opinions, administrative detainees, prisoners detained for minor or non-violent offences, untried detainees, and individuals held in immigration detention centres.

In times of crisis, governments have an obligation to protect those who are most vulnerable. Prison populations, confined to detention facilities that can easily become virus hotspots, are among those most vulnerable to the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a particular risk in countries where minimum standards for detention conditions are not met, overcrowding is the norm, and social distancing is impossible to achieve. The spread of the virus in places of detention will be inevitable unless urgent measures are taken to mitigate this risk. Otherwise, incarceration could be equivalent to a death sentence for many detainees who contract, or are at risk of contracting, the COVID-19 virus.

Such measures would be consistent with the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (revised and adopted as the “Nelson Mandela Rules”), which detail measures aimed at ensuring adequate personal hygiene, health, and safety of prisoners, as well as the specific advice issued by the UN Subcommittee for the Prevention of Torture.

We welcome the move by a number of countries, including TurkeyTunisiaEthiopiaIndonesia, Senegal and Bahrain, to begin releasing prisoners in an effort to reduce overcrowding and prevent the spread of the virus. We urge these and other countries to include HRDs among those who should be released immediately. Many countries have excluded prisoners convicted of terrorism-related offences from the release, thus penalising HRDs unjustly criminalised on trumped-up terrorism charges. HRDs should be exempt from such blanket disqualifications as their human rights work must not be conflated with terrorism.

Africa

  1. Botswana: Ditshwanelo

  2. Burundi: ITEKA

  3. Cameroon: Maison des Droits de l’Homme du Cameroun

  4. Djibouti: LDDH Djibouti

  5. Ethiopia: Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRCO)

  6. Mauritania: Association Mauritanienne des Droits de l’Homme (AMDH)

  7. DRC: Groupe LOTUS

  8. DRC: Ligue des Électeurs

  9. Rwanda: Association Rwandaise pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme et des Libertés Publiques, ADL

  10. Senegal: RADDHO

  11. Tanzania: Legal and Human Rights Centre

 

Americas

  1. Argentina: Comité de Acción Jurídica (CAJ)
  2. Argentina: CAJ
  3. Brazil: Justica Global
  4. Brazil: Movimento Nacional de Direitos Humanos – MNDH Brasil
  5. Chile: Observatorio Ciudadano
  6. Colombia: CAJAR
  7. Ecuador: Acción Ecológica
  8. El Salvador: Comisión de Derechos Humanos de El Salvador (CDHES)
  9. Honduras: CIPRODEH
  10. Honduras: COFADEH
  11. Mexico: Limeddh
  12. Mexico: IDHEAS
  13. Nicaragua: CENIDH
  14. Peru: APRODEH
  15. Peru: Perú Equidad (Centro de Políticas Públicas y Derechos Humanos)

 

Asia

  1. Bangladesh: Odhikar
  2. Cambodia: Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)
  3. China: Human Rights in China (HRIC)
  4. India: Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI)
  5. Indonesia: Commission for Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS)
  6. Iran: League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI)
  7. Iran: Justice for Iran (JFI)
  8. Laos: Lao Movement for Human Rights (LMHR)
  9. Malaysia: Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
  10. Maldives: Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN)
  11. Myanmar: Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma (ALTSEAN-Burma)
  12. Myanmar: Myanmar Alliance for Transparency and Accountability (MATA)
  13. Pakistan: Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP)
  14. Taiwan: Covenants Watch

  15. Thailand: Internet Law Reform Dialogue (iLaw)
  16. Thailand: Manushya Foundation

  17. Thailand: Union for Civil Liberty (UCL)
  18. Vietnam: Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR)

 

Eastern Europe and Central Asia

  1. Armenia: CSI – Armenia
  2. Belarus: HRC Viasna
  3. Georgia: Human Rights Center
  4. Kazakhstan: International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law
  5. Kyrgyzstan: Adilet (Kyrgyzstan)
  6. Kyrgyzstan: Bir Duino
  7. Kyrgyzstan: ILI Foundation
  8. Kyrgyzstan: Kylym Shamy
  9. Russia: ADC Memorial
  10. Russia: Citizen’s Watch
  11. Russia: HRC Memorial
  12. Ukraine: Center for Civil Liberties

Middle East and North Africa

  1. Algeria: CFDA (Comité des familles de disparus en Algérie)
  2. Algeria: LADDH (Ligue Algérienne des Droits de l’Homme)
  3. Bahrain: BCHR (Bahrain Center for Human Rights)
  4. Gulf: GC4HR (Gulf Center for Human Rights)
  5. Lebanon: CLDH (Centre Libanais des Droits Humains)
  6. Morocco: AMDH (Association Marocaine des Droits de l’Homme)
  7. Morocco: OMDH (Organisation Marocaine des Droits de l’Homme)
  8. Palestine: PCHR (Palestinian Center for Human Rights)
  9. Saudi Arabia: ALQST
  10. Syria: SCM (Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression)
  11. Tunisia: LTDH (Ligue Tunisienne des Droits de l’Homme)
  12. Tunisia: ATFD (Association Tunisienne des Femmes Démocrates)
  13. Yemen: SAF (Sisters Arab Forum)

Western Europe

  1. Albania: Albanian Human Rights Group
  2. Belgium: Ligue des droits humains – Belgique
  3. Croatia: Civic Committee for Human Rights
  4. Finland: Finnish League for Human Rights,
  5. France: Association Européenne pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme (AEDH)
  6. France: Ligue des Droits de l’Homme
  7. Germany: Internationale Liga fur Menschenrechte
  8. Hungary: Hungarian Helsinki Committee
  9. Lithuania: Lithuanian Human Rights Association
  10. Latvia : Latvian Human Rights Committee
  11. Portugal: Portuguese League for Human Rights – Civitas
  12. Romania: League for the Defence of Human Rights (LADO)
  13. Spain: Asociacion pro Derechos Humanos de Espana
  14. Spain: Federacion de Asociaciones de Defensa y Promocion de Derechos Humanos de Espana
  15. Turkey: Human Rights Association (IHD)
  16. Turkey: Human Rights Foundation of Turkey
  17. UK/Northern Ireland: Committee on the Administration of Justice

Press contact:

Eva Canan (EN, ES, FR, AR): +33 6 58 05 91 57 | http://twitter.com/EvaCanan | ecanan@fidh.org

COVID-19 in closed prisons in the occupied Crimea and Donbas which is under Russia effective control

March 24, 2020

COVID-19 in closed prisons in the occupied Crimea and Donbas which is under Russia effective control. Immediate response from international organizations is required.

 

We, the below-signed, appeal to the international organizations and their member states to prevent the spread of coronavirus to detention facilities (prisons and pretrial detention centers) in Crimea which is temporarily occupied  by the Russian Federation, the Donbas which is under Russian effective control and in the territory of the Russian Federation itself.

 

Situation in the Occupied Crimea and the Russian Federation

Since March 16, 2020, the Federal Penitentiary Service of the Russian Federation (FSIN) has suspended all visits to detention facilities in order to prevent the spread of the disease among the suspects, those accused and convicted, as well as employees of the penal system. 

At the same time, penitentiary administrations are unable to implement WHO recommendations against the spread of coronavirus. The health services of these institutions lack staff, medications and equipment. They are not capable of coping with common widespread diseases, let alone a global health crisis.

Moreover, detention facilities present an extremely high risk for the transmission of infectious diseases. The buildings are often poorly ventilated, and the prison authorities cannot ensure adequate sanitation and hygiene conditions, i.e. sufficient access to water to wash hands. The detainees continue to be exposed to high risks daily at work, often gatherings, showers, etc.  The prison authorities conduct personal examinations of detainees and perform searches of cells on a daily basis, entering in body-to-body contacts with inmates. Masks for the people showing symptoms of respiratory diseases, both inmates and staff, are not available.

“On March 19, when the ambulance requested in court that I should be taken to the hospital, no one ever took me there. I was just taken to a small box in the courtroom. There, I was lying on the floor until 9 pm, because there was very little room on the bench, and I wanted to lie down, as I was cold and shivering. The schedule of the court hearings is very intense, we are on our feet for 12-14 hours without water and food. I returned to my cell close to 11 pm. I went to another paramedic, but he did not give me any medication besides the antibiotics. On that day, I had a temperature of 39.3 C, and then it even rose to 39.8 C. The cough is dry, very unpleasant. The nose is stuffy. It is difficult to breathe. Three to four other people are also sick in the cell. They are also given aspirin and the same antibiotic. Today [March 23] I do not know how high my temperature is. I wrote a statement asking for a doctor to listen to my lungs. But I was taken to a videoconference to participate in a court hearing, and I was never taken to see a doctor. I do not want to complain, but this is torture. In prison, a person simply does not have the opportunity to protect themself,” comments Server Mustafayev, a prisoner of conscience, the coordinator of the Crimean Solidarity.

The situation is considerably aggravated by the overcrowding of Russian prisons and detention centers, with inmates kept in poor sanitary conditions and the transfer of prisoners from the occupied Crimea into the Russian Federation taking a long time in breach of the norms of international humanitarian law. Due to the prevalence of torture in Russian prisons, restricting the contact of prisoners with the outside world increases the risk of ill-treatment, especially during crisis situations.

Situation in the Donbas effectively controlled by the Russian Federation

The situation in the Donbas which is under the effective control by the Russian Federation, looks even worse. After 6 years of war,  even the International Committee of the Red Cross has no access to detained people. In addition to the so-called official detention centers, there exist an extensive network of secret detention facilities. One of such places was mentioned in the latest report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. It is called “Isolation”, and it is located in the building of a former plant in Donetsk. The conditions of detention in both “official” and secret detention facilities can be equated to torture and ill-treatment and are inappropriate even for short term detentions

 

“I was held in the 13th post of the Donetsk detention facility, considered one of the “best” ones when it came to the conditions for the prisoners. Cell conditions  were appalling: poor sanitation, many bugs and cockroaches, I could not even use the mattress — it was all dirty and riddled with bed bugs — so I slept on the metal bunk, under which I put a blanket sent to me from home. Part of the window was broken, so the air in the room was constantly cold. At the 10th post, which is the worst one, the situation is extremely critical: there are rats, and the sewage often overflows into the cell.here is almost no space – cells barely fit two people, darkness, no daylight, because the post is located in the basement of the detention facility”- comments Donetsk journalist Stanislav Aseev, who was released during an exchange in December 2019.

 

The report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights highlights the widespread practice of torture and ill-treatment of detained persons. Recently released detainees reported beatings, including with electric shocker, strangulation (“wet” and “dry” methods), sexual abuse, torture, the removal of body parts (nails and teeth), deprivation of water, food, sleep, or access to the toilet, imitation of execution, threat of violence or death, and threat of harm to the family.

 

The quality of medical care in these institutions is described in testimonies provided to the OHCHR by several “Isolation” detainees. According to them, a medical worker was present during their interrogations and torture. He revived those who had lost consciousness and pointed out how to torture in order to inflict the greatest pain but not to cause death. He also examined the detainees before torture began, asked about their illnesses, measured their blood pressure or checked their pulse, and injected them. 

 

Even in those facilities where the detention of people is officially confirmed (as opposed to the situation with secret detention centers), the prisoners are provided with necessary medicine and goods by their relatives. For the quarantine period, restrictions were imposed on crossing the demarcation line in the Donbas. Today, those prisoners, whose relatives live in the territory controlled by Ukraine, will not be able to receive the necessary medicine and goods.

 

Therefore, there are no illusions that there will be any medical assistance in case of the spread of coronavirus in prisons and detention centers of Donbas which is currently under the effective Russian control. Moreover, the question arises as to what measures will be undertaken by the Russia-controlled illegal armed formations in charge of the territory, to deter the spread of the coronavirus in prisons and detention centers, in the first place, to protect themselves from contracting the disease.

 

The aforementioned problems in the penitentiary institutions and detention centers in the Ukrainian territories occupied and controlled by Russia pose a real threat not only to prisoners and staff, but also to the wider population. And because, according to scientists, the pandemic can continue in waves, it can threaten the populations of other countries. 

 

In view of the foregoing, and taking into account the position of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment of March 20, 2020, we call for the urgent reaction of the international organizations, the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the European Union, the OSCE, and their member states participants to:

 

  1. 🔹   Appeal to the Russian Federation to take immediate steps to fulfill its international obligations to protect the life and health of its detainees, both officially, such as in the Russian Federation and occupied Crimea, and unofficially, through the Kremlin-controlled illegal armed formations, such as those in Donbas which is currently under the effective Russian control, to develop the necessary plans for prevention and response to the spread of infection, in accordance with the “Statement of principles relating to the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty” in the context of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic (ECPT, 03/20/2020), and to implement the WHO recommendations.

 

  1. 🔹   To urge the Russian Federation to reduce the prison population immediately (in particular, by changing the precautionary measures for house arrests for crimes of minor public danger and the immediate release of all illegally detained political prisoners), considering that the very configuration of the cells, penitentiary facilities, and detention centers does not allow for any preventive measures, such as compliance with social distance, to be carried out.

 

  1.  🔹  The Council of Europe bodies, including the Committee of Ministers, the Secretary-General, and the Commissioner for Human Rights, must swiftly adopt recommendations to encourage the Russian Federation with its 140 million population to take these decisive steps. The Russian Federation has a wide range of measures that can have a swift effect, from criminal policy guidance to prosecutors to emergency pardon and amnesty.

 

  1. 🔹   All monitoring, judicial and quasi-judicial mechanisms of international organizations respecting fundamental human rights must take exceptional measures to be able to play their full role in a pandemic. In particular, the European Court of Human Rights should strengthen its capacity to review requests for urgent measures under Rule 39, which are important to protect human life. The number of such requests is expected to increase in the near future.

 

  1. 🔹   International organizations, and in particular the OSCE, during the upcoming meeting of the trilateral contact group in Minsk on March, 25, should raise the issue of the immediate granting by the Russian Federation of unhindered access to the occupied Crimea and Donbas to international intergovernmental organizations, in particular, the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission, the OSCE Human Rights Assessment Mission on Crimea, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, other Council of Europe convention and institutional mechanisms, etc., as well as international humanitarian organizations, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross.

 

  1. 🔹   France and Germany as members of the Normandy Format, as well as the United States and the United Kingdom as signatories to the Budapest Memorandum, should urge the Russian Federation to use its effective control over parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions to comply with the provisions of the Minsk agreements on the immediate release of persons whose freedom is restricted due to direct involvement in the armed conflict, as well as political prisoners in the occupied Crimea and the Russian Federation.

 

We also urge the Ukrainian authorities to implement all the recommendations set out in the appeal of European NGOs to prevent epidemic of the COVID-19 in detention facilities, according to Ukraine’s international obligations to protect life and health of persons who are under its effective control.

 

Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine) 

Regional Center for Human Rights (Ukraine)

Ukrainian Institute for Human Rights (Ukraine)

Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People (Ukraine)

The Institute of Mass Information (Ukraine)

Detector Media (Ukraine)

The Eastern Ukrainian Center for Civic Initiatives (Ukraine)

Luhansk Regional Human Rights CenterAlternative (Ukraine)

Human Rights House in Chernihiv (Ukraine)

Ukrainian Legal Aid Foundation (Ukraine)

Ukrainian Center for the Prevention of Torture (Ukraine)

Donbas SOS (Ukraine)

Union of Relatives of Kremlin’s Political Prisoners (Ukraine)

Crimean Tatar Resource Center (Ukraine)

Political Science Association (Ukraine)

Territory of Success (Ukraine)

Kryvyi Rih City Human Rights Society (Ukraine)

Association of Ukrainian Monitors on Human Rights Conduct in Law Enforcement (Ukraine)

The Pylyp Orlyk Institute for Democracy (Ukraine)

Congress of Ethnic Communities of Ukraine (Ukraine)

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research (Ukraine)

All-Ukrainian civic movement of mothers and relatives of participants of ATO “Bereginya” (Ukraine)

Charity Foundation Stabilization Support Services (Ukraine)

Vinnitsa NGO of Social Development of Vulnerable Youth “Sprout” (Ukraine)

All-Ukrainian Youth Organization “The Foundation of Regional Initiatives” (Ukraine)

Youth Organization “STAN” (Ukraine)

Anti-Corruption Action Center (Ukraine)

Institute for Religious Freedom (Ukraine)

Ternopil Human Rights Group (Ukraine) 

IAC Civic Space (Ukraine)

Institute for Black Sea Strategic Studies (Ukraine)

Human Rights Initiative (Ukraine)

Theatre for Change (Ukraine)

Human Rights Platform (Ukraine)

Center Eidos (Ukraine)

Liberation Movement Research Center (Ukraine)

NGO All-Ukrainian Democratic Forum (Ukraine)

International Federation for Human Rights (France)

Citizens’ Watch (Russia)

Open Dialogue Foundation (Belgium)

Norwegian Helsinki Committee (Norway)

Human Rights Movement Bir Duino-Kyrgyzstan (Kyrgyzstan)

Internews Ukraine (Ukraine)

UkraineWorld (Ukraine)

NGO Ukraine Without Torture (Ukraine)

All-Ukrainian Active Community Initiative (Ukraine)

Institute Respublica (Ukraine)

International Federation for Human Rights (France)

Macedonian Helsinki Committee (North Macedonia)

The Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan (Azerbaijan)

Memorial-Germany (Germany)

Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (Bulgaria)

Assemblée Européenne des Citoyens, France

German-Russian Exchange (Germany)

Human Rights Monitoring Institute (Lithuania)

New Europe Center (Ukraine)

Netherlands Helsinki Committee (Netherlands)

Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly – Vanadzor (Armenia)

Public Association “Dignity  (Kazakhstan)

Human Rights Matter (Germany)

Minority Rights Group Europe (Hungary)

Italian Coalition for Civil Liberties and Rights (Italy)

International Partnership for Human Rights (Belgium)

Helsinki Committee of Armenia (Armenia)

Austrian Helsinki Association (Austria)

Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law (Kazakhstan)

Promo-LEX Association (Moldova)

Public foundation “Golos svobody” (Kyrgyzstan) 

Helsinki committee for human rights in Serbia (Serbia)

Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland) 

Center for Participation and Development (Georgia) 

Zivilcourage und Anti-Rassismus-Arbeit (Germany)

Italian Federation for human rights (Italy)

Society in Support of Ukraine (Latvia)

Association for Solidarity, Mutual Assistance, and Culture “Good Heart” (Portugal)

The Association of Ukrainians in the Republic of Ireland “AURI” (Ireland)

Ukrainian Cultural Association of Malaysia (Malaysia)

Volunteer Hundred in Brescia (Italy)

The Ukrainian-Slovak Initiative (Slovakia)

The Ukrainian Women Organization in Sweden (Sweden)

London Euromaidan (Великобританія)

United Help Ukraine (the United States)

AG Ukraine – Chemnitz – Europa e.V. (Germany)

The Union of Ukrainian Culture and Solidarity (Turkey)

The Ukrainian-Austrian Cultural and Educational Center in Vienna (Austria)

Ukrainians in Mongolia (Mongolia)

The Information Portal “Irish House” (Ireland)

Central Association of Ukrainians in Germany (Germany)

Ukrainian Community in the Philippines(the Philippines) 

The Global Movement of the Ukrainian Patriots in Munich (Germany)

Fairness Corps (Ukraine)

All-Spanish NGO “Ukrainian Patriotic Association WILL,” Madrid (Spain)

Ukrainian League Taragony “Панна, Дівочі посиденьки” (Spain)

Civil Initiative “Euromaidan-Warsaw” (Poland)

Institute for Religious Freedom (Ukraine)

International Association of Ukrainians EuroMaidan/ Mezinárodní Asociace Ukrajinců EuroMajdan z.s. (Czech Republic)

Saint Olha Association  (Australia)

Ukrainian Free Kozaks of Australia (Australia)

Israeli Friends of Ukraine (Israel)

Community of Ukrainians, Vilnius (Lithuania)

Community of Ukrainians,  Guadalajara (Mexico)

Community of Ukrainians in Finland (Finland)

Young Ukraine Association, Madrid (Spain)

Bureau of Social and Political Developments (Ukraine)

Ukraine Needs You (Ukraine);

Stronger Together (Ukraine);

Liberal-Democratic League of Ukraine (Ukraine)

Defender, Nosivka, Chernihivs’ka oblast (Ukraine)

Legal Development Network (Ukraine)

Natural Rights Ukraine (Ukraine)

Center for International Security and Euro-Atlantic Integration (Ukraine)

Development foundation (Ukraine)

Non-Governmental Centre “Women’s Perspectives”(Ukraine)

Institute of Political Education (Ukraine)

Ukrainian Institute for the Future (Україна) 

Luhansk Regional Human Rights Women’s Organization “Chaika” (Ukraine)

Platform for Social Humanitarian Initiatives and Innovation “Single Coordination Center” (Ukraine)

NGO Docudays (Ukraine)

Charity Organization “Charity and Health” (Ukraine)

NGO Group of Influence (Ukraine)

Center for Economic and Legal Analytics (Ukraine)

NGO Creative Center Dagaz (Ukraine)

Media Initiative for Human Rights (Ukraine)

Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Studies (Ukraine)

PCO  “Foundation for defence of Ukraine” (Ukraine)

Social Action Center (Ukraine) 

“Sich” Human Rights Protection Group (Ukraine)

DEJURE Foundation (Ukraine)

Vostok-SOS (Ukraine)

NGO “Right to Protection” (Ukraine)

NGO “Female veteran movement” (Ukraine)

November 30 Group (Ukraine)

NGO “Women’s Rights League” Harmony of Equals” (Ukraine)

NGO St. Clement’s Center (Ukraine)

NGO Spirit and Letter (Ukraine)

NGO Alliance of Ukrainian Unity (Ukraine)

Charitable Organization “Right of a Human” (Ukraine)

Сenter for democracy and rule of law (Ukraine)

NGO “Forpost” (Ukraine)

Women in media: Balance the imbalance!

March 10, 2020

In a joint statement, IMS and 38 other organisations urge media leaders and journalists to take action against the gender inequality in the news.

 

On International Women’s Day 2020, we want to call upon all media leaders and journalists around the globe to take action against the skewed balance and representation of gender in the news – both in terms of numbers and in portrayal.

A balanced presence of women and men in news and current affairs would to a higher degree reflect the composition of society and showcase a greater variety of human experiences, views and concerns. However, statistics show that media is far from balanced:

– A majority of media content portrays women in stereotypical roles such as homemakers, models or victims.

– Women are more likely than men to be referred to in terms of superficial attributes such as appearance, age, clothes and marital status. Men, on the other hand, are more likely to be portrayed as powerful public figures, with the media focusing on profession, skills and opinions. This perpetuates a limiting and unequal perception of gender.

– Only 4% of all newspapers, radio and TV reports worldwide challenge gender stereotypes.

– Only 24% of news subjects – the people who are interviewed, or whom the news is about – are female.

– Women are used as experts only 19 % of the time.

– In only 16 % of news that relates to politics and government, women are the subject of the stories.

The numbers are not only indicative of the media sector’s gender inequality challenges but is also a serious impediment to media development and democracy. A functioning democracy requires gender equality and the media need to do much better to contribute to this goal.

Media have the power and responsibility to challenge stereotypes in content production and together we need to set an example for current and future generations. That is why today we ask you, as part of a media organisation, to:

Engage in gender media monitoring to keep track of who is represented in your content and in what capacity

Create your database of women experts on various topics — or make use of existing ones

Revise your editorial guidelines to make sure that a gender perspective is included

Conduct a gender audit of your internal work to make sure that you have a diverse workforce and identify the gender gaps in your organisation — a diverse workforce is more likely to produce pluralistic content.


The undersigned organisations stand ready to support in such efforts:

Ordinary people who do extraordinary things. Devoted to Ukrainian volunteers

February 17, 2020

Alfredo Garcia (Euromaidan Volunteer Nominee 2018)

Canadian teacher, pro-Ukrainian activist, language instructor with 20 years of experience facilitation student driven and instructor generated curricula, modules, and lesson plans.

Alfredo works for The Toronto District School Board (TDSB), one of the largest and one of the most diverse school boards in Canada. We serve approximately 247,000 students in 583 schools throughout Toronto, and more than 130,000 life-long learners in our Adult and Continuing Education programs. Please feel free to find more details following next link: https://www.tdsb.on.ca/About-Us

In the past I shared with Mr. Garcia the latest Ukrainian historical moments of Revolution of dignity and Russian Aggression later and he offered help to support people in Ukraine. I suggested him to share 1-2 hours his time per week to provide free English classes kids and adults.  Finally we selected best students in Ukraine: one children group and one adult (mostly individuals whose lives were affected by Revolution and War: military family, volunteers).

Our initiative has started in February 2018 and this projects still going in. Alfredo constantly every week dedicate 2 h of his own life time to teach English for Ukrainian students  and we have a great success, now both group are able to study without me as a translator, they can communicate and interact with native speaker and 100 % Canadian professional teacher.

Dear friends,would be great to gain and develop the friendly relationship, initiatives and partnership with motivated people and organization that are located abroad and willing to help and put human effort to support people in Ukraine around Russia’s hybrid war against Ukraine.

If you would share this information on Ukrainian (English) mass media I could transfer it also to Canadian mass media and Toronto Municipality to make this story read.

Thank our big friend abroad for supporting Ukrainians in Ukraine.

Constitutional Coup in Russia : Putin’s Move to Devalue International Human Rights Treaties Could Set Dangerous Global Precedent

February 12, 2020
On 20 January 2020, the President of Russia proposed radical changes to the Russian Constitution, but the chilling implications for human rights could echo far beyond Russia’s borders. The draft legislation introduces significant amendments to 14 articles of Russia’s supreme law of the land. FIDH and 37 of its member organisations believe that the proposed amendments contradict the letter and spirit of the Constitution, diminish the fundamental rights of Russian citizens under the guise of legitimate State concerns, and constitute an attempt to further consolidate power in the hands of the current regime. Our organisations fear that, if adopted, these measures would compromise human rights not only in Russia, but also set a dangerous precedent that may be emulated by other countries.
The speed with which the draft law was prepared – just four days – and the gross violations of constitutionally prescribed procedures for such changes, have evoked strong criticism from civil society and the public at large.One of the proposed amendments would effectively legalise the selective implementation of decisions of international treaty bodies deemed contrary to the Constitution. Russia is normally bound to abide by these decisions, by virtue of its having ratified international or regional conventions, such as the European Convention on Human Rights. But, with this proposed amendment, Russia would be able to invoke the supposed unenforceability of “interpretations” of treaty provisions as justification to not follow them, under the guise of protecting national sovereignty. In practice, the amendment would allow Russian authorities to avoid implementing decisions of the likes of the European Court of Human Rights that the latter often perceive as contrary to national interests.

“Putin’s brazen move to put in place a constitutional mechanism to avoid implementing international treaties could severely undermine international law. If adopted, the proposed legislation would not only likely aggravate the human rights situation in Russia; it could also serve as a dangerous model, paving the way for other countries to shirk international human rights obligations.”

Alice Mogwe, FIDH President.

The legislation was designed by an ad hoc working group convened on 15 January, the same day that Putin first announced the constitutional changes during his annual address. The document, drafted in just four days and without a meaningful consultation with the civil society, proposes substantive changes to 14 articles of the Constitution, contrary to a federal law requiring a separate draft law for each amendment. As early as 23 January the draft law was unanimously accepted in the first reading by the lower chamber of Russia’s Parliament. The final reading, to be followed by a vote, is expected at the end of February.

Not only is the substance of the amendments worrying; the authorities’ disregard for constitutionally prescribed procedures required to adopt them gives cause for alarm. Since the proposed changes concern the first two chapters of the Constitution, the “Fundamentals of the Constitutional System” and the “Rights and Freedoms of Man and Citizen”, Article 135 requires that a new Constitution be adopted by a Constitutional Assembly, followed by a referendum. Neither the law governing the formation of the Constitutional Assembly, nor the organ itself, are currently in existence. Rather than abide by these procedures, the authorities plan to hold a nationwide constitutional vote this spring, in an attempt to give the proposed amendment an air of legitimacy.

The authorities’ move to prize sovereignty above all, in disregard for international law, could usher in a dark time for human rights in Russia, with the potential to set a dangerous global precedent. FIDH and its 37 member organisations urge the Russian parliamentarians and the Russian people to vote against the proposed amendments.

  • Anti-Discrimination Center Memorial (ADC-Memorial, Russia)
    Adilet (Kyrgyzstan)
    Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma (ALTSEAN-Burma)
    Armanshahr/OPEN ASIA
    Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
    Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
    Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)
    Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
    Citizens’ Watch (Russia)
    Civil Society Institute (Armenia)
    Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI)
    Dutch League for Human Rights
    Finnish League for Human Rights
    French Human Rights League – Ligue des droits de l’Homme (LDH, France )
    Human Rights Association – Insan Haklari Dernegi (Turkey)
    Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP)
    Human Rights Center Georgia (HRIDC)
    Human Rights Center Memorial (Russia)
    Human Rights Center Viasna (Belarus)
    Human Rights in China (HRIC)
    International Legal Initiative (Kazakhstan)
    Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights
    Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC)
    Lao Movement for Human Rights (LMHR)
    League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI)
    Ligue Iteka (Burundi)
    Lithuanian Human Rights Association
    Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN)
    Manushya Foundation (Thailand)
    Odhikar (Bangladesh)
    Portuguese Human Rights League – Civitas (LPDHC)
    Promo Lex (Moldova)
    Regional Watch for Human Rights (Liberia)
    The League for Defence of Human Rights (LADO, Romania)
    The Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC, Tanzania)
    Union for Civil Liberty (UCL – Thailand)
    Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR)

Crimean citizen journalists

February 4, 2020

Результаты поиска:

«International support for Ukraine should increase» – statement platform CivilM+

April 21, 2020

In April 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the seventh year of the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine has begun. While the emergency has revealed gaps in the healthcare system throughout the country, the situation in the conflict zone is nearly critical. The infrastructure has been damaged by the hostilities and there is a severe lack of medical personnel. Small and medium-sized enterprises which barely started recovering after the first years of the war with the support from humanitarian organizations, have been suffering losses and are on the brink of bankruptcy during the quarantine.

Of particular concern is the situation in territories that are not controlled by the government of Ukraine: there is no credible information about the situation there, freedom of expression is seriously limited, monitoring and humanitarian organizations, for example, OSCE SMM are facing problems with accessing and operating in the territory of the self-proclaimed “DPR” and “LPR”.

We, the undersigned members of the international civil society platform CivilM +, are calling on the Government of the EU member-states to:

  • ⚫️ allocate all the resources available to support the region in its fight with COVID-19. Along with the unconditional support of medical sphere, the aid should go to small and medium business, local Ukrainian authorities and civil society organizations
  • ⚫️ keep exerting pressure on the Russian Federation to make sure that ‘DPR’ and ‘LPR “, which are under the RF control, provide unhindered access to humanitarian and monitoring organizations (firstly to the OSCE SMM, as well as to the ICRC so that it has access to all persons deprived of liberty), and stop arbitrary political persecutions.

We are also urging the Government of Ukraine to ensure that the restrictions of the freedom of movement across the contact line are only applied if they are necessary and proportionate to possible threats. All citizens, including those residing in non-government-controlled territory, should have unrestricted access to medical assistance.

We underline that new pandemic-related challenges should not diminish priority measures on the peaceful resolution of the conflict set out in the Minsk agreements and reconfirmed during the talks in the Normandy format. Those are:

  • ⚫️ ceasefire
  • ⚫️ continuation of the release of arbitrarily detained persons, both military and civil detainees
  • ⚫️ preventing further human rights violations and war crimes, and ensuring effective investigations into such crimes committed on both sides of the contact line
  • ⚫️ preparing the process of the transitional justice in all its aspects.

While welcoming the release of the detainees on 16 April 2020, we are drawing attention of the OSCE, as well as the governments of Germany and France that the bottom line should be the release of all individuals who are arbitrarily deprived of their liberty . To achieve this, we need to see consistent and coordinated efforts to complete the lists of detainees , to search and to identify their location. Having the control over “DPR” and “LPR”, the Russian Federation should influence them, as in a number of cases they refuse to admit having derived certain people of their liberty (despite the fact that the relatives of these people have confirmation papers issued by the  de-facto authorities of the self-proclaimed “republics”). Moreover, “DPR” and “LPR” refuse to release even those individuals whose names in the lists they have confirmed. As a result, it takes years for many detainees and their loved ones to wait for the ‘next stage of the exchange “.

Independent civil society organizations from Ukraine, Russia and the European Union are ready to provide civic consultations for the Minsk negotiations . The international platform CivilM + has already sent the letters with this proposal to the Office of the President of Ukraine , to the Vice-prime minister / Minister on reintegration of the temporary occupied territories and to the Minister of foreign affairs . The position and the suggestions on these matters are also  available on the CivilM + website .

 

Signatories:

Centre for Civil Liberties, Ukraine

Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, Ukraine

Truth Hounds, Ukraine

Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, Ukraine

“Citizen and Army”, Russia

DRA, German-Russian Exchange, Germany

Helsinki Citizens ‘Assembly (HCA), France

Human Rights Centre “Memorial”, Russia 

MEMORIAL Deutschland eV, Germany

For more information, please contact the Platform Secretariat: Yulia Erner, coordinator – yuliya.erner@austausch.org.  With media-requests, please contact Iryna Yakovlieva, communications coordinator –  iryna.yakovlieva@austausch.org.

Religious Freedom Roundtable. Held Online for the First Time

April 21, 2020

Experts from human rights organisations and religious leaders have developed for the Cabinet of Ministers a number of proposals intended to ensure religious freedom for the period of quarantine restrictions . As reported by ReligiousFreedom.in.ua, an online conference to iscuss these topics in the format of the Religious Freedom Roundtable in Ukraine was held jointly by the Institute for Religious Freedom and the Centre for Civil Liberties Religious figures of various faiths, including from Christian , Jewish, and Muslim religious associations of Ukraine, as well as leaders from the Kharkiv Human Rights Group and Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union , joined the discussion.

 

Lawyer Kseniia Prokonova, managing partner of the Ukrainian branch of SBH Law Offices , clarified legal aspects of quarantine restrictions to the attendees and offered practical advice on protecting the believers :


«Violated rights in the instances when actions by the police do not conform to law . Quarantine is a time when everyone, including churches, should search for new opportunities. They also have to contend for the parishioners “attention within the confines of the law and public interest . It is the first time when the
church must learn how to talk to the police efficiently.»

 

As a result, the human rights activists, together with the religious leaders, developed the following suggestions for the government:

 

● When holding daily and festive services during the quarantine period , the
recommendations, made public by the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and
Religious Organisations on April 8, for avoiding congestion in temples and
other premises of religious organisations should be observed (that is, a total of
10 persons, based on 1 person per 5 sq m, are allowed to be in the temple or
other premises of a religious organisation at the same time)

 

● The self-isolation requirement on persons over 60 years of age should not
apply to the clergy and persons involved in the organisation of services, as
well as to other employees of retirement age;

 

● Given the ban, imposed by the order of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine , on
access for priests to prisoners and convicts, administrations of detention
centres and penitentiary institutions should provide an opportunity for viewing
religious services and sermons that are regularly transmitted by the Public
Broadcaster on the UA: FIRST and UA: CULTURE TV channels and, where
requested by prisoners and convicts, arrange for individual remote meetings
with chaplain priests using videoconferencing facilities;

 

● Offer an opportunity for meeting religious needs of persons accommodated
at social protection or palliative care establishments, including by providing
access to them for chaplain priests or by arranging for individual remote
meetings using videoconferencing facilities;

 

● Local authorities, together with religious figures and volunteers, should be
encouraged to set up the facilities and develop the procedure for delivery of
free humanitarian aid to the destitute, including by providing food to persons
of no fixed abode, while observing sanitary and quarantine requirements and
avoiding mass convergence.

 

We would like to remind you that the Religious Freedom Roundtable in
Ukraine, founded in April 2019, is a civil society platform for dialogue and
liaison between religious, human rights and other civil society organisations.

Religious Freedom Roundtable. Held Online for the First Time

April 21, 2020

Experts from human rights organisations and religious leaders have developed for the Cabinet of Ministers a number of proposals intended to ensure religious freedom for the period of quarantine restrictions . As reported by Religious Freedom.in.ua, an online conference to iscuss these topics in the format of the Religious Freedom Roundtable in Ukraine was held jointly by the Institute for Religious Freedom and the Centre for Civil Liberties Religious figures of various faiths, including from Christian , Jewish, and Muslim religious associations of Ukraine, as well as leaders from the Kharkiv Human Rights Group and Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union , joined the discussion.

 

Lawyer Kseniia Prokonova, managing partner of the Ukrainian branch of SBH Law Offices , clarified legal aspects of quarantine restrictions to the attendees and offered practical advice on protecting the believers :


«Violated rights in the instances when actions by the police do not conform to law . Quarantine is a time when everyone, including churches, should search for new opportunities. They also have to contend for the parishioners “attention within the confines of the law and public interest . It is the first time when the
church must learn how to talk to the police efficiently.»

 

As a result, the human rights activists, together with the religious leaders, developed the following suggestions for the government:

 

● When holding daily and festive services during the quarantine period , the
recommendations, made public by the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and
Religious Organisations on April 8, for avoiding congestion in temples and
other premises of religious organisations should be observed (that is, a total of
10 persons, based on 1 person per 5 sq m, are allowed to be in the temple or
other premises of a religious organisation at the same time)

 

● The self-isolation requirement on persons over 60 years of age should not
apply to the clergy and persons involved in the organisation of services, as
well as to other employees of retirement age;

 

● Given the ban, imposed by the order of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine , on
access for priests to prisoners and convicts, administrations of detention
centres and penitentiary institutions should provide an opportunity for viewing
religious services and sermons that are regularly transmitted by the Public
Broadcaster on the UA: FIRST and UA: CULTURE TV channels and, where
requested by prisoners and convicts, arrange for individual remote meetings
with chaplain priests using videoconferencing facilities;

 

● Offer an opportunity for meeting religious needs of persons accommodated
at social protection or palliative care establishments, including by providing
access to them for chaplain priests or by arranging for individual remote
meetings using videoconferencing facilities;

 

● Local authorities, together with religious figures and volunteers, should be
encouraged to set up the facilities and develop the procedure for delivery of
free humanitarian aid to the destitute, including by providing food to persons
of no fixed abode, while observing sanitary and quarantine requirements and
avoiding mass convergence.

 

We would like to remind you that the Religious Freedom Roundtable in
Ukraine, founded in April 2019, is a civil society platform for dialogue and
liaison between religious, human rights and other civil society organisations.

CCL joined the statement on the need to release human rights defenders from prisons because of COVID-19

April 10, 2020

COVID-19: Jailed Human Rights Defenders Must Be Released Immediately

Check out FIDH’s #ForFreedom campaign for the release of imprisoned human rights defenders threatened by the pandemic: http://en.freedom-defenders.org

→ Read the press release in ArabicFrenchRussianSpanish, or Turkish

Paris, 8 April 2020 — In light of the serious threat posed to prisoners by the rapidly spreading novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, FIDH and its undersigned member organisations recall governments’ obligation to ensure the safety and health of detained individuals that are under their responsibility, and launch a campaign, #ForFreedom, to call for the release of all jailed human rights defenders (HRDs).

As the spread of COVID-19 poses an unprecedented threat, the need to release HRDs is more urgent than ever. Our rights and those who defend them must not become a casualty of this pandemic. FIDH and its undersigned member organisations are launching today a new global campaign #ForFreedom for the release of all HRDs detained worldwide. They should be freed and allowed to conduct their legitimate activities to defend the rights of individuals against injustice, discrimination, violence, and other forms of human rights violations.

“Hundreds of people all over the world are imprisoned not because they committed a crime, but because of their work to defend human rights. As legitimate actors of change, they should never have been detained in the first place,” declared Alice Mogwe, FIDH President. “As COVID-19 continues its rapid spread across the globe, it is time for governments to put an end to this injustice and release those who fight to uphold human rights,” she added.

As stated by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, “Now, more than ever, governments should release every person detained without sufficient legal basis, including political prisoners and others detained simply for expressing critical or dissenting views.” This concerns minors, migrants, refugees, political opponents, journalists, and HRDs.

The campaign website profiles imprisoned HRDs, including Loujain Al-Hathloul (Saudi Arabia); Azimjan Askarov (Kyrgyzstan); Sevda Özbingöl Çelik and Hasan Ceylan (Turkey); Yuri Dmitriev (Russia); Leila de Lima (Philippines); Pablo Lopez Alavez (Mexico); Khalil Maatouk (Syria); Narges Mohammadi (Iran); Miyan Abdul Qayoom (India); Nabeel Rajab (Bahrain); Germain Rukuki (Burundi); Patrick Zaki (Egypt). The website will be regularly updated with additional arbitrarily detained HRDs.

The urgency of the current health crisis presents authorities with an opportunity to redress the unjust deprivation of liberty of all these individuals, many of whom are incarcerated in deplorable sanitary conditions and are denied adequate health care.

In such a context, FIDH and its undersigned member organisations more generally call on governments to relieve congestion in prisons by releasing vast numbers of prisoners on a temporary, permanent or conditional basis for public health reasons. Along with human rights defenders, priority should be given to the elderly, children, those with health conditions, prisoners of conscience, prisoners detained for expressing their opinions, administrative detainees, prisoners detained for minor or non-violent offences, untried detainees, and individuals held in immigration detention centres.

In times of crisis, governments have an obligation to protect those who are most vulnerable. Prison populations, confined to detention facilities that can easily become virus hotspots, are among those most vulnerable to the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a particular risk in countries where minimum standards for detention conditions are not met, overcrowding is the norm, and social distancing is impossible to achieve. The spread of the virus in places of detention will be inevitable unless urgent measures are taken to mitigate this risk. Otherwise, incarceration could be equivalent to a death sentence for many detainees who contract, or are at risk of contracting, the COVID-19 virus.

Such measures would be consistent with the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (revised and adopted as the “Nelson Mandela Rules”), which detail measures aimed at ensuring adequate personal hygiene, health, and safety of prisoners, as well as the specific advice issued by the UN Subcommittee for the Prevention of Torture.

We welcome the move by a number of countries, including TurkeyTunisiaEthiopiaIndonesia, Senegal and Bahrain, to begin releasing prisoners in an effort to reduce overcrowding and prevent the spread of the virus. We urge these and other countries to include HRDs among those who should be released immediately. Many countries have excluded prisoners convicted of terrorism-related offences from the release, thus penalising HRDs unjustly criminalised on trumped-up terrorism charges. HRDs should be exempt from such blanket disqualifications as their human rights work must not be conflated with terrorism.

Africa

  1. Botswana: Ditshwanelo

  2. Burundi: ITEKA

  3. Cameroon: Maison des Droits de l’Homme du Cameroun

  4. Djibouti: LDDH Djibouti

  5. Ethiopia: Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRCO)

  6. Mauritania: Association Mauritanienne des Droits de l’Homme (AMDH)

  7. DRC: Groupe LOTUS

  8. DRC: Ligue des Électeurs

  9. Rwanda: Association Rwandaise pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme et des Libertés Publiques, ADL

  10. Senegal: RADDHO

  11. Tanzania: Legal and Human Rights Centre

 

Americas

  1. Argentina: Comité de Acción Jurídica (CAJ)
  2. Argentina: CAJ
  3. Brazil: Justica Global
  4. Brazil: Movimento Nacional de Direitos Humanos – MNDH Brasil
  5. Chile: Observatorio Ciudadano
  6. Colombia: CAJAR
  7. Ecuador: Acción Ecológica
  8. El Salvador: Comisión de Derechos Humanos de El Salvador (CDHES)
  9. Honduras: CIPRODEH
  10. Honduras: COFADEH
  11. Mexico: Limeddh
  12. Mexico: IDHEAS
  13. Nicaragua: CENIDH
  14. Peru: APRODEH
  15. Peru: Perú Equidad (Centro de Políticas Públicas y Derechos Humanos)

 

Asia

  1. Bangladesh: Odhikar
  2. Cambodia: Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)
  3. China: Human Rights in China (HRIC)
  4. India: Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI)
  5. Indonesia: Commission for Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS)
  6. Iran: League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI)
  7. Iran: Justice for Iran (JFI)
  8. Laos: Lao Movement for Human Rights (LMHR)
  9. Malaysia: Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
  10. Maldives: Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN)
  11. Myanmar: Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma (ALTSEAN-Burma)
  12. Myanmar: Myanmar Alliance for Transparency and Accountability (MATA)
  13. Pakistan: Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP)
  14. Taiwan: Covenants Watch

  15. Thailand: Internet Law Reform Dialogue (iLaw)
  16. Thailand: Manushya Foundation

  17. Thailand: Union for Civil Liberty (UCL)
  18. Vietnam: Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR)

 

Eastern Europe and Central Asia

  1. Armenia: CSI – Armenia
  2. Belarus: HRC Viasna
  3. Georgia: Human Rights Center
  4. Kazakhstan: International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law
  5. Kyrgyzstan: Adilet (Kyrgyzstan)
  6. Kyrgyzstan: Bir Duino
  7. Kyrgyzstan: ILI Foundation
  8. Kyrgyzstan: Kylym Shamy
  9. Russia: ADC Memorial
  10. Russia: Citizen’s Watch
  11. Russia: HRC Memorial
  12. Ukraine: Center for Civil Liberties

Middle East and North Africa

  1. Algeria: CFDA (Comité des familles de disparus en Algérie)
  2. Algeria: LADDH (Ligue Algérienne des Droits de l’Homme)
  3. Bahrain: BCHR (Bahrain Center for Human Rights)
  4. Gulf: GC4HR (Gulf Center for Human Rights)
  5. Lebanon: CLDH (Centre Libanais des Droits Humains)
  6. Morocco: AMDH (Association Marocaine des Droits de l’Homme)
  7. Morocco: OMDH (Organisation Marocaine des Droits de l’Homme)
  8. Palestine: PCHR (Palestinian Center for Human Rights)
  9. Saudi Arabia: ALQST
  10. Syria: SCM (Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression)
  11. Tunisia: LTDH (Ligue Tunisienne des Droits de l’Homme)
  12. Tunisia: ATFD (Association Tunisienne des Femmes Démocrates)
  13. Yemen: SAF (Sisters Arab Forum)

Western Europe

  1. Albania: Albanian Human Rights Group
  2. Belgium: Ligue des droits humains – Belgique
  3. Croatia: Civic Committee for Human Rights
  4. Finland: Finnish League for Human Rights,
  5. France: Association Européenne pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme (AEDH)
  6. France: Ligue des Droits de l’Homme
  7. Germany: Internationale Liga fur Menschenrechte
  8. Hungary: Hungarian Helsinki Committee
  9. Lithuania: Lithuanian Human Rights Association
  10. Latvia : Latvian Human Rights Committee
  11. Portugal: Portuguese League for Human Rights – Civitas
  12. Romania: League for the Defence of Human Rights (LADO)
  13. Spain: Asociacion pro Derechos Humanos de Espana
  14. Spain: Federacion de Asociaciones de Defensa y Promocion de Derechos Humanos de Espana
  15. Turkey: Human Rights Association (IHD)
  16. Turkey: Human Rights Foundation of Turkey
  17. UK/Northern Ireland: Committee on the Administration of Justice

Press contact:

Eva Canan (EN, ES, FR, AR): +33 6 58 05 91 57 | http://twitter.com/EvaCanan | ecanan@fidh.org

COVID-19 in closed prisons in the occupied Crimea and Donbas which is under Russia effective control

March 24, 2020

COVID-19 in closed prisons in the occupied Crimea and Donbas which is under Russia effective control. Immediate response from international organizations is required.

 

We, the below-signed, appeal to the international organizations and their member states to prevent the spread of coronavirus to detention facilities (prisons and pretrial detention centers) in Crimea which is temporarily occupied  by the Russian Federation, the Donbas which is under Russian effective control and in the territory of the Russian Federation itself.

 

Situation in the Occupied Crimea and the Russian Federation

Since March 16, 2020, the Federal Penitentiary Service of the Russian Federation (FSIN) has suspended all visits to detention facilities in order to prevent the spread of the disease among the suspects, those accused and convicted, as well as employees of the penal system. 

At the same time, penitentiary administrations are unable to implement WHO recommendations against the spread of coronavirus. The health services of these institutions lack staff, medications and equipment. They are not capable of coping with common widespread diseases, let alone a global health crisis.

Moreover, detention facilities present an extremely high risk for the transmission of infectious diseases. The buildings are often poorly ventilated, and the prison authorities cannot ensure adequate sanitation and hygiene conditions, i.e. sufficient access to water to wash hands. The detainees continue to be exposed to high risks daily at work, often gatherings, showers, etc.  The prison authorities conduct personal examinations of detainees and perform searches of cells on a daily basis, entering in body-to-body contacts with inmates. Masks for the people showing symptoms of respiratory diseases, both inmates and staff, are not available.

“On March 19, when the ambulance requested in court that I should be taken to the hospital, no one ever took me there. I was just taken to a small box in the courtroom. There, I was lying on the floor until 9 pm, because there was very little room on the bench, and I wanted to lie down, as I was cold and shivering. The schedule of the court hearings is very intense, we are on our feet for 12-14 hours without water and food. I returned to my cell close to 11 pm. I went to another paramedic, but he did not give me any medication besides the antibiotics. On that day, I had a temperature of 39.3 C, and then it even rose to 39.8 C. The cough is dry, very unpleasant. The nose is stuffy. It is difficult to breathe. Three to four other people are also sick in the cell. They are also given aspirin and the same antibiotic. Today [March 23] I do not know how high my temperature is. I wrote a statement asking for a doctor to listen to my lungs. But I was taken to a videoconference to participate in a court hearing, and I was never taken to see a doctor. I do not want to complain, but this is torture. In prison, a person simply does not have the opportunity to protect themself,” comments Server Mustafayev, a prisoner of conscience, the coordinator of the Crimean Solidarity.

The situation is considerably aggravated by the overcrowding of Russian prisons and detention centers, with inmates kept in poor sanitary conditions and the transfer of prisoners from the occupied Crimea into the Russian Federation taking a long time in breach of the norms of international humanitarian law. Due to the prevalence of torture in Russian prisons, restricting the contact of prisoners with the outside world increases the risk of ill-treatment, especially during crisis situations.

Situation in the Donbas effectively controlled by the Russian Federation

The situation in the Donbas which is under the effective control by the Russian Federation, looks even worse. After 6 years of war,  even the International Committee of the Red Cross has no access to detained people. In addition to the so-called official detention centers, there exist an extensive network of secret detention facilities. One of such places was mentioned in the latest report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. It is called “Isolation”, and it is located in the building of a former plant in Donetsk. The conditions of detention in both “official” and secret detention facilities can be equated to torture and ill-treatment and are inappropriate even for short term detentions

 

“I was held in the 13th post of the Donetsk detention facility, considered one of the “best” ones when it came to the conditions for the prisoners. Cell conditions  were appalling: poor sanitation, many bugs and cockroaches, I could not even use the mattress — it was all dirty and riddled with bed bugs — so I slept on the metal bunk, under which I put a blanket sent to me from home. Part of the window was broken, so the air in the room was constantly cold. At the 10th post, which is the worst one, the situation is extremely critical: there are rats, and the sewage often overflows into the cell.here is almost no space – cells barely fit two people, darkness, no daylight, because the post is located in the basement of the detention facility”- comments Donetsk journalist Stanislav Aseev, who was released during an exchange in December 2019.

