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Joint appeal on the inappropriate use of extremist charges, mass detention and use of torture against peaceful demonstrators, activists and government’s critics in Kazakhstan.

December 17, 2018

Despite the ratification of the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Kazakhstan, the human rights situation in the country has sharply deteriorated.

Fundamental rights, such as freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, are disrespected under the guise of fighting “extremism”. Since 13 March 2018, the day that marks the authorities’ ban of the peaceful opposition movement ‘Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan’ (DCK), more than 450 persons, participating in peaceful rallies or showing different form of support for DCK (e.g. posting and commenting social media contents, walking with blue balloons, etc.) have fallen victim of political persecution.

We call for a stepping up of efforts to ensure political pluralism in the country and condemn the repression of peaceful activists and supporters of opposition movement DCK and call for their unconditional release. Kazakhstan has to ensure its citizens free access to social media networks and independent media outlets, thus ceasing the blocking or restriction of such platforms. We stress the importance of the independence of lawyers and the protection of their rights to freely practice their profession and defend their clients without fear of reprisals.

We find this particularly worrying that on 10 May 2018, during the visit of European Parliament’s Delegation to Kazakhstan, police resorted to excessive use of force against peaceful protesters and detained more than 150 people, while others were placed under administrative arrests. On that day peaceful rallies against the use of torture and politically motivated imprisonment were held in cities across the country.

Among them, more than 30 people have been prosecuted in connection with their support of DCK’s ideas, including: activists Ablovas Dzhumayev, Almat Zhumagulov and poet Kenzhebek Abishev, social media user Aset Abishev and blogger Muratbek Tungishbayev. At least six persons have reported the use of torture and a lack of medical care in the place of detention. The practice of forced confession in exchange for release, and psychological pressure exerted on political prisoners and their relatives are undermining the trust in the Kazakhstani justice system, as exemplified by the cases of Aset Nurzhaubay and Muratbek Tungishbayev.

We were informed that political prisoners are losing hope for justice and taking desperate steps. For example, on 26 November 2018, Almat Zhumagulov and Kenzhebek Abishev threatened suicide in protest against the accusatory bias in court decisions and the fabricated nature of the case. On 27 November 2018, Zhumagulov cut his arm during the court session.At the same time Iskander Yerimbetov, the brother of human rights activist and lawyer Bota Jardemalie, was arrested, tortured and convicted in October 2018 to 7 years’ imprisonment in retaliation for his sister’s professional activities. Due to the outcome of his case, lawyers in Kazakhstan fear to defend victims of political persecution and torture.The number of political prisoners in Kazakhstan is increasing. More than 20 political prisoners are being held in detention. Human rights defenders are also under attack. Restrictions imposed on NGOs and criminal prosecution of human rights activists, such as Elena Semenova, severely shrink the space for civil society.

We call on Kazakhstani authorities to implement the communications from the UN Human Rights Committee, UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, and call without further delay to release the political prisoners Mukhtar Dzhakishev, Maks Bokayev and Iskander Yerimbetov; compliance with the UN requirements is an important condition for further cooperation between the EU and Kazakhstan

We expect the urgent intervention of the EEAS, encourage the initiation of further EU official monitoring missions and call on the EEAS to support such missions in order to observe the human rights situation and attend court trials against people prosecuted for political reasons. At the same time, we strongly recommend that the European Commission and the EU Member States pursue a policy of conditionality in the case of Kazakhstan. If the latter state wants to be a recipient of EU funding and attract investments, it first must ensure the cessation of cruel practices against detainees in prisons, an end to impunity for the offenders, freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, and the right to a defence and a free trial.

 

Signatures

 

Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)

Defending Democracy

Federazione Italiana Diritti Umani (FIDU)

Human Rights Information Center (Ukraine)

Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS)

Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG)

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research (KhISR)

Open Dialogue Foundation (ODF)

The Arrested Lawyers Initiative

Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF)

Polish authorities reduce the space for the activities of NGOs including human rights organizations in the country