 

The report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights highlights the widespread practice of torture and ill-treatment of detained persons. Recently released detainees reported beatings, including with electric shocker, strangulation (“wet” and “dry” methods), sexual abuse, torture, the removal of body parts (nails and teeth), deprivation of water, food, sleep, or access to the toilet, imitation of execution, threat of violence or death, and threat of harm to the family.

 

The quality of medical care in these institutions is described in testimonies provided to the OHCHR by several “Isolation” detainees. According to them, a medical worker was present during their interrogations and torture. He revived those who had lost consciousness and pointed out how to torture in order to inflict the greatest pain but not to cause death. He also examined the detainees before torture began, asked about their illnesses, measured their blood pressure or checked their pulse, and injected them. 

 

Even in those facilities where the detention of people is officially confirmed (as opposed to the situation with secret detention centers), the prisoners are provided with necessary medicine and goods by their relatives. For the quarantine period, restrictions were imposed on crossing the demarcation line in the Donbas. Today, those prisoners, whose relatives live in the territory controlled by Ukraine, will not be able to receive the necessary medicine and goods.

 

Therefore, there are no illusions that there will be any medical assistance in case of the spread of coronavirus in prisons and detention centers of Donbas which is currently under the effective Russian control. Moreover, the question arises as to what measures will be undertaken by the Russia-controlled illegal armed formations in charge of the territory, to deter the spread of the coronavirus in prisons and detention centers, in the first place, to protect themselves from contracting the disease.

 

The aforementioned problems in the penitentiary institutions and detention centers in the Ukrainian territories occupied and controlled by Russia pose a real threat not only to prisoners and staff, but also to the wider population. And because, according to scientists, the pandemic can continue in waves, it can threaten the populations of other countries. 

 

In view of the foregoing, and taking into account the position of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment of March 20, 2020, we call for the urgent reaction of the international organizations, the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the European Union, the OSCE, and their member states participants to:

 

  1. 🔹   Appeal to the Russian Federation to take immediate steps to fulfill its international obligations to protect the life and health of its detainees, both officially, such as in the Russian Federation and occupied Crimea, and unofficially, through the Kremlin-controlled illegal armed formations, such as those in Donbas which is currently under the effective Russian control, to develop the necessary plans for prevention and response to the spread of infection, in accordance with the “Statement of principles relating to the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty” in the context of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic (ECPT, 03/20/2020), and to implement the WHO recommendations.

 

  1. 🔹   To urge the Russian Federation to reduce the prison population immediately (in particular, by changing the precautionary measures for house arrests for crimes of minor public danger and the immediate release of all illegally detained political prisoners), considering that the very configuration of the cells, penitentiary facilities, and detention centers does not allow for any preventive measures, such as compliance with social distance, to be carried out.

 

  1.  🔹  The Council of Europe bodies, including the Committee of Ministers, the Secretary-General, and the Commissioner for Human Rights, must swiftly adopt recommendations to encourage the Russian Federation with its 140 million population to take these decisive steps. The Russian Federation has a wide range of measures that can have a swift effect, from criminal policy guidance to prosecutors to emergency pardon and amnesty.

 

  1. 🔹   All monitoring, judicial and quasi-judicial mechanisms of international organizations respecting fundamental human rights must take exceptional measures to be able to play their full role in a pandemic. In particular, the European Court of Human Rights should strengthen its capacity to review requests for urgent measures under Rule 39, which are important to protect human life. The number of such requests is expected to increase in the near future.

 

  1. 🔹   International organizations, and in particular the OSCE, during the upcoming meeting of the trilateral contact group in Minsk on March, 25, should raise the issue of the immediate granting by the Russian Federation of unhindered access to the occupied Crimea and Donbas to international intergovernmental organizations, in particular, the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission, the OSCE Human Rights Assessment Mission on Crimea, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, other Council of Europe convention and institutional mechanisms, etc., as well as international humanitarian organizations, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross.

 

  1. 🔹   France and Germany as members of the Normandy Format, as well as the United States and the United Kingdom as signatories to the Budapest Memorandum, should urge the Russian Federation to use its effective control over parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions to comply with the provisions of the Minsk agreements on the immediate release of persons whose freedom is restricted due to direct involvement in the armed conflict, as well as political prisoners in the occupied Crimea and the Russian Federation.

 

We also urge the Ukrainian authorities to implement all the recommendations set out in the appeal of European NGOs to prevent epidemic of the COVID-19 in detention facilities, according to Ukraine’s international obligations to protect life and health of persons who are under its effective control.

 

Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine) 

Regional Center for Human Rights (Ukraine)

Ukrainian Institute for Human Rights (Ukraine)

Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People (Ukraine)

The Institute of Mass Information (Ukraine)

Detector Media (Ukraine)

The Eastern Ukrainian Center for Civic Initiatives (Ukraine)

Luhansk Regional Human Rights CenterAlternative (Ukraine)

Human Rights House in Chernihiv (Ukraine)

Ukrainian Legal Aid Foundation (Ukraine)

Ukrainian Center for the Prevention of Torture (Ukraine)

Donbas SOS (Ukraine)

Union of Relatives of Kremlin’s Political Prisoners (Ukraine)

Crimean Tatar Resource Center (Ukraine)

Political Science Association (Ukraine)

Territory of Success (Ukraine)

Kryvyi Rih City Human Rights Society (Ukraine)

Association of Ukrainian Monitors on Human Rights Conduct in Law Enforcement (Ukraine)

The Pylyp Orlyk Institute for Democracy (Ukraine)

Congress of Ethnic Communities of Ukraine (Ukraine)

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research (Ukraine)

All-Ukrainian civic movement of mothers and relatives of participants of ATO “Bereginya” (Ukraine)

Charity Foundation Stabilization Support Services (Ukraine)

Vinnitsa NGO of Social Development of Vulnerable Youth “Sprout” (Ukraine)

All-Ukrainian Youth Organization “The Foundation of Regional Initiatives” (Ukraine)

Youth Organization “STAN” (Ukraine)

Anti-Corruption Action Center (Ukraine)

Institute for Religious Freedom (Ukraine)

Ternopil Human Rights Group (Ukraine) 

IAC Civic Space (Ukraine)

Institute for Black Sea Strategic Studies (Ukraine)

Human Rights Initiative (Ukraine)

Theatre for Change (Ukraine)

Human Rights Platform (Ukraine)

Center Eidos (Ukraine)

Liberation Movement Research Center (Ukraine)

NGO All-Ukrainian Democratic Forum (Ukraine)

International Federation for Human Rights (France)

Citizens’ Watch (Russia)

Open Dialogue Foundation (Belgium)

Norwegian Helsinki Committee (Norway)

Human Rights Movement Bir Duino-Kyrgyzstan (Kyrgyzstan)

Internews Ukraine (Ukraine)

UkraineWorld (Ukraine)

NGO Ukraine Without Torture (Ukraine)

All-Ukrainian Active Community Initiative (Ukraine)

Institute Respublica (Ukraine)

International Federation for Human Rights (France)

Macedonian Helsinki Committee (North Macedonia)

The Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan (Azerbaijan)

Memorial-Germany (Germany)

Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (Bulgaria)

Assemblée Européenne des Citoyens, France

German-Russian Exchange (Germany)

Human Rights Monitoring Institute (Lithuania)

New Europe Center (Ukraine)

Netherlands Helsinki Committee (Netherlands)

Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly – Vanadzor (Armenia)

Public Association “Dignity  (Kazakhstan)

Human Rights Matter (Germany)

Minority Rights Group Europe (Hungary)

Italian Coalition for Civil Liberties and Rights (Italy)

International Partnership for Human Rights (Belgium)

Helsinki Committee of Armenia (Armenia)

Austrian Helsinki Association (Austria)

Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law (Kazakhstan)

Promo-LEX Association (Moldova)

Public foundation “Golos svobody” (Kyrgyzstan) 

Helsinki committee for human rights in Serbia (Serbia)

Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland) 

Center for Participation and Development (Georgia) 

Zivilcourage und Anti-Rassismus-Arbeit (Germany)

Italian Federation for human rights (Italy)

Society in Support of Ukraine (Latvia)

Association for Solidarity, Mutual Assistance, and Culture “Good Heart” (Portugal)

The Association of Ukrainians in the Republic of Ireland “AURI” (Ireland)

Ukrainian Cultural Association of Malaysia (Malaysia)

Volunteer Hundred in Brescia (Italy)

The Ukrainian-Slovak Initiative (Slovakia)

The Ukrainian Women Organization in Sweden (Sweden)

London Euromaidan (Великобританія)

United Help Ukraine (the United States)

AG Ukraine – Chemnitz – Europa e.V. (Germany)

The Union of Ukrainian Culture and Solidarity (Turkey)

The Ukrainian-Austrian Cultural and Educational Center in Vienna (Austria)

Ukrainians in Mongolia (Mongolia)

The Information Portal “Irish House” (Ireland)

Central Association of Ukrainians in Germany (Germany)

Ukrainian Community in the Philippines(the Philippines) 

The Global Movement of the Ukrainian Patriots in Munich (Germany)

Fairness Corps (Ukraine)

All-Spanish NGO “Ukrainian Patriotic Association WILL,” Madrid (Spain)

Ukrainian League Taragony “Панна, Дівочі посиденьки” (Spain)

Civil Initiative “Euromaidan-Warsaw” (Poland)

Institute for Religious Freedom (Ukraine)

International Association of Ukrainians EuroMaidan/ Mezinárodní Asociace Ukrajinců EuroMajdan z.s. (Czech Republic)

Saint Olha Association  (Australia)

Ukrainian Free Kozaks of Australia (Australia)

Israeli Friends of Ukraine (Israel)

Community of Ukrainians, Vilnius (Lithuania)

Community of Ukrainians,  Guadalajara (Mexico)

Community of Ukrainians in Finland (Finland)

Young Ukraine Association, Madrid (Spain)

Bureau of Social and Political Developments (Ukraine)

Ukraine Needs You (Ukraine);

Stronger Together (Ukraine);

Liberal-Democratic League of Ukraine (Ukraine)

Defender, Nosivka, Chernihivs’ka oblast (Ukraine)

Legal Development Network (Ukraine)

Natural Rights Ukraine (Ukraine)

Center for International Security and Euro-Atlantic Integration (Ukraine)

Development foundation (Ukraine)

Non-Governmental Centre “Women’s Perspectives”(Ukraine)

Institute of Political Education (Ukraine)

Ukrainian Institute for the Future (Україна) 

Luhansk Regional Human Rights Women’s Organization “Chaika” (Ukraine)

Platform for Social Humanitarian Initiatives and Innovation “Single Coordination Center” (Ukraine)

NGO Docudays (Ukraine)

Charity Organization “Charity and Health” (Ukraine)

NGO Group of Influence (Ukraine)

Center for Economic and Legal Analytics (Ukraine)

NGO Creative Center Dagaz (Ukraine)

Media Initiative for Human Rights (Ukraine)

Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Studies (Ukraine)

PCO  “Foundation for defence of Ukraine” (Ukraine)

Social Action Center (Ukraine) 

“Sich” Human Rights Protection Group (Ukraine)

DEJURE Foundation (Ukraine)

Vostok-SOS (Ukraine)

NGO “Right to Protection” (Ukraine)

NGO “Female veteran movement” (Ukraine)

November 30 Group (Ukraine)

NGO “Women’s Rights League” Harmony of Equals” (Ukraine)

NGO St. Clement’s Center (Ukraine)

NGO Spirit and Letter (Ukraine)

NGO Alliance of Ukrainian Unity (Ukraine)

Charitable Organization “Right of a Human” (Ukraine)

Сenter for democracy and rule of law (Ukraine)

NGO “Forpost” (Ukraine)

Women in media: Balance the imbalance!

March 10, 2020

In a joint statement, IMS and 38 other organisations urge media leaders and journalists to take action against the gender inequality in the news.

 

On International Women’s Day 2020, we want to call upon all media leaders and journalists around the globe to take action against the skewed balance and representation of gender in the news – both in terms of numbers and in portrayal.

A balanced presence of women and men in news and current affairs would to a higher degree reflect the composition of society and showcase a greater variety of human experiences, views and concerns. However, statistics show that media is far from balanced:

– A majority of media content portrays women in stereotypical roles such as homemakers, models or victims.

– Women are more likely than men to be referred to in terms of superficial attributes such as appearance, age, clothes and marital status. Men, on the other hand, are more likely to be portrayed as powerful public figures, with the media focusing on profession, skills and opinions. This perpetuates a limiting and unequal perception of gender.

– Only 4% of all newspapers, radio and TV reports worldwide challenge gender stereotypes.

– Only 24% of news subjects – the people who are interviewed, or whom the news is about – are female.

– Women are used as experts only 19 % of the time.

– In only 16 % of news that relates to politics and government, women are the subject of the stories.

The numbers are not only indicative of the media sector’s gender inequality challenges but is also a serious impediment to media development and democracy. A functioning democracy requires gender equality and the media need to do much better to contribute to this goal.

Media have the power and responsibility to challenge stereotypes in content production and together we need to set an example for current and future generations. That is why today we ask you, as part of a media organisation, to:

Engage in gender media monitoring to keep track of who is represented in your content and in what capacity

Create your database of women experts on various topics — or make use of existing ones

Revise your editorial guidelines to make sure that a gender perspective is included

Conduct a gender audit of your internal work to make sure that you have a diverse workforce and identify the gender gaps in your organisation — a diverse workforce is more likely to produce pluralistic content.


The undersigned organisations stand ready to support in such efforts:

Ordinary people who do extraordinary things. Devoted to Ukrainian volunteers

February 17, 2020

Alfredo Garcia (Euromaidan Volunteer Nominee 2018)

Canadian teacher, pro-Ukrainian activist, language instructor with 20 years of experience facilitation student driven and instructor generated curricula, modules, and lesson plans.

Alfredo works for The Toronto District School Board (TDSB), one of the largest and one of the most diverse school boards in Canada. We serve approximately 247,000 students in 583 schools throughout Toronto, and more than 130,000 life-long learners in our Adult and Continuing Education programs. Please feel free to find more details following next link: https://www.tdsb.on.ca/About-Us

In the past I shared with Mr. Garcia the latest Ukrainian historical moments of Revolution of dignity and Russian Aggression later and he offered help to support people in Ukraine. I suggested him to share 1-2 hours his time per week to provide free English classes kids and adults.  Finally we selected best students in Ukraine: one children group and one adult (mostly individuals whose lives were affected by Revolution and War: military family, volunteers).

Our initiative has started in February 2018 and this projects still going in. Alfredo constantly every week dedicate 2 h of his own life time to teach English for Ukrainian students  and we have a great success, now both group are able to study without me as a translator, they can communicate and interact with native speaker and 100 % Canadian professional teacher.

Dear friends,would be great to gain and develop the friendly relationship, initiatives and partnership with motivated people and organization that are located abroad and willing to help and put human effort to support people in Ukraine around Russia’s hybrid war against Ukraine.

If you would share this information on Ukrainian (English) mass media I could transfer it also to Canadian mass media and Toronto Municipality to make this story read.

Thank our big friend abroad for supporting Ukrainians in Ukraine.

Constitutional Coup in Russia : Putin’s Move to Devalue International Human Rights Treaties Could Set Dangerous Global Precedent

February 12, 2020
On 20 January 2020, the President of Russia proposed radical changes to the Russian Constitution, but the chilling implications for human rights could echo far beyond Russia’s borders. The draft legislation introduces significant amendments to 14 articles of Russia’s supreme law of the land. FIDH and 37 of its member organisations believe that the proposed amendments contradict the letter and spirit of the Constitution, diminish the fundamental rights of Russian citizens under the guise of legitimate State concerns, and constitute an attempt to further consolidate power in the hands of the current regime. Our organisations fear that, if adopted, these measures would compromise human rights not only in Russia, but also set a dangerous precedent that may be emulated by other countries.
The speed with which the draft law was prepared – just four days – and the gross violations of constitutionally prescribed procedures for such changes, have evoked strong criticism from civil society and the public at large.One of the proposed amendments would effectively legalise the selective implementation of decisions of international treaty bodies deemed contrary to the Constitution. Russia is normally bound to abide by these decisions, by virtue of its having ratified international or regional conventions, such as the European Convention on Human Rights. But, with this proposed amendment, Russia would be able to invoke the supposed unenforceability of “interpretations” of treaty provisions as justification to not follow them, under the guise of protecting national sovereignty. In practice, the amendment would allow Russian authorities to avoid implementing decisions of the likes of the European Court of Human Rights that the latter often perceive as contrary to national interests.

“Putin’s brazen move to put in place a constitutional mechanism to avoid implementing international treaties could severely undermine international law. If adopted, the proposed legislation would not only likely aggravate the human rights situation in Russia; it could also serve as a dangerous model, paving the way for other countries to shirk international human rights obligations.”

Alice Mogwe, FIDH President.

The legislation was designed by an ad hoc working group convened on 15 January, the same day that Putin first announced the constitutional changes during his annual address. The document, drafted in just four days and without a meaningful consultation with the civil society, proposes substantive changes to 14 articles of the Constitution, contrary to a federal law requiring a separate draft law for each amendment. As early as 23 January the draft law was unanimously accepted in the first reading by the lower chamber of Russia’s Parliament. The final reading, to be followed by a vote, is expected at the end of February.

Not only is the substance of the amendments worrying; the authorities’ disregard for constitutionally prescribed procedures required to adopt them gives cause for alarm. Since the proposed changes concern the first two chapters of the Constitution, the “Fundamentals of the Constitutional System” and the “Rights and Freedoms of Man and Citizen”, Article 135 requires that a new Constitution be adopted by a Constitutional Assembly, followed by a referendum. Neither the law governing the formation of the Constitutional Assembly, nor the organ itself, are currently in existence. Rather than abide by these procedures, the authorities plan to hold a nationwide constitutional vote this spring, in an attempt to give the proposed amendment an air of legitimacy.

The authorities’ move to prize sovereignty above all, in disregard for international law, could usher in a dark time for human rights in Russia, with the potential to set a dangerous global precedent. FIDH and its 37 member organisations urge the Russian parliamentarians and the Russian people to vote against the proposed amendments.

  • Anti-Discrimination Center Memorial (ADC-Memorial, Russia)
    Adilet (Kyrgyzstan)
    Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma (ALTSEAN-Burma)
    Armanshahr/OPEN ASIA
    Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
    Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
    Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)
    Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
    Citizens’ Watch (Russia)
    Civil Society Institute (Armenia)
    Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI)
    Dutch League for Human Rights
    Finnish League for Human Rights
    French Human Rights League – Ligue des droits de l’Homme (LDH, France )
    Human Rights Association – Insan Haklari Dernegi (Turkey)
    Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP)
    Human Rights Center Georgia (HRIDC)
    Human Rights Center Memorial (Russia)
    Human Rights Center Viasna (Belarus)
    Human Rights in China (HRIC)
    International Legal Initiative (Kazakhstan)
    Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights
    Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC)
    Lao Movement for Human Rights (LMHR)
    League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI)
    Ligue Iteka (Burundi)
    Lithuanian Human Rights Association
    Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN)
    Manushya Foundation (Thailand)
    Odhikar (Bangladesh)
    Portuguese Human Rights League – Civitas (LPDHC)
    Promo Lex (Moldova)
    Regional Watch for Human Rights (Liberia)
    The League for Defence of Human Rights (LADO, Romania)
    The Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC, Tanzania)
    Union for Civil Liberty (UCL – Thailand)
    Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR)

Crimean citizen journalists

February 4, 2020

Результаты поиска:

«International support for Ukraine should increase» – statement platform CivilM+

April 21, 2020

In April 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the seventh year of the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine has begun. While the emergency has revealed gaps in the healthcare system throughout the country, the situation in the conflict zone is nearly critical. The infrastructure has been damaged by the hostilities and there is a severe lack of medical personnel. Small and medium-sized enterprises which barely started recovering after the first years of the war with the support from humanitarian organizations, have been suffering losses and are on the brink of bankruptcy during the quarantine.

Of particular concern is the situation in territories that are not controlled by the government of Ukraine: there is no credible information about the situation there, freedom of expression is seriously limited, monitoring and humanitarian organizations, for example, OSCE SMM are facing problems with accessing and operating in the territory of the self-proclaimed “DPR” and “LPR”.

We, the undersigned members of the international civil society platform CivilM +, are calling on the Government of the EU member-states to:

  • ⚫️ allocate all the resources available to support the region in its fight with COVID-19. Along with the unconditional support of medical sphere, the aid should go to small and medium business, local Ukrainian authorities and civil society organizations
  • ⚫️ keep exerting pressure on the Russian Federation to make sure that ‘DPR’ and ‘LPR “, which are under the RF control, provide unhindered access to humanitarian and monitoring organizations (firstly to the OSCE SMM, as well as to the ICRC so that it has access to all persons deprived of liberty), and stop arbitrary political persecutions.

We are also urging the Government of Ukraine to ensure that the restrictions of the freedom of movement across the contact line are only applied if they are necessary and proportionate to possible threats. All citizens, including those residing in non-government-controlled territory, should have unrestricted access to medical assistance.

We underline that new pandemic-related challenges should not diminish priority measures on the peaceful resolution of the conflict set out in the Minsk agreements and reconfirmed during the talks in the Normandy format. Those are:

  • ⚫️ ceasefire
  • ⚫️ continuation of the release of arbitrarily detained persons, both military and civil detainees
  • ⚫️ preventing further human rights violations and war crimes, and ensuring effective investigations into such crimes committed on both sides of the contact line
  • ⚫️ preparing the process of the transitional justice in all its aspects.

While welcoming the release of the detainees on 16 April 2020, we are drawing attention of the OSCE, as well as the governments of Germany and France that the bottom line should be the release of all individuals who are arbitrarily deprived of their liberty . To achieve this, we need to see consistent and coordinated efforts to complete the lists of detainees , to search and to identify their location. Having the control over “DPR” and “LPR”, the Russian Federation should influence them, as in a number of cases they refuse to admit having derived certain people of their liberty (despite the fact that the relatives of these people have confirmation papers issued by the  de-facto authorities of the self-proclaimed “republics”). Moreover, “DPR” and “LPR” refuse to release even those individuals whose names in the lists they have confirmed. As a result, it takes years for many detainees and their loved ones to wait for the ‘next stage of the exchange “.

Independent civil society organizations from Ukraine, Russia and the European Union are ready to provide civic consultations for the Minsk negotiations . The international platform CivilM + has already sent the letters with this proposal to the Office of the President of Ukraine , to the Vice-prime minister / Minister on reintegration of the temporary occupied territories and to the Minister of foreign affairs . The position and the suggestions on these matters are also  available on the CivilM + website .

 

Signatories:

Centre for Civil Liberties, Ukraine

Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, Ukraine

Truth Hounds, Ukraine

Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, Ukraine

“Citizen and Army”, Russia

DRA, German-Russian Exchange, Germany

Helsinki Citizens ‘Assembly (HCA), France

Human Rights Centre “Memorial”, Russia 

MEMORIAL Deutschland eV, Germany

For more information, please contact the Platform Secretariat: Yulia Erner, coordinator – yuliya.erner@austausch.org.  With media-requests, please contact Iryna Yakovlieva, communications coordinator –  iryna.yakovlieva@austausch.org.

Religious Freedom Roundtable. Held Online for the First Time

April 21, 2020

Experts from human rights organisations and religious leaders have developed for the Cabinet of Ministers a number of proposals intended to ensure religious freedom for the period of quarantine restrictions . As reported by ReligiousFreedom.in.ua, an online conference to iscuss these topics in the format of the Religious Freedom Roundtable in Ukraine was held jointly by the Institute for Religious Freedom and the Centre for Civil Liberties Religious figures of various faiths, including from Christian , Jewish, and Muslim religious associations of Ukraine, as well as leaders from the Kharkiv Human Rights Group and Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union , joined the discussion.

 

Lawyer Kseniia Prokonova, managing partner of the Ukrainian branch of SBH Law Offices , clarified legal aspects of quarantine restrictions to the attendees and offered practical advice on protecting the believers :


«Violated rights in the instances when actions by the police do not conform to law . Quarantine is a time when everyone, including churches, should search for new opportunities. They also have to contend for the parishioners “attention within the confines of the law and public interest . It is the first time when the
church must learn how to talk to the police efficiently.»

 

As a result, the human rights activists, together with the religious leaders, developed the following suggestions for the government:

 

● When holding daily and festive services during the quarantine period , the
recommendations, made public by the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and
Religious Organisations on April 8, for avoiding congestion in temples and
other premises of religious organisations should be observed (that is, a total of
10 persons, based on 1 person per 5 sq m, are allowed to be in the temple or
other premises of a religious organisation at the same time)

 

● The self-isolation requirement on persons over 60 years of age should not
apply to the clergy and persons involved in the organisation of services, as
well as to other employees of retirement age;

 

● Given the ban, imposed by the order of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine , on
access for priests to prisoners and convicts, administrations of detention
centres and penitentiary institutions should provide an opportunity for viewing
religious services and sermons that are regularly transmitted by the Public
Broadcaster on the UA: FIRST and UA: CULTURE TV channels and, where
requested by prisoners and convicts, arrange for individual remote meetings
with chaplain priests using videoconferencing facilities;

 

● Offer an opportunity for meeting religious needs of persons accommodated
at social protection or palliative care establishments, including by providing
access to them for chaplain priests or by arranging for individual remote
meetings using videoconferencing facilities;

 

● Local authorities, together with religious figures and volunteers, should be
encouraged to set up the facilities and develop the procedure for delivery of
free humanitarian aid to the destitute, including by providing food to persons
of no fixed abode, while observing sanitary and quarantine requirements and
avoiding mass convergence.

 

We would like to remind you that the Religious Freedom Roundtable in
Ukraine, founded in April 2019, is a civil society platform for dialogue and
liaison between religious, human rights and other civil society organisations.

Religious Freedom Roundtable. Held Online for the First Time

April 21, 2020

Experts from human rights organisations and religious leaders have developed for the Cabinet of Ministers a number of proposals intended to ensure religious freedom for the period of quarantine restrictions . As reported by Religious Freedom.in.ua, an online conference to iscuss these topics in the format of the Religious Freedom Roundtable in Ukraine was held jointly by the Institute for Religious Freedom and the Centre for Civil Liberties Religious figures of various faiths, including from Christian , Jewish, and Muslim religious associations of Ukraine, as well as leaders from the Kharkiv Human Rights Group and Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union , joined the discussion.

 

Lawyer Kseniia Prokonova, managing partner of the Ukrainian branch of SBH Law Offices , clarified legal aspects of quarantine restrictions to the attendees and offered practical advice on protecting the believers :


«Violated rights in the instances when actions by the police do not conform to law . Quarantine is a time when everyone, including churches, should search for new opportunities. They also have to contend for the parishioners “attention within the confines of the law and public interest . It is the first time when the
church must learn how to talk to the police efficiently.»

 

As a result, the human rights activists, together with the religious leaders, developed the following suggestions for the government:

 

● When holding daily and festive services during the quarantine period , the
recommendations, made public by the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and
Religious Organisations on April 8, for avoiding congestion in temples and
other premises of religious organisations should be observed (that is, a total of
10 persons, based on 1 person per 5 sq m, are allowed to be in the temple or
other premises of a religious organisation at the same time)

 

● The self-isolation requirement on persons over 60 years of age should not
apply to the clergy and persons involved in the organisation of services, as
well as to other employees of retirement age;

 

● Given the ban, imposed by the order of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine , on
access for priests to prisoners and convicts, administrations of detention
centres and penitentiary institutions should provide an opportunity for viewing
religious services and sermons that are regularly transmitted by the Public
Broadcaster on the UA: FIRST and UA: CULTURE TV channels and, where
requested by prisoners and convicts, arrange for individual remote meetings
with chaplain priests using videoconferencing facilities;

 

● Offer an opportunity for meeting religious needs of persons accommodated
at social protection or palliative care establishments, including by providing
access to them for chaplain priests or by arranging for individual remote
meetings using videoconferencing facilities;

 

● Local authorities, together with religious figures and volunteers, should be
encouraged to set up the facilities and develop the procedure for delivery of
free humanitarian aid to the destitute, including by providing food to persons
of no fixed abode, while observing sanitary and quarantine requirements and
avoiding mass convergence.

 

We would like to remind you that the Religious Freedom Roundtable in
Ukraine, founded in April 2019, is a civil society platform for dialogue and
liaison between religious, human rights and other civil society organisations.

CCL joined the statement on the need to release human rights defenders from prisons because of COVID-19

April 10, 2020

COVID-19: Jailed Human Rights Defenders Must Be Released Immediately

Check out FIDH’s #ForFreedom campaign for the release of imprisoned human rights defenders threatened by the pandemic: http://en.freedom-defenders.org

→ Read the press release in ArabicFrenchRussianSpanish, or Turkish

Paris, 8 April 2020 — In light of the serious threat posed to prisoners by the rapidly spreading novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, FIDH and its undersigned member organisations recall governments’ obligation to ensure the safety and health of detained individuals that are under their responsibility, and launch a campaign, #ForFreedom, to call for the release of all jailed human rights defenders (HRDs).

As the spread of COVID-19 poses an unprecedented threat, the need to release HRDs is more urgent than ever. Our rights and those who defend them must not become a casualty of this pandemic. FIDH and its undersigned member organisations are launching today a new global campaign #ForFreedom for the release of all HRDs detained worldwide. They should be freed and allowed to conduct their legitimate activities to defend the rights of individuals against injustice, discrimination, violence, and other forms of human rights violations.

“Hundreds of people all over the world are imprisoned not because they committed a crime, but because of their work to defend human rights. As legitimate actors of change, they should never have been detained in the first place,” declared Alice Mogwe, FIDH President. “As COVID-19 continues its rapid spread across the globe, it is time for governments to put an end to this injustice and release those who fight to uphold human rights,” she added.

As stated by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, “Now, more than ever, governments should release every person detained without sufficient legal basis, including political prisoners and others detained simply for expressing critical or dissenting views.” This concerns minors, migrants, refugees, political opponents, journalists, and HRDs.

The campaign website profiles imprisoned HRDs, including Loujain Al-Hathloul (Saudi Arabia); Azimjan Askarov (Kyrgyzstan); Sevda Özbingöl Çelik and Hasan Ceylan (Turkey); Yuri Dmitriev (Russia); Leila de Lima (Philippines); Pablo Lopez Alavez (Mexico); Khalil Maatouk (Syria); Narges Mohammadi (Iran); Miyan Abdul Qayoom (India); Nabeel Rajab (Bahrain); Germain Rukuki (Burundi); Patrick Zaki (Egypt). The website will be regularly updated with additional arbitrarily detained HRDs.

The urgency of the current health crisis presents authorities with an opportunity to redress the unjust deprivation of liberty of all these individuals, many of whom are incarcerated in deplorable sanitary conditions and are denied adequate health care.

In such a context, FIDH and its undersigned member organisations more generally call on governments to relieve congestion in prisons by releasing vast numbers of prisoners on a temporary, permanent or conditional basis for public health reasons. Along with human rights defenders, priority should be given to the elderly, children, those with health conditions, prisoners of conscience, prisoners detained for expressing their opinions, administrative detainees, prisoners detained for minor or non-violent offences, untried detainees, and individuals held in immigration detention centres.

In times of crisis, governments have an obligation to protect those who are most vulnerable. Prison populations, confined to detention facilities that can easily become virus hotspots, are among those most vulnerable to the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a particular risk in countries where minimum standards for detention conditions are not met, overcrowding is the norm, and social distancing is impossible to achieve. The spread of the virus in places of detention will be inevitable unless urgent measures are taken to mitigate this risk. Otherwise, incarceration could be equivalent to a death sentence for many detainees who contract, or are at risk of contracting, the COVID-19 virus.

Such measures would be consistent with the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (revised and adopted as the “Nelson Mandela Rules”), which detail measures aimed at ensuring adequate personal hygiene, health, and safety of prisoners, as well as the specific advice issued by the UN Subcommittee for the Prevention of Torture.

We welcome the move by a number of countries, including TurkeyTunisiaEthiopiaIndonesia, Senegal and Bahrain, to begin releasing prisoners in an effort to reduce overcrowding and prevent the spread of the virus. We urge these and other countries to include HRDs among those who should be released immediately. Many countries have excluded prisoners convicted of terrorism-related offences from the release, thus penalising HRDs unjustly criminalised on trumped-up terrorism charges. HRDs should be exempt from such blanket disqualifications as their human rights work must not be conflated with terrorism.

Africa

  1. Botswana: Ditshwanelo

  2. Burundi: ITEKA

  3. Cameroon: Maison des Droits de l’Homme du Cameroun

  4. Djibouti: LDDH Djibouti

  5. Ethiopia: Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRCO)

  6. Mauritania: Association Mauritanienne des Droits de l’Homme (AMDH)

  7. DRC: Groupe LOTUS

  8. DRC: Ligue des Électeurs

  9. Rwanda: Association Rwandaise pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme et des Libertés Publiques, ADL

  10. Senegal: RADDHO

  11. Tanzania: Legal and Human Rights Centre

 

Americas

  1. Argentina: Comité de Acción Jurídica (CAJ)
  2. Argentina: CAJ
  3. Brazil: Justica Global
  4. Brazil: Movimento Nacional de Direitos Humanos – MNDH Brasil
  5. Chile: Observatorio Ciudadano
  6. Colombia: CAJAR
  7. Ecuador: Acción Ecológica
  8. El Salvador: Comisión de Derechos Humanos de El Salvador (CDHES)
  9. Honduras: CIPRODEH
  10. Honduras: COFADEH
  11. Mexico: Limeddh
  12. Mexico: IDHEAS
  13. Nicaragua: CENIDH
  14. Peru: APRODEH
  15. Peru: Perú Equidad (Centro de Políticas Públicas y Derechos Humanos)

 

Asia

  1. Bangladesh: Odhikar
  2. Cambodia: Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)
  3. China: Human Rights in China (HRIC)
  4. India: Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI)
  5. Indonesia: Commission for Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS)
  6. Iran: League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI)
  7. Iran: Justice for Iran (JFI)
  8. Laos: Lao Movement for Human Rights (LMHR)
  9. Malaysia: Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
  10. Maldives: Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN)
  11. Myanmar: Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma (ALTSEAN-Burma)
  12. Myanmar: Myanmar Alliance for Transparency and Accountability (MATA)
  13. Pakistan: Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP)
  14. Taiwan: Covenants Watch

  15. Thailand: Internet Law Reform Dialogue (iLaw)
  16. Thailand: Manushya Foundation

  17. Thailand: Union for Civil Liberty (UCL)
  18. Vietnam: Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR)

 

Eastern Europe and Central Asia

  1. Armenia: CSI – Armenia
  2. Belarus: HRC Viasna
  3. Georgia: Human Rights Center
  4. Kazakhstan: International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law
  5. Kyrgyzstan: Adilet (Kyrgyzstan)
  6. Kyrgyzstan: Bir Duino
  7. Kyrgyzstan: ILI Foundation
  8. Kyrgyzstan: Kylym Shamy
  9. Russia: ADC Memorial
  10. Russia: Citizen’s Watch
  11. Russia: HRC Memorial
  12. Ukraine: Center for Civil Liberties

Middle East and North Africa

  1. Algeria: CFDA (Comité des familles de disparus en Algérie)
  2. Algeria: LADDH (Ligue Algérienne des Droits de l’Homme)
  3. Bahrain: BCHR (Bahrain Center for Human Rights)
  4. Gulf: GC4HR (Gulf Center for Human Rights)
  5. Lebanon: CLDH (Centre Libanais des Droits Humains)
  6. Morocco: AMDH (Association Marocaine des Droits de l’Homme)
  7. Morocco: OMDH (Organisation Marocaine des Droits de l’Homme)
  8. Palestine: PCHR (Palestinian Center for Human Rights)
  9. Saudi Arabia: ALQST
  10. Syria: SCM (Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression)
  11. Tunisia: LTDH (Ligue Tunisienne des Droits de l’Homme)
  12. Tunisia: ATFD (Association Tunisienne des Femmes Démocrates)
  13. Yemen: SAF (Sisters Arab Forum)

Western Europe

  1. Albania: Albanian Human Rights Group
  2. Belgium: Ligue des droits humains – Belgique
  3. Croatia: Civic Committee for Human Rights
  4. Finland: Finnish League for Human Rights,
  5. France: Association Européenne pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme (AEDH)
  6. France: Ligue des Droits de l’Homme
  7. Germany: Internationale Liga fur Menschenrechte
  8. Hungary: Hungarian Helsinki Committee
  9. Lithuania: Lithuanian Human Rights Association
  10. Latvia : Latvian Human Rights Committee
  11. Portugal: Portuguese League for Human Rights – Civitas
  12. Romania: League for the Defence of Human Rights (LADO)
  13. Spain: Asociacion pro Derechos Humanos de Espana
  14. Spain: Federacion de Asociaciones de Defensa y Promocion de Derechos Humanos de Espana
  15. Turkey: Human Rights Association (IHD)
  16. Turkey: Human Rights Foundation of Turkey
  17. UK/Northern Ireland: Committee on the Administration of Justice

Press contact:

Eva Canan (EN, ES, FR, AR): +33 6 58 05 91 57 | http://twitter.com/EvaCanan | ecanan@fidh.org

COVID-19 in closed prisons in the occupied Crimea and Donbas which is under Russia effective control

March 24, 2020

COVID-19 in closed prisons in the occupied Crimea and Donbas which is under Russia effective control. Immediate response from international organizations is required.

 

We, the below-signed, appeal to the international organizations and their member states to prevent the spread of coronavirus to detention facilities (prisons and pretrial detention centers) in Crimea which is temporarily occupied  by the Russian Federation, the Donbas which is under Russian effective control and in the territory of the Russian Federation itself.

 

Situation in the Occupied Crimea and the Russian Federation

Since March 16, 2020, the Federal Penitentiary Service of the Russian Federation (FSIN) has suspended all visits to detention facilities in order to prevent the spread of the disease among the suspects, those accused and convicted, as well as employees of the penal system. 

At the same time, penitentiary administrations are unable to implement WHO recommendations against the spread of coronavirus. The health services of these institutions lack staff, medications and equipment. They are not capable of coping with common widespread diseases, let alone a global health crisis.

Moreover, detention facilities present an extremely high risk for the transmission of infectious diseases. The buildings are often poorly ventilated, and the prison authorities cannot ensure adequate sanitation and hygiene conditions, i.e. sufficient access to water to wash hands. The detainees continue to be exposed to high risks daily at work, often gatherings, showers, etc.  The prison authorities conduct personal examinations of detainees and perform searches of cells on a daily basis, entering in body-to-body contacts with inmates. Masks for the people showing symptoms of respiratory diseases, both inmates and staff, are not available.

“On March 19, when the ambulance requested in court that I should be taken to the hospital, no one ever took me there. I was just taken to a small box in the courtroom. There, I was lying on the floor until 9 pm, because there was very little room on the bench, and I wanted to lie down, as I was cold and shivering. The schedule of the court hearings is very intense, we are on our feet for 12-14 hours without water and food. I returned to my cell close to 11 pm. I went to another paramedic, but he did not give me any medication besides the antibiotics. On that day, I had a temperature of 39.3 C, and then it even rose to 39.8 C. The cough is dry, very unpleasant. The nose is stuffy. It is difficult to breathe. Three to four other people are also sick in the cell. They are also given aspirin and the same antibiotic. Today [March 23] I do not know how high my temperature is. I wrote a statement asking for a doctor to listen to my lungs. But I was taken to a videoconference to participate in a court hearing, and I was never taken to see a doctor. I do not want to complain, but this is torture. In prison, a person simply does not have the opportunity to protect themself,” comments Server Mustafayev, a prisoner of conscience, the coordinator of the Crimean Solidarity.

The situation is considerably aggravated by the overcrowding of Russian prisons and detention centers, with inmates kept in poor sanitary conditions and the transfer of prisoners from the occupied Crimea into the Russian Federation taking a long time in breach of the norms of international humanitarian law. Due to the prevalence of torture in Russian prisons, restricting the contact of prisoners with the outside world increases the risk of ill-treatment, especially during crisis situations.

Situation in the Donbas effectively controlled by the Russian Federation

The situation in the Donbas which is under the effective control by the Russian Federation, looks even worse. After 6 years of war,  even the International Committee of the Red Cross has no access to detained people. In addition to the so-called official detention centers, there exist an extensive network of secret detention facilities. One of such places was mentioned in the latest report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. It is called “Isolation”, and it is located in the building of a former plant in Donetsk. The conditions of detention in both “official” and secret detention facilities can be equated to torture and ill-treatment and are inappropriate even for short term detentions

 

“I was held in the 13th post of the Donetsk detention facility, considered one of the “best” ones when it came to the conditions for the prisoners. Cell conditions  were appalling: poor sanitation, many bugs and cockroaches, I could not even use the mattress — it was all dirty and riddled with bed bugs — so I slept on the metal bunk, under which I put a blanket sent to me from home. Part of the window was broken, so the air in the room was constantly cold. At the 10th post, which is the worst one, the situation is extremely critical: there are rats, and the sewage often overflows into the cell.here is almost no space – cells barely fit two people, darkness, no daylight, because the post is located in the basement of the detention facility”- comments Donetsk journalist Stanislav Aseev, who was released during an exchange in December 2019.

 

The report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights highlights the widespread practice of torture and ill-treatment of detained persons. Recently released detainees reported beatings, including with electric shocker, strangulation (“wet” and “dry” methods), sexual abuse, torture, the removal of body parts (nails and teeth), deprivation of water, food, sleep, or access to the toilet, imitation of execution, threat of violence or death, and threat of harm to the family.

 

The quality of medical care in these institutions is described in testimonies provided to the OHCHR by several “Isolation” detainees. According to them, a medical worker was present during their interrogations and torture. He revived those who had lost consciousness and pointed out how to torture in order to inflict the greatest pain but not to cause death. He also examined the detainees before torture began, asked about their illnesses, measured their blood pressure or checked their pulse, and injected them. 

 

Even in those facilities where the detention of people is officially confirmed (as opposed to the situation with secret detention centers), the prisoners are provided with necessary medicine and goods by their relatives. For the quarantine period, restrictions were imposed on crossing the demarcation line in the Donbas. Today, those prisoners, whose relatives live in the territory controlled by Ukraine, will not be able to receive the necessary medicine and goods.

 

Therefore, there are no illusions that there will be any medical assistance in case of the spread of coronavirus in prisons and detention centers of Donbas which is currently under the effective Russian control. Moreover, the question arises as to what measures will be undertaken by the Russia-controlled illegal armed formations in charge of the territory, to deter the spread of the coronavirus in prisons and detention centers, in the first place, to protect themselves from contracting the disease.

 

The aforementioned problems in the penitentiary institutions and detention centers in the Ukrainian territories occupied and controlled by Russia pose a real threat not only to prisoners and staff, but also to the wider population. And because, according to scientists, the pandemic can continue in waves, it can threaten the populations of other countries. 

 

In view of the foregoing, and taking into account the position of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment of March 20, 2020, we call for the urgent reaction of the international organizations, the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the European Union, the OSCE, and their member states participants to:

 

  1. 🔹   Appeal to the Russian Federation to take immediate steps to fulfill its international obligations to protect the life and health of its detainees, both officially, such as in the Russian Federation and occupied Crimea, and unofficially, through the Kremlin-controlled illegal armed formations, such as those in Donbas which is currently under the effective Russian control, to develop the necessary plans for prevention and response to the spread of infection, in accordance with the “Statement of principles relating to the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty” in the context of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic (ECPT, 03/20/2020), and to implement the WHO recommendations.

 

  1. 🔹   To urge the Russian Federation to reduce the prison population immediately (in particular, by changing the precautionary measures for house arrests for crimes of minor public danger and the immediate release of all illegally detained political prisoners), considering that the very configuration of the cells, penitentiary facilities, and detention centers does not allow for any preventive measures, such as compliance with social distance, to be carried out.

 

  1.  🔹  The Council of Europe bodies, including the Committee of Ministers, the Secretary-General, and the Commissioner for Human Rights, must swiftly adopt recommendations to encourage the Russian Federation with its 140 million population to take these decisive steps. The Russian Federation has a wide range of measures that can have a swift effect, from criminal policy guidance to prosecutors to emergency pardon and amnesty.

 

  1. 🔹   All monitoring, judicial and quasi-judicial mechanisms of international organizations respecting fundamental human rights must take exceptional measures to be able to play their full role in a pandemic. In particular, the European Court of Human Rights should strengthen its capacity to review requests for urgent measures under Rule 39, which are important to protect human life. The number of such requests is expected to increase in the near future.

 

  1. 🔹   International organizations, and in particular the OSCE, during the upcoming meeting of the trilateral contact group in Minsk on March, 25, should raise the issue of the immediate granting by the Russian Federation of unhindered access to the occupied Crimea and Donbas to international intergovernmental organizations, in particular, the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission, the OSCE Human Rights Assessment Mission on Crimea, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, other Council of Europe convention and institutional mechanisms, etc., as well as international humanitarian organizations, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross.

 

  1. 🔹   France and Germany as members of the Normandy Format, as well as the United States and the United Kingdom as signatories to the Budapest Memorandum, should urge the Russian Federation to use its effective control over parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions to comply with the provisions of the Minsk agreements on the immediate release of persons whose freedom is restricted due to direct involvement in the armed conflict, as well as political prisoners in the occupied Crimea and the Russian Federation.

 

We also urge the Ukrainian authorities to implement all the recommendations set out in the appeal of European NGOs to prevent epidemic of the COVID-19 in detention facilities, according to Ukraine’s international obligations to protect life and health of persons who are under its effective control.

 

Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine) 

Regional Center for Human Rights (Ukraine)

Ukrainian Institute for Human Rights (Ukraine)

Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People (Ukraine)

The Institute of Mass Information (Ukraine)

Detector Media (Ukraine)

The Eastern Ukrainian Center for Civic Initiatives (Ukraine)

Luhansk Regional Human Rights CenterAlternative (Ukraine)

Human Rights House in Chernihiv (Ukraine)

Ukrainian Legal Aid Foundation (Ukraine)

Ukrainian Center for the Prevention of Torture (Ukraine)

Donbas SOS (Ukraine)

Union of Relatives of Kremlin’s Political Prisoners (Ukraine)

Crimean Tatar Resource Center (Ukraine)

Political Science Association (Ukraine)

Territory of Success (Ukraine)

Kryvyi Rih City Human Rights Society (Ukraine)

Association of Ukrainian Monitors on Human Rights Conduct in Law Enforcement (Ukraine)

The Pylyp Orlyk Institute for Democracy (Ukraine)

Congress of Ethnic Communities of Ukraine (Ukraine)

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research (Ukraine)

All-Ukrainian civic movement of mothers and relatives of participants of ATO “Bereginya” (Ukraine)

Charity Foundation Stabilization Support Services (Ukraine)

Vinnitsa NGO of Social Development of Vulnerable Youth “Sprout” (Ukraine)

All-Ukrainian Youth Organization “The Foundation of Regional Initiatives” (Ukraine)

Youth Organization “STAN” (Ukraine)

Anti-Corruption Action Center (Ukraine)

Institute for Religious Freedom (Ukraine)

Ternopil Human Rights Group (Ukraine) 

IAC Civic Space (Ukraine)

Institute for Black Sea Strategic Studies (Ukraine)

Human Rights Initiative (Ukraine)

Theatre for Change (Ukraine)

Human Rights Platform (Ukraine)

Center Eidos (Ukraine)

Liberation Movement Research Center (Ukraine)

NGO All-Ukrainian Democratic Forum (Ukraine)

International Federation for Human Rights (France)

Citizens’ Watch (Russia)

Open Dialogue Foundation (Belgium)

Norwegian Helsinki Committee (Norway)

Human Rights Movement Bir Duino-Kyrgyzstan (Kyrgyzstan)

Internews Ukraine (Ukraine)

UkraineWorld (Ukraine)

NGO Ukraine Without Torture (Ukraine)

All-Ukrainian Active Community Initiative (Ukraine)

Institute Respublica (Ukraine)

International Federation for Human Rights (France)

Macedonian Helsinki Committee (North Macedonia)

The Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan (Azerbaijan)

Memorial-Germany (Germany)

Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (Bulgaria)

Assemblée Européenne des Citoyens, France

German-Russian Exchange (Germany)

Human Rights Monitoring Institute (Lithuania)

New Europe Center (Ukraine)

Netherlands Helsinki Committee (Netherlands)

Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly – Vanadzor (Armenia)

Public Association “Dignity  (Kazakhstan)

Human Rights Matter (Germany)

Minority Rights Group Europe (Hungary)

Italian Coalition for Civil Liberties and Rights (Italy)

International Partnership for Human Rights (Belgium)

Helsinki Committee of Armenia (Armenia)

Austrian Helsinki Association (Austria)

Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law (Kazakhstan)

Promo-LEX Association (Moldova)

Public foundation “Golos svobody” (Kyrgyzstan) 

Helsinki committee for human rights in Serbia (Serbia)

Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland) 

Center for Participation and Development (Georgia) 

Zivilcourage und Anti-Rassismus-Arbeit (Germany)

Italian Federation for human rights (Italy)

Society in Support of Ukraine (Latvia)

Association for Solidarity, Mutual Assistance, and Culture “Good Heart” (Portugal)

The Association of Ukrainians in the Republic of Ireland “AURI” (Ireland)

Ukrainian Cultural Association of Malaysia (Malaysia)

Volunteer Hundred in Brescia (Italy)

The Ukrainian-Slovak Initiative (Slovakia)

The Ukrainian Women Organization in Sweden (Sweden)

London Euromaidan (Великобританія)

United Help Ukraine (the United States)

AG Ukraine – Chemnitz – Europa e.V. (Germany)

The Union of Ukrainian Culture and Solidarity (Turkey)

The Ukrainian-Austrian Cultural and Educational Center in Vienna (Austria)

Ukrainians in Mongolia (Mongolia)

The Information Portal “Irish House” (Ireland)

Central Association of Ukrainians in Germany (Germany)

Ukrainian Community in the Philippines(the Philippines) 

The Global Movement of the Ukrainian Patriots in Munich (Germany)

Fairness Corps (Ukraine)

All-Spanish NGO “Ukrainian Patriotic Association WILL,” Madrid (Spain)

Ukrainian League Taragony “Панна, Дівочі посиденьки” (Spain)

Civil Initiative “Euromaidan-Warsaw” (Poland)

Institute for Religious Freedom (Ukraine)

International Association of Ukrainians EuroMaidan/ Mezinárodní Asociace Ukrajinců EuroMajdan z.s. (Czech Republic)

Saint Olha Association  (Australia)

Ukrainian Free Kozaks of Australia (Australia)

Israeli Friends of Ukraine (Israel)

Community of Ukrainians, Vilnius (Lithuania)

Community of Ukrainians,  Guadalajara (Mexico)

Community of Ukrainians in Finland (Finland)

Young Ukraine Association, Madrid (Spain)

Bureau of Social and Political Developments (Ukraine)

Ukraine Needs You (Ukraine);

Stronger Together (Ukraine);

Liberal-Democratic League of Ukraine (Ukraine)

Defender, Nosivka, Chernihivs’ka oblast (Ukraine)

Legal Development Network (Ukraine)

Natural Rights Ukraine (Ukraine)

Center for International Security and Euro-Atlantic Integration (Ukraine)

Development foundation (Ukraine)

Non-Governmental Centre “Women’s Perspectives”(Ukraine)

Institute of Political Education (Ukraine)

Ukrainian Institute for the Future (Україна) 

Luhansk Regional Human Rights Women’s Organization “Chaika” (Ukraine)

Platform for Social Humanitarian Initiatives and Innovation “Single Coordination Center” (Ukraine)

NGO Docudays (Ukraine)

Charity Organization “Charity and Health” (Ukraine)

NGO Group of Influence (Ukraine)

Center for Economic and Legal Analytics (Ukraine)

NGO Creative Center Dagaz (Ukraine)

Media Initiative for Human Rights (Ukraine)

Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Studies (Ukraine)

PCO  “Foundation for defence of Ukraine” (Ukraine)

Social Action Center (Ukraine) 

“Sich” Human Rights Protection Group (Ukraine)

DEJURE Foundation (Ukraine)

Vostok-SOS (Ukraine)

NGO “Right to Protection” (Ukraine)

NGO “Female veteran movement” (Ukraine)

November 30 Group (Ukraine)

NGO “Women’s Rights League” Harmony of Equals” (Ukraine)

NGO St. Clement’s Center (Ukraine)

NGO Spirit and Letter (Ukraine)

NGO Alliance of Ukrainian Unity (Ukraine)

Charitable Organization “Right of a Human” (Ukraine)

Сenter for democracy and rule of law (Ukraine)

NGO “Forpost” (Ukraine)

Women in media: Balance the imbalance!