May 2, 2018
Since the end of 2015, we have seen disturbing trends in the actions of the Polish government and the parliamentary majority formed by the populist-nationalist party, Law and Justice (PiS), which harm the activities of human rights defenders and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Poland.
Unconstitutional legislative initiatives have jeopardized both democracy and the rule of law in Poland, particularly the principle of effective separation of powers. Following an acute conflict, the ruling majority in the Parliament de facto subordinated the Constitutional Court to itself, making this state body fully dependent on political decisions.
Numerous leading Polish NGOs including human rights organizations have expressed disagreement with these actions. In July 2017, NGOs took active part in mass peaceful protests aimed at protecting the Constitution, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary in Poland.
The significant mobilization of society led to President Andrzej Duda vetoing two of the three controversial laws aimed at undermining the independence of the judiciary. in July 2017. The independence of the Supreme Court and the National Council of the Judiciary was temporarily preserved. However, the law on the system of ordinary courts came into force, widening the control of the Minister of Justice, who is also the General Prosecutor of Poland, over the courts. And so, as early as in December 2017, despite the next wave of public protests, the Parliament adopted slightly changed, unconstitutional laws that virtually eliminate the independence of the Supreme Court and the National Council of Justice.
In response to the participation of NGOs in peaceful protests, the authorities created numerous restrictions on the third sector. Many civil initiatives critical to the authorities were targeted for attack.
In July 2017, NGOs that criticized state bodies were subjected to escalated and unprecedented pressure. To date, this concerns, in particular, NGOs and initiatives such as: Citizens Solidary in Action [Obywatele Solidarnie w Akcji], Citizens of the Republic of Poland [Obywatele RP], the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog], the Committee for the Defence of Democracy [Komitet Obrony Demokracji], Action Democracy [Akcja Demokracja], the All-Poland Women’s Strike [Ogólnopolski Strajk Kobiet], the Centre for Women’s Rights [Centrum Praw Kobiet], the BABA Lubuskie Association for the Protection of Women’s Rights [BABA Lubuskie Stowarzyszenie na Rzecz Kobiet]. Some of these NGOs faced unjustified inspections, searches and lawsuits, and their representatives were subjected to numerous interrogations and even secret surveillance. Foreigners associated with these organizations are concerned about their future in Poland due to the possibility of losing their right to stay in the country.
For example, the Polish police conducted searches and seized documents and equipment from the offices of several women’s organizations (the offices of the Centre for Women’s Rights and the BABA Association). This happened the day after protest actions in defense of women’s rights in Poland was held in October 2017. Another example: Poland’s then-Minister of Foreign Affairs (MFA) filed a motion with the court to appoint what is known as a ‘compulsory administration’ to replace the existing members of the Management Board of the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog]. The dispute, which is being continued by the current Polish MFA Jacek Czaputowicz will eventually be resolved by a court ruling. Similar means were intended to be used against Citizens of the Republic of Poland [Obywatele RP] by the then-Minister of Interior, Mariusz Błaszczak.
Incidents of prosecution of LGBT organizations have been recorded. A particularly alarming signal is the cessation of a number of investigations into physical attacks against LGBT activists and the offices of their organizations. Alongside women’s rights organizations, they have been practically cut off from almost all available state-funding. The Polish state clearly favours initiatives focused on nationalist and religious values instead.
Members of the Polish government led by the then-Prime Minister Beata Szydło (in particular, the former Minister of the Interior, Mariusz Błaszczak, his deputy Jarosław Zieliński, the Minister–Coordinator of the Special Services of Poland Mariusz Kamiński, former Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski and the Minister of National Defence Antoni Macierewicz) publicly discussed actions to be taken against specific NGOs.
In addition, the aforementioned NGOs, as well as the Office of the Polish Ombudsman, have become victims of information attacks and denigrating media campaigns. These smear campaigns are based on manipulations, half-truths and outright falsehoods. These slanders are spread by state and pro-government Polish media having close ties to the ruling party.
NGOs have been accused of ‘manipulating public opinion’ and ‘artificially provoking protests’ ‘for money from abroad’. Their representatives are portrayed as ‘traitors to the motherland’, or ‘puppets’ in the hands of foreign states and other foreign actors (for example, George Soros, Russia, Germany or ‘Brussels elites’).
The denigrating campaigns aim to intimidate human rights defenders and undermine the trust of Polish society in the work of civil society. Another dangerous consequence of these campaigns may be the creation of negative attitudes towards any international or foreign structures in society. Recently, the actor and activist for the protection of the secular state Krzysztof Pieczyński fell victim to media harassment, and was subsequently beaten in the street by unknown persons in Warsaw.
Attacks on NGOs and human rights defenders are being carried out with the support of extreme right and nationalist organizations. The attacks are openly xenophobic in nature. In particular, they are being directed against the large community of Ukrainians in Poland. Some victims are being denied the right to Polish citizenship. These actions are related to the participation of Ukrainian citizens living in Poland in protests, as well as the work of the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog] and other Polish organizations which provided humanitarian assistance to Ukraine in the period of Euromaidan. 