March 10, 2020

In a joint statement, IMS and 38 other organisations urge media leaders and journalists to take action against the gender inequality in the news.

 

On International Women’s Day 2020, we want to call upon all media leaders and journalists around the globe to take action against the skewed balance and representation of gender in the news – both in terms of numbers and in portrayal.

A balanced presence of women and men in news and current affairs would to a higher degree reflect the composition of society and showcase a greater variety of human experiences, views and concerns. However, statistics show that media is far from balanced:

– A majority of media content portrays women in stereotypical roles such as homemakers, models or victims.

– Women are more likely than men to be referred to in terms of superficial attributes such as appearance, age, clothes and marital status. Men, on the other hand, are more likely to be portrayed as powerful public figures, with the media focusing on profession, skills and opinions. This perpetuates a limiting and unequal perception of gender.

– Only 4% of all newspapers, radio and TV reports worldwide challenge gender stereotypes.

– Only 24% of news subjects – the people who are interviewed, or whom the news is about – are female.

– Women are used as experts only 19 % of the time.

– In only 16 % of news that relates to politics and government, women are the subject of the stories.

The numbers are not only indicative of the media sector’s gender inequality challenges but is also a serious impediment to media development and democracy. A functioning democracy requires gender equality and the media need to do much better to contribute to this goal.

Media have the power and responsibility to challenge stereotypes in content production and together we need to set an example for current and future generations. That is why today we ask you, as part of a media organisation, to:

Engage in gender media monitoring to keep track of who is represented in your content and in what capacity

Create your database of women experts on various topics — or make use of existing ones

Revise your editorial guidelines to make sure that a gender perspective is included

Conduct a gender audit of your internal work to make sure that you have a diverse workforce and identify the gender gaps in your organisation — a diverse workforce is more likely to produce pluralistic content.


The undersigned organisations stand ready to support in such efforts:

Ordinary people who do extraordinary things. Devoted to Ukrainian volunteers

February 17, 2020

Alfredo Garcia (Euromaidan Volunteer Nominee 2018)

Canadian teacher, pro-Ukrainian activist, language instructor with 20 years of experience facilitation student driven and instructor generated curricula, modules, and lesson plans.

Alfredo works for The Toronto District School Board (TDSB), one of the largest and one of the most diverse school boards in Canada. We serve approximately 247,000 students in 583 schools throughout Toronto, and more than 130,000 life-long learners in our Adult and Continuing Education programs. Please feel free to find more details following next link: https://www.tdsb.on.ca/About-Us

In the past I shared with Mr. Garcia the latest Ukrainian historical moments of Revolution of dignity and Russian Aggression later and he offered help to support people in Ukraine. I suggested him to share 1-2 hours his time per week to provide free English classes kids and adults.  Finally we selected best students in Ukraine: one children group and one adult (mostly individuals whose lives were affected by Revolution and War: military family, volunteers).

Our initiative has started in February 2018 and this projects still going in. Alfredo constantly every week dedicate 2 h of his own life time to teach English for Ukrainian students  and we have a great success, now both group are able to study without me as a translator, they can communicate and interact with native speaker and 100 % Canadian professional teacher.

Dear friends,would be great to gain and develop the friendly relationship, initiatives and partnership with motivated people and organization that are located abroad and willing to help and put human effort to support people in Ukraine around Russia’s hybrid war against Ukraine.

If you would share this information on Ukrainian (English) mass media I could transfer it also to Canadian mass media and Toronto Municipality to make this story read.

Thank our big friend abroad for supporting Ukrainians in Ukraine.

Constitutional Coup in Russia : Putin’s Move to Devalue International Human Rights Treaties Could Set Dangerous Global Precedent

February 12, 2020
On 20 January 2020, the President of Russia proposed radical changes to the Russian Constitution, but the chilling implications for human rights could echo far beyond Russia’s borders. The draft legislation introduces significant amendments to 14 articles of Russia’s supreme law of the land. FIDH and 37 of its member organisations believe that the proposed amendments contradict the letter and spirit of the Constitution, diminish the fundamental rights of Russian citizens under the guise of legitimate State concerns, and constitute an attempt to further consolidate power in the hands of the current regime. Our organisations fear that, if adopted, these measures would compromise human rights not only in Russia, but also set a dangerous precedent that may be emulated by other countries.
The speed with which the draft law was prepared – just four days – and the gross violations of constitutionally prescribed procedures for such changes, have evoked strong criticism from civil society and the public at large.One of the proposed amendments would effectively legalise the selective implementation of decisions of international treaty bodies deemed contrary to the Constitution. Russia is normally bound to abide by these decisions, by virtue of its having ratified international or regional conventions, such as the European Convention on Human Rights. But, with this proposed amendment, Russia would be able to invoke the supposed unenforceability of “interpretations” of treaty provisions as justification to not follow them, under the guise of protecting national sovereignty. In practice, the amendment would allow Russian authorities to avoid implementing decisions of the likes of the European Court of Human Rights that the latter often perceive as contrary to national interests.

“Putin’s brazen move to put in place a constitutional mechanism to avoid implementing international treaties could severely undermine international law. If adopted, the proposed legislation would not only likely aggravate the human rights situation in Russia; it could also serve as a dangerous model, paving the way for other countries to shirk international human rights obligations.”

Alice Mogwe, FIDH President.

The legislation was designed by an ad hoc working group convened on 15 January, the same day that Putin first announced the constitutional changes during his annual address. The document, drafted in just four days and without a meaningful consultation with the civil society, proposes substantive changes to 14 articles of the Constitution, contrary to a federal law requiring a separate draft law for each amendment. As early as 23 January the draft law was unanimously accepted in the first reading by the lower chamber of Russia’s Parliament. The final reading, to be followed by a vote, is expected at the end of February.

Not only is the substance of the amendments worrying; the authorities’ disregard for constitutionally prescribed procedures required to adopt them gives cause for alarm. Since the proposed changes concern the first two chapters of the Constitution, the “Fundamentals of the Constitutional System” and the “Rights and Freedoms of Man and Citizen”, Article 135 requires that a new Constitution be adopted by a Constitutional Assembly, followed by a referendum. Neither the law governing the formation of the Constitutional Assembly, nor the organ itself, are currently in existence. Rather than abide by these procedures, the authorities plan to hold a nationwide constitutional vote this spring, in an attempt to give the proposed amendment an air of legitimacy.

The authorities’ move to prize sovereignty above all, in disregard for international law, could usher in a dark time for human rights in Russia, with the potential to set a dangerous global precedent. FIDH and its 37 member organisations urge the Russian parliamentarians and the Russian people to vote against the proposed amendments.

  • Anti-Discrimination Center Memorial (ADC-Memorial, Russia)
    Adilet (Kyrgyzstan)
    Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma (ALTSEAN-Burma)
    Armanshahr/OPEN ASIA
    Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
    Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
    Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)
    Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
    Citizens’ Watch (Russia)
    Civil Society Institute (Armenia)
    Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI)
    Dutch League for Human Rights
    Finnish League for Human Rights
    French Human Rights League – Ligue des droits de l’Homme (LDH, France )
    Human Rights Association – Insan Haklari Dernegi (Turkey)
    Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP)
    Human Rights Center Georgia (HRIDC)
    Human Rights Center Memorial (Russia)
    Human Rights Center Viasna (Belarus)
    Human Rights in China (HRIC)
    International Legal Initiative (Kazakhstan)
    Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights
    Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC)
    Lao Movement for Human Rights (LMHR)
    League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI)
    Ligue Iteka (Burundi)
    Lithuanian Human Rights Association
    Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN)
    Manushya Foundation (Thailand)
    Odhikar (Bangladesh)
    Portuguese Human Rights League – Civitas (LPDHC)
    Promo Lex (Moldova)
    Regional Watch for Human Rights (Liberia)
    The League for Defence of Human Rights (LADO, Romania)
    The Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC, Tanzania)
    Union for Civil Liberty (UCL – Thailand)
    Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR)

Crimean citizen journalists

February 4, 2020

Результаты поиска:

«International support for Ukraine should increase» – statement platform CivilM+

April 21, 2020

In April 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the seventh year of the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine has begun. While the emergency has revealed gaps in the healthcare system throughout the country, the situation in the conflict zone is nearly critical. The infrastructure has been damaged by the hostilities and there is a severe lack of medical personnel. Small and medium-sized enterprises which barely started recovering after the first years of the war with the support from humanitarian organizations, have been suffering losses and are on the brink of bankruptcy during the quarantine.

Of particular concern is the situation in territories that are not controlled by the government of Ukraine: there is no credible information about the situation there, freedom of expression is seriously limited, monitoring and humanitarian organizations, for example, OSCE SMM are facing problems with accessing and operating in the territory of the self-proclaimed “DPR” and “LPR”.

We, the undersigned members of the international civil society platform CivilM +, are calling on the Government of the EU member-states to:

  • ⚫️ allocate all the resources available to support the region in its fight with COVID-19. Along with the unconditional support of medical sphere, the aid should go to small and medium business, local Ukrainian authorities and civil society organizations
  • ⚫️ keep exerting pressure on the Russian Federation to make sure that ‘DPR’ and ‘LPR “, which are under the RF control, provide unhindered access to humanitarian and monitoring organizations (firstly to the OSCE SMM, as well as to the ICRC so that it has access to all persons deprived of liberty), and stop arbitrary political persecutions.

We are also urging the Government of Ukraine to ensure that the restrictions of the freedom of movement across the contact line are only applied if they are necessary and proportionate to possible threats. All citizens, including those residing in non-government-controlled territory, should have unrestricted access to medical assistance.

We underline that new pandemic-related challenges should not diminish priority measures on the peaceful resolution of the conflict set out in the Minsk agreements and reconfirmed during the talks in the Normandy format. Those are:

  • ⚫️ ceasefire
  • ⚫️ continuation of the release of arbitrarily detained persons, both military and civil detainees
  • ⚫️ preventing further human rights violations and war crimes, and ensuring effective investigations into such crimes committed on both sides of the contact line
  • ⚫️ preparing the process of the transitional justice in all its aspects.

While welcoming the release of the detainees on 16 April 2020, we are drawing attention of the OSCE, as well as the governments of Germany and France that the bottom line should be the release of all individuals who are arbitrarily deprived of their liberty . To achieve this, we need to see consistent and coordinated efforts to complete the lists of detainees , to search and to identify their location. Having the control over “DPR” and “LPR”, the Russian Federation should influence them, as in a number of cases they refuse to admit having derived certain people of their liberty (despite the fact that the relatives of these people have confirmation papers issued by the  de-facto authorities of the self-proclaimed “republics”). Moreover, “DPR” and “LPR” refuse to release even those individuals whose names in the lists they have confirmed. As a result, it takes years for many detainees and their loved ones to wait for the ‘next stage of the exchange “.

Independent civil society organizations from Ukraine, Russia and the European Union are ready to provide civic consultations for the Minsk negotiations . The international platform CivilM + has already sent the letters with this proposal to the Office of the President of Ukraine , to the Vice-prime minister / Minister on reintegration of the temporary occupied territories and to the Minister of foreign affairs . The position and the suggestions on these matters are also  available on the CivilM + website .

 

Signatories:

Centre for Civil Liberties, Ukraine

Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, Ukraine

Truth Hounds, Ukraine

Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, Ukraine

“Citizen and Army”, Russia

DRA, German-Russian Exchange, Germany

Helsinki Citizens ‘Assembly (HCA), France

Human Rights Centre “Memorial”, Russia 

MEMORIAL Deutschland eV, Germany

For more information, please contact the Platform Secretariat: Yulia Erner, coordinator – yuliya.erner@austausch.org.  With media-requests, please contact Iryna Yakovlieva, communications coordinator –  iryna.yakovlieva@austausch.org.

Religious Freedom Roundtable. Held Online for the First Time

April 21, 2020

Experts from human rights organisations and religious leaders have developed for the Cabinet of Ministers a number of proposals intended to ensure religious freedom for the period of quarantine restrictions . As reported by ReligiousFreedom.in.ua, an online conference to iscuss these topics in the format of the Religious Freedom Roundtable in Ukraine was held jointly by the Institute for Religious Freedom and the Centre for Civil Liberties Religious figures of various faiths, including from Christian , Jewish, and Muslim religious associations of Ukraine, as well as leaders from the Kharkiv Human Rights Group and Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union , joined the discussion.

 

Lawyer Kseniia Prokonova, managing partner of the Ukrainian branch of SBH Law Offices , clarified legal aspects of quarantine restrictions to the attendees and offered practical advice on protecting the believers :


«Violated rights in the instances when actions by the police do not conform to law . Quarantine is a time when everyone, including churches, should search for new opportunities. They also have to contend for the parishioners “attention within the confines of the law and public interest . It is the first time when the
church must learn how to talk to the police efficiently.»

 

As a result, the human rights activists, together with the religious leaders, developed the following suggestions for the government:

 

● When holding daily and festive services during the quarantine period , the
recommendations, made public by the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and
Religious Organisations on April 8, for avoiding congestion in temples and
other premises of religious organisations should be observed (that is, a total of
10 persons, based on 1 person per 5 sq m, are allowed to be in the temple or
other premises of a religious organisation at the same time)

 

● The self-isolation requirement on persons over 60 years of age should not
apply to the clergy and persons involved in the organisation of services, as
well as to other employees of retirement age;

 

● Given the ban, imposed by the order of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine , on
access for priests to prisoners and convicts, administrations of detention
centres and penitentiary institutions should provide an opportunity for viewing
religious services and sermons that are regularly transmitted by the Public
Broadcaster on the UA: FIRST and UA: CULTURE TV channels and, where
requested by prisoners and convicts, arrange for individual remote meetings
with chaplain priests using videoconferencing facilities;

 

● Offer an opportunity for meeting religious needs of persons accommodated
at social protection or palliative care establishments, including by providing
access to them for chaplain priests or by arranging for individual remote
meetings using videoconferencing facilities;

 

● Local authorities, together with religious figures and volunteers, should be
encouraged to set up the facilities and develop the procedure for delivery of
free humanitarian aid to the destitute, including by providing food to persons
of no fixed abode, while observing sanitary and quarantine requirements and
avoiding mass convergence.

 

We would like to remind you that the Religious Freedom Roundtable in
Ukraine, founded in April 2019, is a civil society platform for dialogue and
liaison between religious, human rights and other civil society organisations.

Religious Freedom Roundtable. Held Online for the First Time

April 21, 2020

Experts from human rights organisations and religious leaders have developed for the Cabinet of Ministers a number of proposals intended to ensure religious freedom for the period of quarantine restrictions . As reported by Religious Freedom.in.ua, an online conference to iscuss these topics in the format of the Religious Freedom Roundtable in Ukraine was held jointly by the Institute for Religious Freedom and the Centre for Civil Liberties Religious figures of various faiths, including from Christian , Jewish, and Muslim religious associations of Ukraine, as well as leaders from the Kharkiv Human Rights Group and Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union , joined the discussion.

 

Lawyer Kseniia Prokonova, managing partner of the Ukrainian branch of SBH Law Offices , clarified legal aspects of quarantine restrictions to the attendees and offered practical advice on protecting the believers :


«Violated rights in the instances when actions by the police do not conform to law . Quarantine is a time when everyone, including churches, should search for new opportunities. They also have to contend for the parishioners “attention within the confines of the law and public interest . It is the first time when the
church must learn how to talk to the police efficiently.»

 

As a result, the human rights activists, together with the religious leaders, developed the following suggestions for the government:

 

● When holding daily and festive services during the quarantine period , the
recommendations, made public by the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and
Religious Organisations on April 8, for avoiding congestion in temples and
other premises of religious organisations should be observed (that is, a total of
10 persons, based on 1 person per 5 sq m, are allowed to be in the temple or
other premises of a religious organisation at the same time)

 

● The self-isolation requirement on persons over 60 years of age should not
apply to the clergy and persons involved in the organisation of services, as
well as to other employees of retirement age;

 

● Given the ban, imposed by the order of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine , on
access for priests to prisoners and convicts, administrations of detention
centres and penitentiary institutions should provide an opportunity for viewing
religious services and sermons that are regularly transmitted by the Public
Broadcaster on the UA: FIRST and UA: CULTURE TV channels and, where
requested by prisoners and convicts, arrange for individual remote meetings
with chaplain priests using videoconferencing facilities;

 

● Offer an opportunity for meeting religious needs of persons accommodated
at social protection or palliative care establishments, including by providing
access to them for chaplain priests or by arranging for individual remote
meetings using videoconferencing facilities;

 

● Local authorities, together with religious figures and volunteers, should be
encouraged to set up the facilities and develop the procedure for delivery of
free humanitarian aid to the destitute, including by providing food to persons
of no fixed abode, while observing sanitary and quarantine requirements and
avoiding mass convergence.

 

We would like to remind you that the Religious Freedom Roundtable in
Ukraine, founded in April 2019, is a civil society platform for dialogue and
liaison between religious, human rights and other civil society organisations.

CCL joined the statement on the need to release human rights defenders from prisons because of COVID-19

April 10, 2020

COVID-19: Jailed Human Rights Defenders Must Be Released Immediately

Check out FIDH’s #ForFreedom campaign for the release of imprisoned human rights defenders threatened by the pandemic: http://en.freedom-defenders.org

→ Read the press release in ArabicFrenchRussianSpanish, or Turkish

Paris, 8 April 2020 — In light of the serious threat posed to prisoners by the rapidly spreading novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, FIDH and its undersigned member organisations recall governments’ obligation to ensure the safety and health of detained individuals that are under their responsibility, and launch a campaign, #ForFreedom, to call for the release of all jailed human rights defenders (HRDs).

As the spread of COVID-19 poses an unprecedented threat, the need to release HRDs is more urgent than ever. Our rights and those who defend them must not become a casualty of this pandemic. FIDH and its undersigned member organisations are launching today a new global campaign #ForFreedom for the release of all HRDs detained worldwide. They should be freed and allowed to conduct their legitimate activities to defend the rights of individuals against injustice, discrimination, violence, and other forms of human rights violations.

“Hundreds of people all over the world are imprisoned not because they committed a crime, but because of their work to defend human rights. As legitimate actors of change, they should never have been detained in the first place,” declared Alice Mogwe, FIDH President. “As COVID-19 continues its rapid spread across the globe, it is time for governments to put an end to this injustice and release those who fight to uphold human rights,” she added.

As stated by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, “Now, more than ever, governments should release every person detained without sufficient legal basis, including political prisoners and others detained simply for expressing critical or dissenting views.” This concerns minors, migrants, refugees, political opponents, journalists, and HRDs.

The campaign website profiles imprisoned HRDs, including Loujain Al-Hathloul (Saudi Arabia); Azimjan Askarov (Kyrgyzstan); Sevda Özbingöl Çelik and Hasan Ceylan (Turkey); Yuri Dmitriev (Russia); Leila de Lima (Philippines); Pablo Lopez Alavez (Mexico); Khalil Maatouk (Syria); Narges Mohammadi (Iran); Miyan Abdul Qayoom (India); Nabeel Rajab (Bahrain); Germain Rukuki (Burundi); Patrick Zaki (Egypt). The website will be regularly updated with additional arbitrarily detained HRDs.

The urgency of the current health crisis presents authorities with an opportunity to redress the unjust deprivation of liberty of all these individuals, many of whom are incarcerated in deplorable sanitary conditions and are denied adequate health care.

In such a context, FIDH and its undersigned member organisations more generally call on governments to relieve congestion in prisons by releasing vast numbers of prisoners on a temporary, permanent or conditional basis for public health reasons. Along with human rights defenders, priority should be given to the elderly, children, those with health conditions, prisoners of conscience, prisoners detained for expressing their opinions, administrative detainees, prisoners detained for minor or non-violent offences, untried detainees, and individuals held in immigration detention centres.

In times of crisis, governments have an obligation to protect those who are most vulnerable. Prison populations, confined to detention facilities that can easily become virus hotspots, are among those most vulnerable to the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a particular risk in countries where minimum standards for detention conditions are not met, overcrowding is the norm, and social distancing is impossible to achieve. The spread of the virus in places of detention will be inevitable unless urgent measures are taken to mitigate this risk. Otherwise, incarceration could be equivalent to a death sentence for many detainees who contract, or are at risk of contracting, the COVID-19 virus.

Such measures would be consistent with the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (revised and adopted as the “Nelson Mandela Rules”), which detail measures aimed at ensuring adequate personal hygiene, health, and safety of prisoners, as well as the specific advice issued by the UN Subcommittee for the Prevention of Torture.

We welcome the move by a number of countries, including TurkeyTunisiaEthiopiaIndonesia, Senegal and Bahrain, to begin releasing prisoners in an effort to reduce overcrowding and prevent the spread of the virus. We urge these and other countries to include HRDs among those who should be released immediately. Many countries have excluded prisoners convicted of terrorism-related offences from the release, thus penalising HRDs unjustly criminalised on trumped-up terrorism charges. HRDs should be exempt from such blanket disqualifications as their human rights work must not be conflated with terrorism.

Africa

  1. Botswana: Ditshwanelo

  2. Burundi: ITEKA

  3. Cameroon: Maison des Droits de l’Homme du Cameroun

  4. Djibouti: LDDH Djibouti

  5. Ethiopia: Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRCO)

  6. Mauritania: Association Mauritanienne des Droits de l’Homme (AMDH)

  7. DRC: Groupe LOTUS

  8. DRC: Ligue des Électeurs

  9. Rwanda: Association Rwandaise pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme et des Libertés Publiques, ADL

  10. Senegal: RADDHO

  11. Tanzania: Legal and Human Rights Centre

 

Americas

  1. Argentina: Comité de Acción Jurídica (CAJ)
  2. Argentina: CAJ
  3. Brazil: Justica Global
  4. Brazil: Movimento Nacional de Direitos Humanos – MNDH Brasil
  5. Chile: Observatorio Ciudadano
  6. Colombia: CAJAR
  7. Ecuador: Acción Ecológica
  8. El Salvador: Comisión de Derechos Humanos de El Salvador (CDHES)
  9. Honduras: CIPRODEH
  10. Honduras: COFADEH
  11. Mexico: Limeddh
  12. Mexico: IDHEAS
  13. Nicaragua: CENIDH
  14. Peru: APRODEH
  15. Peru: Perú Equidad (Centro de Políticas Públicas y Derechos Humanos)

 

Asia

  1. Bangladesh: Odhikar
  2. Cambodia: Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)
  3. China: Human Rights in China (HRIC)
  4. India: Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI)
  5. Indonesia: Commission for Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS)
  6. Iran: League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI)
  7. Iran: Justice for Iran (JFI)
  8. Laos: Lao Movement for Human Rights (LMHR)
  9. Malaysia: Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
  10. Maldives: Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN)
  11. Myanmar: Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma (ALTSEAN-Burma)
  12. Myanmar: Myanmar Alliance for Transparency and Accountability (MATA)
  13. Pakistan: Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP)
  14. Taiwan: Covenants Watch

  15. Thailand: Internet Law Reform Dialogue (iLaw)
  16. Thailand: Manushya Foundation

  17. Thailand: Union for Civil Liberty (UCL)
  18. Vietnam: Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR)

 

Eastern Europe and Central Asia

  1. Armenia: CSI – Armenia
  2. Belarus: HRC Viasna
  3. Georgia: Human Rights Center
  4. Kazakhstan: International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law
  5. Kyrgyzstan: Adilet (Kyrgyzstan)
  6. Kyrgyzstan: Bir Duino
  7. Kyrgyzstan: ILI Foundation
  8. Kyrgyzstan: Kylym Shamy
  9. Russia: ADC Memorial
  10. Russia: Citizen’s Watch
  11. Russia: HRC Memorial
  12. Ukraine: Center for Civil Liberties

Middle East and North Africa

  1. Algeria: CFDA (Comité des familles de disparus en Algérie)
  2. Algeria: LADDH (Ligue Algérienne des Droits de l’Homme)
  3. Bahrain: BCHR (Bahrain Center for Human Rights)
  4. Gulf: GC4HR (Gulf Center for Human Rights)
  5. Lebanon: CLDH (Centre Libanais des Droits Humains)
  6. Morocco: AMDH (Association Marocaine des Droits de l’Homme)
  7. Morocco: OMDH (Organisation Marocaine des Droits de l’Homme)
  8. Palestine: PCHR (Palestinian Center for Human Rights)
  9. Saudi Arabia: ALQST
  10. Syria: SCM (Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression)
  11. Tunisia: LTDH (Ligue Tunisienne des Droits de l’Homme)
  12. Tunisia: ATFD (Association Tunisienne des Femmes Démocrates)
  13. Yemen: SAF (Sisters Arab Forum)

Western Europe

  1. Albania: Albanian Human Rights Group
  2. Belgium: Ligue des droits humains – Belgique
  3. Croatia: Civic Committee for Human Rights
  4. Finland: Finnish League for Human Rights,
  5. France: Association Européenne pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme (AEDH)
  6. France: Ligue des Droits de l’Homme
  7. Germany: Internationale Liga fur Menschenrechte
  8. Hungary: Hungarian Helsinki Committee
  9. Lithuania: Lithuanian Human Rights Association
  10. Latvia : Latvian Human Rights Committee
  11. Portugal: Portuguese League for Human Rights – Civitas
  12. Romania: League for the Defence of Human Rights (LADO)
  13. Spain: Asociacion pro Derechos Humanos de Espana
  14. Spain: Federacion de Asociaciones de Defensa y Promocion de Derechos Humanos de Espana
  15. Turkey: Human Rights Association (IHD)
  16. Turkey: Human Rights Foundation of Turkey
  17. UK/Northern Ireland: Committee on the Administration of Justice

Press contact:

Eva Canan (EN, ES, FR, AR): +33 6 58 05 91 57 | http://twitter.com/EvaCanan | ecanan@fidh.org

COVID-19 in closed prisons in the occupied Crimea and Donbas which is under Russia effective control

March 24, 2020

COVID-19 in closed prisons in the occupied Crimea and Donbas which is under Russia effective control. Immediate response from international organizations is required.

 

We, the below-signed, appeal to the international organizations and their member states to prevent the spread of coronavirus to detention facilities (prisons and pretrial detention centers) in Crimea which is temporarily occupied  by the Russian Federation, the Donbas which is under Russian effective control and in the territory of the Russian Federation itself.

 

Situation in the Occupied Crimea and the Russian Federation

Since March 16, 2020, the Federal Penitentiary Service of the Russian Federation (FSIN) has suspended all visits to detention facilities in order to prevent the spread of the disease among the suspects, those accused and convicted, as well as employees of the penal system. 

At the same time, penitentiary administrations are unable to implement WHO recommendations against the spread of coronavirus. The health services of these institutions lack staff, medications and equipment. They are not capable of coping with common widespread diseases, let alone a global health crisis.

Moreover, detention facilities present an extremely high risk for the transmission of infectious diseases. The buildings are often poorly ventilated, and the prison authorities cannot ensure adequate sanitation and hygiene conditions, i.e. sufficient access to water to wash hands. The detainees continue to be exposed to high risks daily at work, often gatherings, showers, etc.  The prison authorities conduct personal examinations of detainees and perform searches of cells on a daily basis, entering in body-to-body contacts with inmates. Masks for the people showing symptoms of respiratory diseases, both inmates and staff, are not available.

“On March 19, when the ambulance requested in court that I should be taken to the hospital, no one ever took me there. I was just taken to a small box in the courtroom. There, I was lying on the floor until 9 pm, because there was very little room on the bench, and I wanted to lie down, as I was cold and shivering. The schedule of the court hearings is very intense, we are on our feet for 12-14 hours without water and food. I returned to my cell close to 11 pm. I went to another paramedic, but he did not give me any medication besides the antibiotics. On that day, I had a temperature of 39.3 C, and then it even rose to 39.8 C. The cough is dry, very unpleasant. The nose is stuffy. It is difficult to breathe. Three to four other people are also sick in the cell. They are also given aspirin and the same antibiotic. Today [March 23] I do not know how high my temperature is. I wrote a statement asking for a doctor to listen to my lungs. But I was taken to a videoconference to participate in a court hearing, and I was never taken to see a doctor. I do not want to complain, but this is torture. In prison, a person simply does not have the opportunity to protect themself,” comments Server Mustafayev, a prisoner of conscience, the coordinator of the Crimean Solidarity.

The situation is considerably aggravated by the overcrowding of Russian prisons and detention centers, with inmates kept in poor sanitary conditions and the transfer of prisoners from the occupied Crimea into the Russian Federation taking a long time in breach of the norms of international humanitarian law. Due to the prevalence of torture in Russian prisons, restricting the contact of prisoners with the outside world increases the risk of ill-treatment, especially during crisis situations.

Situation in the Donbas effectively controlled by the Russian Federation

The situation in the Donbas which is under the effective control by the Russian Federation, looks even worse. After 6 years of war,  even the International Committee of the Red Cross has no access to detained people. In addition to the so-called official detention centers, there exist an extensive network of secret detention facilities. One of such places was mentioned in the latest report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. It is called “Isolation”, and it is located in the building of a former plant in Donetsk. The conditions of detention in both “official” and secret detention facilities can be equated to torture and ill-treatment and are inappropriate even for short term detentions

 

“I was held in the 13th post of the Donetsk detention facility, considered one of the “best” ones when it came to the conditions for the prisoners. Cell conditions  were appalling: poor sanitation, many bugs and cockroaches, I could not even use the mattress — it was all dirty and riddled with bed bugs — so I slept on the metal bunk, under which I put a blanket sent to me from home. Part of the window was broken, so the air in the room was constantly cold. At the 10th post, which is the worst one, the situation is extremely critical: there are rats, and the sewage often overflows into the cell.here is almost no space – cells barely fit two people, darkness, no daylight, because the post is located in the basement of the detention facility”- comments Donetsk journalist Stanislav Aseev, who was released during an exchange in December 2019.

 

The report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights highlights the widespread practice of torture and ill-treatment of detained persons. Recently released detainees reported beatings, including with electric shocker, strangulation (“wet” and “dry” methods), sexual abuse, torture, the removal of body parts (nails and teeth), deprivation of water, food, sleep, or access to the toilet, imitation of execution, threat of violence or death, and threat of harm to the family.

 

The quality of medical care in these institutions is described in testimonies provided to the OHCHR by several “Isolation” detainees. According to them, a medical worker was present during their interrogations and torture. He revived those who had lost consciousness and pointed out how to torture in order to inflict the greatest pain but not to cause death. He also examined the detainees before torture began, asked about their illnesses, measured their blood pressure or checked their pulse, and injected them. 

 

Even in those facilities where the detention of people is officially confirmed (as opposed to the situation with secret detention centers), the prisoners are provided with necessary medicine and goods by their relatives. For the quarantine period, restrictions were imposed on crossing the demarcation line in the Donbas. Today, those prisoners, whose relatives live in the territory controlled by Ukraine, will not be able to receive the necessary medicine and goods.

 

Therefore, there are no illusions that there will be any medical assistance in case of the spread of coronavirus in prisons and detention centers of Donbas which is currently under the effective Russian control. Moreover, the question arises as to what measures will be undertaken by the Russia-controlled illegal armed formations in charge of the territory, to deter the spread of the coronavirus in prisons and detention centers, in the first place, to protect themselves from contracting the disease.

 

The aforementioned problems in the penitentiary institutions and detention centers in the Ukrainian territories occupied and controlled by Russia pose a real threat not only to prisoners and staff, but also to the wider population. And because, according to scientists, the pandemic can continue in waves, it can threaten the populations of other countries. 

 

In view of the foregoing, and taking into account the position of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment of March 20, 2020, we call for the urgent reaction of the international organizations, the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the European Union, the OSCE, and their member states participants to:

 

  1. 🔹   Appeal to the Russian Federation to take immediate steps to fulfill its international obligations to protect the life and health of its detainees, both officially, such as in the Russian Federation and occupied Crimea, and unofficially, through the Kremlin-controlled illegal armed formations, such as those in Donbas which is currently under the effective Russian control, to develop the necessary plans for prevention and response to the spread of infection, in accordance with the “Statement of principles relating to the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty” in the context of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic (ECPT, 03/20/2020), and to implement the WHO recommendations.

 

  1. 🔹   To urge the Russian Federation to reduce the prison population immediately (in particular, by changing the precautionary measures for house arrests for crimes of minor public danger and the immediate release of all illegally detained political prisoners), considering that the very configuration of the cells, penitentiary facilities, and detention centers does not allow for any preventive measures, such as compliance with social distance, to be carried out.

 

  1.  🔹  The Council of Europe bodies, including the Committee of Ministers, the Secretary-General, and the Commissioner for Human Rights, must swiftly adopt recommendations to encourage the Russian Federation with its 140 million population to take these decisive steps. The Russian Federation has a wide range of measures that can have a swift effect, from criminal policy guidance to prosecutors to emergency pardon and amnesty.

 

  1. 🔹   All monitoring, judicial and quasi-judicial mechanisms of international organizations respecting fundamental human rights must take exceptional measures to be able to play their full role in a pandemic. In particular, the European Court of Human Rights should strengthen its capacity to review requests for urgent measures under Rule 39, which are important to protect human life. The number of such requests is expected to increase in the near future.

 

  1. 🔹   International organizations, and in particular the OSCE, during the upcoming meeting of the trilateral contact group in Minsk on March, 25, should raise the issue of the immediate granting by the Russian Federation of unhindered access to the occupied Crimea and Donbas to international intergovernmental organizations, in particular, the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission, the OSCE Human Rights Assessment Mission on Crimea, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, other Council of Europe convention and institutional mechanisms, etc., as well as international humanitarian organizations, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross.

 

  1. 🔹   France and Germany as members of the Normandy Format, as well as the United States and the United Kingdom as signatories to the Budapest Memorandum, should urge the Russian Federation to use its effective control over parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions to comply with the provisions of the Minsk agreements on the immediate release of persons whose freedom is restricted due to direct involvement in the armed conflict, as well as political prisoners in the occupied Crimea and the Russian Federation.

 

We also urge the Ukrainian authorities to implement all the recommendations set out in the appeal of European NGOs to prevent epidemic of the COVID-19 in detention facilities, according to Ukraine’s international obligations to protect life and health of persons who are under its effective control.

 

Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine) 

Regional Center for Human Rights (Ukraine)

Ukrainian Institute for Human Rights (Ukraine)

Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People (Ukraine)

The Institute of Mass Information (Ukraine)

Detector Media (Ukraine)

The Eastern Ukrainian Center for Civic Initiatives (Ukraine)

Luhansk Regional Human Rights CenterAlternative (Ukraine)

Human Rights House in Chernihiv (Ukraine)

Ukrainian Legal Aid Foundation (Ukraine)

Ukrainian Center for the Prevention of Torture (Ukraine)

Donbas SOS (Ukraine)

Union of Relatives of Kremlin’s Political Prisoners (Ukraine)

Crimean Tatar Resource Center (Ukraine)

Political Science Association (Ukraine)

Territory of Success (Ukraine)

Kryvyi Rih City Human Rights Society (Ukraine)

Association of Ukrainian Monitors on Human Rights Conduct in Law Enforcement (Ukraine)

The Pylyp Orlyk Institute for Democracy (Ukraine)

Congress of Ethnic Communities of Ukraine (Ukraine)

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research (Ukraine)

All-Ukrainian civic movement of mothers and relatives of participants of ATO “Bereginya” (Ukraine)

Charity Foundation Stabilization Support Services (Ukraine)

Vinnitsa NGO of Social Development of Vulnerable Youth “Sprout” (Ukraine)

All-Ukrainian Youth Organization “The Foundation of Regional Initiatives” (Ukraine)

Youth Organization “STAN” (Ukraine)

Anti-Corruption Action Center (Ukraine)

Institute for Religious Freedom (Ukraine)

Ternopil Human Rights Group (Ukraine) 

IAC Civic Space (Ukraine)

Institute for Black Sea Strategic Studies (Ukraine)

Human Rights Initiative (Ukraine)

Theatre for Change (Ukraine)

Human Rights Platform (Ukraine)

Center Eidos (Ukraine)

Liberation Movement Research Center (Ukraine)

NGO All-Ukrainian Democratic Forum (Ukraine)

International Federation for Human Rights (France)

Citizens’ Watch (Russia)

Open Dialogue Foundation (Belgium)

Norwegian Helsinki Committee (Norway)

Human Rights Movement Bir Duino-Kyrgyzstan (Kyrgyzstan)

Internews Ukraine (Ukraine)

UkraineWorld (Ukraine)

NGO Ukraine Without Torture (Ukraine)

All-Ukrainian Active Community Initiative (Ukraine)

Institute Respublica (Ukraine)

International Federation for Human Rights (France)

Macedonian Helsinki Committee (North Macedonia)

The Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan (Azerbaijan)

Memorial-Germany (Germany)

Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (Bulgaria)

Assemblée Européenne des Citoyens, France

German-Russian Exchange (Germany)

Human Rights Monitoring Institute (Lithuania)

New Europe Center (Ukraine)

Netherlands Helsinki Committee (Netherlands)

Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly – Vanadzor (Armenia)

Public Association “Dignity  (Kazakhstan)

Human Rights Matter (Germany)

Minority Rights Group Europe (Hungary)

Italian Coalition for Civil Liberties and Rights (Italy)

International Partnership for Human Rights (Belgium)

Helsinki Committee of Armenia (Armenia)

Austrian Helsinki Association (Austria)

Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law (Kazakhstan)

Promo-LEX Association (Moldova)

Public foundation “Golos svobody” (Kyrgyzstan) 

Helsinki committee for human rights in Serbia (Serbia)

Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland) 

Center for Participation and Development (Georgia) 

Zivilcourage und Anti-Rassismus-Arbeit (Germany)

Italian Federation for human rights (Italy)

Society in Support of Ukraine (Latvia)

Association for Solidarity, Mutual Assistance, and Culture “Good Heart” (Portugal)

The Association of Ukrainians in the Republic of Ireland “AURI” (Ireland)

Ukrainian Cultural Association of Malaysia (Malaysia)

Volunteer Hundred in Brescia (Italy)

The Ukrainian-Slovak Initiative (Slovakia)

The Ukrainian Women Organization in Sweden (Sweden)

London Euromaidan (Великобританія)

United Help Ukraine (the United States)

AG Ukraine – Chemnitz – Europa e.V. (Germany)

The Union of Ukrainian Culture and Solidarity (Turkey)

The Ukrainian-Austrian Cultural and Educational Center in Vienna (Austria)

Ukrainians in Mongolia (Mongolia)

The Information Portal “Irish House” (Ireland)

Central Association of Ukrainians in Germany (Germany)

Ukrainian Community in the Philippines(the Philippines) 

The Global Movement of the Ukrainian Patriots in Munich (Germany)

Fairness Corps (Ukraine)

All-Spanish NGO “Ukrainian Patriotic Association WILL,” Madrid (Spain)

Ukrainian League Taragony “Панна, Дівочі посиденьки” (Spain)

Civil Initiative “Euromaidan-Warsaw” (Poland)

Institute for Religious Freedom (Ukraine)

International Association of Ukrainians EuroMaidan/ Mezinárodní Asociace Ukrajinců EuroMajdan z.s. (Czech Republic)

Saint Olha Association  (Australia)

Ukrainian Free Kozaks of Australia (Australia)

Israeli Friends of Ukraine (Israel)

Community of Ukrainians, Vilnius (Lithuania)

Community of Ukrainians,  Guadalajara (Mexico)

Community of Ukrainians in Finland (Finland)

Young Ukraine Association, Madrid (Spain)

Bureau of Social and Political Developments (Ukraine)

Ukraine Needs You (Ukraine);

Stronger Together (Ukraine);

Liberal-Democratic League of Ukraine (Ukraine)

Defender, Nosivka, Chernihivs’ka oblast (Ukraine)

Legal Development Network (Ukraine)

Natural Rights Ukraine (Ukraine)

Center for International Security and Euro-Atlantic Integration (Ukraine)

Development foundation (Ukraine)

Non-Governmental Centre “Women’s Perspectives”(Ukraine)

Institute of Political Education (Ukraine)

Ukrainian Institute for the Future (Україна) 

Luhansk Regional Human Rights Women’s Organization “Chaika” (Ukraine)

Platform for Social Humanitarian Initiatives and Innovation “Single Coordination Center” (Ukraine)

NGO Docudays (Ukraine)

Charity Organization “Charity and Health” (Ukraine)

NGO Group of Influence (Ukraine)

Center for Economic and Legal Analytics (Ukraine)

NGO Creative Center Dagaz (Ukraine)

Media Initiative for Human Rights (Ukraine)

Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Studies (Ukraine)

PCO  “Foundation for defence of Ukraine” (Ukraine)

Social Action Center (Ukraine) 

“Sich” Human Rights Protection Group (Ukraine)

DEJURE Foundation (Ukraine)

Vostok-SOS (Ukraine)

NGO “Right to Protection” (Ukraine)

NGO “Female veteran movement” (Ukraine)

November 30 Group (Ukraine)

NGO “Women’s Rights League” Harmony of Equals” (Ukraine)

NGO St. Clement’s Center (Ukraine)

NGO Spirit and Letter (Ukraine)

NGO Alliance of Ukrainian Unity (Ukraine)

Charitable Organization “Right of a Human” (Ukraine)

Сenter for democracy and rule of law (Ukraine)

NGO “Forpost” (Ukraine)

Women in media: Balance the imbalance!

March 10, 2020

In a joint statement, IMS and 38 other organisations urge media leaders and journalists to take action against the gender inequality in the news.

 

On International Women’s Day 2020, we want to call upon all media leaders and journalists around the globe to take action against the skewed balance and representation of gender in the news – both in terms of numbers and in portrayal.

A balanced presence of women and men in news and current affairs would to a higher degree reflect the composition of society and showcase a greater variety of human experiences, views and concerns. However, statistics show that media is far from balanced:

– A majority of media content portrays women in stereotypical roles such as homemakers, models or victims.

– Women are more likely than men to be referred to in terms of superficial attributes such as appearance, age, clothes and marital status. Men, on the other hand, are more likely to be portrayed as powerful public figures, with the media focusing on profession, skills and opinions. This perpetuates a limiting and unequal perception of gender.

– Only 4% of all newspapers, radio and TV reports worldwide challenge gender stereotypes.

– Only 24% of news subjects – the people who are interviewed, or whom the news is about – are female.

– Women are used as experts only 19 % of the time.

– In only 16 % of news that relates to politics and government, women are the subject of the stories.

The numbers are not only indicative of the media sector’s gender inequality challenges but is also a serious impediment to media development and democracy. A functioning democracy requires gender equality and the media need to do much better to contribute to this goal.

Media have the power and responsibility to challenge stereotypes in content production and together we need to set an example for current and future generations. That is why today we ask you, as part of a media organisation, to:

Engage in gender media monitoring to keep track of who is represented in your content and in what capacity

Create your database of women experts on various topics — or make use of existing ones

Revise your editorial guidelines to make sure that a gender perspective is included

Conduct a gender audit of your internal work to make sure that you have a diverse workforce and identify the gender gaps in your organisation — a diverse workforce is more likely to produce pluralistic content.


The undersigned organisations stand ready to support in such efforts:

Ordinary people who do extraordinary things. Devoted to Ukrainian volunteers

February 17, 2020

Alfredo Garcia (Euromaidan Volunteer Nominee 2018)

Canadian teacher, pro-Ukrainian activist, language instructor with 20 years of experience facilitation student driven and instructor generated curricula, modules, and lesson plans.

Alfredo works for The Toronto District School Board (TDSB), one of the largest and one of the most diverse school boards in Canada. We serve approximately 247,000 students in 583 schools throughout Toronto, and more than 130,000 life-long learners in our Adult and Continuing Education programs. Please feel free to find more details following next link: https://www.tdsb.on.ca/About-Us

In the past I shared with Mr. Garcia the latest Ukrainian historical moments of Revolution of dignity and Russian Aggression later and he offered help to support people in Ukraine. I suggested him to share 1-2 hours his time per week to provide free English classes kids and adults.  Finally we selected best students in Ukraine: one children group and one adult (mostly individuals whose lives were affected by Revolution and War: military family, volunteers).

Our initiative has started in February 2018 and this projects still going in. Alfredo constantly every week dedicate 2 h of his own life time to teach English for Ukrainian students  and we have a great success, now both group are able to study without me as a translator, they can communicate and interact with native speaker and 100 % Canadian professional teacher.

Dear friends,would be great to gain and develop the friendly relationship, initiatives and partnership with motivated people and organization that are located abroad and willing to help and put human effort to support people in Ukraine around Russia’s hybrid war against Ukraine.

If you would share this information on Ukrainian (English) mass media I could transfer it also to Canadian mass media and Toronto Municipality to make this story read.

Thank our big friend abroad for supporting Ukrainians in Ukraine.

Constitutional Coup in Russia : Putin’s Move to Devalue International Human Rights Treaties Could Set Dangerous Global Precedent

February 12, 2020
On 20 January 2020, the President of Russia proposed radical changes to the Russian Constitution, but the chilling implications for human rights could echo far beyond Russia’s borders. The draft legislation introduces significant amendments to 14 articles of Russia’s supreme law of the land. FIDH and 37 of its member organisations believe that the proposed amendments contradict the letter and spirit of the Constitution, diminish the fundamental rights of Russian citizens under the guise of legitimate State concerns, and constitute an attempt to further consolidate power in the hands of the current regime. Our organisations fear that, if adopted, these measures would compromise human rights not only in Russia, but also set a dangerous precedent that may be emulated by other countries.
The speed with which the draft law was prepared – just four days – and the gross violations of constitutionally prescribed procedures for such changes, have evoked strong criticism from civil society and the public at large.One of the proposed amendments would effectively legalise the selective implementation of decisions of international treaty bodies deemed contrary to the Constitution. Russia is normally bound to abide by these decisions, by virtue of its having ratified international or regional conventions, such as the European Convention on Human Rights. But, with this proposed amendment, Russia would be able to invoke the supposed unenforceability of “interpretations” of treaty provisions as justification to not follow them, under the guise of protecting national sovereignty. In practice, the amendment would allow Russian authorities to avoid implementing decisions of the likes of the European Court of Human Rights that the latter often perceive as contrary to national interests.

“Putin’s brazen move to put in place a constitutional mechanism to avoid implementing international treaties could severely undermine international law. If adopted, the proposed legislation would not only likely aggravate the human rights situation in Russia; it could also serve as a dangerous model, paving the way for other countries to shirk international human rights obligations.”

Alice Mogwe, FIDH President.

The legislation was designed by an ad hoc working group convened on 15 January, the same day that Putin first announced the constitutional changes during his annual address. The document, drafted in just four days and without a meaningful consultation with the civil society, proposes substantive changes to 14 articles of the Constitution, contrary to a federal law requiring a separate draft law for each amendment. As early as 23 January the draft law was unanimously accepted in the first reading by the lower chamber of Russia’s Parliament. The final reading, to be followed by a vote, is expected at the end of February.

Not only is the substance of the amendments worrying; the authorities’ disregard for constitutionally prescribed procedures required to adopt them gives cause for alarm. Since the proposed changes concern the first two chapters of the Constitution, the “Fundamentals of the Constitutional System” and the “Rights and Freedoms of Man and Citizen”, Article 135 requires that a new Constitution be adopted by a Constitutional Assembly, followed by a referendum. Neither the law governing the formation of the Constitutional Assembly, nor the organ itself, are currently in existence. Rather than abide by these procedures, the authorities plan to hold a nationwide constitutional vote this spring, in an attempt to give the proposed amendment an air of legitimacy.

The authorities’ move to prize sovereignty above all, in disregard for international law, could usher in a dark time for human rights in Russia, with the potential to set a dangerous global precedent. FIDH and its 37 member organisations urge the Russian parliamentarians and the Russian people to vote against the proposed amendments.

  • Anti-Discrimination Center Memorial (ADC-Memorial, Russia)
    Adilet (Kyrgyzstan)
    Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma (ALTSEAN-Burma)
    Armanshahr/OPEN ASIA
    Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
    Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
    Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)
    Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
    Citizens’ Watch (Russia)
    Civil Society Institute (Armenia)
    Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI)
    Dutch League for Human Rights
    Finnish League for Human Rights
    French Human Rights League – Ligue des droits de l’Homme (LDH, France )
    Human Rights Association – Insan Haklari Dernegi (Turkey)
    Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP)
    Human Rights Center Georgia (HRIDC)
    Human Rights Center Memorial (Russia)
    Human Rights Center Viasna (Belarus)
    Human Rights in China (HRIC)
    International Legal Initiative (Kazakhstan)
    Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights
    Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC)
    Lao Movement for Human Rights (LMHR)
    League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI)
    Ligue Iteka (Burundi)
    Lithuanian Human Rights Association
    Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN)
    Manushya Foundation (Thailand)
    Odhikar (Bangladesh)
    Portuguese Human Rights League – Civitas (LPDHC)
    Promo Lex (Moldova)
    Regional Watch for Human Rights (Liberia)
    The League for Defence of Human Rights (LADO, Romania)
    The Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC, Tanzania)
    Union for Civil Liberty (UCL – Thailand)
    Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR)

Crimean citizen journalists

February 4, 2020

Результаты поиска:

«International support for Ukraine should increase» – statement platform CivilM+

April 21, 2020

In April 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the seventh year of the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine has begun. While the emergency has revealed gaps in the healthcare system throughout the country, the situation in the conflict zone is nearly critical. The infrastructure has been damaged by the hostilities and there is a severe lack of medical personnel. Small and medium-sized enterprises which barely started recovering after the first years of the war with the support from humanitarian organizations, have been suffering losses and are on the brink of bankruptcy during the quarantine.

Of particular concern is the situation in territories that are not controlled by the government of Ukraine: there is no credible information about the situation there, freedom of expression is seriously limited, monitoring and humanitarian organizations, for example, OSCE SMM are facing problems with accessing and operating in the territory of the self-proclaimed “DPR” and “LPR”.

We, the undersigned members of the international civil society platform CivilM +, are calling on the Government of the EU member-states to:

  • ⚫️ allocate all the resources available to support the region in its fight with COVID-19. Along with the unconditional support of medical sphere, the aid should go to small and medium business, local Ukrainian authorities and civil society organizations
  • ⚫️ keep exerting pressure on the Russian Federation to make sure that ‘DPR’ and ‘LPR “, which are under the RF control, provide unhindered access to humanitarian and monitoring organizations (firstly to the OSCE SMM, as well as to the ICRC so that it has access to all persons deprived of liberty), and stop arbitrary political persecutions.

We are also urging the Government of Ukraine to ensure that the restrictions of the freedom of movement across the contact line are only applied if they are necessary and proportionate to possible threats. All citizens, including those residing in non-government-controlled territory, should have unrestricted access to medical assistance.

We underline that new pandemic-related challenges should not diminish priority measures on the peaceful resolution of the conflict set out in the Minsk agreements and reconfirmed during the talks in the Normandy format. Those are:

  • ⚫️ ceasefire
  • ⚫️ continuation of the release of arbitrarily detained persons, both military and civil detainees
  • ⚫️ preventing further human rights violations and war crimes, and ensuring effective investigations into such crimes committed on both sides of the contact line
  • ⚫️ preparing the process of the transitional justice in all its aspects.

While welcoming the release of the detainees on 16 April 2020, we are drawing attention of the OSCE, as well as the governments of Germany and France that the bottom line should be the release of all individuals who are arbitrarily deprived of their liberty . To achieve this, we need to see consistent and coordinated efforts to complete the lists of detainees , to search and to identify their location. Having the control over “DPR” and “LPR”, the Russian Federation should influence them, as in a number of cases they refuse to admit having derived certain people of their liberty (despite the fact that the relatives of these people have confirmation papers issued by the  de-facto authorities of the self-proclaimed “republics”). Moreover, “DPR” and “LPR” refuse to release even those individuals whose names in the lists they have confirmed. As a result, it takes years for many detainees and their loved ones to wait for the ‘next stage of the exchange “.

Independent civil society organizations from Ukraine, Russia and the European Union are ready to provide civic consultations for the Minsk negotiations . The international platform CivilM + has already sent the letters with this proposal to the Office of the President of Ukraine , to the Vice-prime minister / Minister on reintegration of the temporary occupied territories and to the Minister of foreign affairs . The position and the suggestions on these matters are also  available on the CivilM + website .

 

Signatories:

Centre for Civil Liberties, Ukraine

Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, Ukraine

Truth Hounds, Ukraine

Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, Ukraine

“Citizen and Army”, Russia

DRA, German-Russian Exchange, Germany

Helsinki Citizens ‘Assembly (HCA), France

Human Rights Centre “Memorial”, Russia 

MEMORIAL Deutschland eV, Germany

For more information, please contact the Platform Secretariat: Yulia Erner, coordinator – yuliya.erner@austausch.org.  With media-requests, please contact Iryna Yakovlieva, communications coordinator –  iryna.yakovlieva@austausch.org.

Religious Freedom Roundtable. Held Online for the First Time

April 21, 2020

Experts from human rights organisations and religious leaders have developed for the Cabinet of Ministers a number of proposals intended to ensure religious freedom for the period of quarantine restrictions . As reported by ReligiousFreedom.in.ua, an online conference to iscuss these topics in the format of the Religious Freedom Roundtable in Ukraine was held jointly by the Institute for Religious Freedom and the Centre for Civil Liberties Religious figures of various faiths, including from Christian , Jewish, and Muslim religious associations of Ukraine, as well as leaders from the Kharkiv Human Rights Group and Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union , joined the discussion.

 

Lawyer Kseniia Prokonova, managing partner of the Ukrainian branch of SBH Law Offices , clarified legal aspects of quarantine restrictions to the attendees and offered practical advice on protecting the believers :


«Violated rights in the instances when actions by the police do not conform to law . Quarantine is a time when everyone, including churches, should search for new opportunities. They also have to contend for the parishioners “attention within the confines of the law and public interest . It is the first time when the
church must learn how to talk to the police efficiently.»

 

As a result, the human rights activists, together with the religious leaders, developed the following suggestions for the government:

 

● When holding daily and festive services during the quarantine period , the
recommendations, made public by the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and
Religious Organisations on April 8, for avoiding congestion in temples and
other premises of religious organisations should be observed (that is, a total of
10 persons, based on 1 person per 5 sq m, are allowed to be in the temple or
other premises of a religious organisation at the same time)

 

● The self-isolation requirement on persons over 60 years of age should not
apply to the clergy and persons involved in the organisation of services, as
well as to other employees of retirement age;

 

● Given the ban, imposed by the order of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine , on
access for priests to prisoners and convicts, administrations of detention
centres and penitentiary institutions should provide an opportunity for viewing
religious services and sermons that are regularly transmitted by the Public
Broadcaster on the UA: FIRST and UA: CULTURE TV channels and, where
requested by prisoners and convicts, arrange for individual remote meetings
with chaplain priests using videoconferencing facilities;

 

● Offer an opportunity for meeting religious needs of persons accommodated
at social protection or palliative care establishments, including by providing
access to them for chaplain priests or by arranging for individual remote
meetings using videoconferencing facilities;

 

● Local authorities, together with religious figures and volunteers, should be
encouraged to set up the facilities and develop the procedure for delivery of
free humanitarian aid to the destitute, including by providing food to persons
of no fixed abode, while observing sanitary and quarantine requirements and
avoiding mass convergence.

 

We would like to remind you that the Religious Freedom Roundtable in
Ukraine, founded in April 2019, is a civil society platform for dialogue and
liaison between religious, human rights and other civil society organisations.

Religious Freedom Roundtable. Held Online for the First Time

April 21, 2020

Experts from human rights organisations and religious leaders have developed for the Cabinet of Ministers a number of proposals intended to ensure religious freedom for the period of quarantine restrictions . As reported by Religious Freedom.in.ua, an online conference to iscuss these topics in the format of the Religious Freedom Roundtable in Ukraine was held jointly by the Institute for Religious Freedom and the Centre for Civil Liberties Religious figures of various faiths, including from Christian , Jewish, and Muslim religious associations of Ukraine, as well as leaders from the Kharkiv Human Rights Group and Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union , joined the discussion.

 

Lawyer Kseniia Prokonova, managing partner of the Ukrainian branch of SBH Law Offices , clarified legal aspects of quarantine restrictions to the attendees and offered practical advice on protecting the believers :


«Violated rights in the instances when actions by the police do not conform to law . Quarantine is a time when everyone, including churches, should search for new opportunities. They also have to contend for the parishioners “attention within the confines of the law and public interest . It is the first time when the
church must learn how to talk to the police efficiently.»

 

As a result, the human rights activists, together with the religious leaders, developed the following suggestions for the government:

 

● When holding daily and festive services during the quarantine period , the
recommendations, made public by the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and
Religious Organisations on April 8, for avoiding congestion in temples and
other premises of religious organisations should be observed (that is, a total of
10 persons, based on 1 person per 5 sq m, are allowed to be in the temple or
other premises of a religious organisation at the same time)

 

● The self-isolation requirement on persons over 60 years of age should not
apply to the clergy and persons involved in the organisation of services, as
well as to other employees of retirement age;

 

● Given the ban, imposed by the order of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine , on
access for priests to prisoners and convicts, administrations of detention
centres and penitentiary institutions should provide an opportunity for viewing
religious services and sermons that are regularly transmitted by the Public
Broadcaster on the UA: FIRST and UA: CULTURE TV channels and, where
requested by prisoners and convicts, arrange for individual remote meetings
with chaplain priests using videoconferencing facilities;

 

● Offer an opportunity for meeting religious needs of persons accommodated
at social protection or palliative care establishments, including by providing
access to them for chaplain priests or by arranging for individual remote
meetings using videoconferencing facilities;

 

● Local authorities, together with religious figures and volunteers, should be
encouraged to set up the facilities and develop the procedure for delivery of
free humanitarian aid to the destitute, including by providing food to persons
of no fixed abode, while observing sanitary and quarantine requirements and
avoiding mass convergence.

 

We would like to remind you that the Religious Freedom Roundtable in
Ukraine, founded in April 2019, is a civil society platform for dialogue and
liaison between religious, human rights and other civil society organisations.

CCL joined the statement on the need to release human rights defenders from prisons because of COVID-19

April 10, 2020

COVID-19: Jailed Human Rights Defenders Must Be Released Immediately

Check out FIDH’s #ForFreedom campaign for the release of imprisoned human rights defenders threatened by the pandemic: http://en.freedom-defenders.org

→ Read the press release in ArabicFrenchRussianSpanish, or Turkish

Paris, 8 April 2020 — In light of the serious threat posed to prisoners by the rapidly spreading novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, FIDH and its undersigned member organisations recall governments’ obligation to ensure the safety and health of detained individuals that are under their responsibility, and launch a campaign, #ForFreedom, to call for the release of all jailed human rights defenders (HRDs).

As the spread of COVID-19 poses an unprecedented threat, the need to release HRDs is more urgent than ever. Our rights and those who defend them must not become a casualty of this pandemic. FIDH and its undersigned member organisations are launching today a new global campaign #ForFreedom for the release of all HRDs detained worldwide. They should be freed and allowed to conduct their legitimate activities to defend the rights of individuals against injustice, discrimination, violence, and other forms of human rights violations.

“Hundreds of people all over the world are imprisoned not because they committed a crime, but because of their work to defend human rights. As legitimate actors of change, they should never have been detained in the first place,” declared Alice Mogwe, FIDH President. “As COVID-19 continues its rapid spread across the globe, it is time for governments to put an end to this injustice and release those who fight to uphold human rights,” she added.

As stated by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, “Now, more than ever, governments should release every person detained without sufficient legal basis, including political prisoners and others detained simply for expressing critical or dissenting views.” This concerns minors, migrants, refugees, political opponents, journalists, and HRDs.

The campaign website profiles imprisoned HRDs, including Loujain Al-Hathloul (Saudi Arabia); Azimjan Askarov (Kyrgyzstan); Sevda Özbingöl Çelik and Hasan Ceylan (Turkey); Yuri Dmitriev (Russia); Leila de Lima (Philippines); Pablo Lopez Alavez (Mexico); Khalil Maatouk (Syria); Narges Mohammadi (Iran); Miyan Abdul Qayoom (India); Nabeel Rajab (Bahrain); Germain Rukuki (Burundi); Patrick Zaki (Egypt). The website will be regularly updated with additional arbitrarily detained HRDs.

The urgency of the current health crisis presents authorities with an opportunity to redress the unjust deprivation of liberty of all these individuals, many of whom are incarcerated in deplorable sanitary conditions and are denied adequate health care.

In such a context, FIDH and its undersigned member organisations more generally call on governments to relieve congestion in prisons by releasing vast numbers of prisoners on a temporary, permanent or conditional basis for public health reasons. Along with human rights defenders, priority should be given to the elderly, children, those with health conditions, prisoners of conscience, prisoners detained for expressing their opinions, administrative detainees, prisoners detained for minor or non-violent offences, untried detainees, and individuals held in immigration detention centres.

In times of crisis, governments have an obligation to protect those who are most vulnerable. Prison populations, confined to detention facilities that can easily become virus hotspots, are among those most vulnerable to the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a particular risk in countries where minimum standards for detention conditions are not met, overcrowding is the norm, and social distancing is impossible to achieve. The spread of the virus in places of detention will be inevitable unless urgent measures are taken to mitigate this risk. Otherwise, incarceration could be equivalent to a death sentence for many detainees who contract, or are at risk of contracting, the COVID-19 virus.

Such measures would be consistent with the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (revised and adopted as the “Nelson Mandela Rules”), which detail measures aimed at ensuring adequate personal hygiene, health, and safety of prisoners, as well as the specific advice issued by the UN Subcommittee for the Prevention of Torture.

We welcome the move by a number of countries, including TurkeyTunisiaEthiopiaIndonesia, Senegal and Bahrain, to begin releasing prisoners in an effort to reduce overcrowding and prevent the spread of the virus. We urge these and other countries to include HRDs among those who should be released immediately. Many countries have excluded prisoners convicted of terrorism-related offences from the release, thus penalising HRDs unjustly criminalised on trumped-up terrorism charges. HRDs should be exempt from such blanket disqualifications as their human rights work must not be conflated with terrorism.

Africa

  1. Botswana: Ditshwanelo

  2. Burundi: ITEKA

  3. Cameroon: Maison des Droits de l’Homme du Cameroun

  4. Djibouti: LDDH Djibouti

  5. Ethiopia: Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRCO)

  6. Mauritania: Association Mauritanienne des Droits de l’Homme (AMDH)

  7. DRC: Groupe LOTUS

  8. DRC: Ligue des Électeurs

  9. Rwanda: Association Rwandaise pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme et des Libertés Publiques, ADL

  10. Senegal: RADDHO

  11. Tanzania: Legal and Human Rights Centre

 

Americas

  1. Argentina: Comité de Acción Jurídica (CAJ)
  2. Argentina: CAJ
  3. Brazil: Justica Global
  4. Brazil: Movimento Nacional de Direitos Humanos – MNDH Brasil
  5. Chile: Observatorio Ciudadano
  6. Colombia: CAJAR
  7. Ecuador: Acción Ecológica
  8. El Salvador: Comisión de Derechos Humanos de El Salvador (CDHES)
  9. Honduras: CIPRODEH
  10. Honduras: COFADEH
  11. Mexico: Limeddh
  12. Mexico: IDHEAS
  13. Nicaragua: CENIDH
  14. Peru: APRODEH
  15. Peru: Perú Equidad (Centro de Políticas Públicas y Derechos Humanos)

 

Asia

  1. Bangladesh: Odhikar
  2. Cambodia: Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)
  3. China: Human Rights in China (HRIC)
  4. India: Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI)
  5. Indonesia: Commission for Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS)
  6. Iran: League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI)
  7. Iran: Justice for Iran (JFI)
  8. Laos: Lao Movement for Human Rights (LMHR)
  9. Malaysia: Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
  10. Maldives: Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN)
  11. Myanmar: Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma (ALTSEAN-Burma)
  12. Myanmar: Myanmar Alliance for Transparency and Accountability (MATA)
  13. Pakistan: Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP)
  14. Taiwan: Covenants Watch

  15. Thailand: Internet Law Reform Dialogue (iLaw)
  16. Thailand: Manushya Foundation

  17. Thailand: Union for Civil Liberty (UCL)
  18. Vietnam: Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR)

 

Eastern Europe and Central Asia

  1. Armenia: CSI – Armenia
  2. Belarus: HRC Viasna
  3. Georgia: Human Rights Center
  4. Kazakhstan: International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law
  5. Kyrgyzstan: Adilet (Kyrgyzstan)
  6. Kyrgyzstan: Bir Duino
  7. Kyrgyzstan: ILI Foundation
  8. Kyrgyzstan: Kylym Shamy
  9. Russia: ADC Memorial
  10. Russia: Citizen’s Watch
  11. Russia: HRC Memorial
  12. Ukraine: Center for Civil Liberties

Middle East and North Africa

  1. Algeria: CFDA (Comité des familles de disparus en Algérie)
  2. Algeria: LADDH (Ligue Algérienne des Droits de l’Homme)
  3. Bahrain: BCHR (Bahrain Center for Human Rights)
  4. Gulf: GC4HR (Gulf Center for Human Rights)
  5. Lebanon: CLDH (Centre Libanais des Droits Humains)
  6. Morocco: AMDH (Association Marocaine des Droits de l’Homme)
  7. Morocco: OMDH (Organisation Marocaine des Droits de l’Homme)
  8. Palestine: PCHR (Palestinian Center for Human Rights)
  9. Saudi Arabia: ALQST
  10. Syria: SCM (Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression)
  11. Tunisia: LTDH (Ligue Tunisienne des Droits de l’Homme)
  12. Tunisia: ATFD (Association Tunisienne des Femmes Démocrates)
  13. Yemen: SAF (Sisters Arab Forum)

Western Europe

  1. Albania: Albanian Human Rights Group
  2. Belgium: Ligue des droits humains – Belgique
  3. Croatia: Civic Committee for Human Rights
  4. Finland: Finnish League for Human Rights,
  5. France: Association Européenne pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme (AEDH)
  6. France: Ligue des Droits de l’Homme
  7. Germany: Internationale Liga fur Menschenrechte
  8. Hungary: Hungarian Helsinki Committee
  9. Lithuania: Lithuanian Human Rights Association
  10. Latvia : Latvian Human Rights Committee
  11. Portugal: Portuguese League for Human Rights – Civitas
  12. Romania: League for the Defence of Human Rights (LADO)
  13. Spain: Asociacion pro Derechos Humanos de Espana
  14. Spain: Federacion de Asociaciones de Defensa y Promocion de Derechos Humanos de Espana
  15. Turkey: Human Rights Association (IHD)
  16. Turkey: Human Rights Foundation of Turkey
  17. UK/Northern Ireland: Committee on the Administration of Justice

Press contact:

Eva Canan (EN, ES, FR, AR): +33 6 58 05 91 57 | http://twitter.com/EvaCanan | ecanan@fidh.org

COVID-19 in closed prisons in the occupied Crimea and Donbas which is under Russia effective control

March 24, 2020

COVID-19 in closed prisons in the occupied Crimea and Donbas which is under Russia effective control. Immediate response from international organizations is required.

 

We, the below-signed, appeal to the international organizations and their member states to prevent the spread of coronavirus to detention facilities (prisons and pretrial detention centers) in Crimea which is temporarily occupied  by the Russian Federation, the Donbas which is under Russian effective control and in the territory of the Russian Federation itself.

 

Situation in the Occupied Crimea and the Russian Federation

Since March 16, 2020, the Federal Penitentiary Service of the Russian Federation (FSIN) has suspended all visits to detention facilities in order to prevent the spread of the disease among the suspects, those accused and convicted, as well as employees of the penal system. 

At the same time, penitentiary administrations are unable to implement WHO recommendations against the spread of coronavirus. The health services of these institutions lack staff, medications and equipment. They are not capable of coping with common widespread diseases, let alone a global health crisis.

Moreover, detention facilities present an extremely high risk for the transmission of infectious diseases. The buildings are often poorly ventilated, and the prison authorities cannot ensure adequate sanitation and hygiene conditions, i.e. sufficient access to water to wash hands. The detainees continue to be exposed to high risks daily at work, often gatherings, showers, etc.  The prison authorities conduct personal examinations of detainees and perform searches of cells on a daily basis, entering in body-to-body contacts with inmates. Masks for the people showing symptoms of respiratory diseases, both inmates and staff, are not available.

“On March 19, when the ambulance requested in court that I should be taken to the hospital, no one ever took me there. I was just taken to a small box in the courtroom. There, I was lying on the floor until 9 pm, because there was very little room on the bench, and I wanted to lie down, as I was cold and shivering. The schedule of the court hearings is very intense, we are on our feet for 12-14 hours without water and food. I returned to my cell close to 11 pm. I went to another paramedic, but he did not give me any medication besides the antibiotics. On that day, I had a temperature of 39.3 C, and then it even rose to 39.8 C. The cough is dry, very unpleasant. The nose is stuffy. It is difficult to breathe. Three to four other people are also sick in the cell. They are also given aspirin and the same antibiotic. Today [March 23] I do not know how high my temperature is. I wrote a statement asking for a doctor to listen to my lungs. But I was taken to a videoconference to participate in a court hearing, and I was never taken to see a doctor. I do not want to complain, but this is torture. In prison, a person simply does not have the opportunity to protect themself,” comments Server Mustafayev, a prisoner of conscience, the coordinator of the Crimean Solidarity.

The situation is considerably aggravated by the overcrowding of Russian prisons and detention centers, with inmates kept in poor sanitary conditions and the transfer of prisoners from the occupied Crimea into the Russian Federation taking a long time in breach of the norms of international humanitarian law. Due to the prevalence of torture in Russian prisons, restricting the contact of prisoners with the outside world increases the risk of ill-treatment, especially during crisis situations.

Situation in the Donbas effectively controlled by the Russian Federation

The situation in the Donbas which is under the effective control by the Russian Federation, looks even worse. After 6 years of war,  even the International Committee of the Red Cross has no access to detained people. In addition to the so-called official detention centers, there exist an extensive network of secret detention facilities. One of such places was mentioned in the latest report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. It is called “Isolation”, and it is located in the building of a former plant in Donetsk. The conditions of detention in both “official” and secret detention facilities can be equated to torture and ill-treatment and are inappropriate even for short term detentions

 

“I was held in the 13th post of the Donetsk detention facility, considered one of the “best” ones when it came to the conditions for the prisoners. Cell conditions  were appalling: poor sanitation, many bugs and cockroaches, I could not even use the mattress — it was all dirty and riddled with bed bugs — so I slept on the metal bunk, under which I put a blanket sent to me from home. Part of the window was broken, so the air in the room was constantly cold. At the 10th post, which is the worst one, the situation is extremely critical: there are rats, and the sewage often overflows into the cell.here is almost no space – cells barely fit two people, darkness, no daylight, because the post is located in the basement of the detention facility”- comments Donetsk journalist Stanislav Aseev, who was released during an exchange in December 2019.

 

The report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights highlights the widespread practice of torture and ill-treatment of detained persons. Recently released detainees reported beatings, including with electric shocker, strangulation (“wet” and “dry” methods), sexual abuse, torture, the removal of body parts (nails and teeth), deprivation of water, food, sleep, or access to the toilet, imitation of execution, threat of violence or death, and threat of harm to the family.

 

The quality of medical care in these institutions is described in testimonies provided to the OHCHR by several “Isolation” detainees. According to them, a medical worker was present during their interrogations and torture. He revived those who had lost consciousness and pointed out how to torture in order to inflict the greatest pain but not to cause death. He also examined the detainees before torture began, asked about their illnesses, measured their blood pressure or checked their pulse, and injected them. 

 

Even in those facilities where the detention of people is officially confirmed (as opposed to the situation with secret detention centers), the prisoners are provided with necessary medicine and goods by their relatives. For the quarantine period, restrictions were imposed on crossing the demarcation line in the Donbas. Today, those prisoners, whose relatives live in the territory controlled by Ukraine, will not be able to receive the necessary medicine and goods.

 

Therefore, there are no illusions that there will be any medical assistance in case of the spread of coronavirus in prisons and detention centers of Donbas which is currently under the effective Russian control. Moreover, the question arises as to what measures will be undertaken by the Russia-controlled illegal armed formations in charge of the territory, to deter the spread of the coronavirus in prisons and detention centers, in the first place, to protect themselves from contracting the disease.

 

The aforementioned problems in the penitentiary institutions and detention centers in the Ukrainian territories occupied and controlled by Russia pose a real threat not only to prisoners and staff, but also to the wider population. And because, according to scientists, the pandemic can continue in waves, it can threaten the populations of other countries. 

 

In view of the foregoing, and taking into account the position of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment of March 20, 2020, we call for the urgent reaction of the international organizations, the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the European Union, the OSCE, and their member states participants to:

 

  1. 🔹   Appeal to the Russian Federation to take immediate steps to fulfill its international obligations to protect the life and health of its detainees, both officially, such as in the Russian Federation and occupied Crimea, and unofficially, through the Kremlin-controlled illegal armed formations, such as those in Donbas which is currently under the effective Russian control, to develop the necessary plans for prevention and response to the spread of infection, in accordance with the “Statement of principles relating to the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty” in the context of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic (ECPT, 03/20/2020), and to implement the WHO recommendations.

 

  1. 🔹   To urge the Russian Federation to reduce the prison population immediately (in particular, by changing the precautionary measures for house arrests for crimes of minor public danger and the immediate release of all illegally detained political prisoners), considering that the very configuration of the cells, penitentiary facilities, and detention centers does not allow for any preventive measures, such as compliance with social distance, to be carried out.

 

  1.  🔹  The Council of Europe bodies, including the Committee of Ministers, the Secretary-General, and the Commissioner for Human Rights, must swiftly adopt recommendations to encourage the Russian Federation with its 140 million population to take these decisive steps. The Russian Federation has a wide range of measures that can have a swift effect, from criminal policy guidance to prosecutors to emergency pardon and amnesty.

 

  1. 🔹   All monitoring, judicial and quasi-judicial mechanisms of international organizations respecting fundamental human rights must take exceptional measures to be able to play their full role in a pandemic. In particular, the European Court of Human Rights should strengthen its capacity to review requests for urgent measures under Rule 39, which are important to protect human life. The number of such requests is expected to increase in the near future.

 

  1. 🔹   International organizations, and in particular the OSCE, during the upcoming meeting of the trilateral contact group in Minsk on March, 25, should raise the issue of the immediate granting by the Russian Federation of unhindered access to the occupied Crimea and Donbas to international intergovernmental organizations, in particular, the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission, the OSCE Human Rights Assessment Mission on Crimea, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, other Council of Europe convention and institutional mechanisms, etc., as well as international humanitarian organizations, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross.

 

  1. 🔹   France and Germany as members of the Normandy Format, as well as the United States and the United Kingdom as signatories to the Budapest Memorandum, should urge the Russian Federation to use its effective control over parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions to comply with the provisions of the Minsk agreements on the immediate release of persons whose freedom is restricted due to direct involvement in the armed conflict, as well as political prisoners in the occupied Crimea and the Russian Federation.

 

We also urge the Ukrainian authorities to implement all the recommendations set out in the appeal of European NGOs to prevent epidemic of the COVID-19 in detention facilities, according to Ukraine’s international obligations to protect life and health of persons who are under its effective control.

 

Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine) 

Regional Center for Human Rights (Ukraine)

Ukrainian Institute for Human Rights (Ukraine)

Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People (Ukraine)

The Institute of Mass Information (Ukraine)

Detector Media (Ukraine)

The Eastern Ukrainian Center for Civic Initiatives (Ukraine)

Luhansk Regional Human Rights CenterAlternative (Ukraine)

Human Rights House in Chernihiv (Ukraine)

Ukrainian Legal Aid Foundation (Ukraine)

Ukrainian Center for the Prevention of Torture (Ukraine)

Donbas SOS (Ukraine)

Union of Relatives of Kremlin’s Political Prisoners (Ukraine)

Crimean Tatar Resource Center (Ukraine)

Political Science Association (Ukraine)

Territory of Success (Ukraine)

Kryvyi Rih City Human Rights Society (Ukraine)

Association of Ukrainian Monitors on Human Rights Conduct in Law Enforcement (Ukraine)

The Pylyp Orlyk Institute for Democracy (Ukraine)

Congress of Ethnic Communities of Ukraine (Ukraine)

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research (Ukraine)

All-Ukrainian civic movement of mothers and relatives of participants of ATO “Bereginya” (Ukraine)

Charity Foundation Stabilization Support Services (Ukraine)

Vinnitsa NGO of Social Development of Vulnerable Youth “Sprout” (Ukraine)

All-Ukrainian Youth Organization “The Foundation of Regional Initiatives” (Ukraine)

Youth Organization “STAN” (Ukraine)

Anti-Corruption Action Center (Ukraine)

Institute for Religious Freedom (Ukraine)

Ternopil Human Rights Group (Ukraine) 

IAC Civic Space (Ukraine)

Institute for Black Sea Strategic Studies (Ukraine)

Human Rights Initiative (Ukraine)

Theatre for Change (Ukraine)

Human Rights Platform (Ukraine)

Center Eidos (Ukraine)

Liberation Movement Research Center (Ukraine)

NGO All-Ukrainian Democratic Forum (Ukraine)

International Federation for Human Rights (France)

Citizens’ Watch (Russia)

Open Dialogue Foundation (Belgium)

Norwegian Helsinki Committee (Norway)

Human Rights Movement Bir Duino-Kyrgyzstan (Kyrgyzstan)

Internews Ukraine (Ukraine)

UkraineWorld (Ukraine)

NGO Ukraine Without Torture (Ukraine)

All-Ukrainian Active Community Initiative (Ukraine)

Institute Respublica (Ukraine)

International Federation for Human Rights (France)

Macedonian Helsinki Committee (North Macedonia)

The Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan (Azerbaijan)

Memorial-Germany (Germany)

Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (Bulgaria)

Assemblée Européenne des Citoyens, France

German-Russian Exchange (Germany)

Human Rights Monitoring Institute (Lithuania)

New Europe Center (Ukraine)

Netherlands Helsinki Committee (Netherlands)

Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly – Vanadzor (Armenia)

Public Association “Dignity  (Kazakhstan)

Human Rights Matter (Germany)

Minority Rights Group Europe (Hungary)

Italian Coalition for Civil Liberties and Rights (Italy)

International Partnership for Human Rights (Belgium)

Helsinki Committee of Armenia (Armenia)

Austrian Helsinki Association (Austria)

Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law (Kazakhstan)

Promo-LEX Association (Moldova)

Public foundation “Golos svobody” (Kyrgyzstan) 

Helsinki committee for human rights in Serbia (Serbia)

Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland) 

Center for Participation and Development (Georgia) 

Zivilcourage und Anti-Rassismus-Arbeit (Germany)

Italian Federation for human rights (Italy)

Society in Support of Ukraine (Latvia)

Association for Solidarity, Mutual Assistance, and Culture “Good Heart” (Portugal)

The Association of Ukrainians in the Republic of Ireland “AURI” (Ireland)

Ukrainian Cultural Association of Malaysia (Malaysia)

Volunteer Hundred in Brescia (Italy)

The Ukrainian-Slovak Initiative (Slovakia)

The Ukrainian Women Organization in Sweden (Sweden)

London Euromaidan (Великобританія)

United Help Ukraine (the United States)

AG Ukraine – Chemnitz – Europa e.V. (Germany)

The Union of Ukrainian Culture and Solidarity (Turkey)

The Ukrainian-Austrian Cultural and Educational Center in Vienna (Austria)

Ukrainians in Mongolia (Mongolia)

The Information Portal “Irish House” (Ireland)

Central Association of Ukrainians in Germany (Germany)

Ukrainian Community in the Philippines(the Philippines) 

The Global Movement of the Ukrainian Patriots in Munich (Germany)

Fairness Corps (Ukraine)

All-Spanish NGO “Ukrainian Patriotic Association WILL,” Madrid (Spain)

Ukrainian League Taragony “Панна, Дівочі посиденьки” (Spain)

Civil Initiative “Euromaidan-Warsaw” (Poland)

Institute for Religious Freedom (Ukraine)

International Association of Ukrainians EuroMaidan/ Mezinárodní Asociace Ukrajinců EuroMajdan z.s. (Czech Republic)

Saint Olha Association  (Australia)

Ukrainian Free Kozaks of Australia (Australia)

Israeli Friends of Ukraine (Israel)

Community of Ukrainians, Vilnius (Lithuania)

Community of Ukrainians,  Guadalajara (Mexico)

Community of Ukrainians in Finland (Finland)

Young Ukraine Association, Madrid (Spain)

Bureau of Social and Political Developments (Ukraine)

Ukraine Needs You (Ukraine);

Stronger Together (Ukraine);

Liberal-Democratic League of Ukraine (Ukraine)

Defender, Nosivka, Chernihivs’ka oblast (Ukraine)

Legal Development Network (Ukraine)

Natural Rights Ukraine (Ukraine)

Center for International Security and Euro-Atlantic Integration (Ukraine)

Development foundation (Ukraine)

Non-Governmental Centre “Women’s Perspectives”(Ukraine)

Institute of Political Education (Ukraine)

Ukrainian Institute for the Future (Україна) 

Luhansk Regional Human Rights Women’s Organization “Chaika” (Ukraine)

Platform for Social Humanitarian Initiatives and Innovation “Single Coordination Center” (Ukraine)

NGO Docudays (Ukraine)

Charity Organization “Charity and Health” (Ukraine)

NGO Group of Influence (Ukraine)

Center for Economic and Legal Analytics (Ukraine)

NGO Creative Center Dagaz (Ukraine)

Media Initiative for Human Rights (Ukraine)

Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Studies (Ukraine)

PCO  “Foundation for defence of Ukraine” (Ukraine)

Social Action Center (Ukraine) 

“Sich” Human Rights Protection Group (Ukraine)

DEJURE Foundation (Ukraine)

Vostok-SOS (Ukraine)

NGO “Right to Protection” (Ukraine)

NGO “Female veteran movement” (Ukraine)

November 30 Group (Ukraine)

NGO “Women’s Rights League” Harmony of Equals” (Ukraine)

NGO St. Clement’s Center (Ukraine)

NGO Spirit and Letter (Ukraine)

NGO Alliance of Ukrainian Unity (Ukraine)

Charitable Organization “Right of a Human” (Ukraine)

Сenter for democracy and rule of law (Ukraine)

NGO “Forpost” (Ukraine)

Women in media: Balance the imbalance!

March 10, 2020

In a joint statement, IMS and 38 other organisations urge media leaders and journalists to take action against the gender inequality in the news.

 

On International Women’s Day 2020, we want to call upon all media leaders and journalists around the globe to take action against the skewed balance and representation of gender in the news – both in terms of numbers and in portrayal.

A balanced presence of women and men in news and current affairs would to a higher degree reflect the composition of society and showcase a greater variety of human experiences, views and concerns. However, statistics show that media is far from balanced:

– A majority of media content portrays women in stereotypical roles such as homemakers, models or victims.

– Women are more likely than men to be referred to in terms of superficial attributes such as appearance, age, clothes and marital status. Men, on the other hand, are more likely to be portrayed as powerful public figures, with the media focusing on profession, skills and opinions. This perpetuates a limiting and unequal perception of gender.

– Only 4% of all newspapers, radio and TV reports worldwide challenge gender stereotypes.

– Only 24% of news subjects – the people who are interviewed, or whom the news is about – are female.

– Women are used as experts only 19 % of the time.

– In only 16 % of news that relates to politics and government, women are the subject of the stories.

The numbers are not only indicative of the media sector’s gender inequality challenges but is also a serious impediment to media development and democracy. A functioning democracy requires gender equality and the media need to do much better to contribute to this goal.

Media have the power and responsibility to challenge stereotypes in content production and together we need to set an example for current and future generations. That is why today we ask you, as part of a media organisation, to:

Engage in gender media monitoring to keep track of who is represented in your content and in what capacity

Create your database of women experts on various topics — or make use of existing ones

Revise your editorial guidelines to make sure that a gender perspective is included

Conduct a gender audit of your internal work to make sure that you have a diverse workforce and identify the gender gaps in your organisation — a diverse workforce is more likely to produce pluralistic content.


The undersigned organisations stand ready to support in such efforts:

Ordinary people who do extraordinary things. Devoted to Ukrainian volunteers

February 17, 2020

Alfredo Garcia (Euromaidan Volunteer Nominee 2018)

Canadian teacher, pro-Ukrainian activist, language instructor with 20 years of experience facilitation student driven and instructor generated curricula, modules, and lesson plans.

Alfredo works for The Toronto District School Board (TDSB), one of the largest and one of the most diverse school boards in Canada. We serve approximately 247,000 students in 583 schools throughout Toronto, and more than 130,000 life-long learners in our Adult and Continuing Education programs. Please feel free to find more details following next link: https://www.tdsb.on.ca/About-Us

In the past I shared with Mr. Garcia the latest Ukrainian historical moments of Revolution of dignity and Russian Aggression later and he offered help to support people in Ukraine. I suggested him to share 1-2 hours his time per week to provide free English classes kids and adults.  Finally we selected best students in Ukraine: one children group and one adult (mostly individuals whose lives were affected by Revolution and War: military family, volunteers).

Our initiative has started in February 2018 and this projects still going in. Alfredo constantly every week dedicate 2 h of his own life time to teach English for Ukrainian students  and we have a great success, now both group are able to study without me as a translator, they can communicate and interact with native speaker and 100 % Canadian professional teacher.

Dear friends,would be great to gain and develop the friendly relationship, initiatives and partnership with motivated people and organization that are located abroad and willing to help and put human effort to support people in Ukraine around Russia’s hybrid war against Ukraine.

If you would share this information on Ukrainian (English) mass media I could transfer it also to Canadian mass media and Toronto Municipality to make this story read.

Thank our big friend abroad for supporting Ukrainians in Ukraine.

Constitutional Coup in Russia : Putin’s Move to Devalue International Human Rights Treaties Could Set Dangerous Global Precedent

February 12, 2020
On 20 January 2020, the President of Russia proposed radical changes to the Russian Constitution, but the chilling implications for human rights could echo far beyond Russia’s borders. The draft legislation introduces significant amendments to 14 articles of Russia’s supreme law of the land. FIDH and 37 of its member organisations believe that the proposed amendments contradict the letter and spirit of the Constitution, diminish the fundamental rights of Russian citizens under the guise of legitimate State concerns, and constitute an attempt to further consolidate power in the hands of the current regime. Our organisations fear that, if adopted, these measures would compromise human rights not only in Russia, but also set a dangerous precedent that may be emulated by other countries.
The speed with which the draft law was prepared – just four days – and the gross violations of constitutionally prescribed procedures for such changes, have evoked strong criticism from civil society and the public at large.One of the proposed amendments would effectively legalise the selective implementation of decisions of international treaty bodies deemed contrary to the Constitution. Russia is normally bound to abide by these decisions, by virtue of its having ratified international or regional conventions, such as the European Convention on Human Rights. But, with this proposed amendment, Russia would be able to invoke the supposed unenforceability of “interpretations” of treaty provisions as justification to not follow them, under the guise of protecting national sovereignty. In practice, the amendment would allow Russian authorities to avoid implementing decisions of the likes of the European Court of Human Rights that the latter often perceive as contrary to national interests.

“Putin’s brazen move to put in place a constitutional mechanism to avoid implementing international treaties could severely undermine international law. If adopted, the proposed legislation would not only likely aggravate the human rights situation in Russia; it could also serve as a dangerous model, paving the way for other countries to shirk international human rights obligations.”

Alice Mogwe, FIDH President.

The legislation was designed by an ad hoc working group convened on 15 January, the same day that Putin first announced the constitutional changes during his annual address. The document, drafted in just four days and without a meaningful consultation with the civil society, proposes substantive changes to 14 articles of the Constitution, contrary to a federal law requiring a separate draft law for each amendment. As early as 23 January the draft law was unanimously accepted in the first reading by the lower chamber of Russia’s Parliament. The final reading, to be followed by a vote, is expected at the end of February.

Not only is the substance of the amendments worrying; the authorities’ disregard for constitutionally prescribed procedures required to adopt them gives cause for alarm. Since the proposed changes concern the first two chapters of the Constitution, the “Fundamentals of the Constitutional System” and the “Rights and Freedoms of Man and Citizen”, Article 135 requires that a new Constitution be adopted by a Constitutional Assembly, followed by a referendum. Neither the law governing the formation of the Constitutional Assembly, nor the organ itself, are currently in existence. Rather than abide by these procedures, the authorities plan to hold a nationwide constitutional vote this spring, in an attempt to give the proposed amendment an air of legitimacy.

The authorities’ move to prize sovereignty above all, in disregard for international law, could usher in a dark time for human rights in Russia, with the potential to set a dangerous global precedent. FIDH and its 37 member organisations urge the Russian parliamentarians and the Russian people to vote against the proposed amendments.

  • Anti-Discrimination Center Memorial (ADC-Memorial, Russia)
    Adilet (Kyrgyzstan)
    Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma (ALTSEAN-Burma)
    Armanshahr/OPEN ASIA
    Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
    Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
    Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)
    Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
    Citizens’ Watch (Russia)
    Civil Society Institute (Armenia)
    Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI)
    Dutch League for Human Rights
    Finnish League for Human Rights
    French Human Rights League – Ligue des droits de l’Homme (LDH, France )
    Human Rights Association – Insan Haklari Dernegi (Turkey)
    Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP)
    Human Rights Center Georgia (HRIDC)
    Human Rights Center Memorial (Russia)
    Human Rights Center Viasna (Belarus)
    Human Rights in China (HRIC)
    International Legal Initiative (Kazakhstan)
    Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights
    Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC)
    Lao Movement for Human Rights (LMHR)
    League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI)
    Ligue Iteka (Burundi)
    Lithuanian Human Rights Association
    Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN)
    Manushya Foundation (Thailand)
    Odhikar (Bangladesh)
    Portuguese Human Rights League – Civitas (LPDHC)
    Promo Lex (Moldova)
    Regional Watch for Human Rights (Liberia)
    The League for Defence of Human Rights (LADO, Romania)
    The Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC, Tanzania)
    Union for Civil Liberty (UCL – Thailand)
    Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR)

Crimean citizen journalists

February 4, 2020

Результаты поиска:

«International support for Ukraine should increase» – statement platform CivilM+

April 21, 2020

In April 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the seventh year of the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine has begun. While the emergency has revealed gaps in the healthcare system throughout the country, the situation in the conflict zone is nearly critical. The infrastructure has been damaged by the hostilities and there is a severe lack of medical personnel. Small and medium-sized enterprises which barely started recovering after the first years of the war with the support from humanitarian organizations, have been suffering losses and are on the brink of bankruptcy during the quarantine.

Of particular concern is the situation in territories that are not controlled by the government of Ukraine: there is no credible information about the situation there, freedom of expression is seriously limited, monitoring and humanitarian organizations, for example, OSCE SMM are facing problems with accessing and operating in the territory of the self-proclaimed “DPR” and “LPR”.

We, the undersigned members of the international civil society platform CivilM +, are calling on the Government of the EU member-states to:

  • ⚫️ allocate all the resources available to support the region in its fight with COVID-19. Along with the unconditional support of medical sphere, the aid should go to small and medium business, local Ukrainian authorities and civil society organizations
  • ⚫️ keep exerting pressure on the Russian Federation to make sure that ‘DPR’ and ‘LPR “, which are under the RF control, provide unhindered access to humanitarian and monitoring organizations (firstly to the OSCE SMM, as well as to the ICRC so that it has access to all persons deprived of liberty), and stop arbitrary political persecutions.

We are also urging the Government of Ukraine to ensure that the restrictions of the freedom of movement across the contact line are only applied if they are necessary and proportionate to possible threats. All citizens, including those residing in non-government-controlled territory, should have unrestricted access to medical assistance.

We underline that new pandemic-related challenges should not diminish priority measures on the peaceful resolution of the conflict set out in the Minsk agreements and reconfirmed during the talks in the Normandy format. Those are:

  • ⚫️ ceasefire
  • ⚫️ continuation of the release of arbitrarily detained persons, both military and civil detainees
  • ⚫️ preventing further human rights violations and war crimes, and ensuring effective investigations into such crimes committed on both sides of the contact line
  • ⚫️ preparing the process of the transitional justice in all its aspects.

While welcoming the release of the detainees on 16 April 2020, we are drawing attention of the OSCE, as well as the governments of Germany and France that the bottom line should be the release of all individuals who are arbitrarily deprived of their liberty . To achieve this, we need to see consistent and coordinated efforts to complete the lists of detainees , to search and to identify their location. Having the control over “DPR” and “LPR”, the Russian Federation should influence them, as in a number of cases they refuse to admit having derived certain people of their liberty (despite the fact that the relatives of these people have confirmation papers issued by the  de-facto authorities of the self-proclaimed “republics”). Moreover, “DPR” and “LPR” refuse to release even those individuals whose names in the lists they have confirmed. As a result, it takes years for many detainees and their loved ones to wait for the ‘next stage of the exchange “.

Independent civil society organizations from Ukraine, Russia and the European Union are ready to provide civic consultations for the Minsk negotiations . The international platform CivilM + has already sent the letters with this proposal to the Office of the President of Ukraine , to the Vice-prime minister / Minister on reintegration of the temporary occupied territories and to the Minister of foreign affairs . The position and the suggestions on these matters are also  available on the CivilM + website .

 

Signatories:

Centre for Civil Liberties, Ukraine

Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, Ukraine

Truth Hounds, Ukraine

Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, Ukraine

“Citizen and Army”, Russia

DRA, German-Russian Exchange, Germany

Helsinki Citizens ‘Assembly (HCA), France

Human Rights Centre “Memorial”, Russia 

MEMORIAL Deutschland eV, Germany

For more information, please contact the Platform Secretariat: Yulia Erner, coordinator – yuliya.erner@austausch.org.  With media-requests, please contact Iryna Yakovlieva, communications coordinator –  iryna.yakovlieva@austausch.org.

Religious Freedom Roundtable. Held Online for the First Time

April 21, 2020

Experts from human rights organisations and religious leaders have developed for the Cabinet of Ministers a number of proposals intended to ensure religious freedom for the period of quarantine restrictions . As reported by ReligiousFreedom.in.ua, an online conference to iscuss these topics in the format of the Religious Freedom Roundtable in Ukraine was held jointly by the Institute for Religious Freedom and the Centre for Civil Liberties Religious figures of various faiths, including from Christian , Jewish, and Muslim religious associations of Ukraine, as well as leaders from the Kharkiv Human Rights Group and Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union , joined the discussion.

 

Lawyer Kseniia Prokonova, managing partner of the Ukrainian branch of SBH Law Offices , clarified legal aspects of quarantine restrictions to the attendees and offered practical advice on protecting the believers :


«Violated rights in the instances when actions by the police do not conform to law . Quarantine is a time when everyone, including churches, should search for new opportunities. They also have to contend for the parishioners “attention within the confines of the law and public interest . It is the first time when the
church must learn how to talk to the police efficiently.»

 

As a result, the human rights activists, together with the religious leaders, developed the following suggestions for the government:

 

● When holding daily and festive services during the quarantine period , the
recommendations, made public by the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and
Religious Organisations on April 8, for avoiding congestion in temples and
other premises of religious organisations should be observed (that is, a total of
10 persons, based on 1 person per 5 sq m, are allowed to be in the temple or
other premises of a religious organisation at the same time)

 

● The self-isolation requirement on persons over 60 years of age should not
apply to the clergy and persons involved in the organisation of services, as
well as to other employees of retirement age;

 

● Given the ban, imposed by the order of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine , on
access for priests to prisoners and convicts, administrations of detention
centres and penitentiary institutions should provide an opportunity for viewing
religious services and sermons that are regularly transmitted by the Public
Broadcaster on the UA: FIRST and UA: CULTURE TV channels and, where
requested by prisoners and convicts, arrange for individual remote meetings
with chaplain priests using videoconferencing facilities;

 

● Offer an opportunity for meeting religious needs of persons accommodated
at social protection or palliative care establishments, including by providing
access to them for chaplain priests or by arranging for individual remote
meetings using videoconferencing facilities;

 

● Local authorities, together with religious figures and volunteers, should be
encouraged to set up the facilities and develop the procedure for delivery of
free humanitarian aid to the destitute, including by providing food to persons
of no fixed abode, while observing sanitary and quarantine requirements and
avoiding mass convergence.

 

We would like to remind you that the Religious Freedom Roundtable in
Ukraine, founded in April 2019, is a civil society platform for dialogue and
liaison between religious, human rights and other civil society organisations.

Religious Freedom Roundtable. Held Online for the First Time

April 21, 2020

Experts from human rights organisations and religious leaders have developed for the Cabinet of Ministers a number of proposals intended to ensure religious freedom for the period of quarantine restrictions . As reported by Religious Freedom.in.ua, an online conference to iscuss these topics in the format of the Religious Freedom Roundtable in Ukraine was held jointly by the Institute for Religious Freedom and the Centre for Civil Liberties Religious figures of various faiths, including from Christian , Jewish, and Muslim religious associations of Ukraine, as well as leaders from the Kharkiv Human Rights Group and Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union , joined the discussion.

 

Lawyer Kseniia Prokonova, managing partner of the Ukrainian branch of SBH Law Offices , clarified legal aspects of quarantine restrictions to the attendees and offered practical advice on protecting the believers :


«Violated rights in the instances when actions by the police do not conform to law . Quarantine is a time when everyone, including churches, should search for new opportunities. They also have to contend for the parishioners “attention within the confines of the law and public interest . It is the first time when the
church must learn how to talk to the police efficiently.»

 

As a result, the human rights activists, together with the religious leaders, developed the following suggestions for the government:

 

● When holding daily and festive services during the quarantine period , the
recommendations, made public by the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and
Religious Organisations on April 8, for avoiding congestion in temples and
other premises of religious organisations should be observed (that is, a total of
10 persons, based on 1 person per 5 sq m, are allowed to be in the temple or
other premises of a religious organisation at the same time)

 

● The self-isolation requirement on persons over 60 years of age should not
apply to the clergy and persons involved in the organisation of services, as
well as to other employees of retirement age;

 

● Given the ban, imposed by the order of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine , on
access for priests to prisoners and convicts, administrations of detention
centres and penitentiary institutions should provide an opportunity for viewing
religious services and sermons that are regularly transmitted by the Public
Broadcaster on the UA: FIRST and UA: CULTURE TV channels and, where
requested by prisoners and convicts, arrange for individual remote meetings
with chaplain priests using videoconferencing facilities;

 

● Offer an opportunity for meeting religious needs of persons accommodated
at social protection or palliative care establishments, including by providing
access to them for chaplain priests or by arranging for individual remote
meetings using videoconferencing facilities;

 

● Local authorities, together with religious figures and volunteers, should be
encouraged to set up the facilities and develop the procedure for delivery of
free humanitarian aid to the destitute, including by providing food to persons
of no fixed abode, while observing sanitary and quarantine requirements and
avoiding mass convergence.

 

We would like to remind you that the Religious Freedom Roundtable in
Ukraine, founded in April 2019, is a civil society platform for dialogue and
liaison between religious, human rights and other civil society organisations.

CCL joined the statement on the need to release human rights defenders from prisons because of COVID-19

April 10, 2020

COVID-19: Jailed Human Rights Defenders Must Be Released Immediately

Check out FIDH’s #ForFreedom campaign for the release of imprisoned human rights defenders threatened by the pandemic: http://en.freedom-defenders.org

→ Read the press release in ArabicFrenchRussianSpanish, or Turkish

Paris, 8 April 2020 — In light of the serious threat posed to prisoners by the rapidly spreading novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, FIDH and its undersigned member organisations recall governments’ obligation to ensure the safety and health of detained individuals that are under their responsibility, and launch a campaign, #ForFreedom, to call for the release of all jailed human rights defenders (HRDs).

As the spread of COVID-19 poses an unprecedented threat, the need to release HRDs is more urgent than ever. Our rights and those who defend them must not become a casualty of this pandemic. FIDH and its undersigned member organisations are launching today a new global campaign #ForFreedom for the release of all HRDs detained worldwide. They should be freed and allowed to conduct their legitimate activities to defend the rights of individuals against injustice, discrimination, violence, and other forms of human rights violations.

“Hundreds of people all over the world are imprisoned not because they committed a crime, but because of their work to defend human rights. As legitimate actors of change, they should never have been detained in the first place,” declared Alice Mogwe, FIDH President. “As COVID-19 continues its rapid spread across the globe, it is time for governments to put an end to this injustice and release those who fight to uphold human rights,” she added.

As stated by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, “Now, more than ever, governments should release every person detained without sufficient legal basis, including political prisoners and others detained simply for expressing critical or dissenting views.” This concerns minors, migrants, refugees, political opponents, journalists, and HRDs.

The campaign website profiles imprisoned HRDs, including Loujain Al-Hathloul (Saudi Arabia); Azimjan Askarov (Kyrgyzstan); Sevda Özbingöl Çelik and Hasan Ceylan (Turkey); Yuri Dmitriev (Russia); Leila de Lima (Philippines); Pablo Lopez Alavez (Mexico); Khalil Maatouk (Syria); Narges Mohammadi (Iran); Miyan Abdul Qayoom (India); Nabeel Rajab (Bahrain); Germain Rukuki (Burundi); Patrick Zaki (Egypt). The website will be regularly updated with additional arbitrarily detained HRDs.

The urgency of the current health crisis presents authorities with an opportunity to redress the unjust deprivation of liberty of all these individuals, many of whom are incarcerated in deplorable sanitary conditions and are denied adequate health care.

In such a context, FIDH and its undersigned member organisations more generally call on governments to relieve congestion in prisons by releasing vast numbers of prisoners on a temporary, permanent or conditional basis for public health reasons. Along with human rights defenders, priority should be given to the elderly, children, those with health conditions, prisoners of conscience, prisoners detained for expressing their opinions, administrative detainees, prisoners detained for minor or non-violent offences, untried detainees, and individuals held in immigration detention centres.

In times of crisis, governments have an obligation to protect those who are most vulnerable. Prison populations, confined to detention facilities that can easily become virus hotspots, are among those most vulnerable to the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a particular risk in countries where minimum standards for detention conditions are not met, overcrowding is the norm, and social distancing is impossible to achieve. The spread of the virus in places of detention will be inevitable unless urgent measures are taken to mitigate this risk. Otherwise, incarceration could be equivalent to a death sentence for many detainees who contract, or are at risk of contracting, the COVID-19 virus.

Such measures would be consistent with the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (revised and adopted as the “Nelson Mandela Rules”), which detail measures aimed at ensuring adequate personal hygiene, health, and safety of prisoners, as well as the specific advice issued by the UN Subcommittee for the Prevention of Torture.

We welcome the move by a number of countries, including TurkeyTunisiaEthiopiaIndonesia, Senegal and Bahrain, to begin releasing prisoners in an effort to reduce overcrowding and prevent the spread of the virus. We urge these and other countries to include HRDs among those who should be released immediately. Many countries have excluded prisoners convicted of terrorism-related offences from the release, thus penalising HRDs unjustly criminalised on trumped-up terrorism charges. HRDs should be exempt from such blanket disqualifications as their human rights work must not be conflated with terrorism.

Africa

  1. Botswana: Ditshwanelo

  2. Burundi: ITEKA

  3. Cameroon: Maison des Droits de l’Homme du Cameroun

  4. Djibouti: LDDH Djibouti

  5. Ethiopia: Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRCO)

  6. Mauritania: Association Mauritanienne des Droits de l’Homme (AMDH)

  7. DRC: Groupe LOTUS

  8. DRC: Ligue des Électeurs

  9. Rwanda: Association Rwandaise pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme et des Libertés Publiques, ADL

  10. Senegal: RADDHO

  11. Tanzania: Legal and Human Rights Centre

 

Americas

  1. Argentina: Comité de Acción Jurídica (CAJ)
  2. Argentina: CAJ
  3. Brazil: Justica Global
  4. Brazil: Movimento Nacional de Direitos Humanos – MNDH Brasil
  5. Chile: Observatorio Ciudadano
  6. Colombia: CAJAR
  7. Ecuador: Acción Ecológica
  8. El Salvador: Comisión de Derechos Humanos de El Salvador (CDHES)
  9. Honduras: CIPRODEH
  10. Honduras: COFADEH
  11. Mexico: Limeddh
  12. Mexico: IDHEAS
  13. Nicaragua: CENIDH
  14. Peru: APRODEH
  15. Peru: Perú Equidad (Centro de Políticas Públicas y Derechos Humanos)

 

Asia

  1. Bangladesh: Odhikar
  2. Cambodia: Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)
  3. China: Human Rights in China (HRIC)
  4. India: Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI)
  5. Indonesia: Commission for Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS)
  6. Iran: League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI)
  7. Iran: Justice for Iran (JFI)
  8. Laos: Lao Movement for Human Rights (LMHR)
  9. Malaysia: Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
  10. Maldives: Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN)
  11. Myanmar: Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma (ALTSEAN-Burma)
  12. Myanmar: Myanmar Alliance for Transparency and Accountability (MATA)
  13. Pakistan: Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP)
  14. Taiwan: Covenants Watch

  15. Thailand: Internet Law Reform Dialogue (iLaw)
  16. Thailand: Manushya Foundation

  17. Thailand: Union for Civil Liberty (UCL)
  18. Vietnam: Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR)

 

Eastern Europe and Central Asia

  1. Armenia: CSI – Armenia
  2. Belarus: HRC Viasna
  3. Georgia: Human Rights Center
  4. Kazakhstan: International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law
  5. Kyrgyzstan: Adilet (Kyrgyzstan)
  6. Kyrgyzstan: Bir Duino
  7. Kyrgyzstan: ILI Foundation
  8. Kyrgyzstan: Kylym Shamy
  9. Russia: ADC Memorial
  10. Russia: Citizen’s Watch
  11. Russia: HRC Memorial
  12. Ukraine: Center for Civil Liberties

Middle East and North Africa

  1. Algeria: CFDA (Comité des familles de disparus en Algérie)
  2. Algeria: LADDH (Ligue Algérienne des Droits de l’Homme)
  3. Bahrain: BCHR (Bahrain Center for Human Rights)
  4. Gulf: GC4HR (Gulf Center for Human Rights)
  5. Lebanon: CLDH (Centre Libanais des Droits Humains)
  6. Morocco: AMDH (Association Marocaine des Droits de l’Homme)
  7. Morocco: OMDH (Organisation Marocaine des Droits de l’Homme)
  8. Palestine: PCHR (Palestinian Center for Human Rights)
  9. Saudi Arabia: ALQST
  10. Syria: SCM (Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression)
  11. Tunisia: LTDH (Ligue Tunisienne des Droits de l’Homme)
  12. Tunisia: ATFD (Association Tunisienne des Femmes Démocrates)
  13. Yemen: SAF (Sisters Arab Forum)

Western Europe

  1. Albania: Albanian Human Rights Group
  2. Belgium: Ligue des droits humains – Belgique
  3. Croatia: Civic Committee for Human Rights
  4. Finland: Finnish League for Human Rights,
  5. France: Association Européenne pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme (AEDH)
  6. France: Ligue des Droits de l’Homme
  7. Germany: Internationale Liga fur Menschenrechte
  8. Hungary: Hungarian Helsinki Committee
  9. Lithuania: Lithuanian Human Rights Association
  10. Latvia : Latvian Human Rights Committee
  11. Portugal: Portuguese League for Human Rights – Civitas
  12. Romania: League for the Defence of Human Rights (LADO)
  13. Spain: Asociacion pro Derechos Humanos de Espana
  14. Spain: Federacion de Asociaciones de Defensa y Promocion de Derechos Humanos de Espana
  15. Turkey: Human Rights Association (IHD)
  16. Turkey: Human Rights Foundation of Turkey
  17. UK/Northern Ireland: Committee on the Administration of Justice

Press contact:

Eva Canan (EN, ES, FR, AR): +33 6 58 05 91 57 | http://twitter.com/EvaCanan | ecanan@fidh.org

COVID-19 in closed prisons in the occupied Crimea and Donbas which is under Russia effective control

March 24, 2020

COVID-19 in closed prisons in the occupied Crimea and Donbas which is under Russia effective control. Immediate response from international organizations is required.

 

We, the below-signed, appeal to the international organizations and their member states to prevent the spread of coronavirus to detention facilities (prisons and pretrial detention centers) in Crimea which is temporarily occupied  by the Russian Federation, the Donbas which is under Russian effective control and in the territory of the Russian Federation itself.

 

Situation in the Occupied Crimea and the Russian Federation

Since March 16, 2020, the Federal Penitentiary Service of the Russian Federation (FSIN) has suspended all visits to detention facilities in order to prevent the spread of the disease among the suspects, those accused and convicted, as well as employees of the penal system. 

At the same time, penitentiary administrations are unable to implement WHO recommendations against the spread of coronavirus. The health services of these institutions lack staff, medications and equipment. They are not capable of coping with common widespread diseases, let alone a global health crisis.

Moreover, detention facilities present an extremely high risk for the transmission of infectious diseases. The buildings are often poorly ventilated, and the prison authorities cannot ensure adequate sanitation and hygiene conditions, i.e. sufficient access to water to wash hands. The detainees continue to be exposed to high risks daily at work, often gatherings, showers, etc.  The prison authorities conduct personal examinations of detainees and perform searches of cells on a daily basis, entering in body-to-body contacts with inmates. Masks for the people showing symptoms of respiratory diseases, both inmates and staff, are not available.

“On March 19, when the ambulance requested in court that I should be taken to the hospital, no one ever took me there. I was just taken to a small box in the courtroom. There, I was lying on the floor until 9 pm, because there was very little room on the bench, and I wanted to lie down, as I was cold and shivering. The schedule of the court hearings is very intense, we are on our feet for 12-14 hours without water and food. I returned to my cell close to 11 pm. I went to another paramedic, but he did not give me any medication besides the antibiotics. On that day, I had a temperature of 39.3 C, and then it even rose to 39.8 C. The cough is dry, very unpleasant. The nose is stuffy. It is difficult to breathe. Three to four other people are also sick in the cell. They are also given aspirin and the same antibiotic. Today [March 23] I do not know how high my temperature is. I wrote a statement asking for a doctor to listen to my lungs. But I was taken to a videoconference to participate in a court hearing, and I was never taken to see a doctor. I do not want to complain, but this is torture. In prison, a person simply does not have the opportunity to protect themself,” comments Server Mustafayev, a prisoner of conscience, the coordinator of the Crimean Solidarity.

The situation is considerably aggravated by the overcrowding of Russian prisons and detention centers, with inmates kept in poor sanitary conditions and the transfer of prisoners from the occupied Crimea into the Russian Federation taking a long time in breach of the norms of international humanitarian law. Due to the prevalence of torture in Russian prisons, restricting the contact of prisoners with the outside world increases the risk of ill-treatment, especially during crisis situations.

Situation in the Donbas effectively controlled by the Russian Federation

The situation in the Donbas which is under the effective control by the Russian Federation, looks even worse. After 6 years of war,  even the International Committee of the Red Cross has no access to detained people. In addition to the so-called official detention centers, there exist an extensive network of secret detention facilities. One of such places was mentioned in the latest report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. It is called “Isolation”, and it is located in the building of a former plant in Donetsk. The conditions of detention in both “official” and secret detention facilities can be equated to torture and ill-treatment and are inappropriate even for short term detentions

 

“I was held in the 13th post of the Donetsk detention facility, considered one of the “best” ones when it came to the conditions for the prisoners. Cell conditions  were appalling: poor sanitation, many bugs and cockroaches, I could not even use the mattress — it was all dirty and riddled with bed bugs — so I slept on the metal bunk, under which I put a blanket sent to me from home. Part of the window was broken, so the air in the room was constantly cold. At the 10th post, which is the worst one, the situation is extremely critical: there are rats, and the sewage often overflows into the cell.here is almost no space – cells barely fit two people, darkness, no daylight, because the post is located in the basement of the detention facility”- comments Donetsk journalist Stanislav Aseev, who was released during an exchange in December 2019.

 

The report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights highlights the widespread practice of torture and ill-treatment of detained persons. Recently released detainees reported beatings, including with electric shocker, strangulation (“wet” and “dry” methods), sexual abuse, torture, the removal of body parts (nails and teeth), deprivation of water, food, sleep, or access to the toilet, imitation of execution, threat of violence or death, and threat of harm to the family.

 

The quality of medical care in these institutions is described in testimonies provided to the OHCHR by several “Isolation” detainees. According to them, a medical worker was present during their interrogations and torture. He revived those who had lost consciousness and pointed out how to torture in order to inflict the greatest pain but not to cause death. He also examined the detainees before torture began, asked about their illnesses, measured their blood pressure or checked their pulse, and injected them. 

 

Even in those facilities where the detention of people is officially confirmed (as opposed to the situation with secret detention centers), the prisoners are provided with necessary medicine and goods by their relatives. For the quarantine period, restrictions were imposed on crossing the demarcation line in the Donbas. Today, those prisoners, whose relatives live in the territory controlled by Ukraine, will not be able to receive the necessary medicine and goods.

 

Therefore, there are no illusions that there will be any medical assistance in case of the spread of coronavirus in prisons and detention centers of Donbas which is currently under the effective Russian control. Moreover, the question arises as to what measures will be undertaken by the Russia-controlled illegal armed formations in charge of the territory, to deter the spread of the coronavirus in prisons and detention centers, in the first place, to protect themselves from contracting the disease.

 

The aforementioned problems in the penitentiary institutions and detention centers in the Ukrainian territories occupied and controlled by Russia pose a real threat not only to prisoners and staff, but also to the wider population. And because, according to scientists, the pandemic can continue in waves, it can threaten the populations of other countries. 

 

In view of the foregoing, and taking into account the position of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment of March 20, 2020, we call for the urgent reaction of the international organizations, the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the European Union, the OSCE, and their member states participants to:

 

  1. 🔹   Appeal to the Russian Federation to take immediate steps to fulfill its international obligations to protect the life and health of its detainees, both officially, such as in the Russian Federation and occupied Crimea, and unofficially, through the Kremlin-controlled illegal armed formations, such as those in Donbas which is currently under the effective Russian control, to develop the necessary plans for prevention and response to the spread of infection, in accordance with the “Statement of principles relating to the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty” in the context of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic (ECPT, 03/20/2020), and to implement the WHO recommendations.

 

  1. 🔹   To urge the Russian Federation to reduce the prison population immediately (in particular, by changing the precautionary measures for house arrests for crimes of minor public danger and the immediate release of all illegally detained political prisoners), considering that the very configuration of the cells, penitentiary facilities, and detention centers does not allow for any preventive measures, such as compliance with social distance, to be carried out.

 

  1.  🔹  The Council of Europe bodies, including the Committee of Ministers, the Secretary-General, and the Commissioner for Human Rights, must swiftly adopt recommendations to encourage the Russian Federation with its 140 million population to take these decisive steps. The Russian Federation has a wide range of measures that can have a swift effect, from criminal policy guidance to prosecutors to emergency pardon and amnesty.

 

  1. 🔹   All monitoring, judicial and quasi-judicial mechanisms of international organizations respecting fundamental human rights must take exceptional measures to be able to play their full role in a pandemic. In particular, the European Court of Human Rights should strengthen its capacity to review requests for urgent measures under Rule 39, which are important to protect human life. The number of such requests is expected to increase in the near future.

 

  1. 🔹   International organizations, and in particular the OSCE, during the upcoming meeting of the trilateral contact group in Minsk on March, 25, should raise the issue of the immediate granting by the Russian Federation of unhindered access to the occupied Crimea and Donbas to international intergovernmental organizations, in particular, the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission, the OSCE Human Rights Assessment Mission on Crimea, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, other Council of Europe convention and institutional mechanisms, etc., as well as international humanitarian organizations, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross.

 

  1. 🔹   France and Germany as members of the Normandy Format, as well as the United States and the United Kingdom as signatories to the Budapest Memorandum, should urge the Russian Federation to use its effective control over parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions to comply with the provisions of the Minsk agreements on the immediate release of persons whose freedom is restricted due to direct involvement in the armed conflict, as well as political prisoners in the occupied Crimea and the Russian Federation.

 

We also urge the Ukrainian authorities to implement all the recommendations set out in the appeal of European NGOs to prevent epidemic of the COVID-19 in detention facilities, according to Ukraine’s international obligations to protect life and health of persons who are under its effective control.

 

Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine) 

Regional Center for Human Rights (Ukraine)

Ukrainian Institute for Human Rights (Ukraine)

Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People (Ukraine)

The Institute of Mass Information (Ukraine)

Detector Media (Ukraine)

The Eastern Ukrainian Center for Civic Initiatives (Ukraine)

Luhansk Regional Human Rights CenterAlternative (Ukraine)

Human Rights House in Chernihiv (Ukraine)

Ukrainian Legal Aid Foundation (Ukraine)

Ukrainian Center for the Prevention of Torture (Ukraine)

Donbas SOS (Ukraine)

Union of Relatives of Kremlin’s Political Prisoners (Ukraine)

Crimean Tatar Resource Center (Ukraine)

Political Science Association (Ukraine)

Territory of Success (Ukraine)

Kryvyi Rih City Human Rights Society (Ukraine)

Association of Ukrainian Monitors on Human Rights Conduct in Law Enforcement (Ukraine)

The Pylyp Orlyk Institute for Democracy (Ukraine)

Congress of Ethnic Communities of Ukraine (Ukraine)

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research (Ukraine)

All-Ukrainian civic movement of mothers and relatives of participants of ATO “Bereginya” (Ukraine)

Charity Foundation Stabilization Support Services (Ukraine)

Vinnitsa NGO of Social Development of Vulnerable Youth “Sprout” (Ukraine)

All-Ukrainian Youth Organization “The Foundation of Regional Initiatives” (Ukraine)

Youth Organization “STAN” (Ukraine)

Anti-Corruption Action Center (Ukraine)

Institute for Religious Freedom (Ukraine)

Ternopil Human Rights Group (Ukraine) 

IAC Civic Space (Ukraine)

Institute for Black Sea Strategic Studies (Ukraine)

Human Rights Initiative (Ukraine)

Theatre for Change (Ukraine)

Human Rights Platform (Ukraine)

Center Eidos (Ukraine)

Liberation Movement Research Center (Ukraine)

NGO All-Ukrainian Democratic Forum (Ukraine)

International Federation for Human Rights (France)

Citizens’ Watch (Russia)

Open Dialogue Foundation (Belgium)

Norwegian Helsinki Committee (Norway)

Human Rights Movement Bir Duino-Kyrgyzstan (Kyrgyzstan)

Internews Ukraine (Ukraine)

UkraineWorld (Ukraine)

NGO Ukraine Without Torture (Ukraine)

All-Ukrainian Active Community Initiative (Ukraine)

Institute Respublica (Ukraine)

International Federation for Human Rights (France)

Macedonian Helsinki Committee (North Macedonia)

The Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan (Azerbaijan)

Memorial-Germany (Germany)

Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (Bulgaria)

Assemblée Européenne des Citoyens, France

German-Russian Exchange (Germany)

Human Rights Monitoring Institute (Lithuania)

New Europe Center (Ukraine)

Netherlands Helsinki Committee (Netherlands)

Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly – Vanadzor (Armenia)

Public Association “Dignity  (Kazakhstan)

Human Rights Matter (Germany)

Minority Rights Group Europe (Hungary)

Italian Coalition for Civil Liberties and Rights (Italy)

International Partnership for Human Rights (Belgium)

Helsinki Committee of Armenia (Armenia)

Austrian Helsinki Association (Austria)

Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law (Kazakhstan)

Promo-LEX Association (Moldova)

Public foundation “Golos svobody” (Kyrgyzstan) 

Helsinki committee for human rights in Serbia (Serbia)

Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland) 

Center for Participation and Development (Georgia) 

Zivilcourage und Anti-Rassismus-Arbeit (Germany)

Italian Federation for human rights (Italy)

Society in Support of Ukraine (Latvia)

Association for Solidarity, Mutual Assistance, and Culture “Good Heart” (Portugal)

The Association of Ukrainians in the Republic of Ireland “AURI” (Ireland)

Ukrainian Cultural Association of Malaysia (Malaysia)

Volunteer Hundred in Brescia (Italy)

The Ukrainian-Slovak Initiative (Slovakia)

The Ukrainian Women Organization in Sweden (Sweden)

London Euromaidan (Великобританія)

United Help Ukraine (the United States)

AG Ukraine – Chemnitz – Europa e.V. (Germany)

The Union of Ukrainian Culture and Solidarity (Turkey)

The Ukrainian-Austrian Cultural and Educational Center in Vienna (Austria)

Ukrainians in Mongolia (Mongolia)

The Information Portal “Irish House” (Ireland)

Central Association of Ukrainians in Germany (Germany)

Ukrainian Community in the Philippines(the Philippines) 

The Global Movement of the Ukrainian Patriots in Munich (Germany)

Fairness Corps (Ukraine)

All-Spanish NGO “Ukrainian Patriotic Association WILL,” Madrid (Spain)

Ukrainian League Taragony “Панна, Дівочі посиденьки” (Spain)

Civil Initiative “Euromaidan-Warsaw” (Poland)

Institute for Religious Freedom (Ukraine)

International Association of Ukrainians EuroMaidan/ Mezinárodní Asociace Ukrajinců EuroMajdan z.s. (Czech Republic)

Saint Olha Association  (Australia)

Ukrainian Free Kozaks of Australia (Australia)

Israeli Friends of Ukraine (Israel)

Community of Ukrainians, Vilnius (Lithuania)

Community of Ukrainians,  Guadalajara (Mexico)

Community of Ukrainians in Finland (Finland)

Young Ukraine Association, Madrid (Spain)

Bureau of Social and Political Developments (Ukraine)

Ukraine Needs You (Ukraine);

Stronger Together (Ukraine);

Liberal-Democratic League of Ukraine (Ukraine)

Defender, Nosivka, Chernihivs’ka oblast (Ukraine)

Legal Development Network (Ukraine)

Natural Rights Ukraine (Ukraine)

Center for International Security and Euro-Atlantic Integration (Ukraine)

Development foundation (Ukraine)

Non-Governmental Centre “Women’s Perspectives”(Ukraine)

Institute of Political Education (Ukraine)

Ukrainian Institute for the Future (Україна) 

Luhansk Regional Human Rights Women’s Organization “Chaika” (Ukraine)

Platform for Social Humanitarian Initiatives and Innovation “Single Coordination Center” (Ukraine)

NGO Docudays (Ukraine)

Charity Organization “Charity and Health” (Ukraine)

NGO Group of Influence (Ukraine)

Center for Economic and Legal Analytics (Ukraine)

NGO Creative Center Dagaz (Ukraine)

Media Initiative for Human Rights (Ukraine)

Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Studies (Ukraine)

PCO  “Foundation for defence of Ukraine” (Ukraine)

Social Action Center (Ukraine) 

“Sich” Human Rights Protection Group (Ukraine)

DEJURE Foundation (Ukraine)

Vostok-SOS (Ukraine)

NGO “Right to Protection” (Ukraine)

NGO “Female veteran movement” (Ukraine)

November 30 Group (Ukraine)

NGO “Women’s Rights League” Harmony of Equals” (Ukraine)

NGO St. Clement’s Center (Ukraine)

NGO Spirit and Letter (Ukraine)

NGO Alliance of Ukrainian Unity (Ukraine)

Charitable Organization “Right of a Human” (Ukraine)

Сenter for democracy and rule of law (Ukraine)

NGO “Forpost” (Ukraine)

Women in media: Balance the imbalance!

March 10, 2020

In a joint statement, IMS and 38 other organisations urge media leaders and journalists to take action against the gender inequality in the news.

 

On International Women’s Day 2020, we want to call upon all media leaders and journalists around the globe to take action against the skewed balance and representation of gender in the news – both in terms of numbers and in portrayal.

A balanced presence of women and men in news and current affairs would to a higher degree reflect the composition of society and showcase a greater variety of human experiences, views and concerns. However, statistics show that media is far from balanced:

– A majority of media content portrays women in stereotypical roles such as homemakers, models or victims.

– Women are more likely than men to be referred to in terms of superficial attributes such as appearance, age, clothes and marital status. Men, on the other hand, are more likely to be portrayed as powerful public figures, with the media focusing on profession, skills and opinions. This perpetuates a limiting and unequal perception of gender.

– Only 4% of all newspapers, radio and TV reports worldwide challenge gender stereotypes.

– Only 24% of news subjects – the people who are interviewed, or whom the news is about – are female.

– Women are used as experts only 19 % of the time.

– In only 16 % of news that relates to politics and government, women are the subject of the stories.

The numbers are not only indicative of the media sector’s gender inequality challenges but is also a serious impediment to media development and democracy. A functioning democracy requires gender equality and the media need to do much better to contribute to this goal.

Media have the power and responsibility to challenge stereotypes in content production and together we need to set an example for current and future generations. That is why today we ask you, as part of a media organisation, to:

Engage in gender media monitoring to keep track of who is represented in your content and in what capacity

Create your database of women experts on various topics — or make use of existing ones

Revise your editorial guidelines to make sure that a gender perspective is included

Conduct a gender audit of your internal work to make sure that you have a diverse workforce and identify the gender gaps in your organisation — a diverse workforce is more likely to produce pluralistic content.


The undersigned organisations stand ready to support in such efforts:

Ordinary people who do extraordinary things. Devoted to Ukrainian volunteers

February 17, 2020

Alfredo Garcia (Euromaidan Volunteer Nominee 2018)

Canadian teacher, pro-Ukrainian activist, language instructor with 20 years of experience facilitation student driven and instructor generated curricula, modules, and lesson plans.

Alfredo works for The Toronto District School Board (TDSB), one of the largest and one of the most diverse school boards in Canada. We serve approximately 247,000 students in 583 schools throughout Toronto, and more than 130,000 life-long learners in our Adult and Continuing Education programs. Please feel free to find more details following next link: https://www.tdsb.on.ca/About-Us

In the past I shared with Mr. Garcia the latest Ukrainian historical moments of Revolution of dignity and Russian Aggression later and he offered help to support people in Ukraine. I suggested him to share 1-2 hours his time per week to provide free English classes kids and adults.  Finally we selected best students in Ukraine: one children group and one adult (mostly individuals whose lives were affected by Revolution and War: military family, volunteers).

Our initiative has started in February 2018 and this projects still going in. Alfredo constantly every week dedicate 2 h of his own life time to teach English for Ukrainian students  and we have a great success, now both group are able to study without me as a translator, they can communicate and interact with native speaker and 100 % Canadian professional teacher.

Dear friends,would be great to gain and develop the friendly relationship, initiatives and partnership with motivated people and organization that are located abroad and willing to help and put human effort to support people in Ukraine around Russia’s hybrid war against Ukraine.

If you would share this information on Ukrainian (English) mass media I could transfer it also to Canadian mass media and Toronto Municipality to make this story read.

Thank our big friend abroad for supporting Ukrainians in Ukraine.

Constitutional Coup in Russia : Putin’s Move to Devalue International Human Rights Treaties Could Set Dangerous Global Precedent

February 12, 2020
On 20 January 2020, the President of Russia proposed radical changes to the Russian Constitution, but the chilling implications for human rights could echo far beyond Russia’s borders. The draft legislation introduces significant amendments to 14 articles of Russia’s supreme law of the land. FIDH and 37 of its member organisations believe that the proposed amendments contradict the letter and spirit of the Constitution, diminish the fundamental rights of Russian citizens under the guise of legitimate State concerns, and constitute an attempt to further consolidate power in the hands of the current regime. Our organisations fear that, if adopted, these measures would compromise human rights not only in Russia, but also set a dangerous precedent that may be emulated by other countries.
The speed with which the draft law was prepared – just four days – and the gross violations of constitutionally prescribed procedures for such changes, have evoked strong criticism from civil society and the public at large.One of the proposed amendments would effectively legalise the selective implementation of decisions of international treaty bodies deemed contrary to the Constitution. Russia is normally bound to abide by these decisions, by virtue of its having ratified international or regional conventions, such as the European Convention on Human Rights. But, with this proposed amendment, Russia would be able to invoke the supposed unenforceability of “interpretations” of treaty provisions as justification to not follow them, under the guise of protecting national sovereignty. In practice, the amendment would allow Russian authorities to avoid implementing decisions of the likes of the European Court of Human Rights that the latter often perceive as contrary to national interests.

“Putin’s brazen move to put in place a constitutional mechanism to avoid implementing international treaties could severely undermine international law. If adopted, the proposed legislation would not only likely aggravate the human rights situation in Russia; it could also serve as a dangerous model, paving the way for other countries to shirk international human rights obligations.”

Alice Mogwe, FIDH President.

The legislation was designed by an ad hoc working group convened on 15 January, the same day that Putin first announced the constitutional changes during his annual address. The document, drafted in just four days and without a meaningful consultation with the civil society, proposes substantive changes to 14 articles of the Constitution, contrary to a federal law requiring a separate draft law for each amendment. As early as 23 January the draft law was unanimously accepted in the first reading by the lower chamber of Russia’s Parliament. The final reading, to be followed by a vote, is expected at the end of February.

Not only is the substance of the amendments worrying; the authorities’ disregard for constitutionally prescribed procedures required to adopt them gives cause for alarm. Since the proposed changes concern the first two chapters of the Constitution, the “Fundamentals of the Constitutional System” and the “Rights and Freedoms of Man and Citizen”, Article 135 requires that a new Constitution be adopted by a Constitutional Assembly, followed by a referendum. Neither the law governing the formation of the Constitutional Assembly, nor the organ itself, are currently in existence. Rather than abide by these procedures, the authorities plan to hold a nationwide constitutional vote this spring, in an attempt to give the proposed amendment an air of legitimacy.

The authorities’ move to prize sovereignty above all, in disregard for international law, could usher in a dark time for human rights in Russia, with the potential to set a dangerous global precedent. FIDH and its 37 member organisations urge the Russian parliamentarians and the Russian people to vote against the proposed amendments.

  • Anti-Discrimination Center Memorial (ADC-Memorial, Russia)
    Adilet (Kyrgyzstan)
    Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma (ALTSEAN-Burma)
    Armanshahr/OPEN ASIA
    Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
    Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
    Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)
    Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
    Citizens’ Watch (Russia)
    Civil Society Institute (Armenia)
    Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI)
    Dutch League for Human Rights
    Finnish League for Human Rights
    French Human Rights League – Ligue des droits de l’Homme (LDH, France )
    Human Rights Association – Insan Haklari Dernegi (Turkey)
    Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP)
    Human Rights Center Georgia (HRIDC)
    Human Rights Center Memorial (Russia)
    Human Rights Center Viasna (Belarus)
    Human Rights in China (HRIC)
    International Legal Initiative (Kazakhstan)
    Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights
    Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC)
    Lao Movement for Human Rights (LMHR)
    League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI)
    Ligue Iteka (Burundi)
    Lithuanian Human Rights Association
    Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN)
    Manushya Foundation (Thailand)
    Odhikar (Bangladesh)
    Portuguese Human Rights League – Civitas (LPDHC)
    Promo Lex (Moldova)
    Regional Watch for Human Rights (Liberia)
    The League for Defence of Human Rights (LADO, Romania)
    The Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC, Tanzania)
    Union for Civil Liberty (UCL – Thailand)
    Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR)

Crimean citizen journalists

February 4, 2020

Результаты поиска:

«International support for Ukraine should increase» – statement platform CivilM+

April 21, 2020

In April 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the seventh year of the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine has begun. While the emergency has revealed gaps in the healthcare system throughout the country, the situation in the conflict zone is nearly critical. The infrastructure has been damaged by the hostilities and there is a severe lack of medical personnel. Small and medium-sized enterprises which barely started recovering after the first years of the war with the support from humanitarian organizations, have been suffering losses and are on the brink of bankruptcy during the quarantine.

Of particular concern is the situation in territories that are not controlled by the government of Ukraine: there is no credible information about the situation there, freedom of expression is seriously limited, monitoring and humanitarian organizations, for example, OSCE SMM are facing problems with accessing and operating in the territory of the self-proclaimed “DPR” and “LPR”.

We, the undersigned members of the international civil society platform CivilM +, are calling on the Government of the EU member-states to:

  • ⚫️ allocate all the resources available to support the region in its fight with COVID-19. Along with the unconditional support of medical sphere, the aid should go to small and medium business, local Ukrainian authorities and civil society organizations
  • ⚫️ keep exerting pressure on the Russian Federation to make sure that ‘DPR’ and ‘LPR “, which are under the RF control, provide unhindered access to humanitarian and monitoring organizations (firstly to the OSCE SMM, as well as to the ICRC so that it has access to all persons deprived of liberty), and stop arbitrary political persecutions.

We are also urging the Government of Ukraine to ensure that the restrictions of the freedom of movement across the contact line are only applied if they are necessary and proportionate to possible threats. All citizens, including those residing in non-government-controlled territory, should have unrestricted access to medical assistance.

We underline that new pandemic-related challenges should not diminish priority measures on the peaceful resolution of the conflict set out in the Minsk agreements and reconfirmed during the talks in the Normandy format. Those are:

  • ⚫️ ceasefire
  • ⚫️ continuation of the release of arbitrarily detained persons, both military and civil detainees
  • ⚫️ preventing further human rights violations and war crimes, and ensuring effective investigations into such crimes committed on both sides of the contact line
  • ⚫️ preparing the process of the transitional justice in all its aspects.

While welcoming the release of the detainees on 16 April 2020, we are drawing attention of the OSCE, as well as the governments of Germany and France that the bottom line should be the release of all individuals who are arbitrarily deprived of their liberty . To achieve this, we need to see consistent and coordinated efforts to complete the lists of detainees , to search and to identify their location. Having the control over “DPR” and “LPR”, the Russian Federation should influence them, as in a number of cases they refuse to admit having derived certain people of their liberty (despite the fact that the relatives of these people have confirmation papers issued by the  de-facto authorities of the self-proclaimed “republics”). Moreover, “DPR” and “LPR” refuse to release even those individuals whose names in the lists they have confirmed. As a result, it takes years for many detainees and their loved ones to wait for the ‘next stage of the exchange “.

Independent civil society organizations from Ukraine, Russia and the European Union are ready to provide civic consultations for the Minsk negotiations . The international platform CivilM + has already sent the letters with this proposal to the Office of the President of Ukraine , to the Vice-prime minister / Minister on reintegration of the temporary occupied territories and to the Minister of foreign affairs . The position and the suggestions on these matters are also  available on the CivilM + website .

 

Signatories:

Centre for Civil Liberties, Ukraine

Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, Ukraine

Truth Hounds, Ukraine

Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, Ukraine

“Citizen and Army”, Russia

DRA, German-Russian Exchange, Germany

Helsinki Citizens ‘Assembly (HCA), France

Human Rights Centre “Memorial”, Russia 

MEMORIAL Deutschland eV, Germany

For more information, please contact the Platform Secretariat: Yulia Erner, coordinator – yuliya.erner@austausch.org.  With media-requests, please contact Iryna Yakovlieva, communications coordinator –  iryna.yakovlieva@austausch.org.

Religious Freedom Roundtable. Held Online for the First Time

April 21, 2020

Experts from human rights organisations and religious leaders have developed for the Cabinet of Ministers a number of proposals intended to ensure religious freedom for the period of quarantine restrictions . As reported by ReligiousFreedom.in.ua, an online conference to iscuss these topics in the format of the Religious Freedom Roundtable in Ukraine was held jointly by the Institute for Religious Freedom and the Centre for Civil Liberties Religious figures of various faiths, including from Christian , Jewish, and Muslim religious associations of Ukraine, as well as leaders from the Kharkiv Human Rights Group and Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union , joined the discussion.

 

Lawyer Kseniia Prokonova, managing partner of the Ukrainian branch of SBH Law Offices , clarified legal aspects of quarantine restrictions to the attendees and offered practical advice on protecting the believers :


«Violated rights in the instances when actions by the police do not conform to law . Quarantine is a time when everyone, including churches, should search for new opportunities. They also have to contend for the parishioners “attention within the confines of the law and public interest . It is the first time when the
church must learn how to talk to the police efficiently.»

 

As a result, the human rights activists, together with the religious leaders, developed the following suggestions for the government:

 

● When holding daily and festive services during the quarantine period , the
recommendations, made public by the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and
Religious Organisations on April 8, for avoiding congestion in temples and
other premises of religious organisations should be observed (that is, a total of
10 persons, based on 1 person per 5 sq m, are allowed to be in the temple or
other premises of a religious organisation at the same time)

 

● The self-isolation requirement on persons over 60 years of age should not
apply to the clergy and persons involved in the organisation of services, as
well as to other employees of retirement age;

 

● Given the ban, imposed by the order of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine , on
access for priests to prisoners and convicts, administrations of detention
centres and penitentiary institutions should provide an opportunity for viewing
religious services and sermons that are regularly transmitted by the Public
Broadcaster on the UA: FIRST and UA: CULTURE TV channels and, where
requested by prisoners and convicts, arrange for individual remote meetings
with chaplain priests using videoconferencing facilities;

 

● Offer an opportunity for meeting religious needs of persons accommodated
at social protection or palliative care establishments, including by providing
access to them for chaplain priests or by arranging for individual remote
meetings using videoconferencing facilities;

 

● Local authorities, together with religious figures and volunteers, should be
encouraged to set up the facilities and develop the procedure for delivery of
free humanitarian aid to the destitute, including by providing food to persons
of no fixed abode, while observing sanitary and quarantine requirements and
avoiding mass convergence.

 

We would like to remind you that the Religious Freedom Roundtable in
Ukraine, founded in April 2019, is a civil society platform for dialogue and
liaison between religious, human rights and other civil society organisations.

Religious Freedom Roundtable. Held Online for the First Time

April 21, 2020

Experts from human rights organisations and religious leaders have developed for the Cabinet of Ministers a number of proposals intended to ensure religious freedom for the period of quarantine restrictions . As reported by Religious Freedom.in.ua, an online conference to iscuss these topics in the format of the Religious Freedom Roundtable in Ukraine was held jointly by the Institute for Religious Freedom and the Centre for Civil Liberties Religious figures of various faiths, including from Christian , Jewish, and Muslim religious associations of Ukraine, as well as leaders from the Kharkiv Human Rights Group and Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union , joined the discussion.

 

Lawyer Kseniia Prokonova, managing partner of the Ukrainian branch of SBH Law Offices , clarified legal aspects of quarantine restrictions to the attendees and offered practical advice on protecting the believers :


«Violated rights in the instances when actions by the police do not conform to law . Quarantine is a time when everyone, including churches, should search for new opportunities. They also have to contend for the parishioners “attention within the confines of the law and public interest . It is the first time when the
church must learn how to talk to the police efficiently.»

 

As a result, the human rights activists, together with the religious leaders, developed the following suggestions for the government:

 

● When holding daily and festive services during the quarantine period , the
recommendations, made public by the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and
Religious Organisations on April 8, for avoiding congestion in temples and
other premises of religious organisations should be observed (that is, a total of
10 persons, based on 1 person per 5 sq m, are allowed to be in the temple or
other premises of a religious organisation at the same time)

 

● The self-isolation requirement on persons over 60 years of age should not
apply to the clergy and persons involved in the organisation of services, as
well as to other employees of retirement age;

 

● Given the ban, imposed by the order of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine , on
access for priests to prisoners and convicts, administrations of detention
centres and penitentiary institutions should provide an opportunity for viewing
religious services and sermons that are regularly transmitted by the Public
Broadcaster on the UA: FIRST and UA: CULTURE TV channels and, where
requested by prisoners and convicts, arrange for individual remote meetings
with chaplain priests using videoconferencing facilities;

 

● Offer an opportunity for meeting religious needs of persons accommodated
at social protection or palliative care establishments, including by providing
access to them for chaplain priests or by arranging for individual remote
meetings using videoconferencing facilities;

 

● Local authorities, together with religious figures and volunteers, should be
encouraged to set up the facilities and develop the procedure for delivery of
free humanitarian aid to the destitute, including by providing food to persons
of no fixed abode, while observing sanitary and quarantine requirements and
avoiding mass convergence.

 

We would like to remind you that the Religious Freedom Roundtable in
Ukraine, founded in April 2019, is a civil society platform for dialogue and
liaison between religious, human rights and other civil society organisations.

CCL joined the statement on the need to release human rights defenders from prisons because of COVID-19

April 10, 2020

COVID-19: Jailed Human Rights Defenders Must Be Released Immediately

Check out FIDH’s #ForFreedom campaign for the release of imprisoned human rights defenders threatened by the pandemic: http://en.freedom-defenders.org

→ Read the press release in ArabicFrenchRussianSpanish, or Turkish

Paris, 8 April 2020 — In light of the serious threat posed to prisoners by the rapidly spreading novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, FIDH and its undersigned member organisations recall governments’ obligation to ensure the safety and health of detained individuals that are under their responsibility, and launch a campaign, #ForFreedom, to call for the release of all jailed human rights defenders (HRDs).

As the spread of COVID-19 poses an unprecedented threat, the need to release HRDs is more urgent than ever. Our rights and those who defend them must not become a casualty of this pandemic. FIDH and its undersigned member organisations are launching today a new global campaign #ForFreedom for the release of all HRDs detained worldwide. They should be freed and allowed to conduct their legitimate activities to defend the rights of individuals against injustice, discrimination, violence, and other forms of human rights violations.

“Hundreds of people all over the world are imprisoned not because they committed a crime, but because of their work to defend human rights. As legitimate actors of change, they should never have been detained in the first place,” declared Alice Mogwe, FIDH President. “As COVID-19 continues its rapid spread across the globe, it is time for governments to put an end to this injustice and release those who fight to uphold human rights,” she added.

As stated by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, “Now, more than ever, governments should release every person detained without sufficient legal basis, including political prisoners and others detained simply for expressing critical or dissenting views.” This concerns minors, migrants, refugees, political opponents, journalists, and HRDs.

The campaign website profiles imprisoned HRDs, including Loujain Al-Hathloul (Saudi Arabia); Azimjan Askarov (Kyrgyzstan); Sevda Özbingöl Çelik and Hasan Ceylan (Turkey); Yuri Dmitriev (Russia); Leila de Lima (Philippines); Pablo Lopez Alavez (Mexico); Khalil Maatouk (Syria); Narges Mohammadi (Iran); Miyan Abdul Qayoom (India); Nabeel Rajab (Bahrain); Germain Rukuki (Burundi); Patrick Zaki (Egypt). The website will be regularly updated with additional arbitrarily detained HRDs.

The urgency of the current health crisis presents authorities with an opportunity to redress the unjust deprivation of liberty of all these individuals, many of whom are incarcerated in deplorable sanitary conditions and are denied adequate health care.

In such a context, FIDH and its undersigned member organisations more generally call on governments to relieve congestion in prisons by releasing vast numbers of prisoners on a temporary, permanent or conditional basis for public health reasons. Along with human rights defenders, priority should be given to the elderly, children, those with health conditions, prisoners of conscience, prisoners detained for expressing their opinions, administrative detainees, prisoners detained for minor or non-violent offences, untried detainees, and individuals held in immigration detention centres.

In times of crisis, governments have an obligation to protect those who are most vulnerable. Prison populations, confined to detention facilities that can easily become virus hotspots, are among those most vulnerable to the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a particular risk in countries where minimum standards for detention conditions are not met, overcrowding is the norm, and social distancing is impossible to achieve. The spread of the virus in places of detention will be inevitable unless urgent measures are taken to mitigate this risk. Otherwise, incarceration could be equivalent to a death sentence for many detainees who contract, or are at risk of contracting, the COVID-19 virus.

Such measures would be consistent with the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (revised and adopted as the “Nelson Mandela Rules”), which detail measures aimed at ensuring adequate personal hygiene, health, and safety of prisoners, as well as the specific advice issued by the UN Subcommittee for the Prevention of Torture.

We welcome the move by a number of countries, including TurkeyTunisiaEthiopiaIndonesia, Senegal and Bahrain, to begin releasing prisoners in an effort to reduce overcrowding and prevent the spread of the virus. We urge these and other countries to include HRDs among those who should be released immediately. Many countries have excluded prisoners convicted of terrorism-related offences from the release, thus penalising HRDs unjustly criminalised on trumped-up terrorism charges. HRDs should be exempt from such blanket disqualifications as their human rights work must not be conflated with terrorism.

Africa

  1. Botswana: Ditshwanelo

  2. Burundi: ITEKA

  3. Cameroon: Maison des Droits de l’Homme du Cameroun

  4. Djibouti: LDDH Djibouti

  5. Ethiopia: Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRCO)

  6. Mauritania: Association Mauritanienne des Droits de l’Homme (AMDH)

  7. DRC: Groupe LOTUS

  8. DRC: Ligue des Électeurs

  9. Rwanda: Association Rwandaise pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme et des Libertés Publiques, ADL

  10. Senegal: RADDHO

  11. Tanzania: Legal and Human Rights Centre

 

Americas

  1. Argentina: Comité de Acción Jurídica (CAJ)
  2. Argentina: CAJ
  3. Brazil: Justica Global
  4. Brazil: Movimento Nacional de Direitos Humanos – MNDH Brasil
  5. Chile: Observatorio Ciudadano
  6. Colombia: CAJAR
  7. Ecuador: Acción Ecológica
  8. El Salvador: Comisión de Derechos Humanos de El Salvador (CDHES)
  9. Honduras: CIPRODEH
  10. Honduras: COFADEH
  11. Mexico: Limeddh
  12. Mexico: IDHEAS
  13. Nicaragua: CENIDH
  14. Peru: APRODEH
  15. Peru: Perú Equidad (Centro de Políticas Públicas y Derechos Humanos)

 

Asia

  1. Bangladesh: Odhikar
  2. Cambodia: Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)
  3. China: Human Rights in China (HRIC)
  4. India: Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI)
  5. Indonesia: Commission for Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS)
  6. Iran: League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI)
  7. Iran: Justice for Iran (JFI)
  8. Laos: Lao Movement for Human Rights (LMHR)
  9. Malaysia: Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
  10. Maldives: Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN)
  11. Myanmar: Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma (ALTSEAN-Burma)
  12. Myanmar: Myanmar Alliance for Transparency and Accountability (MATA)
  13. Pakistan: Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP)
  14. Taiwan: Covenants Watch

  15. Thailand: Internet Law Reform Dialogue (iLaw)
  16. Thailand: Manushya Foundation

  17. Thailand: Union for Civil Liberty (UCL)
  18. Vietnam: Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR)

 

Eastern Europe and Central Asia

  1. Armenia: CSI – Armenia
  2. Belarus: HRC Viasna
  3. Georgia: Human Rights Center
  4. Kazakhstan: International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law
  5. Kyrgyzstan: Adilet (Kyrgyzstan)
  6. Kyrgyzstan: Bir Duino
  7. Kyrgyzstan: ILI Foundation
  8. Kyrgyzstan: Kylym Shamy
  9. Russia: ADC Memorial
  10. Russia: Citizen’s Watch
  11. Russia: HRC Memorial
  12. Ukraine: Center for Civil Liberties

Middle East and North Africa

  1. Algeria: CFDA (Comité des familles de disparus en Algérie)
  2. Algeria: LADDH (Ligue Algérienne des Droits de l’Homme)
  3. Bahrain: BCHR (Bahrain Center for Human Rights)
  4. Gulf: GC4HR (Gulf Center for Human Rights)
  5. Lebanon: CLDH (Centre Libanais des Droits Humains)
  6. Morocco: AMDH (Association Marocaine des Droits de l’Homme)
  7. Morocco: OMDH (Organisation Marocaine des Droits de l’Homme)
  8. Palestine: PCHR (Palestinian Center for Human Rights)
  9. Saudi Arabia: ALQST
  10. Syria: SCM (Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression)
  11. Tunisia: LTDH (Ligue Tunisienne des Droits de l’Homme)
  12. Tunisia: ATFD (Association Tunisienne des Femmes Démocrates)
  13. Yemen: SAF (Sisters Arab Forum)

Western Europe

  1. Albania: Albanian Human Rights Group
  2. Belgium: Ligue des droits humains – Belgique
  3. Croatia: Civic Committee for Human Rights
  4. Finland: Finnish League for Human Rights,
  5. France: Association Européenne pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme (AEDH)
  6. France: Ligue des Droits de l’Homme
  7. Germany: Internationale Liga fur Menschenrechte
  8. Hungary: Hungarian Helsinki Committee
  9. Lithuania: Lithuanian Human Rights Association
  10. Latvia : Latvian Human Rights Committee
  11. Portugal: Portuguese League for Human Rights – Civitas
  12. Romania: League for the Defence of Human Rights (LADO)
  13. Spain: Asociacion pro Derechos Humanos de Espana
  14. Spain: Federacion de Asociaciones de Defensa y Promocion de Derechos Humanos de Espana
  15. Turkey: Human Rights Association (IHD)
  16. Turkey: Human Rights Foundation of Turkey
  17. UK/Northern Ireland: Committee on the Administration of Justice

Press contact:

Eva Canan (EN, ES, FR, AR): +33 6 58 05 91 57 | http://twitter.com/EvaCanan | ecanan@fidh.org

COVID-19 in closed prisons in the occupied Crimea and Donbas which is under Russia effective control

March 24, 2020

COVID-19 in closed prisons in the occupied Crimea and Donbas which is under Russia effective control. Immediate response from international organizations is required.

 

We, the below-signed, appeal to the international organizations and their member states to prevent the spread of coronavirus to detention facilities (prisons and pretrial detention centers) in Crimea which is temporarily occupied  by the Russian Federation, the Donbas which is under Russian effective control and in the territory of the Russian Federation itself.

 

Situation in the Occupied Crimea and the Russian Federation

Since March 16, 2020, the Federal Penitentiary Service of the Russian Federation (FSIN) has suspended all visits to detention facilities in order to prevent the spread of the disease among the suspects, those accused and convicted, as well as employees of the penal system. 

At the same time, penitentiary administrations are unable to implement WHO recommendations against the spread of coronavirus. The health services of these institutions lack staff, medications and equipment. They are not capable of coping with common widespread diseases, let alone a global health crisis.

Moreover, detention facilities present an extremely high risk for the transmission of infectious diseases. The buildings are often poorly ventilated, and the prison authorities cannot ensure adequate sanitation and hygiene conditions, i.e. sufficient access to water to wash hands. The detainees continue to be exposed to high risks daily at work, often gatherings, showers, etc.  The prison authorities conduct personal examinations of detainees and perform searches of cells on a daily basis, entering in body-to-body contacts with inmates. Masks for the people showing symptoms of respiratory diseases, both inmates and staff, are not available.

“On March 19, when the ambulance requested in court that I should be taken to the hospital, no one ever took me there. I was just taken to a small box in the courtroom. There, I was lying on the floor until 9 pm, because there was very little room on the bench, and I wanted to lie down, as I was cold and shivering. The schedule of the court hearings is very intense, we are on our feet for 12-14 hours without water and food. I returned to my cell close to 11 pm. I went to another paramedic, but he did not give me any medication besides the antibiotics. On that day, I had a temperature of 39.3 C, and then it even rose to 39.8 C. The cough is dry, very unpleasant. The nose is stuffy. It is difficult to breathe. Three to four other people are also sick in the cell. They are also given aspirin and the same antibiotic. Today [March 23] I do not know how high my temperature is. I wrote a statement asking for a doctor to listen to my lungs. But I was taken to a videoconference to participate in a court hearing, and I was never taken to see a doctor. I do not want to complain, but this is torture. In prison, a person simply does not have the opportunity to protect themself,” comments Server Mustafayev, a prisoner of conscience, the coordinator of the Crimean Solidarity.

The situation is considerably aggravated by the overcrowding of Russian prisons and detention centers, with inmates kept in poor sanitary conditions and the transfer of prisoners from the occupied Crimea into the Russian Federation taking a long time in breach of the norms of international humanitarian law. Due to the prevalence of torture in Russian prisons, restricting the contact of prisoners with the outside world increases the risk of ill-treatment, especially during crisis situations.

Situation in the Donbas effectively controlled by the Russian Federation

The situation in the Donbas which is under the effective control by the Russian Federation, looks even worse. After 6 years of war,  even the International Committee of the Red Cross has no access to detained people. In addition to the so-called official detention centers, there exist an extensive network of secret detention facilities. One of such places was mentioned in the latest report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. It is called “Isolation”, and it is located in the building of a former plant in Donetsk. The conditions of detention in both “official” and secret detention facilities can be equated to torture and ill-treatment and are inappropriate even for short term detentions

 

“I was held in the 13th post of the Donetsk detention facility, considered one of the “best” ones when it came to the conditions for the prisoners. Cell conditions  were appalling: poor sanitation, many bugs and cockroaches, I could not even use the mattress — it was all dirty and riddled with bed bugs — so I slept on the metal bunk, under which I put a blanket sent to me from home. Part of the window was broken, so the air in the room was constantly cold. At the 10th post, which is the worst one, the situation is extremely critical: there are rats, and the sewage often overflows into the cell.here is almost no space – cells barely fit two people, darkness, no daylight, because the post is located in the basement of the detention facility”- comments Donetsk journalist Stanislav Aseev, who was released during an exchange in December 2019.

 

The report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights highlights the widespread practice of torture and ill-treatment of detained persons. Recently released detainees reported beatings, including with electric shocker, strangulation (“wet” and “dry” methods), sexual abuse, torture, the removal of body parts (nails and teeth), deprivation of water, food, sleep, or access to the toilet, imitation of execution, threat of violence or death, and threat of harm to the family.

 

The quality of medical care in these institutions is described in testimonies provided to the OHCHR by several “Isolation” detainees. According to them, a medical worker was present during their interrogations and torture. He revived those who had lost consciousness and pointed out how to torture in order to inflict the greatest pain but not to cause death. He also examined the detainees before torture began, asked about their illnesses, measured their blood pressure or checked their pulse, and injected them. 

 

Even in those facilities where the detention of people is officially confirmed (as opposed to the situation with secret detention centers), the prisoners are provided with necessary medicine and goods by their relatives. For the quarantine period, restrictions were imposed on crossing the demarcation line in the Donbas. Today, those prisoners, whose relatives live in the territory controlled by Ukraine, will not be able to receive the necessary medicine and goods.

 

Therefore, there are no illusions that there will be any medical assistance in case of the spread of coronavirus in prisons and detention centers of Donbas which is currently under the effective Russian control. Moreover, the question arises as to what measures will be undertaken by the Russia-controlled illegal armed formations in charge of the territory, to deter the spread of the coronavirus in prisons and detention centers, in the first place, to protect themselves from contracting the disease.

 

The aforementioned problems in the penitentiary institutions and detention centers in the Ukrainian territories occupied and controlled by Russia pose a real threat not only to prisoners and staff, but also to the wider population. And because, according to scientists, the pandemic can continue in waves, it can threaten the populations of other countries. 

 

In view of the foregoing, and taking into account the position of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment of March 20, 2020, we call for the urgent reaction of the international organizations, the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the European Union, the OSCE, and their member states participants to:

 

  1. 🔹   Appeal to the Russian Federation to take immediate steps to fulfill its international obligations to protect the life and health of its detainees, both officially, such as in the Russian Federation and occupied Crimea, and unofficially, through the Kremlin-controlled illegal armed formations, such as those in Donbas which is currently under the effective Russian control, to develop the necessary plans for prevention and response to the spread of infection, in accordance with the “Statement of principles relating to the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty” in the context of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic (ECPT, 03/20/2020), and to implement the WHO recommendations.

 

  1. 🔹   To urge the Russian Federation to reduce the prison population immediately (in particular, by changing the precautionary measures for house arrests for crimes of minor public danger and the immediate release of all illegally detained political prisoners), considering that the very configuration of the cells, penitentiary facilities, and detention centers does not allow for any preventive measures, such as compliance with social distance, to be carried out.

 

  1.  🔹  The Council of Europe bodies, including the Committee of Ministers, the Secretary-General, and the Commissioner for Human Rights, must swiftly adopt recommendations to encourage the Russian Federation with its 140 million population to take these decisive steps. The Russian Federation has a wide range of measures that can have a swift effect, from criminal policy guidance to prosecutors to emergency pardon and amnesty.

 

  1. 🔹   All monitoring, judicial and quasi-judicial mechanisms of international organizations respecting fundamental human rights must take exceptional measures to be able to play their full role in a pandemic. In particular, the European Court of Human Rights should strengthen its capacity to review requests for urgent measures under Rule 39, which are important to protect human life. The number of such requests is expected to increase in the near future.

 

  1. 🔹   International organizations, and in particular the OSCE, during the upcoming meeting of the trilateral contact group in Minsk on March, 25, should raise the issue of the immediate granting by the Russian Federation of unhindered access to the occupied Crimea and Donbas to international intergovernmental organizations, in particular, the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission, the OSCE Human Rights Assessment Mission on Crimea, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, other Council of Europe convention and institutional mechanisms, etc., as well as international humanitarian organizations, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross.

 

  1. 🔹   France and Germany as members of the Normandy Format, as well as the United States and the United Kingdom as signatories to the Budapest Memorandum, should urge the Russian Federation to use its effective control over parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions to comply with the provisions of the Minsk agreements on the immediate release of persons whose freedom is restricted due to direct involvement in the armed conflict, as well as political prisoners in the occupied Crimea and the Russian Federation.

 

We also urge the Ukrainian authorities to implement all the recommendations set out in the appeal of European NGOs to prevent epidemic of the COVID-19 in detention facilities, according to Ukraine’s international obligations to protect life and health of persons who are under its effective control.

 

Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine) 

Regional Center for Human Rights (Ukraine)

Ukrainian Institute for Human Rights (Ukraine)

Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People (Ukraine)

The Institute of Mass Information (Ukraine)

Detector Media (Ukraine)

The Eastern Ukrainian Center for Civic Initiatives (Ukraine)

Luhansk Regional Human Rights CenterAlternative (Ukraine)

Human Rights House in Chernihiv (Ukraine)

Ukrainian Legal Aid Foundation (Ukraine)

Ukrainian Center for the Prevention of Torture (Ukraine)

Donbas SOS (Ukraine)

Union of Relatives of Kremlin’s Political Prisoners (Ukraine)

Crimean Tatar Resource Center (Ukraine)

Political Science Association (Ukraine)

Territory of Success (Ukraine)

Kryvyi Rih City Human Rights Society (Ukraine)

Association of Ukrainian Monitors on Human Rights Conduct in Law Enforcement (Ukraine)

The Pylyp Orlyk Institute for Democracy (Ukraine)

Congress of Ethnic Communities of Ukraine (Ukraine)

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research (Ukraine)

All-Ukrainian civic movement of mothers and relatives of participants of ATO “Bereginya” (Ukraine)

Charity Foundation Stabilization Support Services (Ukraine)

Vinnitsa NGO of Social Development of Vulnerable Youth “Sprout” (Ukraine)

All-Ukrainian Youth Organization “The Foundation of Regional Initiatives” (Ukraine)

Youth Organization “STAN” (Ukraine)

Anti-Corruption Action Center (Ukraine)

Institute for Religious Freedom (Ukraine)

Ternopil Human Rights Group (Ukraine) 

IAC Civic Space (Ukraine)

Institute for Black Sea Strategic Studies (Ukraine)

Human Rights Initiative (Ukraine)

Theatre for Change (Ukraine)

Human Rights Platform (Ukraine)

Center Eidos (Ukraine)

Liberation Movement Research Center (Ukraine)

NGO All-Ukrainian Democratic Forum (Ukraine)

International Federation for Human Rights (France)

Citizens’ Watch (Russia)

Open Dialogue Foundation (Belgium)

Norwegian Helsinki Committee (Norway)

Human Rights Movement Bir Duino-Kyrgyzstan (Kyrgyzstan)

Internews Ukraine (Ukraine)

UkraineWorld (Ukraine)

NGO Ukraine Without Torture (Ukraine)

All-Ukrainian Active Community Initiative (Ukraine)

Institute Respublica (Ukraine)

International Federation for Human Rights (France)

Macedonian Helsinki Committee (North Macedonia)

The Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan (Azerbaijan)

Memorial-Germany (Germany)

Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (Bulgaria)

Assemblée Européenne des Citoyens, France

German-Russian Exchange (Germany)

Human Rights Monitoring Institute (Lithuania)

New Europe Center (Ukraine)

Netherlands Helsinki Committee (Netherlands)

Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly – Vanadzor (Armenia)

Public Association “Dignity  (Kazakhstan)

Human Rights Matter (Germany)

Minority Rights Group Europe (Hungary)

Italian Coalition for Civil Liberties and Rights (Italy)

International Partnership for Human Rights (Belgium)

Helsinki Committee of Armenia (Armenia)

Austrian Helsinki Association (Austria)

Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law (Kazakhstan)

Promo-LEX Association (Moldova)

Public foundation “Golos svobody” (Kyrgyzstan) 

Helsinki committee for human rights in Serbia (Serbia)

Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland) 

Center for Participation and Development (Georgia) 

Zivilcourage und Anti-Rassismus-Arbeit (Germany)

Italian Federation for human rights (Italy)

Society in Support of Ukraine (Latvia)

Association for Solidarity, Mutual Assistance, and Culture “Good Heart” (Portugal)

The Association of Ukrainians in the Republic of Ireland “AURI” (Ireland)

Ukrainian Cultural Association of Malaysia (Malaysia)

Volunteer Hundred in Brescia (Italy)

The Ukrainian-Slovak Initiative (Slovakia)

The Ukrainian Women Organization in Sweden (Sweden)

London Euromaidan (Великобританія)

United Help Ukraine (the United States)

AG Ukraine – Chemnitz – Europa e.V. (Germany)

The Union of Ukrainian Culture and Solidarity (Turkey)

The Ukrainian-Austrian Cultural and Educational Center in Vienna (Austria)

Ukrainians in Mongolia (Mongolia)

The Information Portal “Irish House” (Ireland)

Central Association of Ukrainians in Germany (Germany)

Ukrainian Community in the Philippines(the Philippines) 

The Global Movement of the Ukrainian Patriots in Munich (Germany)

Fairness Corps (Ukraine)

All-Spanish NGO “Ukrainian Patriotic Association WILL,” Madrid (Spain)

Ukrainian League Taragony “Панна, Дівочі посиденьки” (Spain)

Civil Initiative “Euromaidan-Warsaw” (Poland)

Institute for Religious Freedom (Ukraine)

International Association of Ukrainians EuroMaidan/ Mezinárodní Asociace Ukrajinců EuroMajdan z.s. (Czech Republic)

Saint Olha Association  (Australia)

Ukrainian Free Kozaks of Australia (Australia)

Israeli Friends of Ukraine (Israel)

Community of Ukrainians, Vilnius (Lithuania)

Community of Ukrainians,  Guadalajara (Mexico)

Community of Ukrainians in Finland (Finland)

Young Ukraine Association, Madrid (Spain)

Bureau of Social and Political Developments (Ukraine)

Ukraine Needs You (Ukraine);

Stronger Together (Ukraine);

Liberal-Democratic League of Ukraine (Ukraine)

Defender, Nosivka, Chernihivs’ka oblast (Ukraine)

Legal Development Network (Ukraine)

Natural Rights Ukraine (Ukraine)

Center for International Security and Euro-Atlantic Integration (Ukraine)

Development foundation (Ukraine)

Non-Governmental Centre “Women’s Perspectives”(Ukraine)

Institute of Political Education (Ukraine)

Ukrainian Institute for the Future (Україна) 

Luhansk Regional Human Rights Women’s Organization “Chaika” (Ukraine)

Platform for Social Humanitarian Initiatives and Innovation “Single Coordination Center” (Ukraine)

NGO Docudays (Ukraine)

Charity Organization “Charity and Health” (Ukraine)

NGO Group of Influence (Ukraine)

Center for Economic and Legal Analytics (Ukraine)

NGO Creative Center Dagaz (Ukraine)

Media Initiative for Human Rights (Ukraine)

Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Studies (Ukraine)

PCO  “Foundation for defence of Ukraine” (Ukraine)

Social Action Center (Ukraine) 

“Sich” Human Rights Protection Group (Ukraine)

DEJURE Foundation (Ukraine)

Vostok-SOS (Ukraine)

NGO “Right to Protection” (Ukraine)

NGO “Female veteran movement” (Ukraine)

November 30 Group (Ukraine)

NGO “Women’s Rights League” Harmony of Equals” (Ukraine)

NGO St. Clement’s Center (Ukraine)

NGO Spirit and Letter (Ukraine)

NGO Alliance of Ukrainian Unity (Ukraine)

Charitable Organization “Right of a Human” (Ukraine)

Сenter for democracy and rule of law (Ukraine)

NGO “Forpost” (Ukraine)

Women in media: Balance the imbalance!

March 10, 2020

In a joint statement, IMS and 38 other organisations urge media leaders and journalists to take action against the gender inequality in the news.

 

On International Women’s Day 2020, we want to call upon all media leaders and journalists around the globe to take action against the skewed balance and representation of gender in the news – both in terms of numbers and in portrayal.

A balanced presence of women and men in news and current affairs would to a higher degree reflect the composition of society and showcase a greater variety of human experiences, views and concerns. However, statistics show that media is far from balanced:

– A majority of media content portrays women in stereotypical roles such as homemakers, models or victims.

– Women are more likely than men to be referred to in terms of superficial attributes such as appearance, age, clothes and marital status. Men, on the other hand, are more likely to be portrayed as powerful public figures, with the media focusing on profession, skills and opinions. This perpetuates a limiting and unequal perception of gender.

– Only 4% of all newspapers, radio and TV reports worldwide challenge gender stereotypes.

– Only 24% of news subjects – the people who are interviewed, or whom the news is about – are female.

– Women are used as experts only 19 % of the time.

– In only 16 % of news that relates to politics and government, women are the subject of the stories.

The numbers are not only indicative of the media sector’s gender inequality challenges but is also a serious impediment to media development and democracy. A functioning democracy requires gender equality and the media need to do much better to contribute to this goal.

Media have the power and responsibility to challenge stereotypes in content production and together we need to set an example for current and future generations. That is why today we ask you, as part of a media organisation, to:

Engage in gender media monitoring to keep track of who is represented in your content and in what capacity

Create your database of women experts on various topics — or make use of existing ones

Revise your editorial guidelines to make sure that a gender perspective is included

Conduct a gender audit of your internal work to make sure that you have a diverse workforce and identify the gender gaps in your organisation — a diverse workforce is more likely to produce pluralistic content.


The undersigned organisations stand ready to support in such efforts:

Ordinary people who do extraordinary things. Devoted to Ukrainian volunteers

February 17, 2020

Alfredo Garcia (Euromaidan Volunteer Nominee 2018)

Canadian teacher, pro-Ukrainian activist, language instructor with 20 years of experience facilitation student driven and instructor generated curricula, modules, and lesson plans.

Alfredo works for The Toronto District School Board (TDSB), one of the largest and one of the most diverse school boards in Canada. We serve approximately 247,000 students in 583 schools throughout Toronto, and more than 130,000 life-long learners in our Adult and Continuing Education programs. Please feel free to find more details following next link: https://www.tdsb.on.ca/About-Us

In the past I shared with Mr. Garcia the latest Ukrainian historical moments of Revolution of dignity and Russian Aggression later and he offered help to support people in Ukraine. I suggested him to share 1-2 hours his time per week to provide free English classes kids and adults.  Finally we selected best students in Ukraine: one children group and one adult (mostly individuals whose lives were affected by Revolution and War: military family, volunteers).

Our initiative has started in February 2018 and this projects still going in. Alfredo constantly every week dedicate 2 h of his own life time to teach English for Ukrainian students  and we have a great success, now both group are able to study without me as a translator, they can communicate and interact with native speaker and 100 % Canadian professional teacher.

Dear friends,would be great to gain and develop the friendly relationship, initiatives and partnership with motivated people and organization that are located abroad and willing to help and put human effort to support people in Ukraine around Russia’s hybrid war against Ukraine.

If you would share this information on Ukrainian (English) mass media I could transfer it also to Canadian mass media and Toronto Municipality to make this story read.

Thank our big friend abroad for supporting Ukrainians in Ukraine.

Constitutional Coup in Russia : Putin’s Move to Devalue International Human Rights Treaties Could Set Dangerous Global Precedent

February 12, 2020
On 20 January 2020, the President of Russia proposed radical changes to the Russian Constitution, but the chilling implications for human rights could echo far beyond Russia’s borders. The draft legislation introduces significant amendments to 14 articles of Russia’s supreme law of the land. FIDH and 37 of its member organisations believe that the proposed amendments contradict the letter and spirit of the Constitution, diminish the fundamental rights of Russian citizens under the guise of legitimate State concerns, and constitute an attempt to further consolidate power in the hands of the current regime. Our organisations fear that, if adopted, these measures would compromise human rights not only in Russia, but also set a dangerous precedent that may be emulated by other countries.
The speed with which the draft law was prepared – just four days – and the gross violations of constitutionally prescribed procedures for such changes, have evoked strong criticism from civil society and the public at large.One of the proposed amendments would effectively legalise the selective implementation of decisions of international treaty bodies deemed contrary to the Constitution. Russia is normally bound to abide by these decisions, by virtue of its having ratified international or regional conventions, such as the European Convention on Human Rights. But, with this proposed amendment, Russia would be able to invoke the supposed unenforceability of “interpretations” of treaty provisions as justification to not follow them, under the guise of protecting national sovereignty. In practice, the amendment would allow Russian authorities to avoid implementing decisions of the likes of the European Court of Human Rights that the latter often perceive as contrary to national interests.

“Putin’s brazen move to put in place a constitutional mechanism to avoid implementing international treaties could severely undermine international law. If adopted, the proposed legislation would not only likely aggravate the human rights situation in Russia; it could also serve as a dangerous model, paving the way for other countries to shirk international human rights obligations.”

Alice Mogwe, FIDH President.

The legislation was designed by an ad hoc working group convened on 15 January, the same day that Putin first announced the constitutional changes during his annual address. The document, drafted in just four days and without a meaningful consultation with the civil society, proposes substantive changes to 14 articles of the Constitution, contrary to a federal law requiring a separate draft law for each amendment. As early as 23 January the draft law was unanimously accepted in the first reading by the lower chamber of Russia’s Parliament. The final reading, to be followed by a vote, is expected at the end of February.

Not only is the substance of the amendments worrying; the authorities’ disregard for constitutionally prescribed procedures required to adopt them gives cause for alarm. Since the proposed changes concern the first two chapters of the Constitution, the “Fundamentals of the Constitutional System” and the “Rights and Freedoms of Man and Citizen”, Article 135 requires that a new Constitution be adopted by a Constitutional Assembly, followed by a referendum. Neither the law governing the formation of the Constitutional Assembly, nor the organ itself, are currently in existence. Rather than abide by these procedures, the authorities plan to hold a nationwide constitutional vote this spring, in an attempt to give the proposed amendment an air of legitimacy.

The authorities’ move to prize sovereignty above all, in disregard for international law, could usher in a dark time for human rights in Russia, with the potential to set a dangerous global precedent. FIDH and its 37 member organisations urge the Russian parliamentarians and the Russian people to vote against the proposed amendments.

  • Anti-Discrimination Center Memorial (ADC-Memorial, Russia)
    Adilet (Kyrgyzstan)
    Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma (ALTSEAN-Burma)
    Armanshahr/OPEN ASIA
    Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
    Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
    Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)
    Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
    Citizens’ Watch (Russia)
    Civil Society Institute (Armenia)
    Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI)
    Dutch League for Human Rights
    Finnish League for Human Rights
    French Human Rights League – Ligue des droits de l’Homme (LDH, France )
    Human Rights Association – Insan Haklari Dernegi (Turkey)
    Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP)
    Human Rights Center Georgia (HRIDC)
    Human Rights Center Memorial (Russia)
    Human Rights Center Viasna (Belarus)
    Human Rights in China (HRIC)
    International Legal Initiative (Kazakhstan)
    Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights
    Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC)
    Lao Movement for Human Rights (LMHR)
    League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI)
    Ligue Iteka (Burundi)
    Lithuanian Human Rights Association
    Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN)
    Manushya Foundation (Thailand)
    Odhikar (Bangladesh)
    Portuguese Human Rights League – Civitas (LPDHC)
    Promo Lex (Moldova)
    Regional Watch for Human Rights (Liberia)
    The League for Defence of Human Rights (LADO, Romania)
    The Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC, Tanzania)
    Union for Civil Liberty (UCL – Thailand)
    Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR)

Crimean citizen journalists

February 4, 2020

Результаты поиска:

«International support for Ukraine should increase» – statement platform CivilM+

April 21, 2020

In April 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the seventh year of the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine has begun. While the emergency has revealed gaps in the healthcare system throughout the country, the situation in the conflict zone is nearly critical. The infrastructure has been damaged by the hostilities and there is a severe lack of medical personnel. Small and medium-sized enterprises which barely started recovering after the first years of the war with the support from humanitarian organizations, have been suffering losses and are on the brink of bankruptcy during the quarantine.

Of particular concern is the situation in territories that are not controlled by the government of Ukraine: there is no credible information about the situation there, freedom of expression is seriously limited, monitoring and humanitarian organizations, for example, OSCE SMM are facing problems with accessing and operating in the territory of the self-proclaimed “DPR” and “LPR”.

We, the undersigned members of the international civil society platform CivilM +, are calling on the Government of the EU member-states to:

  • ⚫️ allocate all the resources available to support the region in its fight with COVID-19. Along with the unconditional support of medical sphere, the aid should go to small and medium business, local Ukrainian authorities and civil society organizations
  • ⚫️ keep exerting pressure on the Russian Federation to make sure that ‘DPR’ and ‘LPR “, which are under the RF control, provide unhindered access to humanitarian and monitoring organizations (firstly to the OSCE SMM, as well as to the ICRC so that it has access to all persons deprived of liberty), and stop arbitrary political persecutions.

We are also urging the Government of Ukraine to ensure that the restrictions of the freedom of movement across the contact line are only applied if they are necessary and proportionate to possible threats. All citizens, including those residing in non-government-controlled territory, should have unrestricted access to medical assistance.

We underline that new pandemic-related challenges should not diminish priority measures on the peaceful resolution of the conflict set out in the Minsk agreements and reconfirmed during the talks in the Normandy format. Those are:

  • ⚫️ ceasefire
  • ⚫️ continuation of the release of arbitrarily detained persons, both military and civil detainees
  • ⚫️ preventing further human rights violations and war crimes, and ensuring effective investigations into such crimes committed on both sides of the contact line
  • ⚫️ preparing the process of the transitional justice in all its aspects.

While welcoming the release of the detainees on 16 April 2020, we are drawing attention of the OSCE, as well as the governments of Germany and France that the bottom line should be the release of all individuals who are arbitrarily deprived of their liberty . To achieve this, we need to see consistent and coordinated efforts to complete the lists of detainees , to search and to identify their location. Having the control over “DPR” and “LPR”, the Russian Federation should influence them, as in a number of cases they refuse to admit having derived certain people of their liberty (despite the fact that the relatives of these people have confirmation papers issued by the  de-facto authorities of the self-proclaimed “republics”). Moreover, “DPR” and “LPR” refuse to release even those individuals whose names in the lists they have confirmed. As a result, it takes years for many detainees and their loved ones to wait for the ‘next stage of the exchange “.

Independent civil society organizations from Ukraine, Russia and the European Union are ready to provide civic consultations for the Minsk negotiations . The international platform CivilM + has already sent the letters with this proposal to the Office of the President of Ukraine , to the Vice-prime minister / Minister on reintegration of the temporary occupied territories and to the Minister of foreign affairs . The position and the suggestions on these matters are also  available on the CivilM + website .

 

Signatories:

Centre for Civil Liberties, Ukraine

Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, Ukraine

Truth Hounds, Ukraine

Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, Ukraine

“Citizen and Army”, Russia

DRA, German-Russian Exchange, Germany

Helsinki Citizens ‘Assembly (HCA), France

Human Rights Centre “Memorial”, Russia 

MEMORIAL Deutschland eV, Germany

For more information, please contact the Platform Secretariat: Yulia Erner, coordinator – yuliya.erner@austausch.org.  With media-requests, please contact Iryna Yakovlieva, communications coordinator –  iryna.yakovlieva@austausch.org.

Religious Freedom Roundtable. Held Online for the First Time

April 21, 2020

Experts from human rights organisations and religious leaders have developed for the Cabinet of Ministers a number of proposals intended to ensure religious freedom for the period of quarantine restrictions . As reported by ReligiousFreedom.in.ua, an online conference to iscuss these topics in the format of the Religious Freedom Roundtable in Ukraine was held jointly by the Institute for Religious Freedom and the Centre for Civil Liberties Religious figures of various faiths, including from Christian , Jewish, and Muslim religious associations of Ukraine, as well as leaders from the Kharkiv Human Rights Group and Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union , joined the discussion.

 

Lawyer Kseniia Prokonova, managing partner of the Ukrainian branch of SBH Law Offices , clarified legal aspects of quarantine restrictions to the attendees and offered practical advice on protecting the believers :


«Violated rights in the instances when actions by the police do not conform to law . Quarantine is a time when everyone, including churches, should search for new opportunities. They also have to contend for the parishioners “attention within the confines of the law and public interest . It is the first time when the
church must learn how to talk to the police efficiently.»

 

As a result, the human rights activists, together with the religious leaders, developed the following suggestions for the government:

 

● When holding daily and festive services during the quarantine period , the
recommendations, made public by the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and
Religious Organisations on April 8, for avoiding congestion in temples and
other premises of religious organisations should be observed (that is, a total of
10 persons, based on 1 person per 5 sq m, are allowed to be in the temple or
other premises of a religious organisation at the same time)

 

● The self-isolation requirement on persons over 60 years of age should not
apply to the clergy and persons involved in the organisation of services, as
well as to other employees of retirement age;

 

● Given the ban, imposed by the order of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine , on
access for priests to prisoners and convicts, administrations of detention
centres and penitentiary institutions should provide an opportunity for viewing
religious services and sermons that are regularly transmitted by the Public
Broadcaster on the UA: FIRST and UA: CULTURE TV channels and, where
requested by prisoners and convicts, arrange for individual remote meetings
with chaplain priests using videoconferencing facilities;

 

● Offer an opportunity for meeting religious needs of persons accommodated
at social protection or palliative care establishments, including by providing
access to them for chaplain priests or by arranging for individual remote
meetings using videoconferencing facilities;

 

● Local authorities, together with religious figures and volunteers, should be
encouraged to set up the facilities and develop the procedure for delivery of
free humanitarian aid to the destitute, including by providing food to persons
of no fixed abode, while observing sanitary and quarantine requirements and
avoiding mass convergence.

 

We would like to remind you that the Religious Freedom Roundtable in
Ukraine, founded in April 2019, is a civil society platform for dialogue and
liaison between religious, human rights and other civil society organisations.

Religious Freedom Roundtable. Held Online for the First Time

April 21, 2020

Experts from human rights organisations and religious leaders have developed for the Cabinet of Ministers a number of proposals intended to ensure religious freedom for the period of quarantine restrictions . As reported by Religious Freedom.in.ua, an online conference to iscuss these topics in the format of the Religious Freedom Roundtable in Ukraine was held jointly by the Institute for Religious Freedom and the Centre for Civil Liberties Religious figures of various faiths, including from Christian , Jewish, and Muslim religious associations of Ukraine, as well as leaders from the Kharkiv Human Rights Group and Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union , joined the discussion.

 

Lawyer Kseniia Prokonova, managing partner of the Ukrainian branch of SBH Law Offices , clarified legal aspects of quarantine restrictions to the attendees and offered practical advice on protecting the believers :


«Violated rights in the instances when actions by the police do not conform to law . Quarantine is a time when everyone, including churches, should search for new opportunities. They also have to contend for the parishioners “attention within the confines of the law and public interest . It is the first time when the
church must learn how to talk to the police efficiently.»

 

As a result, the human rights activists, together with the religious leaders, developed the following suggestions for the government:

 

● When holding daily and festive services during the quarantine period , the
recommendations, made public by the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and
Religious Organisations on April 8, for avoiding congestion in temples and
other premises of religious organisations should be observed (that is, a total of
10 persons, based on 1 person per 5 sq m, are allowed to be in the temple or
other premises of a religious organisation at the same time)

 

● The self-isolation requirement on persons over 60 years of age should not
apply to the clergy and persons involved in the organisation of services, as
well as to other employees of retirement age;

 

● Given the ban, imposed by the order of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine , on
access for priests to prisoners and convicts, administrations of detention
centres and penitentiary institutions should provide an opportunity for viewing
religious services and sermons that are regularly transmitted by the Public
Broadcaster on the UA: FIRST and UA: CULTURE TV channels and, where
requested by prisoners and convicts, arrange for individual remote meetings
with chaplain priests using videoconferencing facilities;

 

● Offer an opportunity for meeting religious needs of persons accommodated
at social protection or palliative care establishments, including by providing
access to them for chaplain priests or by arranging for individual remote
meetings using videoconferencing facilities;

 

● Local authorities, together with religious figures and volunteers, should be
encouraged to set up the facilities and develop the procedure for delivery of
free humanitarian aid to the destitute, including by providing food to persons
of no fixed abode, while observing sanitary and quarantine requirements and
avoiding mass convergence.

 

We would like to remind you that the Religious Freedom Roundtable in
Ukraine, founded in April 2019, is a civil society platform for dialogue and
liaison between religious, human rights and other civil society organisations.

CCL joined the statement on the need to release human rights defenders from prisons because of COVID-19

April 10, 2020

COVID-19: Jailed Human Rights Defenders Must Be Released Immediately

Check out FIDH’s #ForFreedom campaign for the release of imprisoned human rights defenders threatened by the pandemic: http://en.freedom-defenders.org

→ Read the press release in ArabicFrenchRussianSpanish, or Turkish

Paris, 8 April 2020 — In light of the serious threat posed to prisoners by the rapidly spreading novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, FIDH and its undersigned member organisations recall governments’ obligation to ensure the safety and health of detained individuals that are under their responsibility, and launch a campaign, #ForFreedom, to call for the release of all jailed human rights defenders (HRDs).

As the spread of COVID-19 poses an unprecedented threat, the need to release HRDs is more urgent than ever. Our rights and those who defend them must not become a casualty of this pandemic. FIDH and its undersigned member organisations are launching today a new global campaign #ForFreedom for the release of all HRDs detained worldwide. They should be freed and allowed to conduct their legitimate activities to defend the rights of individuals against injustice, discrimination, violence, and other forms of human rights violations.

“Hundreds of people all over the world are imprisoned not because they committed a crime, but because of their work to defend human rights. As legitimate actors of change, they should never have been detained in the first place,” declared Alice Mogwe, FIDH President. “As COVID-19 continues its rapid spread across the globe, it is time for governments to put an end to this injustice and release those who fight to uphold human rights,” she added.

As stated by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, “Now, more than ever, governments should release every person detained without sufficient legal basis, including political prisoners and others detained simply for expressing critical or dissenting views.” This concerns minors, migrants, refugees, political opponents, journalists, and HRDs.

The campaign website profiles imprisoned HRDs, including Loujain Al-Hathloul (Saudi Arabia); Azimjan Askarov (Kyrgyzstan); Sevda Özbingöl Çelik and Hasan Ceylan (Turkey); Yuri Dmitriev (Russia); Leila de Lima (Philippines); Pablo Lopez Alavez (Mexico); Khalil Maatouk (Syria); Narges Mohammadi (Iran); Miyan Abdul Qayoom (India); Nabeel Rajab (Bahrain); Germain Rukuki (Burundi); Patrick Zaki (Egypt). The website will be regularly updated with additional arbitrarily detained HRDs.

The urgency of the current health crisis presents authorities with an opportunity to redress the unjust deprivation of liberty of all these individuals, many of whom are incarcerated in deplorable sanitary conditions and are denied adequate health care.

In such a context, FIDH and its undersigned member organisations more generally call on governments to relieve congestion in prisons by releasing vast numbers of prisoners on a temporary, permanent or conditional basis for public health reasons. Along with human rights defenders, priority should be given to the elderly, children, those with health conditions, prisoners of conscience, prisoners detained for expressing their opinions, administrative detainees, prisoners detained for minor or non-violent offences, untried detainees, and individuals held in immigration detention centres.

In times of crisis, governments have an obligation to protect those who are most vulnerable. Prison populations, confined to detention facilities that can easily become virus hotspots, are among those most vulnerable to the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a particular risk in countries where minimum standards for detention conditions are not met, overcrowding is the norm, and social distancing is impossible to achieve. The spread of the virus in places of detention will be inevitable unless urgent measures are taken to mitigate this risk. Otherwise, incarceration could be equivalent to a death sentence for many detainees who contract, or are at risk of contracting, the COVID-19 virus.

Such measures would be consistent with the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (revised and adopted as the “Nelson Mandela Rules”), which detail measures aimed at ensuring adequate personal hygiene, health, and safety of prisoners, as well as the specific advice issued by the UN Subcommittee for the Prevention of Torture.

We welcome the move by a number of countries, including TurkeyTunisiaEthiopiaIndonesia, Senegal and Bahrain, to begin releasing prisoners in an effort to reduce overcrowding and prevent the spread of the virus. We urge these and other countries to include HRDs among those who should be released immediately. Many countries have excluded prisoners convicted of terrorism-related offences from the release, thus penalising HRDs unjustly criminalised on trumped-up terrorism charges. HRDs should be exempt from such blanket disqualifications as their human rights work must not be conflated with terrorism.

Africa

  1. Botswana: Ditshwanelo

  2. Burundi: ITEKA

  3. Cameroon: Maison des Droits de l’Homme du Cameroun

  4. Djibouti: LDDH Djibouti

  5. Ethiopia: Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRCO)

  6. Mauritania: Association Mauritanienne des Droits de l’Homme (AMDH)

  7. DRC: Groupe LOTUS

  8. DRC: Ligue des Électeurs

  9. Rwanda: Association Rwandaise pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme et des Libertés Publiques, ADL

  10. Senegal: RADDHO

  11. Tanzania: Legal and Human Rights Centre

 

Americas

  1. Argentina: Comité de Acción Jurídica (CAJ)
  2. Argentina: CAJ
  3. Brazil: Justica Global
  4. Brazil: Movimento Nacional de Direitos Humanos – MNDH Brasil
  5. Chile: Observatorio Ciudadano
  6. Colombia: CAJAR
  7. Ecuador: Acción Ecológica
  8. El Salvador: Comisión de Derechos Humanos de El Salvador (CDHES)
  9. Honduras: CIPRODEH
  10. Honduras: COFADEH
  11. Mexico: Limeddh
  12. Mexico: IDHEAS
  13. Nicaragua: CENIDH
  14. Peru: APRODEH
  15. Peru: Perú Equidad (Centro de Políticas Públicas y Derechos Humanos)

 

Asia

  1. Bangladesh: Odhikar
  2. Cambodia: Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)
  3. China: Human Rights in China (HRIC)
  4. India: Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI)
  5. Indonesia: Commission for Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS)
  6. Iran: League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI)
  7. Iran: Justice for Iran (JFI)
  8. Laos: Lao Movement for Human Rights (LMHR)
  9. Malaysia: Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
  10. Maldives: Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN)
  11. Myanmar: Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma (ALTSEAN-Burma)
  12. Myanmar: Myanmar Alliance for Transparency and Accountability (MATA)
  13. Pakistan: Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP)
  14. Taiwan: Covenants Watch

  15. Thailand: Internet Law Reform Dialogue (iLaw)
  16. Thailand: Manushya Foundation

  17. Thailand: Union for Civil Liberty (UCL)
  18. Vietnam: Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR)

 

Eastern Europe and Central Asia

  1. Armenia: CSI – Armenia
  2. Belarus: HRC Viasna
  3. Georgia: Human Rights Center
  4. Kazakhstan: International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law
  5. Kyrgyzstan: Adilet (Kyrgyzstan)
  6. Kyrgyzstan: Bir Duino
  7. Kyrgyzstan: ILI Foundation
  8. Kyrgyzstan: Kylym Shamy
  9. Russia: ADC Memorial
  10. Russia: Citizen’s Watch
  11. Russia: HRC Memorial
  12. Ukraine: Center for Civil Liberties

Middle East and North Africa

  1. Algeria: CFDA (Comité des familles de disparus en Algérie)
  2. Algeria: LADDH (Ligue Algérienne des Droits de l’Homme)
  3. Bahrain: BCHR (Bahrain Center for Human Rights)
  4. Gulf: GC4HR (Gulf Center for Human Rights)
  5. Lebanon: CLDH (Centre Libanais des Droits Humains)
  6. Morocco: AMDH (Association Marocaine des Droits de l’Homme)
  7. Morocco: OMDH (Organisation Marocaine des Droits de l’Homme)
  8. Palestine: PCHR (Palestinian Center for Human Rights)
  9. Saudi Arabia: ALQST
  10. Syria: SCM (Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression)
  11. Tunisia: LTDH (Ligue Tunisienne des Droits de l’Homme)
  12. Tunisia: ATFD (Association Tunisienne des Femmes Démocrates)
  13. Yemen: SAF (Sisters Arab Forum)

Western Europe

  1. Albania: Albanian Human Rights Group
  2. Belgium: Ligue des droits humains – Belgique
  3. Croatia: Civic Committee for Human Rights
  4. Finland: Finnish League for Human Rights,
  5. France: Association Européenne pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme (AEDH)
  6. France: Ligue des Droits de l’Homme
  7. Germany: Internationale Liga fur Menschenrechte
  8. Hungary: Hungarian Helsinki Committee
  9. Lithuania: Lithuanian Human Rights Association
  10. Latvia : Latvian Human Rights Committee
  11. Portugal: Portuguese League for Human Rights – Civitas
  12. Romania: League for the Defence of Human Rights (LADO)
  13. Spain: Asociacion pro Derechos Humanos de Espana
  14. Spain: Federacion de Asociaciones de Defensa y Promocion de Derechos Humanos de Espana
  15. Turkey: Human Rights Association (IHD)
  16. Turkey: Human Rights Foundation of Turkey
  17. UK/Northern Ireland: Committee on the Administration of Justice

Press contact:

Eva Canan (EN, ES, FR, AR): +33 6 58 05 91 57 | http://twitter.com/EvaCanan | ecanan@fidh.org

COVID-19 in closed prisons in the occupied Crimea and Donbas which is under Russia effective control

March 24, 2020

COVID-19 in closed prisons in the occupied Crimea and Donbas which is under Russia effective control. Immediate response from international organizations is required.

 

We, the below-signed, appeal to the international organizations and their member states to prevent the spread of coronavirus to detention facilities (prisons and pretrial detention centers) in Crimea which is temporarily occupied  by the Russian Federation, the Donbas which is under Russian effective control and in the territory of the Russian Federation itself.

 

Situation in the Occupied Crimea and the Russian Federation

Since March 16, 2020, the Federal Penitentiary Service of the Russian Federation (FSIN) has suspended all visits to detention facilities in order to prevent the spread of the disease among the suspects, those accused and convicted, as well as employees of the penal system. 

At the same time, penitentiary administrations are unable to implement WHO recommendations against the spread of coronavirus. The health services of these institutions lack staff, medications and equipment. They are not capable of coping with common widespread diseases, let alone a global health crisis.

Moreover, detention facilities present an extremely high risk for the transmission of infectious diseases. The buildings are often poorly ventilated, and the prison authorities cannot ensure adequate sanitation and hygiene conditions, i.e. sufficient access to water to wash hands. The detainees continue to be exposed to high risks daily at work, often gatherings, showers, etc.  The prison authorities conduct personal examinations of detainees and perform searches of cells on a daily basis, entering in body-to-body contacts with inmates. Masks for the people showing symptoms of respiratory diseases, both inmates and staff, are not available.

“On March 19, when the ambulance requested in court that I should be taken to the hospital, no one ever took me there. I was just taken to a small box in the courtroom. There, I was lying on the floor until 9 pm, because there was very little room on the bench, and I wanted to lie down, as I was cold and shivering. The schedule of the court hearings is very intense, we are on our feet for 12-14 hours without water and food. I returned to my cell close to 11 pm. I went to another paramedic, but he did not give me any medication besides the antibiotics. On that day, I had a temperature of 39.3 C, and then it even rose to 39.8 C. The cough is dry, very unpleasant. The nose is stuffy. It is difficult to breathe. Three to four other people are also sick in the cell. They are also given aspirin and the same antibiotic. Today [March 23] I do not know how high my temperature is. I wrote a statement asking for a doctor to listen to my lungs. But I was taken to a videoconference to participate in a court hearing, and I was never taken to see a doctor. I do not want to complain, but this is torture. In prison, a person simply does not have the opportunity to protect themself,” comments Server Mustafayev, a prisoner of conscience, the coordinator of the Crimean Solidarity.

The situation is considerably aggravated by the overcrowding of Russian prisons and detention centers, with inmates kept in poor sanitary conditions and the transfer of prisoners from the occupied Crimea into the Russian Federation taking a long time in breach of the norms of international humanitarian law. Due to the prevalence of torture in Russian prisons, restricting the contact of prisoners with the outside world increases the risk of ill-treatment, especially during crisis situations.

Situation in the Donbas effectively controlled by the Russian Federation

The situation in the Donbas which is under the effective control by the Russian Federation, looks even worse. After 6 years of war,  even the International Committee of the Red Cross has no access to detained people. In addition to the so-called official detention centers, there exist an extensive network of secret detention facilities. One of such places was mentioned in the latest report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. It is called “Isolation”, and it is located in the building of a former plant in Donetsk. The conditions of detention in both “official” and secret detention facilities can be equated to torture and ill-treatment and are inappropriate even for short term detentions

 

“I was held in the 13th post of the Donetsk detention facility, considered one of the “best” ones when it came to the conditions for the prisoners. Cell conditions  were appalling: poor sanitation, many bugs and cockroaches, I could not even use the mattress — it was all dirty and riddled with bed bugs — so I slept on the metal bunk, under which I put a blanket sent to me from home. Part of the window was broken, so the air in the room was constantly cold. At the 10th post, which is the worst one, the situation is extremely critical: there are rats, and the sewage often overflows into the cell.here is almost no space – cells barely fit two people, darkness, no daylight, because the post is located in the basement of the detention facility”- comments Donetsk journalist Stanislav Aseev, who was released during an exchange in December 2019.

 

The report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights highlights the widespread practice of torture and ill-treatment of detained persons. Recently released detainees reported beatings, including with electric shocker, strangulation (“wet” and “dry” methods), sexual abuse, torture, the removal of body parts (nails and teeth), deprivation of water, food, sleep, or access to the toilet, imitation of execution, threat of violence or death, and threat of harm to the family.

 

The quality of medical care in these institutions is described in testimonies provided to the OHCHR by several “Isolation” detainees. According to them, a medical worker was present during their interrogations and torture. He revived those who had lost consciousness and pointed out how to torture in order to inflict the greatest pain but not to cause death. He also examined the detainees before torture began, asked about their illnesses, measured their blood pressure or checked their pulse, and injected them. 

 

Even in those facilities where the detention of people is officially confirmed (as opposed to the situation with secret detention centers), the prisoners are provided with necessary medicine and goods by their relatives. For the quarantine period, restrictions were imposed on crossing the demarcation line in the Donbas. Today, those prisoners, whose relatives live in the territory controlled by Ukraine, will not be able to receive the necessary medicine and goods.

 

Therefore, there are no illusions that there will be any medical assistance in case of the spread of coronavirus in prisons and detention centers of Donbas which is currently under the effective Russian control. Moreover, the question arises as to what measures will be undertaken by the Russia-controlled illegal armed formations in charge of the territory, to deter the spread of the coronavirus in prisons and detention centers, in the first place, to protect themselves from contracting the disease.

 

The aforementioned problems in the penitentiary institutions and detention centers in the Ukrainian territories occupied and controlled by Russia pose a real threat not only to prisoners and staff, but also to the wider population. And because, according to scientists, the pandemic can continue in waves, it can threaten the populations of other countries. 

 

In view of the foregoing, and taking into account the position of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment of March 20, 2020, we call for the urgent reaction of the international organizations, the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the European Union, the OSCE, and their member states participants to:

 

  1. 🔹   Appeal to the Russian Federation to take immediate steps to fulfill its international obligations to protect the life and health of its detainees, both officially, such as in the Russian Federation and occupied Crimea, and unofficially, through the Kremlin-controlled illegal armed formations, such as those in Donbas which is currently under the effective Russian control, to develop the necessary plans for prevention and response to the spread of infection, in accordance with the “Statement of principles relating to the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty” in the context of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic (ECPT, 03/20/2020), and to implement the WHO recommendations.

 

  1. 🔹   To urge the Russian Federation to reduce the prison population immediately (in particular, by changing the precautionary measures for house arrests for crimes of minor public danger and the immediate release of all illegally detained political prisoners), considering that the very configuration of the cells, penitentiary facilities, and detention centers does not allow for any preventive measures, such as compliance with social distance, to be carried out.

 

  1.  🔹  The Council of Europe bodies, including the Committee of Ministers, the Secretary-General, and the Commissioner for Human Rights, must swiftly adopt recommendations to encourage the Russian Federation with its 140 million population to take these decisive steps. The Russian Federation has a wide range of measures that can have a swift effect, from criminal policy guidance to prosecutors to emergency pardon and amnesty.

 

  1. 🔹   All monitoring, judicial and quasi-judicial mechanisms of international organizations respecting fundamental human rights must take exceptional measures to be able to play their full role in a pandemic. In particular, the European Court of Human Rights should strengthen its capacity to review requests for urgent measures under Rule 39, which are important to protect human life. The number of such requests is expected to increase in the near future.

 

  1. 🔹   International organizations, and in particular the OSCE, during the upcoming meeting of the trilateral contact group in Minsk on March, 25, should raise the issue of the immediate granting by the Russian Federation of unhindered access to the occupied Crimea and Donbas to international intergovernmental organizations, in particular, the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission, the OSCE Human Rights Assessment Mission on Crimea, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, other Council of Europe convention and institutional mechanisms, etc., as well as international humanitarian organizations, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross.

 

  1. 🔹   France and Germany as members of the Normandy Format, as well as the United States and the United Kingdom as signatories to the Budapest Memorandum, should urge the Russian Federation to use its effective control over parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions to comply with the provisions of the Minsk agreements on the immediate release of persons whose freedom is restricted due to direct involvement in the armed conflict, as well as political prisoners in the occupied Crimea and the Russian Federation.

 

We also urge the Ukrainian authorities to implement all the recommendations set out in the appeal of European NGOs to prevent epidemic of the COVID-19 in detention facilities, according to Ukraine’s international obligations to protect life and health of persons who are under its effective control.

 

Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine) 

Regional Center for Human Rights (Ukraine)

Ukrainian Institute for Human Rights (Ukraine)

Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People (Ukraine)

The Institute of Mass Information (Ukraine)

Detector Media (Ukraine)

The Eastern Ukrainian Center for Civic Initiatives (Ukraine)

Luhansk Regional Human Rights CenterAlternative (Ukraine)

Human Rights House in Chernihiv (Ukraine)

Ukrainian Legal Aid Foundation (Ukraine)

Ukrainian Center for the Prevention of Torture (Ukraine)

Donbas SOS (Ukraine)

Union of Relatives of Kremlin’s Political Prisoners (Ukraine)

Crimean Tatar Resource Center (Ukraine)

Political Science Association (Ukraine)

Territory of Success (Ukraine)

Kryvyi Rih City Human Rights Society (Ukraine)

Association of Ukrainian Monitors on Human Rights Conduct in Law Enforcement (Ukraine)

The Pylyp Orlyk Institute for Democracy (Ukraine)

Congress of Ethnic Communities of Ukraine (Ukraine)

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research (Ukraine)

All-Ukrainian civic movement of mothers and relatives of participants of ATO “Bereginya” (Ukraine)

Charity Foundation Stabilization Support Services (Ukraine)

Vinnitsa NGO of Social Development of Vulnerable Youth “Sprout” (Ukraine)

All-Ukrainian Youth Organization “The Foundation of Regional Initiatives” (Ukraine)

Youth Organization “STAN” (Ukraine)

Anti-Corruption Action Center (Ukraine)

Institute for Religious Freedom (Ukraine)

Ternopil Human Rights Group (Ukraine) 

IAC Civic Space (Ukraine)

Institute for Black Sea Strategic Studies (Ukraine)

Human Rights Initiative (Ukraine)

Theatre for Change (Ukraine)

Human Rights Platform (Ukraine)

Center Eidos (Ukraine)

Liberation Movement Research Center (Ukraine)

NGO All-Ukrainian Democratic Forum (Ukraine)

International Federation for Human Rights (France)

Citizens’ Watch (Russia)

Open Dialogue Foundation (Belgium)

Norwegian Helsinki Committee (Norway)

Human Rights Movement Bir Duino-Kyrgyzstan (Kyrgyzstan)

Internews Ukraine (Ukraine)

UkraineWorld (Ukraine)

NGO Ukraine Without Torture (Ukraine)

All-Ukrainian Active Community Initiative (Ukraine)

Institute Respublica (Ukraine)

International Federation for Human Rights (France)

Macedonian Helsinki Committee (North Macedonia)

The Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan (Azerbaijan)

Memorial-Germany (Germany)

Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (Bulgaria)

Assemblée Européenne des Citoyens, France

German-Russian Exchange (Germany)

Human Rights Monitoring Institute (Lithuania)

New Europe Center (Ukraine)

Netherlands Helsinki Committee (Netherlands)

Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly – Vanadzor (Armenia)

Public Association “Dignity  (Kazakhstan)

Human Rights Matter (Germany)

Minority Rights Group Europe (Hungary)

Italian Coalition for Civil Liberties and Rights (Italy)

International Partnership for Human Rights (Belgium)

Helsinki Committee of Armenia (Armenia)

Austrian Helsinki Association (Austria)

Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law (Kazakhstan)

Promo-LEX Association (Moldova)

Public foundation “Golos svobody” (Kyrgyzstan) 

Helsinki committee for human rights in Serbia (Serbia)

Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland) 

Center for Participation and Development (Georgia) 

Zivilcourage und Anti-Rassismus-Arbeit (Germany)

Italian Federation for human rights (Italy)

Society in Support of Ukraine (Latvia)

Association for Solidarity, Mutual Assistance, and Culture “Good Heart” (Portugal)

The Association of Ukrainians in the Republic of Ireland “AURI” (Ireland)

Ukrainian Cultural Association of Malaysia (Malaysia)

Volunteer Hundred in Brescia (Italy)

The Ukrainian-Slovak Initiative (Slovakia)

The Ukrainian Women Organization in Sweden (Sweden)

London Euromaidan (Великобританія)

United Help Ukraine (the United States)

AG Ukraine – Chemnitz – Europa e.V. (Germany)

The Union of Ukrainian Culture and Solidarity (Turkey)

The Ukrainian-Austrian Cultural and Educational Center in Vienna (Austria)

Ukrainians in Mongolia (Mongolia)

The Information Portal “Irish House” (Ireland)

Central Association of Ukrainians in Germany (Germany)

Ukrainian Community in the Philippines(the Philippines) 

The Global Movement of the Ukrainian Patriots in Munich (Germany)

Fairness Corps (Ukraine)

All-Spanish NGO “Ukrainian Patriotic Association WILL,” Madrid (Spain)

Ukrainian League Taragony “Панна, Дівочі посиденьки” (Spain)

Civil Initiative “Euromaidan-Warsaw” (Poland)

Institute for Religious Freedom (Ukraine)

International Association of Ukrainians EuroMaidan/ Mezinárodní Asociace Ukrajinců EuroMajdan z.s. (Czech Republic)

Saint Olha Association  (Australia)

Ukrainian Free Kozaks of Australia (Australia)

Israeli Friends of Ukraine (Israel)

Community of Ukrainians, Vilnius (Lithuania)

Community of Ukrainians,  Guadalajara (Mexico)

Community of Ukrainians in Finland (Finland)

Young Ukraine Association, Madrid (Spain)

Bureau of Social and Political Developments (Ukraine)

Ukraine Needs You (Ukraine);

Stronger Together (Ukraine);

Liberal-Democratic League of Ukraine (Ukraine)

Defender, Nosivka, Chernihivs’ka oblast (Ukraine)

Legal Development Network (Ukraine)

Natural Rights Ukraine (Ukraine)

Center for International Security and Euro-Atlantic Integration (Ukraine)

Development foundation (Ukraine)

Non-Governmental Centre “Women’s Perspectives”(Ukraine)

Institute of Political Education (Ukraine)

Ukrainian Institute for the Future (Україна) 

Luhansk Regional Human Rights Women’s Organization “Chaika” (Ukraine)

Platform for Social Humanitarian Initiatives and Innovation “Single Coordination Center” (Ukraine)

NGO Docudays (Ukraine)

Charity Organization “Charity and Health” (Ukraine)

NGO Group of Influence (Ukraine)

Center for Economic and Legal Analytics (Ukraine)

NGO Creative Center Dagaz (Ukraine)

Media Initiative for Human Rights (Ukraine)

Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Studies (Ukraine)

PCO  “Foundation for defence of Ukraine” (Ukraine)

Social Action Center (Ukraine) 

“Sich” Human Rights Protection Group (Ukraine)

DEJURE Foundation (Ukraine)

Vostok-SOS (Ukraine)

NGO “Right to Protection” (Ukraine)

NGO “Female veteran movement” (Ukraine)

November 30 Group (Ukraine)

NGO “Women’s Rights League” Harmony of Equals” (Ukraine)

NGO St. Clement’s Center (Ukraine)

NGO Spirit and Letter (Ukraine)

NGO Alliance of Ukrainian Unity (Ukraine)

Charitable Organization “Right of a Human” (Ukraine)

Сenter for democracy and rule of law (Ukraine)

NGO “Forpost” (Ukraine)

Women in media: Balance the imbalance!

March 10, 2020

In a joint statement, IMS and 38 other organisations urge media leaders and journalists to take action against the gender inequality in the news.

 

On International Women’s Day 2020, we want to call upon all media leaders and journalists around the globe to take action against the skewed balance and representation of gender in the news – both in terms of numbers and in portrayal.

A balanced presence of women and men in news and current affairs would to a higher degree reflect the composition of society and showcase a greater variety of human experiences, views and concerns. However, statistics show that media is far from balanced:

– A majority of media content portrays women in stereotypical roles such as homemakers, models or victims.

– Women are more likely than men to be referred to in terms of superficial attributes such as appearance, age, clothes and marital status. Men, on the other hand, are more likely to be portrayed as powerful public figures, with the media focusing on profession, skills and opinions. This perpetuates a limiting and unequal perception of gender.

– Only 4% of all newspapers, radio and TV reports worldwide challenge gender stereotypes.

– Only 24% of news subjects – the people who are interviewed, or whom the news is about – are female.

– Women are used as experts only 19 % of the time.

– In only 16 % of news that relates to politics and government, women are the subject of the stories.

The numbers are not only indicative of the media sector’s gender inequality challenges but is also a serious impediment to media development and democracy. A functioning democracy requires gender equality and the media need to do much better to contribute to this goal.

Media have the power and responsibility to challenge stereotypes in content production and together we need to set an example for current and future generations. That is why today we ask you, as part of a media organisation, to:

Engage in gender media monitoring to keep track of who is represented in your content and in what capacity

Create your database of women experts on various topics — or make use of existing ones

Revise your editorial guidelines to make sure that a gender perspective is included

Conduct a gender audit of your internal work to make sure that you have a diverse workforce and identify the gender gaps in your organisation — a diverse workforce is more likely to produce pluralistic content.


The undersigned organisations stand ready to support in such efforts:

Ordinary people who do extraordinary things. Devoted to Ukrainian volunteers

February 17, 2020

Alfredo Garcia (Euromaidan Volunteer Nominee 2018)

Canadian teacher, pro-Ukrainian activist, language instructor with 20 years of experience facilitation student driven and instructor generated curricula, modules, and lesson plans.

Alfredo works for The Toronto District School Board (TDSB), one of the largest and one of the most diverse school boards in Canada. We serve approximately 247,000 students in 583 schools throughout Toronto, and more than 130,000 life-long learners in our Adult and Continuing Education programs. Please feel free to find more details following next link: https://www.tdsb.on.ca/About-Us

In the past I shared with Mr. Garcia the latest Ukrainian historical moments of Revolution of dignity and Russian Aggression later and he offered help to support people in Ukraine. I suggested him to share 1-2 hours his time per week to provide free English classes kids and adults.  Finally we selected best students in Ukraine: one children group and one adult (mostly individuals whose lives were affected by Revolution and War: military family, volunteers).

Our initiative has started in February 2018 and this projects still going in. Alfredo constantly every week dedicate 2 h of his own life time to teach English for Ukrainian students  and we have a great success, now both group are able to study without me as a translator, they can communicate and interact with native speaker and 100 % Canadian professional teacher.

Dear friends,would be great to gain and develop the friendly relationship, initiatives and partnership with motivated people and organization that are located abroad and willing to help and put human effort to support people in Ukraine around Russia’s hybrid war against Ukraine.

If you would share this information on Ukrainian (English) mass media I could transfer it also to Canadian mass media and Toronto Municipality to make this story read.

Thank our big friend abroad for supporting Ukrainians in Ukraine.

Constitutional Coup in Russia : Putin’s Move to Devalue International Human Rights Treaties Could Set Dangerous Global Precedent

February 12, 2020
On 20 January 2020, the President of Russia proposed radical changes to the Russian Constitution, but the chilling implications for human rights could echo far beyond Russia’s borders. The draft legislation introduces significant amendments to 14 articles of Russia’s supreme law of the land. FIDH and 37 of its member organisations believe that the proposed amendments contradict the letter and spirit of the Constitution, diminish the fundamental rights of Russian citizens under the guise of legitimate State concerns, and constitute an attempt to further consolidate power in the hands of the current regime. Our organisations fear that, if adopted, these measures would compromise human rights not only in Russia, but also set a dangerous precedent that may be emulated by other countries.
The speed with which the draft law was prepared – just four days – and the gross violations of constitutionally prescribed procedures for such changes, have evoked strong criticism from civil society and the public at large.One of the proposed amendments would effectively legalise the selective implementation of decisions of international treaty bodies deemed contrary to the Constitution. Russia is normally bound to abide by these decisions, by virtue of its having ratified international or regional conventions, such as the European Convention on Human Rights. But, with this proposed amendment, Russia would be able to invoke the supposed unenforceability of “interpretations” of treaty provisions as justification to not follow them, under the guise of protecting national sovereignty. In practice, the amendment would allow Russian authorities to avoid implementing decisions of the likes of the European Court of Human Rights that the latter often perceive as contrary to national interests.

“Putin’s brazen move to put in place a constitutional mechanism to avoid implementing international treaties could severely undermine international law. If adopted, the proposed legislation would not only likely aggravate the human rights situation in Russia; it could also serve as a dangerous model, paving the way for other countries to shirk international human rights obligations.”

Alice Mogwe, FIDH President.

The legislation was designed by an ad hoc working group convened on 15 January, the same day that Putin first announced the constitutional changes during his annual address. The document, drafted in just four days and without a meaningful consultation with the civil society, proposes substantive changes to 14 articles of the Constitution, contrary to a federal law requiring a separate draft law for each amendment. As early as 23 January the draft law was unanimously accepted in the first reading by the lower chamber of Russia’s Parliament. The final reading, to be followed by a vote, is expected at the end of February.

Not only is the substance of the amendments worrying; the authorities’ disregard for constitutionally prescribed procedures required to adopt them gives cause for alarm. Since the proposed changes concern the first two chapters of the Constitution, the “Fundamentals of the Constitutional System” and the “Rights and Freedoms of Man and Citizen”, Article 135 requires that a new Constitution be adopted by a Constitutional Assembly, followed by a referendum. Neither the law governing the formation of the Constitutional Assembly, nor the organ itself, are currently in existence. Rather than abide by these procedures, the authorities plan to hold a nationwide constitutional vote this spring, in an attempt to give the proposed amendment an air of legitimacy.

The authorities’ move to prize sovereignty above all, in disregard for international law, could usher in a dark time for human rights in Russia, with the potential to set a dangerous global precedent. FIDH and its 37 member organisations urge the Russian parliamentarians and the Russian people to vote against the proposed amendments.

  • Anti-Discrimination Center Memorial (ADC-Memorial, Russia)
    Adilet (Kyrgyzstan)
    Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma (ALTSEAN-Burma)
    Armanshahr/OPEN ASIA
    Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
    Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
    Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)
    Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
    Citizens’ Watch (Russia)
    Civil Society Institute (Armenia)
    Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI)
    Dutch League for Human Rights
    Finnish League for Human Rights
    French Human Rights League – Ligue des droits de l’Homme (LDH, France )
    Human Rights Association – Insan Haklari Dernegi (Turkey)
    Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP)
    Human Rights Center Georgia (HRIDC)
    Human Rights Center Memorial (Russia)
    Human Rights Center Viasna (Belarus)
    Human Rights in China (HRIC)
    International Legal Initiative (Kazakhstan)
    Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights
    Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC)
    Lao Movement for Human Rights (LMHR)
    League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI)
    Ligue Iteka (Burundi)
    Lithuanian Human Rights Association
    Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN)
    Manushya Foundation (Thailand)
    Odhikar (Bangladesh)
    Portuguese Human Rights League – Civitas (LPDHC)
    Promo Lex (Moldova)
    Regional Watch for Human Rights (Liberia)
    The League for Defence of Human Rights (LADO, Romania)
    The Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC, Tanzania)
    Union for Civil Liberty (UCL – Thailand)
    Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR)

Crimean citizen journalists

February 4, 2020

Результаты поиска:

«International support for Ukraine should increase» – statement platform CivilM+

April 21, 2020

In April 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the seventh year of the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine has begun. While the emergency has revealed gaps in the healthcare system throughout the country, the situation in the conflict zone is nearly critical. The infrastructure has been damaged by the hostilities and there is a severe lack of medical personnel. Small and medium-sized enterprises which barely started recovering after the first years of the war with the support from humanitarian organizations, have been suffering losses and are on the brink of bankruptcy during the quarantine.

Of particular concern is the situation in territories that are not controlled by the government of Ukraine: there is no credible information about the situation there, freedom of expression is seriously limited, monitoring and humanitarian organizations, for example, OSCE SMM are facing problems with accessing and operating in the territory of the self-proclaimed “DPR” and “LPR”.

We, the undersigned members of the international civil society platform CivilM +, are calling on the Government of the EU member-states to:

  • ⚫️ allocate all the resources available to support the region in its fight with COVID-19. Along with the unconditional support of medical sphere, the aid should go to small and medium business, local Ukrainian authorities and civil society organizations
  • ⚫️ keep exerting pressure on the Russian Federation to make sure that ‘DPR’ and ‘LPR “, which are under the RF control, provide unhindered access to humanitarian and monitoring organizations (firstly to the OSCE SMM, as well as to the ICRC so that it has access to all persons deprived of liberty), and stop arbitrary political persecutions.

We are also urging the Government of Ukraine to ensure that the restrictions of the freedom of movement across the contact line are only applied if they are necessary and proportionate to possible threats. All citizens, including those residing in non-government-controlled territory, should have unrestricted access to medical assistance.

We underline that new pandemic-related challenges should not diminish priority measures on the peaceful resolution of the conflict set out in the Minsk agreements and reconfirmed during the talks in the Normandy format. Those are:

  • ⚫️ ceasefire
  • ⚫️ continuation of the release of arbitrarily detained persons, both military and civil detainees
  • ⚫️ preventing further human rights violations and war crimes, and ensuring effective investigations into such crimes committed on both sides of the contact line
  • ⚫️ preparing the process of the transitional justice in all its aspects.

While welcoming the release of the detainees on 16 April 2020, we are drawing attention of the OSCE, as well as the governments of Germany and France that the bottom line should be the release of all individuals who are arbitrarily deprived of their liberty . To achieve this, we need to see consistent and coordinated efforts to complete the lists of detainees , to search and to identify their location. Having the control over “DPR” and “LPR”, the Russian Federation should influence them, as in a number of cases they refuse to admit having derived certain people of their liberty (despite the fact that the relatives of these people have confirmation papers issued by the  de-facto authorities of the self-proclaimed “republics”). Moreover, “DPR” and “LPR” refuse to release even those individuals whose names in the lists they have confirmed. As a result, it takes years for many detainees and their loved ones to wait for the ‘next stage of the exchange “.

Independent civil society organizations from Ukraine, Russia and the European Union are ready to provide civic consultations for the Minsk negotiations . The international platform CivilM + has already sent the letters with this proposal to the Office of the President of Ukraine , to the Vice-prime minister / Minister on reintegration of the temporary occupied territories and to the Minister of foreign affairs . The position and the suggestions on these matters are also  available on the CivilM + website .

 

Signatories:

Centre for Civil Liberties, Ukraine

Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, Ukraine

Truth Hounds, Ukraine

Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, Ukraine

“Citizen and Army”, Russia

DRA, German-Russian Exchange, Germany

Helsinki Citizens ‘Assembly (HCA), France

Human Rights Centre “Memorial”, Russia 

MEMORIAL Deutschland eV, Germany

For more information, please contact the Platform Secretariat: Yulia Erner, coordinator – yuliya.erner@austausch.org.  With media-requests, please contact Iryna Yakovlieva, communications coordinator –  iryna.yakovlieva@austausch.org.

Religious Freedom Roundtable. Held Online for the First Time

April 21, 2020

Experts from human rights organisations and religious leaders have developed for the Cabinet of Ministers a number of proposals intended to ensure religious freedom for the period of quarantine restrictions . As reported by ReligiousFreedom.in.ua, an online conference to iscuss these topics in the format of the Religious Freedom Roundtable in Ukraine was held jointly by the Institute for Religious Freedom and the Centre for Civil Liberties Religious figures of various faiths, including from Christian , Jewish, and Muslim religious associations of Ukraine, as well as leaders from the Kharkiv Human Rights Group and Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union , joined the discussion.

 

Lawyer Kseniia Prokonova, managing partner of the Ukrainian branch of SBH Law Offices , clarified legal aspects of quarantine restrictions to the attendees and offered practical advice on protecting the believers :


«Violated rights in the instances when actions by the police do not conform to law . Quarantine is a time when everyone, including churches, should search for new opportunities. They also have to contend for the parishioners “attention within the confines of the law and public interest . It is the first time when the
church must learn how to talk to the police efficiently.»

 

As a result, the human rights activists, together with the religious leaders, developed the following suggestions for the government:

 

● When holding daily and festive services during the quarantine period , the
recommendations, made public by the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and
Religious Organisations on April 8, for avoiding congestion in temples and
other premises of religious organisations should be observed (that is, a total of
10 persons, based on 1 person per 5 sq m, are allowed to be in the temple or
other premises of a religious organisation at the same time)

 

● The self-isolation requirement on persons over 60 years of age should not
apply to the clergy and persons involved in the organisation of services, as
well as to other employees of retirement age;

 

● Given the ban, imposed by the order of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine , on
access for priests to prisoners and convicts, administrations of detention
centres and penitentiary institutions should provide an opportunity for viewing
religious services and sermons that are regularly transmitted by the Public
Broadcaster on the UA: FIRST and UA: CULTURE TV channels and, where
requested by prisoners and convicts, arrange for individual remote meetings
with chaplain priests using videoconferencing facilities;

 

● Offer an opportunity for meeting religious needs of persons accommodated
at social protection or palliative care establishments, including by providing
access to them for chaplain priests or by arranging for individual remote
meetings using videoconferencing facilities;

 

● Local authorities, together with religious figures and volunteers, should be
encouraged to set up the facilities and develop the procedure for delivery of
free humanitarian aid to the destitute, including by providing food to persons
of no fixed abode, while observing sanitary and quarantine requirements and
avoiding mass convergence.

 

We would like to remind you that the Religious Freedom Roundtable in
Ukraine, founded in April 2019, is a civil society platform for dialogue and
liaison between religious, human rights and other civil society organisations.

Religious Freedom Roundtable. Held Online for the First Time

April 21, 2020

Experts from human rights organisations and religious leaders have developed for the Cabinet of Ministers a number of proposals intended to ensure religious freedom for the period of quarantine restrictions . As reported by Religious Freedom.in.ua, an online conference to iscuss these topics in the format of the Religious Freedom Roundtable in Ukraine was held jointly by the Institute for Religious Freedom and the Centre for Civil Liberties Religious figures of various faiths, including from Christian , Jewish, and Muslim religious associations of Ukraine, as well as leaders from the Kharkiv Human Rights Group and Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union , joined the discussion.

 

Lawyer Kseniia Prokonova, managing partner of the Ukrainian branch of SBH Law Offices , clarified legal aspects of quarantine restrictions to the attendees and offered practical advice on protecting the believers :


«Violated rights in the instances when actions by the police do not conform to law . Quarantine is a time when everyone, including churches, should search for new opportunities. They also have to contend for the parishioners “attention within the confines of the law and public interest . It is the first time when the
church must learn how to talk to the police efficiently.»

 

As a result, the human rights activists, together with the religious leaders, developed the following suggestions for the government:

 

● When holding daily and festive services during the quarantine period , the
recommendations, made public by the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and
Religious Organisations on April 8, for avoiding congestion in temples and
other premises of religious organisations should be observed (that is, a total of
10 persons, based on 1 person per 5 sq m, are allowed to be in the temple or
other premises of a religious organisation at the same time)

 

● The self-isolation requirement on persons over 60 years of age should not
apply to the clergy and persons involved in the organisation of services, as
well as to other employees of retirement age;

 

● Given the ban, imposed by the order of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine , on
access for priests to prisoners and convicts, administrations of detention
centres and penitentiary institutions should provide an opportunity for viewing
religious services and sermons that are regularly transmitted by the Public
Broadcaster on the UA: FIRST and UA: CULTURE TV channels and, where
requested by prisoners and convicts, arrange for individual remote meetings
with chaplain priests using videoconferencing facilities;

 

● Offer an opportunity for meeting religious needs of persons accommodated
at social protection or palliative care establishments, including by providing
access to them for chaplain priests or by arranging for individual remote
meetings using videoconferencing facilities;

 

● Local authorities, together with religious figures and volunteers, should be
encouraged to set up the facilities and develop the procedure for delivery of
free humanitarian aid to the destitute, including by providing food to persons
of no fixed abode, while observing sanitary and quarantine requirements and
avoiding mass convergence.

 

We would like to remind you that the Religious Freedom Roundtable in
Ukraine, founded in April 2019, is a civil society platform for dialogue and
liaison between religious, human rights and other civil society organisations.

CCL joined the statement on the need to release human rights defenders from prisons because of COVID-19

April 10, 2020

COVID-19: Jailed Human Rights Defenders Must Be Released Immediately

Check out FIDH’s #ForFreedom campaign for the release of imprisoned human rights defenders threatened by the pandemic: http://en.freedom-defenders.org

→ Read the press release in ArabicFrenchRussianSpanish, or Turkish

Paris, 8 April 2020 — In light of the serious threat posed to prisoners by the rapidly spreading novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, FIDH and its undersigned member organisations recall governments’ obligation to ensure the safety and health of detained individuals that are under their responsibility, and launch a campaign, #ForFreedom, to call for the release of all jailed human rights defenders (HRDs).

As the spread of COVID-19 poses an unprecedented threat, the need to release HRDs is more urgent than ever. Our rights and those who defend them must not become a casualty of this pandemic. FIDH and its undersigned member organisations are launching today a new global campaign #ForFreedom for the release of all HRDs detained worldwide. They should be freed and allowed to conduct their legitimate activities to defend the rights of individuals against injustice, discrimination, violence, and other forms of human rights violations.

“Hundreds of people all over the world are imprisoned not because they committed a crime, but because of their work to defend human rights. As legitimate actors of change, they should never have been detained in the first place,” declared Alice Mogwe, FIDH President. “As COVID-19 continues its rapid spread across the globe, it is time for governments to put an end to this injustice and release those who fight to uphold human rights,” she added.

As stated by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, “Now, more than ever, governments should release every person detained without sufficient legal basis, including political prisoners and others detained simply for expressing critical or dissenting views.” This concerns minors, migrants, refugees, political opponents, journalists, and HRDs.

The campaign website profiles imprisoned HRDs, including Loujain Al-Hathloul (Saudi Arabia); Azimjan Askarov (Kyrgyzstan); Sevda Özbingöl Çelik and Hasan Ceylan (Turkey); Yuri Dmitriev (Russia); Leila de Lima (Philippines); Pablo Lopez Alavez (Mexico); Khalil Maatouk (Syria); Narges Mohammadi (Iran); Miyan Abdul Qayoom (India); Nabeel Rajab (Bahrain); Germain Rukuki (Burundi); Patrick Zaki (Egypt). The website will be regularly updated with additional arbitrarily detained HRDs.

The urgency of the current health crisis presents authorities with an opportunity to redress the unjust deprivation of liberty of all these individuals, many of whom are incarcerated in deplorable sanitary conditions and are denied adequate health care.

In such a context, FIDH and its undersigned member organisations more generally call on governments to relieve congestion in prisons by releasing vast numbers of prisoners on a temporary, permanent or conditional basis for public health reasons. Along with human rights defenders, priority should be given to the elderly, children, those with health conditions, prisoners of conscience, prisoners detained for expressing their opinions, administrative detainees, prisoners detained for minor or non-violent offences, untried detainees, and individuals held in immigration detention centres.

In times of crisis, governments have an obligation to protect those who are most vulnerable. Prison populations, confined to detention facilities that can easily become virus hotspots, are among those most vulnerable to the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a particular risk in countries where minimum standards for detention conditions are not met, overcrowding is the norm, and social distancing is impossible to achieve. The spread of the virus in places of detention will be inevitable unless urgent measures are taken to mitigate this risk. Otherwise, incarceration could be equivalent to a death sentence for many detainees who contract, or are at risk of contracting, the COVID-19 virus.

Such measures would be consistent with the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (revised and adopted as the “Nelson Mandela Rules”), which detail measures aimed at ensuring adequate personal hygiene, health, and safety of prisoners, as well as the specific advice issued by the UN Subcommittee for the Prevention of Torture.

We welcome the move by a number of countries, including TurkeyTunisiaEthiopiaIndonesia, Senegal and Bahrain, to begin releasing prisoners in an effort to reduce overcrowding and prevent the spread of the virus. We urge these and other countries to include HRDs among those who should be released immediately. Many countries have excluded prisoners convicted of terrorism-related offences from the release, thus penalising HRDs unjustly criminalised on trumped-up terrorism charges. HRDs should be exempt from such blanket disqualifications as their human rights work must not be conflated with terrorism.

Africa

  1. Botswana: Ditshwanelo

  2. Burundi: ITEKA

  3. Cameroon: Maison des Droits de l’Homme du Cameroun

  4. Djibouti: LDDH Djibouti

  5. Ethiopia: Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRCO)

  6. Mauritania: Association Mauritanienne des Droits de l’Homme (AMDH)

  7. DRC: Groupe LOTUS

  8. DRC: Ligue des Électeurs

  9. Rwanda: Association Rwandaise pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme et des Libertés Publiques, ADL

  10. Senegal: RADDHO

  11. Tanzania: Legal and Human Rights Centre

 

Americas

  1. Argentina: Comité de Acción Jurídica (CAJ)
  2. Argentina: CAJ
  3. Brazil: Justica Global
  4. Brazil: Movimento Nacional de Direitos Humanos – MNDH Brasil
  5. Chile: Observatorio Ciudadano
  6. Colombia: CAJAR
  7. Ecuador: Acción Ecológica
  8. El Salvador: Comisión de Derechos Humanos de El Salvador (CDHES)
  9. Honduras: CIPRODEH
  10. Honduras: COFADEH
  11. Mexico: Limeddh
  12. Mexico: IDHEAS
  13. Nicaragua: CENIDH
  14. Peru: APRODEH
  15. Peru: Perú Equidad (Centro de Políticas Públicas y Derechos Humanos)

 

Asia

  1. Bangladesh: Odhikar
  2. Cambodia: Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)
  3. China: Human Rights in China (HRIC)
  4. India: Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI)
  5. Indonesia: Commission for Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS)
  6. Iran: League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI)
  7. Iran: Justice for Iran (JFI)
  8. Laos: Lao Movement for Human Rights (LMHR)
  9. Malaysia: Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
  10. Maldives: Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN)
  11. Myanmar: Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma (ALTSEAN-Burma)
  12. Myanmar: Myanmar Alliance for Transparency and Accountability (MATA)
  13. Pakistan: Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP)
  14. Taiwan: Covenants Watch

  15. Thailand: Internet Law Reform Dialogue (iLaw)
  16. Thailand: Manushya Foundation

  17. Thailand: Union for Civil Liberty (UCL)
  18. Vietnam: Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR)

 

Eastern Europe and Central Asia

  1. Armenia: CSI – Armenia
  2. Belarus: HRC Viasna
  3. Georgia: Human Rights Center
  4. Kazakhstan: International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law
  5. Kyrgyzstan: Adilet (Kyrgyzstan)
  6. Kyrgyzstan: Bir Duino
  7. Kyrgyzstan: ILI Foundation
  8. Kyrgyzstan: Kylym Shamy
  9. Russia: ADC Memorial
  10. Russia: Citizen’s Watch
  11. Russia: HRC Memorial
  12. Ukraine: Center for Civil Liberties

Middle East and North Africa

  1. Algeria: CFDA (Comité des familles de disparus en Algérie)
  2. Algeria: LADDH (Ligue Algérienne des Droits de l’Homme)
  3. Bahrain: BCHR (Bahrain Center for Human Rights)
  4. Gulf: GC4HR (Gulf Center for Human Rights)
  5. Lebanon: CLDH (Centre Libanais des Droits Humains)
  6. Morocco: AMDH (Association Marocaine des Droits de l’Homme)
  7. Morocco: OMDH (Organisation Marocaine des Droits de l’Homme)
  8. Palestine: PCHR (Palestinian Center for Human Rights)
  9. Saudi Arabia: ALQST
  10. Syria: SCM (Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression)
  11. Tunisia: LTDH (Ligue Tunisienne des Droits de l’Homme)
  12. Tunisia: ATFD (Association Tunisienne des Femmes Démocrates)
  13. Yemen: SAF (Sisters Arab Forum)

Western Europe

  1. Albania: Albanian Human Rights Group
  2. Belgium: Ligue des droits humains – Belgique
  3. Croatia: Civic Committee for Human Rights
  4. Finland: Finnish League for Human Rights,
  5. France: Association Européenne pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme (AEDH)
  6. France: Ligue des Droits de l’Homme
  7. Germany: Internationale Liga fur Menschenrechte
  8. Hungary: Hungarian Helsinki Committee
  9. Lithuania: Lithuanian Human Rights Association
  10. Latvia : Latvian Human Rights Committee
  11. Portugal: Portuguese League for Human Rights – Civitas
  12. Romania: League for the Defence of Human Rights (LADO)
  13. Spain: Asociacion pro Derechos Humanos de Espana
  14. Spain: Federacion de Asociaciones de Defensa y Promocion de Derechos Humanos de Espana
  15. Turkey: Human Rights Association (IHD)
  16. Turkey: Human Rights Foundation of Turkey
  17. UK/Northern Ireland: Committee on the Administration of Justice

Press contact:

Eva Canan (EN, ES, FR, AR): +33 6 58 05 91 57 | http://twitter.com/EvaCanan | ecanan@fidh.org

COVID-19 in closed prisons in the occupied Crimea and Donbas which is under Russia effective control

March 24, 2020

COVID-19 in closed prisons in the occupied Crimea and Donbas which is under Russia effective control. Immediate response from international organizations is required.

 

We, the below-signed, appeal to the international organizations and their member states to prevent the spread of coronavirus to detention facilities (prisons and pretrial detention centers) in Crimea which is temporarily occupied  by the Russian Federation, the Donbas which is under Russian effective control and in the territory of the Russian Federation itself.

 

Situation in the Occupied Crimea and the Russian Federation

Since March 16, 2020, the Federal Penitentiary Service of the Russian Federation (FSIN) has suspended all visits to detention facilities in order to prevent the spread of the disease among the suspects, those accused and convicted, as well as employees of the penal system. 

At the same time, penitentiary administrations are unable to implement WHO recommendations against the spread of coronavirus. The health services of these institutions lack staff, medications and equipment. They are not capable of coping with common widespread diseases, let alone a global health crisis.

Moreover, detention facilities present an extremely high risk for the transmission of infectious diseases. The buildings are often poorly ventilated, and the prison authorities cannot ensure adequate sanitation and hygiene conditions, i.e. sufficient access to water to wash hands. The detainees continue to be exposed to high risks daily at work, often gatherings, showers, etc.  The prison authorities conduct personal examinations of detainees and perform searches of cells on a daily basis, entering in body-to-body contacts with inmates. Masks for the people showing symptoms of respiratory diseases, both inmates and staff, are not available.

“On March 19, when the ambulance requested in court that I should be taken to the hospital, no one ever took me there. I was just taken to a small box in the courtroom. There, I was lying on the floor until 9 pm, because there was very little room on the bench, and I wanted to lie down, as I was cold and shivering. The schedule of the court hearings is very intense, we are on our feet for 12-14 hours without water and food. I returned to my cell close to 11 pm. I went to another paramedic, but he did not give me any medication besides the antibiotics. On that day, I had a temperature of 39.3 C, and then it even rose to 39.8 C. The cough is dry, very unpleasant. The nose is stuffy. It is difficult to breathe. Three to four other people are also sick in the cell. They are also given aspirin and the same antibiotic. Today [March 23] I do not know how high my temperature is. I wrote a statement asking for a doctor to listen to my lungs. But I was taken to a videoconference to participate in a court hearing, and I was never taken to see a doctor. I do not want to complain, but this is torture. In prison, a person simply does not have the opportunity to protect themself,” comments Server Mustafayev, a prisoner of conscience, the coordinator of the Crimean Solidarity.

The situation is considerably aggravated by the overcrowding of Russian prisons and detention centers, with inmates kept in poor sanitary conditions and the transfer of prisoners from the occupied Crimea into the Russian Federation taking a long time in breach of the norms of international humanitarian law. Due to the prevalence of torture in Russian prisons, restricting the contact of prisoners with the outside world increases the risk of ill-treatment, especially during crisis situations.

Situation in the Donbas effectively controlled by the Russian Federation

The situation in the Donbas which is under the effective control by the Russian Federation, looks even worse. After 6 years of war,  even the International Committee of the Red Cross has no access to detained people. In addition to the so-called official detention centers, there exist an extensive network of secret detention facilities. One of such places was mentioned in the latest report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. It is called “Isolation”, and it is located in the building of a former plant in Donetsk. The conditions of detention in both “official” and secret detention facilities can be equated to torture and ill-treatment and are inappropriate even for short term detentions

 

“I was held in the 13th post of the Donetsk detention facility, considered one of the “best” ones when it came to the conditions for the prisoners. Cell conditions  were appalling: poor sanitation, many bugs and cockroaches, I could not even use the mattress — it was all dirty and riddled with bed bugs — so I slept on the metal bunk, under which I put a blanket sent to me from home. Part of the window was broken, so the air in the room was constantly cold. At the 10th post, which is the worst one, the situation is extremely critical: there are rats, and the sewage often overflows into the cell.here is almost no space – cells barely fit two people, darkness, no daylight, because the post is located in the basement of the detention facility”- comments Donetsk journalist Stanislav Aseev, who was released during an exchange in December 2019.

 

The report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights highlights the widespread practice of torture and ill-treatment of detained persons. Recently released detainees reported beatings, including with electric shocker, strangulation (“wet” and “dry” methods), sexual abuse, torture, the removal of body parts (nails and teeth), deprivation of water, food, sleep, or access to the toilet, imitation of execution, threat of violence or death, and threat of harm to the family.

 

The quality of medical care in these institutions is described in testimonies provided to the OHCHR by several “Isolation” detainees. According to them, a medical worker was present during their interrogations and torture. He revived those who had lost consciousness and pointed out how to torture in order to inflict the greatest pain but not to cause death. He also examined the detainees before torture began, asked about their illnesses, measured their blood pressure or checked their pulse, and injected them. 

 

Even in those facilities where the detention of people is officially confirmed (as opposed to the situation with secret detention centers), the prisoners are provided with necessary medicine and goods by their relatives. For the quarantine period, restrictions were imposed on crossing the demarcation line in the Donbas. Today, those prisoners, whose relatives live in the territory controlled by Ukraine, will not be able to receive the necessary medicine and goods.

 

Therefore, there are no illusions that there will be any medical assistance in case of the spread of coronavirus in prisons and detention centers of Donbas which is currently under the effective Russian control. Moreover, the question arises as to what measures will be undertaken by the Russia-controlled illegal armed formations in charge of the territory, to deter the spread of the coronavirus in prisons and detention centers, in the first place, to protect themselves from contracting the disease.

 

The aforementioned problems in the penitentiary institutions and detention centers in the Ukrainian territories occupied and controlled by Russia pose a real threat not only to prisoners and staff, but also to the wider population. And because, according to scientists, the pandemic can continue in waves, it can threaten the populations of other countries. 

 

In view of the foregoing, and taking into account the position of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment of March 20, 2020, we call for the urgent reaction of the international organizations, the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the European Union, the OSCE, and their member states participants to:

 

  1. 🔹   Appeal to the Russian Federation to take immediate steps to fulfill its international obligations to protect the life and health of its detainees, both officially, such as in the Russian Federation and occupied Crimea, and unofficially, through the Kremlin-controlled illegal armed formations, such as those in Donbas which is currently under the effective Russian control, to develop the necessary plans for prevention and response to the spread of infection, in accordance with the “Statement of principles relating to the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty” in the context of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic (ECPT, 03/20/2020), and to implement the WHO recommendations.

 

  1. 🔹   To urge the Russian Federation to reduce the prison population immediately (in particular, by changing the precautionary measures for house arrests for crimes of minor public danger and the immediate release of all illegally detained political prisoners), considering that the very configuration of the cells, penitentiary facilities, and detention centers does not allow for any preventive measures, such as compliance with social distance, to be carried out.

 

  1.  🔹  The Council of Europe bodies, including the Committee of Ministers, the Secretary-General, and the Commissioner for Human Rights, must swiftly adopt recommendations to encourage the Russian Federation with its 140 million population to take these decisive steps. The Russian Federation has a wide range of measures that can have a swift effect, from criminal policy guidance to prosecutors to emergency pardon and amnesty.

 

  1. 🔹   All monitoring, judicial and quasi-judicial mechanisms of international organizations respecting fundamental human rights must take exceptional measures to be able to play their full role in a pandemic. In particular, the European Court of Human Rights should strengthen its capacity to review requests for urgent measures under Rule 39, which are important to protect human life. The number of such requests is expected to increase in the near future.

 

  1. 🔹   International organizations, and in particular the OSCE, during the upcoming meeting of the trilateral contact group in Minsk on March, 25, should raise the issue of the immediate granting by the Russian Federation of unhindered access to the occupied Crimea and Donbas to international intergovernmental organizations, in particular, the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission, the OSCE Human Rights Assessment Mission on Crimea, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, other Council of Europe convention and institutional mechanisms, etc., as well as international humanitarian organizations, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross.

 

  1. 🔹   France and Germany as members of the Normandy Format, as well as the United States and the United Kingdom as signatories to the Budapest Memorandum, should urge the Russian Federation to use its effective control over parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions to comply with the provisions of the Minsk agreements on the immediate release of persons whose freedom is restricted due to direct involvement in the armed conflict, as well as political prisoners in the occupied Crimea and the Russian Federation.

 

We also urge the Ukrainian authorities to implement all the recommendations set out in the appeal of European NGOs to prevent epidemic of the COVID-19 in detention facilities, according to Ukraine’s international obligations to protect life and health of persons who are under its effective control.

 

Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine) 

Regional Center for Human Rights (Ukraine)

Ukrainian Institute for Human Rights (Ukraine)

Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People (Ukraine)

The Institute of Mass Information (Ukraine)

Detector Media (Ukraine)

The Eastern Ukrainian Center for Civic Initiatives (Ukraine)

Luhansk Regional Human Rights CenterAlternative (Ukraine)

Human Rights House in Chernihiv (Ukraine)

Ukrainian Legal Aid Foundation (Ukraine)

Ukrainian Center for the Prevention of Torture (Ukraine)

Donbas SOS (Ukraine)

Union of Relatives of Kremlin’s Political Prisoners (Ukraine)

Crimean Tatar Resource Center (Ukraine)

Political Science Association (Ukraine)

Territory of Success (Ukraine)

Kryvyi Rih City Human Rights Society (Ukraine)

Association of Ukrainian Monitors on Human Rights Conduct in Law Enforcement (Ukraine)

The Pylyp Orlyk Institute for Democracy (Ukraine)

Congress of Ethnic Communities of Ukraine (Ukraine)

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research (Ukraine)

All-Ukrainian civic movement of mothers and relatives of participants of ATO “Bereginya” (Ukraine)

Charity Foundation Stabilization Support Services (Ukraine)

Vinnitsa NGO of Social Development of Vulnerable Youth “Sprout” (Ukraine)

All-Ukrainian Youth Organization “The Foundation of Regional Initiatives” (Ukraine)

Youth Organization “STAN” (Ukraine)

Anti-Corruption Action Center (Ukraine)

Institute for Religious Freedom (Ukraine)

Ternopil Human Rights Group (Ukraine) 

IAC Civic Space (Ukraine)

Institute for Black Sea Strategic Studies (Ukraine)

Human Rights Initiative (Ukraine)

Theatre for Change (Ukraine)

Human Rights Platform (Ukraine)

Center Eidos (Ukraine)

Liberation Movement Research Center (Ukraine)

NGO All-Ukrainian Democratic Forum (Ukraine)

International Federation for Human Rights (France)

Citizens’ Watch (Russia)

Open Dialogue Foundation (Belgium)

Norwegian Helsinki Committee (Norway)

Human Rights Movement Bir Duino-Kyrgyzstan (Kyrgyzstan)

Internews Ukraine (Ukraine)

UkraineWorld (Ukraine)

NGO Ukraine Without Torture (Ukraine)

All-Ukrainian Active Community Initiative (Ukraine)

Institute Respublica (Ukraine)

International Federation for Human Rights (France)

Macedonian Helsinki Committee (North Macedonia)

The Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan (Azerbaijan)

Memorial-Germany (Germany)

Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (Bulgaria)

Assemblée Européenne des Citoyens, France

German-Russian Exchange (Germany)

Human Rights Monitoring Institute (Lithuania)

New Europe Center (Ukraine)

Netherlands Helsinki Committee (Netherlands)

Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly – Vanadzor (Armenia)

Public Association “Dignity  (Kazakhstan)

Human Rights Matter (Germany)

Minority Rights Group Europe (Hungary)

Italian Coalition for Civil Liberties and Rights (Italy)

International Partnership for Human Rights (Belgium)

Helsinki Committee of Armenia (Armenia)

Austrian Helsinki Association (Austria)

Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law (Kazakhstan)

Promo-LEX Association (Moldova)

Public foundation “Golos svobody” (Kyrgyzstan) 

Helsinki committee for human rights in Serbia (Serbia)

Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland) 

Center for Participation and Development (Georgia) 

Zivilcourage und Anti-Rassismus-Arbeit (Germany)

Italian Federation for human rights (Italy)

Society in Support of Ukraine (Latvia)

Association for Solidarity, Mutual Assistance, and Culture “Good Heart” (Portugal)

The Association of Ukrainians in the Republic of Ireland “AURI” (Ireland)

Ukrainian Cultural Association of Malaysia (Malaysia)

Volunteer Hundred in Brescia (Italy)

The Ukrainian-Slovak Initiative (Slovakia)

The Ukrainian Women Organization in Sweden (Sweden)

London Euromaidan (Великобританія)

United Help Ukraine (the United States)

AG Ukraine – Chemnitz – Europa e.V. (Germany)

The Union of Ukrainian Culture and Solidarity (Turkey)

The Ukrainian-Austrian Cultural and Educational Center in Vienna (Austria)

Ukrainians in Mongolia (Mongolia)

The Information Portal “Irish House” (Ireland)

Central Association of Ukrainians in Germany (Germany)

Ukrainian Community in the Philippines(the Philippines) 

The Global Movement of the Ukrainian Patriots in Munich (Germany)

Fairness Corps (Ukraine)

All-Spanish NGO “Ukrainian Patriotic Association WILL,” Madrid (Spain)

Ukrainian League Taragony “Панна, Дівочі посиденьки” (Spain)

Civil Initiative “Euromaidan-Warsaw” (Poland)

Institute for Religious Freedom (Ukraine)

International Association of Ukrainians EuroMaidan/ Mezinárodní Asociace Ukrajinců EuroMajdan z.s. (Czech Republic)

Saint Olha Association  (Australia)

Ukrainian Free Kozaks of Australia (Australia)

Israeli Friends of Ukraine (Israel)

Community of Ukrainians, Vilnius (Lithuania)

Community of Ukrainians,  Guadalajara (Mexico)

Community of Ukrainians in Finland (Finland)

Young Ukraine Association, Madrid (Spain)

Bureau of Social and Political Developments (Ukraine)

Ukraine Needs You (Ukraine);

Stronger Together (Ukraine);

Liberal-Democratic League of Ukraine (Ukraine)

Defender, Nosivka, Chernihivs’ka oblast (Ukraine)

Legal Development Network (Ukraine)

Natural Rights Ukraine (Ukraine)

Center for International Security and Euro-Atlantic Integration (Ukraine)

Development foundation (Ukraine)

Non-Governmental Centre “Women’s Perspectives”(Ukraine)

Institute of Political Education (Ukraine)

Ukrainian Institute for the Future (Україна) 

Luhansk Regional Human Rights Women’s Organization “Chaika” (Ukraine)

Platform for Social Humanitarian Initiatives and Innovation “Single Coordination Center” (Ukraine)

NGO Docudays (Ukraine)

Charity Organization “Charity and Health” (Ukraine)

NGO Group of Influence (Ukraine)

Center for Economic and Legal Analytics (Ukraine)

NGO Creative Center Dagaz (Ukraine)

Media Initiative for Human Rights (Ukraine)

Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Studies (Ukraine)

PCO  “Foundation for defence of Ukraine” (Ukraine)

Social Action Center (Ukraine) 

“Sich” Human Rights Protection Group (Ukraine)

DEJURE Foundation (Ukraine)

Vostok-SOS (Ukraine)

NGO “Right to Protection” (Ukraine)

NGO “Female veteran movement” (Ukraine)

November 30 Group (Ukraine)

NGO “Women’s Rights League” Harmony of Equals” (Ukraine)

NGO St. Clement’s Center (Ukraine)

NGO Spirit and Letter (Ukraine)

NGO Alliance of Ukrainian Unity (Ukraine)

Charitable Organization “Right of a Human” (Ukraine)

Сenter for democracy and rule of law (Ukraine)

NGO “Forpost” (Ukraine)

Women in media: Balance the imbalance!

March 10, 2020

In a joint statement, IMS and 38 other organisations urge media leaders and journalists to take action against the gender inequality in the news.

 

On International Women’s Day 2020, we want to call upon all media leaders and journalists around the globe to take action against the skewed balance and representation of gender in the news – both in terms of numbers and in portrayal.

A balanced presence of women and men in news and current affairs would to a higher degree reflect the composition of society and showcase a greater variety of human experiences, views and concerns. However, statistics show that media is far from balanced:

– A majority of media content portrays women in stereotypical roles such as homemakers, models or victims.

– Women are more likely than men to be referred to in terms of superficial attributes such as appearance, age, clothes and marital status. Men, on the other hand, are more likely to be portrayed as powerful public figures, with the media focusing on profession, skills and opinions. This perpetuates a limiting and unequal perception of gender.

– Only 4% of all newspapers, radio and TV reports worldwide challenge gender stereotypes.

– Only 24% of news subjects – the people who are interviewed, or whom the news is about – are female.

– Women are used as experts only 19 % of the time.

– In only 16 % of news that relates to politics and government, women are the subject of the stories.

The numbers are not only indicative of the media sector’s gender inequality challenges but is also a serious impediment to media development and democracy. A functioning democracy requires gender equality and the media need to do much better to contribute to this goal.

Media have the power and responsibility to challenge stereotypes in content production and together we need to set an example for current and future generations. That is why today we ask you, as part of a media organisation, to:

Engage in gender media monitoring to keep track of who is represented in your content and in what capacity

Create your database of women experts on various topics — or make use of existing ones

Revise your editorial guidelines to make sure that a gender perspective is included

Conduct a gender audit of your internal work to make sure that you have a diverse workforce and identify the gender gaps in your organisation — a diverse workforce is more likely to produce pluralistic content.


The undersigned organisations stand ready to support in such efforts:

Ordinary people who do extraordinary things. Devoted to Ukrainian volunteers

February 17, 2020

Alfredo Garcia (Euromaidan Volunteer Nominee 2018)

Canadian teacher, pro-Ukrainian activist, language instructor with 20 years of experience facilitation student driven and instructor generated curricula, modules, and lesson plans.

Alfredo works for The Toronto District School Board (TDSB), one of the largest and one of the most diverse school boards in Canada. We serve approximately 247,000 students in 583 schools throughout Toronto, and more than 130,000 life-long learners in our Adult and Continuing Education programs. Please feel free to find more details following next link: https://www.tdsb.on.ca/About-Us

In the past I shared with Mr. Garcia the latest Ukrainian historical moments of Revolution of dignity and Russian Aggression later and he offered help to support people in Ukraine. I suggested him to share 1-2 hours his time per week to provide free English classes kids and adults.  Finally we selected best students in Ukraine: one children group and one adult (mostly individuals whose lives were affected by Revolution and War: military family, volunteers).

Our initiative has started in February 2018 and this projects still going in. Alfredo constantly every week dedicate 2 h of his own life time to teach English for Ukrainian students  and we have a great success, now both group are able to study without me as a translator, they can communicate and interact with native speaker and 100 % Canadian professional teacher.

Dear friends,would be great to gain and develop the friendly relationship, initiatives and partnership with motivated people and organization that are located abroad and willing to help and put human effort to support people in Ukraine around Russia’s hybrid war against Ukraine.

If you would share this information on Ukrainian (English) mass media I could transfer it also to Canadian mass media and Toronto Municipality to make this story read.

Thank our big friend abroad for supporting Ukrainians in Ukraine.

Constitutional Coup in Russia : Putin’s Move to Devalue International Human Rights Treaties Could Set Dangerous Global Precedent

February 12, 2020
On 20 January 2020, the President of Russia proposed radical changes to the Russian Constitution, but the chilling implications for human rights could echo far beyond Russia’s borders. The draft legislation introduces significant amendments to 14 articles of Russia’s supreme law of the land. FIDH and 37 of its member organisations believe that the proposed amendments contradict the letter and spirit of the Constitution, diminish the fundamental rights of Russian citizens under the guise of legitimate State concerns, and constitute an attempt to further consolidate power in the hands of the current regime. Our organisations fear that, if adopted, these measures would compromise human rights not only in Russia, but also set a dangerous precedent that may be emulated by other countries.
The speed with which the draft law was prepared – just four days – and the gross violations of constitutionally prescribed procedures for such changes, have evoked strong criticism from civil society and the public at large.One of the proposed amendments would effectively legalise the selective implementation of decisions of international treaty bodies deemed contrary to the Constitution. Russia is normally bound to abide by these decisions, by virtue of its having ratified international or regional conventions, such as the European Convention on Human Rights. But, with this proposed amendment, Russia would be able to invoke the supposed unenforceability of “interpretations” of treaty provisions as justification to not follow them, under the guise of protecting national sovereignty. In practice, the amendment would allow Russian authorities to avoid implementing decisions of the likes of the European Court of Human Rights that the latter often perceive as contrary to national interests.

“Putin’s brazen move to put in place a constitutional mechanism to avoid implementing international treaties could severely undermine international law. If adopted, the proposed legislation would not only likely aggravate the human rights situation in Russia; it could also serve as a dangerous model, paving the way for other countries to shirk international human rights obligations.”

Alice Mogwe, FIDH President.

The legislation was designed by an ad hoc working group convened on 15 January, the same day that Putin first announced the constitutional changes during his annual address. The document, drafted in just four days and without a meaningful consultation with the civil society, proposes substantive changes to 14 articles of the Constitution, contrary to a federal law requiring a separate draft law for each amendment. As early as 23 January the draft law was unanimously accepted in the first reading by the lower chamber of Russia’s Parliament. The final reading, to be followed by a vote, is expected at the end of February.

Not only is the substance of the amendments worrying; the authorities’ disregard for constitutionally prescribed procedures required to adopt them gives cause for alarm. Since the proposed changes concern the first two chapters of the Constitution, the “Fundamentals of the Constitutional System” and the “Rights and Freedoms of Man and Citizen”, Article 135 requires that a new Constitution be adopted by a Constitutional Assembly, followed by a referendum. Neither the law governing the formation of the Constitutional Assembly, nor the organ itself, are currently in existence. Rather than abide by these procedures, the authorities plan to hold a nationwide constitutional vote this spring, in an attempt to give the proposed amendment an air of legitimacy.

The authorities’ move to prize sovereignty above all, in disregard for international law, could usher in a dark time for human rights in Russia, with the potential to set a dangerous global precedent. FIDH and its 37 member organisations urge the Russian parliamentarians and the Russian people to vote against the proposed amendments.

  • Anti-Discrimination Center Memorial (ADC-Memorial, Russia)
    Adilet (Kyrgyzstan)
    Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma (ALTSEAN-Burma)
    Armanshahr/OPEN ASIA
    Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
    Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
    Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)
    Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
    Citizens’ Watch (Russia)
    Civil Society Institute (Armenia)
    Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI)
    Dutch League for Human Rights
    Finnish League for Human Rights
    French Human Rights League – Ligue des droits de l’Homme (LDH, France )
    Human Rights Association – Insan Haklari Dernegi (Turkey)
    Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP)
    Human Rights Center Georgia (HRIDC)
    Human Rights Center Memorial (Russia)
    Human Rights Center Viasna (Belarus)
    Human Rights in China (HRIC)
    International Legal Initiative (Kazakhstan)
    Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights
    Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC)
    Lao Movement for Human Rights (LMHR)
    League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI)
    Ligue Iteka (Burundi)
    Lithuanian Human Rights Association
    Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN)
    Manushya Foundation (Thailand)
    Odhikar (Bangladesh)
    Portuguese Human Rights League – Civitas (LPDHC)
    Promo Lex (Moldova)
    Regional Watch for Human Rights (Liberia)
    The League for Defence of Human Rights (LADO, Romania)
    The Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC, Tanzania)
    Union for Civil Liberty (UCL – Thailand)
    Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR)

Crimean citizen journalists

February 4, 2020

Результаты поиска:

«International support for Ukraine should increase» – statement platform CivilM+

April 21, 2020

In April 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the seventh year of the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine has begun. While the emergency has revealed gaps in the healthcare system throughout the country, the situation in the conflict zone is nearly critical. The infrastructure has been damaged by the hostilities and there is a severe lack of medical personnel. Small and medium-sized enterprises which barely started recovering after the first years of the war with the support from humanitarian organizations, have been suffering losses and are on the brink of bankruptcy during the quarantine.

Of particular concern is the situation in territories that are not controlled by the government of Ukraine: there is no credible information about the situation there, freedom of expression is seriously limited, monitoring and humanitarian organizations, for example, OSCE SMM are facing problems with accessing and operating in the territory of the self-proclaimed “DPR” and “LPR”.

We, the undersigned members of the international civil society platform CivilM +, are calling on the Government of the EU member-states to:

  • ⚫️ allocate all the resources available to support the region in its fight with COVID-19. Along with the unconditional support of medical sphere, the aid should go to small and medium business, local Ukrainian authorities and civil society organizations
  • ⚫️ keep exerting pressure on the Russian Federation to make sure that ‘DPR’ and ‘LPR “, which are under the RF control, provide unhindered access to humanitarian and monitoring organizations (firstly to the OSCE SMM, as well as to the ICRC so that it has access to all persons deprived of liberty), and stop arbitrary political persecutions.

We are also urging the Government of Ukraine to ensure that the restrictions of the freedom of movement across the contact line are only applied if they are necessary and proportionate to possible threats. All citizens, including those residing in non-government-controlled territory, should have unrestricted access to medical assistance.

We underline that new pandemic-related challenges should not diminish priority measures on the peaceful resolution of the conflict set out in the Minsk agreements and reconfirmed during the talks in the Normandy format. Those are:

  • ⚫️ ceasefire
  • ⚫️ continuation of the release of arbitrarily detained persons, both military and civil detainees
  • ⚫️ preventing further human rights violations and war crimes, and ensuring effective investigations into such crimes committed on both sides of the contact line
  • ⚫️ preparing the process of the transitional justice in all its aspects.

While welcoming the release of the detainees on 16 April 2020, we are drawing attention of the OSCE, as well as the governments of Germany and France that the bottom line should be the release of all individuals who are arbitrarily deprived of their liberty . To achieve this, we need to see consistent and coordinated efforts to complete the lists of detainees , to search and to identify their location. Having the control over “DPR” and “LPR”, the Russian Federation should influence them, as in a number of cases they refuse to admit having derived certain people of their liberty (despite the fact that the relatives of these people have confirmation papers issued by the  de-facto authorities of the self-proclaimed “republics”). Moreover, “DPR” and “LPR” refuse to release even those individuals whose names in the lists they have confirmed. As a result, it takes years for many detainees and their loved ones to wait for the ‘next stage of the exchange “.

Independent civil society organizations from Ukraine, Russia and the European Union are ready to provide civic consultations for the Minsk negotiations . The international platform CivilM + has already sent the letters with this proposal to the Office of the President of Ukraine , to the Vice-prime minister / Minister on reintegration of the temporary occupied territories and to the Minister of foreign affairs . The position and the suggestions on these matters are also  available on the CivilM + website .

 

Signatories:

Centre for Civil Liberties, Ukraine

Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, Ukraine

Truth Hounds, Ukraine

Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, Ukraine

“Citizen and Army”, Russia

DRA, German-Russian Exchange, Germany

Helsinki Citizens ‘Assembly (HCA), France

Human Rights Centre “Memorial”, Russia 

MEMORIAL Deutschland eV, Germany

For more information, please contact the Platform Secretariat: Yulia Erner, coordinator – yuliya.erner@austausch.org.  With media-requests, please contact Iryna Yakovlieva, communications coordinator –  iryna.yakovlieva@austausch.org.

Religious Freedom Roundtable. Held Online for the First Time

April 21, 2020

Experts from human rights organisations and religious leaders have developed for the Cabinet of Ministers a number of proposals intended to ensure religious freedom for the period of quarantine restrictions . As reported by ReligiousFreedom.in.ua, an online conference to iscuss these topics in the format of the Religious Freedom Roundtable in Ukraine was held jointly by the Institute for Religious Freedom and the Centre for Civil Liberties Religious figures of various faiths, including from Christian , Jewish, and Muslim religious associations of Ukraine, as well as leaders from the Kharkiv Human Rights Group and Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union , joined the discussion.

 

Lawyer Kseniia Prokonova, managing partner of the Ukrainian branch of SBH Law Offices , clarified legal aspects of quarantine restrictions to the attendees and offered practical advice on protecting the believers :


«Violated rights in the instances when actions by the police do not conform to law . Quarantine is a time when everyone, including churches, should search for new opportunities. They also have to contend for the parishioners “attention within the confines of the law and public interest . It is the first time when the
church must learn how to talk to the police efficiently.»

 

As a result, the human rights activists, together with the religious leaders, developed the following suggestions for the government:

 

● When holding daily and festive services during the quarantine period , the
recommendations, made public by the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and
Religious Organisations on April 8, for avoiding congestion in temples and
other premises of religious organisations should be observed (that is, a total of
10 persons, based on 1 person per 5 sq m, are allowed to be in the temple or
other premises of a religious organisation at the same time)

 

● The self-isolation requirement on persons over 60 years of age should not
apply to the clergy and persons involved in the organisation of services, as
well as to other employees of retirement age;

 

● Given the ban, imposed by the order of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine , on
access for priests to prisoners and convicts, administrations of detention
centres and penitentiary institutions should provide an opportunity for viewing
religious services and sermons that are regularly transmitted by the Public
Broadcaster on the UA: FIRST and UA: CULTURE TV channels and, where
requested by prisoners and convicts, arrange for individual remote meetings
with chaplain priests using videoconferencing facilities;

 

● Offer an opportunity for meeting religious needs of persons accommodated
at social protection or palliative care establishments, including by providing
access to them for chaplain priests or by arranging for individual remote
meetings using videoconferencing facilities;

 

● Local authorities, together with religious figures and volunteers, should be
encouraged to set up the facilities and develop the procedure for delivery of
free humanitarian aid to the destitute, including by providing food to persons
of no fixed abode, while observing sanitary and quarantine requirements and
avoiding mass convergence.

 

We would like to remind you that the Religious Freedom Roundtable in
Ukraine, founded in April 2019, is a civil society platform for dialogue and
liaison between religious, human rights and other civil society organisations.

Religious Freedom Roundtable. Held Online for the First Time

April 21, 2020

Experts from human rights organisations and religious leaders have developed for the Cabinet of Ministers a number of proposals intended to ensure religious freedom for the period of quarantine restrictions . As reported by Religious Freedom.in.ua, an online conference to iscuss these topics in the format of the Religious Freedom Roundtable in Ukraine was held jointly by the Institute for Religious Freedom and the Centre for Civil Liberties Religious figures of various faiths, including from Christian , Jewish, and Muslim religious associations of Ukraine, as well as leaders from the Kharkiv Human Rights Group and Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union , joined the discussion.

 

Lawyer Kseniia Prokonova, managing partner of the Ukrainian branch of SBH Law Offices , clarified legal aspects of quarantine restrictions to the attendees and offered practical advice on protecting the believers :


«Violated rights in the instances when actions by the police do not conform to law . Quarantine is a time when everyone, including churches, should search for new opportunities. They also have to contend for the parishioners “attention within the confines of the law and public interest . It is the first time when the
church must learn how to talk to the police efficiently.»

 

As a result, the human rights activists, together with the religious leaders, developed the following suggestions for the government:

 

● When holding daily and festive services during the quarantine period , the
recommendations, made public by the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and
Religious Organisations on April 8, for avoiding congestion in temples and
other premises of religious organisations should be observed (that is, a total of
10 persons, based on 1 person per 5 sq m, are allowed to be in the temple or
other premises of a religious organisation at the same time)

 

● The self-isolation requirement on persons over 60 years of age should not
apply to the clergy and persons involved in the organisation of services, as
well as to other employees of retirement age;

 

● Given the ban, imposed by the order of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine , on
access for priests to prisoners and convicts, administrations of detention
centres and penitentiary institutions should provide an opportunity for viewing
religious services and sermons that are regularly transmitted by the Public
Broadcaster on the UA: FIRST and UA: CULTURE TV channels and, where
requested by prisoners and convicts, arrange for individual remote meetings
with chaplain priests using videoconferencing facilities;

 

● Offer an opportunity for meeting religious needs of persons accommodated
at social protection or palliative care establishments, including by providing
access to them for chaplain priests or by arranging for individual remote
meetings using videoconferencing facilities;

 

● Local authorities, together with religious figures and volunteers, should be
encouraged to set up the facilities and develop the procedure for delivery of
free humanitarian aid to the destitute, including by providing food to persons
of no fixed abode, while observing sanitary and quarantine requirements and
avoiding mass convergence.

 

We would like to remind you that the Religious Freedom Roundtable in
Ukraine, founded in April 2019, is a civil society platform for dialogue and
liaison between religious, human rights and other civil society organisations.

CCL joined the statement on the need to release human rights defenders from prisons because of COVID-19

April 10, 2020

COVID-19: Jailed Human Rights Defenders Must Be Released Immediately

Check out FIDH’s #ForFreedom campaign for the release of imprisoned human rights defenders threatened by the pandemic: http://en.freedom-defenders.org

→ Read the press release in ArabicFrenchRussianSpanish, or Turkish

Paris, 8 April 2020 — In light of the serious threat posed to prisoners by the rapidly spreading novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, FIDH and its undersigned member organisations recall governments’ obligation to ensure the safety and health of detained individuals that are under their responsibility, and launch a campaign, #ForFreedom, to call for the release of all jailed human rights defenders (HRDs).

As the spread of COVID-19 poses an unprecedented threat, the need to release HRDs is more urgent than ever. Our rights and those who defend them must not become a casualty of this pandemic. FIDH and its undersigned member organisations are launching today a new global campaign #ForFreedom for the release of all HRDs detained worldwide. They should be freed and allowed to conduct their legitimate activities to defend the rights of individuals against injustice, discrimination, violence, and other forms of human rights violations.

“Hundreds of people all over the world are imprisoned not because they committed a crime, but because of their work to defend human rights. As legitimate actors of change, they should never have been detained in the first place,” declared Alice Mogwe, FIDH President. “As COVID-19 continues its rapid spread across the globe, it is time for governments to put an end to this injustice and release those who fight to uphold human rights,” she added.

As stated by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, “Now, more than ever, governments should release every person detained without sufficient legal basis, including political prisoners and others detained simply for expressing critical or dissenting views.” This concerns minors, migrants, refugees, political opponents, journalists, and HRDs.

The campaign website profiles imprisoned HRDs, including Loujain Al-Hathloul (Saudi Arabia); Azimjan Askarov (Kyrgyzstan); Sevda Özbingöl Çelik and Hasan Ceylan (Turkey); Yuri Dmitriev (Russia); Leila de Lima (Philippines); Pablo Lopez Alavez (Mexico); Khalil Maatouk (Syria); Narges Mohammadi (Iran); Miyan Abdul Qayoom (India); Nabeel Rajab (Bahrain); Germain Rukuki (Burundi); Patrick Zaki (Egypt). The website will be regularly updated with additional arbitrarily detained HRDs.

The urgency of the current health crisis presents authorities with an opportunity to redress the unjust deprivation of liberty of all these individuals, many of whom are incarcerated in deplorable sanitary conditions and are denied adequate health care.

In such a context, FIDH and its undersigned member organisations more generally call on governments to relieve congestion in prisons by releasing vast numbers of prisoners on a temporary, permanent or conditional basis for public health reasons. Along with human rights defenders, priority should be given to the elderly, children, those with health conditions, prisoners of conscience, prisoners detained for expressing their opinions, administrative detainees, prisoners detained for minor or non-violent offences, untried detainees, and individuals held in immigration detention centres.

In times of crisis, governments have an obligation to protect those who are most vulnerable. Prison populations, confined to detention facilities that can easily become virus hotspots, are among those most vulnerable to the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a particular risk in countries where minimum standards for detention conditions are not met, overcrowding is the norm, and social distancing is impossible to achieve. The spread of the virus in places of detention will be inevitable unless urgent measures are taken to mitigate this risk. Otherwise, incarceration could be equivalent to a death sentence for many detainees who contract, or are at risk of contracting, the COVID-19 virus.

Such measures would be consistent with the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (revised and adopted as the “Nelson Mandela Rules”), which detail measures aimed at ensuring adequate personal hygiene, health, and safety of prisoners, as well as the specific advice issued by the UN Subcommittee for the Prevention of Torture.

We welcome the move by a number of countries, including TurkeyTunisiaEthiopiaIndonesia, Senegal and Bahrain, to begin releasing prisoners in an effort to reduce overcrowding and prevent the spread of the virus. We urge these and other countries to include HRDs among those who should be released immediately. Many countries have excluded prisoners convicted of terrorism-related offences from the release, thus penalising HRDs unjustly criminalised on trumped-up terrorism charges. HRDs should be exempt from such blanket disqualifications as their human rights work must not be conflated with terrorism.

Africa

  1. Botswana: Ditshwanelo

  2. Burundi: ITEKA

  3. Cameroon: Maison des Droits de l’Homme du Cameroun

  4. Djibouti: LDDH Djibouti

  5. Ethiopia: Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRCO)

  6. Mauritania: Association Mauritanienne des Droits de l’Homme (AMDH)

  7. DRC: Groupe LOTUS

  8. DRC: Ligue des Électeurs

  9. Rwanda: Association Rwandaise pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme et des Libertés Publiques, ADL

  10. Senegal: RADDHO

  11. Tanzania: Legal and Human Rights Centre

 

Americas

  1. Argentina: Comité de Acción Jurídica (CAJ)
  2. Argentina: CAJ
  3. Brazil: Justica Global
  4. Brazil: Movimento Nacional de Direitos Humanos – MNDH Brasil
  5. Chile: Observatorio Ciudadano
  6. Colombia: CAJAR
  7. Ecuador: Acción Ecológica
  8. El Salvador: Comisión de Derechos Humanos de El Salvador (CDHES)
  9. Honduras: CIPRODEH
  10. Honduras: COFADEH
  11. Mexico: Limeddh
  12. Mexico: IDHEAS
  13. Nicaragua: CENIDH
  14. Peru: APRODEH
  15. Peru: Perú Equidad (Centro de Políticas Públicas y Derechos Humanos)

 

Asia

  1. Bangladesh: Odhikar
  2. Cambodia: Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)
  3. China: Human Rights in China (HRIC)
  4. India: Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI)
  5. Indonesia: Commission for Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS)
  6. Iran: League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI)
  7. Iran: Justice for Iran (JFI)
  8. Laos: Lao Movement for Human Rights (LMHR)
  9. Malaysia: Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
  10. Maldives: Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN)
  11. Myanmar: Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma (ALTSEAN-Burma)
  12. Myanmar: Myanmar Alliance for Transparency and Accountability (MATA)
  13. Pakistan: Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP)
  14. Taiwan: Covenants Watch

  15. Thailand: Internet Law Reform Dialogue (iLaw)
  16. Thailand: Manushya Foundation

  17. Thailand: Union for Civil Liberty (UCL)
  18. Vietnam: Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR)

 

Eastern Europe and Central Asia

  1. Armenia: CSI – Armenia
  2. Belarus: HRC Viasna
  3. Georgia: Human Rights Center
  4. Kazakhstan: International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law
  5. Kyrgyzstan: Adilet (Kyrgyzstan)
  6. Kyrgyzstan: Bir Duino
  7. Kyrgyzstan: ILI Foundation
  8. Kyrgyzstan: Kylym Shamy
  9. Russia: ADC Memorial
  10. Russia: Citizen’s Watch
  11. Russia: HRC Memorial
  12. Ukraine: Center for Civil Liberties

Middle East and North Africa

  1. Algeria: CFDA (Comité des familles de disparus en Algérie)
  2. Algeria: LADDH (Ligue Algérienne des Droits de l’Homme)
  3. Bahrain: BCHR (Bahrain Center for Human Rights)
  4. Gulf: GC4HR (Gulf Center for Human Rights)
  5. Lebanon: CLDH (Centre Libanais des Droits Humains)
  6. Morocco: AMDH (Association Marocaine des Droits de l’Homme)
  7. Morocco: OMDH (Organisation Marocaine des Droits de l’Homme)
  8. Palestine: PCHR (Palestinian Center for Human Rights)
  9. Saudi Arabia: ALQST
  10. Syria: SCM (Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression)
  11. Tunisia: LTDH (Ligue Tunisienne des Droits de l’Homme)
  12. Tunisia: ATFD (Association Tunisienne des Femmes Démocrates)
  13. Yemen: SAF (Sisters Arab Forum)

Western Europe

  1. Albania: Albanian Human Rights Group
  2. Belgium: Ligue des droits humains – Belgique
  3. Croatia: Civic Committee for Human Rights
  4. Finland: Finnish League for Human Rights,
  5. France: Association Européenne pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme (AEDH)
  6. France: Ligue des Droits de l’Homme
  7. Germany: Internationale Liga fur Menschenrechte
  8. Hungary: Hungarian Helsinki Committee
  9. Lithuania: Lithuanian Human Rights Association
  10. Latvia : Latvian Human Rights Committee
  11. Portugal: Portuguese League for Human Rights – Civitas
  12. Romania: League for the Defence of Human Rights (LADO)
  13. Spain: Asociacion pro Derechos Humanos de Espana
  14. Spain: Federacion de Asociaciones de Defensa y Promocion de Derechos Humanos de Espana
  15. Turkey: Human Rights Association (IHD)
  16. Turkey: Human Rights Foundation of Turkey
  17. UK/Northern Ireland: Committee on the Administration of Justice

Press contact:

Eva Canan (EN, ES, FR, AR): +33 6 58 05 91 57 | http://twitter.com/EvaCanan | ecanan@fidh.org

COVID-19 in closed prisons in the occupied Crimea and Donbas which is under Russia effective control

March 24, 2020

COVID-19 in closed prisons in the occupied Crimea and Donbas which is under Russia effective control. Immediate response from international organizations is required.

 

We, the below-signed, appeal to the international organizations and their member states to prevent the spread of coronavirus to detention facilities (prisons and pretrial detention centers) in Crimea which is temporarily occupied  by the Russian Federation, the Donbas which is under Russian effective control and in the territory of the Russian Federation itself.

 

Situation in the Occupied Crimea and the Russian Federation

Since March 16, 2020, the Federal Penitentiary Service of the Russian Federation (FSIN) has suspended all visits to detention facilities in order to prevent the spread of the disease among the suspects, those accused and convicted, as well as employees of the penal system. 

At the same time, penitentiary administrations are unable to implement WHO recommendations against the spread of coronavirus. The health services of these institutions lack staff, medications and equipment. They are not capable of coping with common widespread diseases, let alone a global health crisis.

Moreover, detention facilities present an extremely high risk for the transmission of infectious diseases. The buildings are often poorly ventilated, and the prison authorities cannot ensure adequate sanitation and hygiene conditions, i.e. sufficient access to water to wash hands. The detainees continue to be exposed to high risks daily at work, often gatherings, showers, etc.  The prison authorities conduct personal examinations of detainees and perform searches of cells on a daily basis, entering in body-to-body contacts with inmates. Masks for the people showing symptoms of respiratory diseases, both inmates and staff, are not available.

“On March 19, when the ambulance requested in court that I should be taken to the hospital, no one ever took me there. I was just taken to a small box in the courtroom. There, I was lying on the floor until 9 pm, because there was very little room on the bench, and I wanted to lie down, as I was cold and shivering. The schedule of the court hearings is very intense, we are on our feet for 12-14 hours without water and food. I returned to my cell close to 11 pm. I went to another paramedic, but he did not give me any medication besides the antibiotics. On that day, I had a temperature of 39.3 C, and then it even rose to 39.8 C. The cough is dry, very unpleasant. The nose is stuffy. It is difficult to breathe. Three to four other people are also sick in the cell. They are also given aspirin and the same antibiotic. Today [March 23] I do not know how high my temperature is. I wrote a statement asking for a doctor to listen to my lungs. But I was taken to a videoconference to participate in a court hearing, and I was never taken to see a doctor. I do not want to complain, but this is torture. In prison, a person simply does not have the opportunity to protect themself,” comments Server Mustafayev, a prisoner of conscience, the coordinator of the Crimean Solidarity.

The situation is considerably aggravated by the overcrowding of Russian prisons and detention centers, with inmates kept in poor sanitary conditions and the transfer of prisoners from the occupied Crimea into the Russian Federation taking a long time in breach of the norms of international humanitarian law. Due to the prevalence of torture in Russian prisons, restricting the contact of prisoners with the outside world increases the risk of ill-treatment, especially during crisis situations.

Situation in the Donbas effectively controlled by the Russian Federation

The situation in the Donbas which is under the effective control by the Russian Federation, looks even worse. After 6 years of war,  even the International Committee of the Red Cross has no access to detained people. In addition to the so-called official detention centers, there exist an extensive network of secret detention facilities. One of such places was mentioned in the latest report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. It is called “Isolation”, and it is located in the building of a former plant in Donetsk. The conditions of detention in both “official” and secret detention facilities can be equated to torture and ill-treatment and are inappropriate even for short term detentions

 

“I was held in the 13th post of the Donetsk detention facility, considered one of the “best” ones when it came to the conditions for the prisoners. Cell conditions  were appalling: poor sanitation, many bugs and cockroaches, I could not even use the mattress — it was all dirty and riddled with bed bugs — so I slept on the metal bunk, under which I put a blanket sent to me from home. Part of the window was broken, so the air in the room was constantly cold. At the 10th post, which is the worst one, the situation is extremely critical: there are rats, and the sewage often overflows into the cell.here is almost no space – cells barely fit two people, darkness, no daylight, because the post is located in the basement of the detention facility”- comments Donetsk journalist Stanislav Aseev, who was released during an exchange in December 2019.

 

The report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights highlights the widespread practice of torture and ill-treatment of detained persons. Recently released detainees reported beatings, including with electric shocker, strangulation (“wet” and “dry” methods), sexual abuse, torture, the removal of body parts (nails and teeth), deprivation of water, food, sleep, or access to the toilet, imitation of execution, threat of violence or death, and threat of harm to the family.

 

The quality of medical care in these institutions is described in testimonies provided to the OHCHR by several “Isolation” detainees. According to them, a medical worker was present during their interrogations and torture. He revived those who had lost consciousness and pointed out how to torture in order to inflict the greatest pain but not to cause death. He also examined the detainees before torture began, asked about their illnesses, measured their blood pressure or checked their pulse, and injected them. 

 

Even in those facilities where the detention of people is officially confirmed (as opposed to the situation with secret detention centers), the prisoners are provided with necessary medicine and goods by their relatives. For the quarantine period, restrictions were imposed on crossing the demarcation line in the Donbas. Today, those prisoners, whose relatives live in the territory controlled by Ukraine, will not be able to receive the necessary medicine and goods.

 

Therefore, there are no illusions that there will be any medical assistance in case of the spread of coronavirus in prisons and detention centers of Donbas which is currently under the effective Russian control. Moreover, the question arises as to what measures will be undertaken by the Russia-controlled illegal armed formations in charge of the territory, to deter the spread of the coronavirus in prisons and detention centers, in the first place, to protect themselves from contracting the disease.

 

The aforementioned problems in the penitentiary institutions and detention centers in the Ukrainian territories occupied and controlled by Russia pose a real threat not only to prisoners and staff, but also to the wider population. And because, according to scientists, the pandemic can continue in waves, it can threaten the populations of other countries. 

 

In view of the foregoing, and taking into account the position of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment of March 20, 2020, we call for the urgent reaction of the international organizations, the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the European Union, the OSCE, and their member states participants to:

 

  1. 🔹   Appeal to the Russian Federation to take immediate steps to fulfill its international obligations to protect the life and health of its detainees, both officially, such as in the Russian Federation and occupied Crimea, and unofficially, through the Kremlin-controlled illegal armed formations, such as those in Donbas which is currently under the effective Russian control, to develop the necessary plans for prevention and response to the spread of infection, in accordance with the “Statement of principles relating to the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty” in the context of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic (ECPT, 03/20/2020), and to implement the WHO recommendations.

 

  1. 🔹   To urge the Russian Federation to reduce the prison population immediately (in particular, by changing the precautionary measures for house arrests for crimes of minor public danger and the immediate release of all illegally detained political prisoners), considering that the very configuration of the cells, penitentiary facilities, and detention centers does not allow for any preventive measures, such as compliance with social distance, to be carried out.

 

  1.  🔹  The Council of Europe bodies, including the Committee of Ministers, the Secretary-General, and the Commissioner for Human Rights, must swiftly adopt recommendations to encourage the Russian Federation with its 140 million population to take these decisive steps. The Russian Federation has a wide range of measures that can have a swift effect, from criminal policy guidance to prosecutors to emergency pardon and amnesty.

 

  1. 🔹   All monitoring, judicial and quasi-judicial mechanisms of international organizations respecting fundamental human rights must take exceptional measures to be able to play their full role in a pandemic. In particular, the European Court of Human Rights should strengthen its capacity to review requests for urgent measures under Rule 39, which are important to protect human life. The number of such requests is expected to increase in the near future.

 

  1. 🔹   International organizations, and in particular the OSCE, during the upcoming meeting of the trilateral contact group in Minsk on March, 25, should raise the issue of the immediate granting by the Russian Federation of unhindered access to the occupied Crimea and Donbas to international intergovernmental organizations, in particular, the United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission, the OSCE Human Rights Assessment Mission on Crimea, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, other Council of Europe convention and institutional mechanisms, etc., as well as international humanitarian organizations, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross.

 

  1. 🔹   France and Germany as members of the Normandy Format, as well as the United States and the United Kingdom as signatories to the Budapest Memorandum, should urge the Russian Federation to use its effective control over parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions to comply with the provisions of the Minsk agreements on the immediate release of persons whose freedom is restricted due to direct involvement in the armed conflict, as well as political prisoners in the occupied Crimea and the Russian Federation.

 

We also urge the Ukrainian authorities to implement all the recommendations set out in the appeal of European NGOs to prevent epidemic of the COVID-19 in detention facilities, according to Ukraine’s international obligations to protect life and health of persons who are under its effective control.

 

Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine) 

Regional Center for Human Rights (Ukraine)

Ukrainian Institute for Human Rights (Ukraine)

Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People (Ukraine)

The Institute of Mass Information (Ukraine)

Detector Media (Ukraine)

The Eastern Ukrainian Center for Civic Initiatives (Ukraine)

Luhansk Regional Human Rights CenterAlternative (Ukraine)

Human Rights House in Chernihiv (Ukraine)

Ukrainian Legal Aid Foundation (Ukraine)

Ukrainian Center for the Prevention of Torture (Ukraine)

Donbas SOS (Ukraine)

Union of Relatives of Kremlin’s Political Prisoners (Ukraine)

Crimean Tatar Resource Center (Ukraine)

Political Science Association (Ukraine)

Territory of Success (Ukraine)

Kryvyi Rih City Human Rights Society (Ukraine)

Association of Ukrainian Monitors on Human Rights Conduct in Law Enforcement (Ukraine)

The Pylyp Orlyk Institute for Democracy (Ukraine)

Congress of Ethnic Communities of Ukraine (Ukraine)

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research (Ukraine)

All-Ukrainian civic movement of mothers and relatives of participants of ATO “Bereginya” (Ukraine)

Charity Foundation Stabilization Support Services (Ukraine)

Vinnitsa NGO of Social Development of Vulnerable Youth “Sprout” (Ukraine)

All-Ukrainian Youth Organization “The Foundation of Regional Initiatives” (Ukraine)

Youth Organization “STAN” (Ukraine)

Anti-Corruption Action Center (Ukraine)

Institute for Religious Freedom (Ukraine)

Ternopil Human Rights Group (Ukraine) 

IAC Civic Space (Ukraine)

Institute for Black Sea Strategic Studies (Ukraine)

Human Rights Initiative (Ukraine)

Theatre for Change (Ukraine)

Human Rights Platform (Ukraine)

Center Eidos (Ukraine)

Liberation Movement Research Center (Ukraine)

NGO All-Ukrainian Democratic Forum (Ukraine)

International Federation for Human Rights (France)

Citizens’ Watch (Russia)

Open Dialogue Foundation (Belgium)

Norwegian Helsinki Committee (Norway)

Human Rights Movement Bir Duino-Kyrgyzstan (Kyrgyzstan)

Internews Ukraine (Ukraine)

UkraineWorld (Ukraine)

NGO Ukraine Without Torture (Ukraine)

All-Ukrainian Active Community Initiative (Ukraine)

Institute Respublica (Ukraine)

International Federation for Human Rights (France)

Macedonian Helsinki Committee (North Macedonia)

The Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan (Azerbaijan)

Memorial-Germany (Germany)

Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (Bulgaria)

Assemblée Européenne des Citoyens, France

German-Russian Exchange (Germany)

Human Rights Monitoring Institute (Lithuania)

New Europe Center (Ukraine)

Netherlands Helsinki Committee (Netherlands)

Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly – Vanadzor (Armenia)

Public Association “Dignity  (Kazakhstan)

Human Rights Matter (Germany)

Minority Rights Group Europe (Hungary)

Italian Coalition for Civil Liberties and Rights (Italy)

International Partnership for Human Rights (Belgium)

Helsinki Committee of Armenia (Armenia)

Austrian Helsinki Association (Austria)

Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law (Kazakhstan)

Promo-LEX Association (Moldova)

Public foundation “Golos svobody” (Kyrgyzstan) 

Helsinki committee for human rights in Serbia (Serbia)

Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland) 

Center for Participation and Development (Georgia) 

Zivilcourage und Anti-Rassismus-Arbeit (Germany)

Italian Federation for human rights (Italy)

Society in Support of Ukraine (Latvia)

Association for Solidarity, Mutual Assistance, and Culture “Good Heart” (Portugal)

The Association of Ukrainians in the Republic of Ireland “AURI” (Ireland)

Ukrainian Cultural Association of Malaysia (Malaysia)

Volunteer Hundred in Brescia (Italy)

The Ukrainian-Slovak Initiative (Slovakia)

The Ukrainian Women Organization in Sweden (Sweden)

London Euromaidan (Великобританія)

United Help Ukraine (the United States)

AG Ukraine – Chemnitz – Europa e.V. (Germany)

The Union of Ukrainian Culture and Solidarity (Turkey)

The Ukrainian-Austrian Cultural and Educational Center in Vienna (Austria)

Ukrainians in Mongolia (Mongolia)

The Information Portal “Irish House” (Ireland)

Central Association of Ukrainians in Germany (Germany)

Ukrainian Community in the Philippines(the Philippines) 

The Global Movement of the Ukrainian Patriots in Munich (Germany)

Fairness Corps (Ukraine)

All-Spanish NGO “Ukrainian Patriotic Association WILL,” Madrid (Spain)

Ukrainian League Taragony “Панна, Дівочі посиденьки” (Spain)

Civil Initiative “Euromaidan-Warsaw” (Poland)

Institute for Religious Freedom (Ukraine)

International Association of Ukrainians EuroMaidan/ Mezinárodní Asociace Ukrajinců EuroMajdan z.s. (Czech Republic)

Saint Olha Association  (Australia)

Ukrainian Free Kozaks of Australia (Australia)

Israeli Friends of Ukraine (Israel)

Community of Ukrainians, Vilnius (Lithuania)

Community of Ukrainians,  Guadalajara (Mexico)

Community of Ukrainians in Finland (Finland)

Young Ukraine Association, Madrid (Spain)

Bureau of Social and Political Developments (Ukraine)

Ukraine Needs You (Ukraine);

Stronger Together (Ukraine);

Liberal-Democratic League of Ukraine (Ukraine)

Defender, Nosivka, Chernihivs’ka oblast (Ukraine)

Legal Development Network (Ukraine)

Natural Rights Ukraine (Ukraine)

Center for International Security and Euro-Atlantic Integration (Ukraine)

Development foundation (Ukraine)

Non-Governmental Centre “Women’s Perspectives”(Ukraine)

Institute of Political Education (Ukraine)

Ukrainian Institute for the Future (Україна) 

Luhansk Regional Human Rights Women’s Organization “Chaika” (Ukraine)

Platform for Social Humanitarian Initiatives and Innovation “Single Coordination Center” (Ukraine)

NGO Docudays (Ukraine)

Charity Organization “Charity and Health” (Ukraine)

NGO Group of Influence (Ukraine)

Center for Economic and Legal Analytics (Ukraine)

NGO Creative Center Dagaz (Ukraine)

Media Initiative for Human Rights (Ukraine)

Center for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Studies (Ukraine)

PCO  “Foundation for defence of Ukraine” (Ukraine)

Social Action Center (Ukraine) 

“Sich” Human Rights Protection Group (Ukraine)

DEJURE Foundation (Ukraine)

Vostok-SOS (Ukraine)

NGO “Right to Protection” (Ukraine)

NGO “Female veteran movement” (Ukraine)

November 30 Group (Ukraine)

NGO “Women’s Rights League” Harmony of Equals” (Ukraine)

NGO St. Clement’s Center (Ukraine)

NGO Spirit and Letter (Ukraine)

NGO Alliance of Ukrainian Unity (Ukraine)

Charitable Organization “Right of a Human” (Ukraine)

Сenter for democracy and rule of law (Ukraine)

NGO “Forpost” (Ukraine)

Women in media: Balance the imbalance!

March 10, 2020

In a joint statement, IMS and 38 other organisations urge media leaders and journalists to take action against the gender inequality in the news.

 

On International Women’s Day 2020, we want to call upon all media leaders and journalists around the globe to take action against the skewed balance and representation of gender in the news – both in terms of numbers and in portrayal.

A balanced presence of women and men in news and current affairs would to a higher degree reflect the composition of society and showcase a greater variety of human experiences, views and concerns. However, statistics show that media is far from balanced:

– A majority of media content portrays women in stereotypical roles such as homemakers, models or victims.

– Women are more likely than men to be referred to in terms of superficial attributes such as appearance, age, clothes and marital status. Men, on the other hand, are more likely to be portrayed as powerful public figures, with the media focusing on profession, skills and opinions. This perpetuates a limiting and unequal perception of gender.

– Only 4% of all newspapers, radio and TV reports worldwide challenge gender stereotypes.

– Only 24% of news subjects – the people who are interviewed, or whom the news is about – are female.

– Women are used as experts only 19 % of the time.

– In only 16 % of news that relates to politics and government, women are the subject of the stories.

The numbers are not only indicative of the media sector’s gender inequality challenges but is also a serious impediment to media development and democracy. A functioning democracy requires gender equality and the media need to do much better to contribute to this goal.

Media have the power and responsibility to challenge stereotypes in content production and together we need to set an example for current and future generations. That is why today we ask you, as part of a media organisation, to:

Engage in gender media monitoring to keep track of who is represented in your content and in what capacity

Create your database of women experts on various topics — or make use of existing ones

Revise your editorial guidelines to make sure that a gender perspective is included

Conduct a gender audit of your internal work to make sure that you have a diverse workforce and identify the gender gaps in your organisation — a diverse workforce is more likely to produce pluralistic content.


The undersigned organisations stand ready to support in such efforts:

Ordinary people who do extraordinary things. Devoted to Ukrainian volunteers

February 17, 2020

Alfredo Garcia (Euromaidan Volunteer Nominee 2018)

Canadian teacher, pro-Ukrainian activist, language instructor with 20 years of experience facilitation student driven and instructor generated curricula, modules, and lesson plans.

Alfredo works for The Toronto District School Board (TDSB), one of the largest and one of the most diverse school boards in Canada. We serve approximately 247,000 students in 583 schools throughout Toronto, and more than 130,000 life-long learners in our Adult and Continuing Education programs. Please feel free to find more details following next link: https://www.tdsb.on.ca/About-Us

In the past I shared with Mr. Garcia the latest Ukrainian historical moments of Revolution of dignity and Russian Aggression later and he offered help to support people in Ukraine. I suggested him to share 1-2 hours his time per week to provide free English classes kids and adults.  Finally we selected best students in Ukraine: one children group and one adult (mostly individuals whose lives were affected by Revolution and War: military family, volunteers).

Our initiative has started in February 2018 and this projects still going in. Alfredo constantly every week dedicate 2 h of his own life time to teach English for Ukrainian students  and we have a great success, now both group are able to study without me as a translator, they can communicate and interact with native speaker and 100 % Canadian professional teacher.

Dear friends,would be great to gain and develop the friendly relationship, initiatives and partnership with motivated people and organization that are located abroad and willing to help and put human effort to support people in Ukraine around Russia’s hybrid war against Ukraine.

If you would share this information on Ukrainian (English) mass media I could transfer it also to Canadian mass media and Toronto Municipality to make this story read.

Thank our big friend abroad for supporting Ukrainians in Ukraine.

Constitutional Coup in Russia : Putin’s Move to Devalue International Human Rights Treaties Could Set Dangerous Global Precedent

February 12, 2020
On 20 January 2020, the President of Russia proposed radical changes to the Russian Constitution, but the chilling implications for human rights could echo far beyond Russia’s borders. The draft legislation introduces significant amendments to 14 articles of Russia’s supreme law of the land. FIDH and 37 of its member organisations believe that the proposed amendments contradict the letter and spirit of the Constitution, diminish the fundamental rights of Russian citizens under the guise of legitimate State concerns, and constitute an attempt to further consolidate power in the hands of the current regime. Our organisations fear that, if adopted, these measures would compromise human rights not only in Russia, but also set a dangerous precedent that may be emulated by other countries.
The speed with which the draft law was prepared – just four days – and the gross violations of constitutionally prescribed procedures for such changes, have evoked strong criticism from civil society and the public at large.One of the proposed amendments would effectively legalise the selective implementation of decisions of international treaty bodies deemed contrary to the Constitution. Russia is normally bound to abide by these decisions, by virtue of its having ratified international or regional conventions, such as the European Convention on Human Rights. But, with this proposed amendment, Russia would be able to invoke the supposed unenforceability of “interpretations” of treaty provisions as justification to not follow them, under the guise of protecting national sovereignty. In practice, the amendment would allow Russian authorities to avoid implementing decisions of the likes of the European Court of Human Rights that the latter often perceive as contrary to national interests.

“Putin’s brazen move to put in place a constitutional mechanism to avoid implementing international treaties could severely undermine international law. If adopted, the proposed legislation would not only likely aggravate the human rights situation in Russia; it could also serve as a dangerous model, paving the way for other countries to shirk international human rights obligations.”

Alice Mogwe, FIDH President.

The legislation was designed by an ad hoc working group convened on 15 January, the same day that Putin first announced the constitutional changes during his annual address. The document, drafted in just four days and without a meaningful consultation with the civil society, proposes substantive changes to 14 articles of the Constitution, contrary to a federal law requiring a separate draft law for each amendment. As early as 23 January the draft law was unanimously accepted in the first reading by the lower chamber of Russia’s Parliament. The final reading, to be followed by a vote, is expected at the end of February.

Not only is the substance of the amendments worrying; the authorities’ disregard for constitutionally prescribed procedures required to adopt them gives cause for alarm. Since the proposed changes concern the first two chapters of the Constitution, the “Fundamentals of the Constitutional System” and the “Rights and Freedoms of Man and Citizen”, Article 135 requires that a new Constitution be adopted by a Constitutional Assembly, followed by a referendum. Neither the law governing the formation of the Constitutional Assembly, nor the organ itself, are currently in existence. Rather than abide by these procedures, the authorities plan to hold a nationwide constitutional vote this spring, in an attempt to give the proposed amendment an air of legitimacy.

The authorities’ move to prize sovereignty above all, in disregard for international law, could usher in a dark time for human rights in Russia, with the potential to set a dangerous global precedent. FIDH and its 37 member organisations urge the Russian parliamentarians and the Russian people to vote against the proposed amendments.

  • Anti-Discrimination Center Memorial (ADC-Memorial, Russia)
    Adilet (Kyrgyzstan)
    Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma (ALTSEAN-Burma)
    Armanshahr/OPEN ASIA
    Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
    Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
    Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)
    Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
    Citizens’ Watch (Russia)
    Civil Society Institute (Armenia)
    Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI)
    Dutch League for Human Rights
    Finnish League for Human Rights
    French Human Rights League – Ligue des droits de l’Homme (LDH, France )
    Human Rights Association – Insan Haklari Dernegi (Turkey)
    Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP)
    Human Rights Center Georgia (HRIDC)
    Human Rights Center Memorial (Russia)
    Human Rights Center Viasna (Belarus)
    Human Rights in China (HRIC)
    International Legal Initiative (Kazakhstan)
    Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights
    Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC)
    Lao Movement for Human Rights (LMHR)
    League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran (LDDHI)
    Ligue Iteka (Burundi)
    Lithuanian Human Rights Association
    Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN)
    Manushya Foundation (Thailand)
    Odhikar (Bangladesh)
    Portuguese Human Rights League – Civitas (LPDHC)
    Promo Lex (Moldova)
    Regional Watch for Human Rights (Liberia)
    The League for Defence of Human Rights (LADO, Romania)
    The Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC, Tanzania)
    Union for Civil Liberty (UCL – Thailand)
    Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR)

Crimean citizen journalists

February 4, 2020

Результаты поиска:

«International support for Ukraine should increase» – statement platform CivilM+

April 21, 2020

In April 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the seventh year of the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine has begun. While the emergency has revealed gaps in the healthcare system throughout the country, the situation in the conflict zone is nearly critical. The infrastructure has been damaged by the hostilities and there is a severe lack of medical personnel. Small and medium-sized enterprises which barely started recovering after the first years of the war with the support from humanitarian organizations, have been suffering losses and are on the brink of bankruptcy during the quarantine.

Of particular concern is the situation in territories that are not controlled by the government of Ukraine: there is no credible information about the situation there, freedom of expression is seriously limited, monitoring and humanitarian organizations, for example, OSCE SMM are facing problems with accessing and operating in the territory of the self-proclaimed “DPR” and “LPR”.

We, the undersigned members of the international civil society platform CivilM +, are calling on the Government of the EU member-states to:

  • ⚫️ allocate all the resources available to support the region in its fight with COVID-19. Along with the unconditional support of medical sphere, the aid should go to small and medium business, local Ukrainian authorities and civil society organizations
  • ⚫️ keep exerting pressure on the Russian Federation to make sure that ‘DPR’ and ‘LPR “, which are under the RF control, provide unhindered access to humanitarian and monitoring organizations (firstly to the OSCE SMM, as well as to the ICRC so that it has access to all persons deprived of liberty), and stop arbitrary political persecutions.

We are also urging the Government of Ukraine to ensure that the restrictions of the freedom of movement across the contact line are only applied if they are necessary and proportionate to possible threats. All citizens, including those residing in non-government-controlled territory, should have unrestricted access to medical assistance.

We underline that new pandemic-related challenges should not diminish priority measures on the peaceful resolution of the conflict set out in the Minsk agreements and reconfirmed during the talks in the Normandy format. Those are:

  • ⚫️ ceasefire
  • ⚫️ continuation of the release of arbitrarily detained persons, both military and civil detainees
  • ⚫️ preventing further human rights violations and war crimes, and ensuring effective investigations into such crimes committed on both sides of the contact line
  • ⚫️ preparing the process of the transitional justice in all its aspects.

While welcoming the release of the detainees on 16 April 2020, we are drawing attention of the OSCE, as well as the governments of Germany and France that the bottom line should be the release of all individuals who are arbitrarily deprived of their liberty . To achieve this, we need to see consistent and coordinated efforts to complete the lists of detainees , to search and to identify their location. Having the control over “DPR” and “LPR”, the Russian Federation should influence them, as in a number of cases they refuse to admit having derived certain people of their liberty (despite the fact that the relatives of these people have confirmation papers issued by the  de-facto authorities of the self-proclaimed “republics”). Moreover, “DPR” and “LPR” refuse to release even those individuals whose names in the lists they have confirmed. As a result, it takes years for many detainees and their loved ones to wait for the ‘next stage of the exchange “.

Independent civil society organizations from Ukraine, Russia and the European Union are ready to provide civic consultations for the Minsk negotiations . The international platform CivilM + has already sent the letters with this proposal to the Office of the President of Ukraine , to the Vice-prime minister / Minister on reintegration of the temporary occupied territories and to the Minister of foreign affairs . The position and the suggestions on these matters are also  available on the CivilM + website .

 

Signatories:

Centre for Civil Liberties, Ukraine

Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, Ukraine

Truth Hounds, Ukraine

Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union, Ukraine

“Citizen and Army”, Russia

DRA, German-Russian Exchange, Germany

Helsinki Citizens ‘Assembly (HCA), France

Human Rights Centre “Memorial”, Russia 

MEMORIAL Deutschland eV, Germany

For more information, please contact the Platform Secretariat: Yulia Erner, coordinator – yuliya.erner@austausch.org.  With media-requests, please contact Iryna Yakovlieva, communications coordinator –  iryna.yakovlieva@austausch.org.

Religious Freedom Roundtable. Held Online for the First Time

April 21, 2020

Experts from human rights organisations and religious leaders have developed for the Cabinet of Ministers a number of proposals intended to ensure religious freedom for the period of quarantine restrictions . As reported by ReligiousFreedom.in.ua, an online conference to iscuss these topics in the format of the Religious Freedom Roundtable in Ukraine was held jointly by the Institute for Religious Freedom and the Centre for Civil Liberties Religious figures of various faiths, including from Christian , Jewish, and Muslim religious associations of Ukraine, as well as leaders from the Kharkiv Human Rights Group and Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union , joined the discussion.

 

Lawyer Kseniia Prokonova, managing partner of the Ukrainian branch of SBH Law Offices , clarified legal aspects of quarantine restrictions to the attendees and offered practical advice on protecting the believers :


«Violated rights in the instances when actions by the police do not conform to law . Quarantine is a time when everyone, including churches, should search for new opportunities. They also have to contend for the parishioners “attention within the confines of the law and public interest . It is the first time when the
church must learn how to talk to the police efficiently.»

 

As a result, the human rights activists, together with the religious leaders, developed the following suggestions for the government:

 

● When holding daily and festive services during the quarantine period , the
recommendations, made public by the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and
Religious Organisations on April 8, for avoiding congestion in temples and
other premises of religious organisations should be observed (that is, a total of
10 persons, based on 1 person per 5 sq m, are allowed to be in the temple or
other premises of a religious organisation at the same time)

 

● The self-isolation requirement on persons over 60 years of age should not
apply to the clergy and persons involved in the organisation of services, as
well as to other employees of retirement age;

 

● Given the ban, imposed by the order of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine , on
access for priests to prisoners and convicts, administrations of detention
centres and penitentiary institutions should provide an opportunity for viewing
religious services and sermons that are regularly transmitted by the Public
Broadcaster on the UA: FIRST and UA: CULTURE TV channels and, where
requested by prisoners and convicts, arrange for individual remote meetings
with chaplain priests using videoconferencing facilities;

 

● Offer an opportunity for meeting religious needs of persons accommodated
at social protection or palliative care establishments, including by providing
access to them for chaplain priests or by arranging for individual remote
meetings using videoconferencing facilities;

 

● Local authorities, together with religious figures and volunteers, should be
encouraged to set up the facilities and develop the procedure for delivery of
free humanitarian aid to the destitute, including by providing food to persons
of no fixed abode, while observing sanitary and quarantine requirements and
avoiding mass convergence.

 

We would like to remind you that the Religious Freedom Roundtable in
Ukraine, founded in April 2019, is a civil society platform for dialogue and
liaison between religious, human rights and other civil society organisations.

Religious Freedom Roundtable. Held Online for the First Time

April 21, 2020

Experts from human rights organisations and religious leaders have developed for the Cabinet of Ministers a number of proposals intended to ensure religious freedom for the period of quarantine restrictions . As reported by Religious Freedom.in.ua, an online conference to iscuss these topics in the format of the Religious Freedom Roundtable in Ukraine was held jointly by the Institute for Religious Freedom and the Centre for Civil Liberties Religious figures of various faiths, including from Christian , Jewish, and Muslim religious associations of Ukraine, as well as leaders from the Kharkiv Human Rights Group and Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union , joined the discussion.

 

Lawyer Kseniia Prokonova, managing partner of the Ukrainian branch of SBH Law Offices , clarified legal aspects of quarantine restrictions to the attendees and offered practical advice on protecting the believers :


«Violated rights in the instances when actions by the police do not conform to law . Quarantine is a time when everyone, including churches, should search for new opportunities. They also have to contend for the parishioners “attention within the confines of the law and public interest . It is the first time when the
church must learn how to talk to the police efficiently.»

 

As a result, the human rights activists, together with the religious leaders, developed the following suggestions for the government:

 

● When holding daily and festive services during the quarantine period , the
recommendations, made public by the All-Ukrainian Council of Churches and
Religious Organisations on April 8, for avoiding congestion in temples and
other premises of religious organisations should be observed (that is, a total of
10 persons, based on 1 person per 5 sq m, are allowed to be in the temple or
other premises of a religious organisation at the same time)

 

● The self-isolation requirement on persons over 60 years of age should not
apply to the clergy and persons involved in the organisation of services, as
well as to other employees of retirement age;

 

● Given the ban, imposed by the order of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine , on
access for priests to prisoners and convicts, administrations of detention
centres and penitentiary institutions should provide an opportunity for viewing
religious services and sermons that are regularly transmitted by the Public
Broadcaster on the UA: FIRST and UA: CULTURE TV channels and, where
requested by prisoners and convicts, arrange for individual remote meetings
with chaplain priests using videoconferencing facilities;

 

● Offer an opportunity for meeting religious needs of persons accommodated
at social protection or palliative care establishments, including by providing
access to them for chaplain priests or by arranging for individual remote
meetings using videoconferencing facilities;

 

● Local authorities, together with religious figures and volunteers, should be
encouraged to set up the facilities and develop the procedure for delivery of
free humanitarian aid to the destitute, including by providing food to persons
of no fixed abode, while observing sanitary and quarantine requirements and
avoiding mass convergence.

 

We would like to remind you that the Religious Freedom Roundtable in
Ukraine, founded in April 2019, is a civil society platform for dialogue and
liaison between religious, human rights and other civil society organisations.

CCL joined the statement on the need to release human rights defenders from prisons because of COVID-19

April 10, 2020

COVID-19: Jailed Human Rights Defenders Must Be Released Immediately

Check out FIDH’s #ForFreedom campaign for the release of imprisoned human rights defenders threatened by the pandemic: http://en.freedom-defenders.org

→ Read the press release in ArabicFrenchRussianSpanish, or Turkish

Paris, 8 April 2020 — In light of the serious threat posed to prisoners by the rapidly spreading novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, FIDH and its undersigned member organisations recall governments’ obligation to ensure the safety and health of detained individuals that are under their responsibility, and launch a campaign, #ForFreedom, to call for the release of all jailed human rights defenders (HRDs).

As the spread of COVID-19 poses an unprecedented threat, the need to release HRDs is more urgent than ever. Our rights and those who defend them must not become a casualty of this pandemic. FIDH and its undersigned member organisations are launching today a new global campaign #ForFreedom for the release of all HRDs detained worldwide. They should be freed and allowed to conduct their legitimate activities to defend the rights of individuals against injustice, discrimination, violence, and other forms of human rights violations.

“Hundreds of people all over the world are imprisoned not because they committed a crime, but because of their work to defend human rights. As legitimate actors of change, they should never have been detained in the first place,” declared Alice Mogwe, FIDH President. “As COVID-19 continues its rapid spread across the globe, it is time for governments to put an end to this injustice and release those who fight to uphold human rights,” she added.

As stated by UN High