Reluctant response of the law enforcement bodies to the nationalist and xenophobic incidents leads to growing number of assaults on foreigners in Poland.
Members of the right-wing parties of the Sejm and Members of the European Parliament from Poland are also carrying out hostile actions against specific NGOs and civil society in general. For example, six members of parliament have made public statements about the need to restrict or even stop the activities of the Open Dialog Foundation (Fundacja Otwarty Dialog). The organization was accused of representing an ‘external’ leftist ‘threat to the Polish State’, ‘violating Ukrainian–Polish relations’ and, in general, ‘provoking an uprising’ in Poland. No facts exist which would confirm that the organization has been carrying out such activities and, thus, no such evidence has been presented.
At the moment, according to the reports prepared by the Citizens of the Republic of Poland movement [Obywatele RP] (based on the gathered information), approximately 800 court proceedings are being conducted either directly against participants in the social protests and activists in social movements or in relation to their activities. In the report on oppression produced by the Citizens of the Republic of Poland,, as of the end of January 2018, 472 court trials had been initiated against protesters under the Code of Petty Offences; while a month earlier, there had been only 367 such trials. Twenty-eight criminal cases had been initiated under the Criminal Code (a month earlier there had been only 14 criminal cases), and nine persons were facing criminal charges.
Serious problems are also being caused by the new law on gatherings, which is highly controversial and widely perceived as unconstitutional, and which promotes the so-called cyclical gatherings, such as the Smolensk tragedy monthly commemoration (monthly demonstrations led by the leader of the ruling party, Jarosław Kaczyński, carried out with privileges unavailable to any other forms of street demonstration). For this reason, the Mazovian Voivode [governor] has regularly imposed a ban on pro-democracy protest actions organized on the same day by the Citizens Solidary in Action [Obywatele Solidarnie w Akcji]. Still, all of his previous decisions have been rejected by the District Court in Warsaw.
Serious concern over these attacks on the supremacy of civil rights and freedoms in Poland have been repeatedly expressed by members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (Resolution 2188 (2017), written declaration 641), pointing out in the statement on the resolution of 26 January 2018 that their demands have thus far been ignored by the Polish authorities.
The space for a dialogue between civil society and the authorities continues to shrink. Representatives of non-governmental organizations (particularly those affiliated with Citizens of the Republic of Poland movement [Obywatele RP] are commonly deprived of the opportunity to attend meetings and hearing of the Parliament’s Commissions. Several questionable legislative initiatives which address the most important aspects of public life are being considered without  any public consultation. In particular, these include changes in the legislation on the police, the introduction of anti-terrorism legislation, and amendments to the law on the Institute of National Remembrance (this last has already been adopted).
The authorities have changed some of the procedures for allocating public funds to NGOs. On 26 September 2017, the Senate passed a law regarding the National Institute of Freedom – Centre for the Development of Civil Society. The law was presented as being part of the government’s actions to strengthen civil society. However, the law was sharply criticized by the associations of NGOs and the Commissioner for Human Rights.
The law centralizes the government funds for public organizations within the framework of the established Centre. Since it is aimed at promoting activities which are in line with Christian and patriotic values, funding may become inaccessible for organizations whose work does not correlate with such values. Such an approach by the authorities violates the Constitution, which protects diversity of beliefs and views. The law was signed by the President on 12 October 2017 jeopardizing the independence of civil society in Poland.
Also, NGOs have recorded incidents of public funding having been either provided or terminated for political or ideological reasons.
In connection with the recent disturbing events, the International Civic Solidarity Platform hereby calls for the restoration of the participation of public and human rights organizations in democratic processes in Poland, a return to the European standards of interaction between civil society and government structures, and a guarantee of the independence of civil society initiatives in Poland.
Signed by the following organisations:​
1. The Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
2. Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)
3. Humanrights.ch
4. Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights (Germany/Switzerland)
5. International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law (Kazakhstan)
6. Citizens’ Watch, St. Petersburg (Russia)
7. Moscow Helsinki Group (Russia)
8. Public Verdict (Russia)
9. Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
10. Public Association “Dignity”
11. Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly – Vanadzor
12. Helsinki Committee of Armenia (Armenia)
13. KRF Public Alternative (Ukraine)
14. DRA – German-Russian Exchange (Germany)
15. “OMCT – World Organisation Against Torture”
16. Human Rights Monitoring Institute (Lithuania)
17. Legal Transformation Center (Belarus)
18. International Partnership for Human Rights (Belgium)
19. Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (Bulgaria)
20. Helsinki Association for Human Rights NGO Armenia (Armenia)
21. Human Rights Matter e.V. (Germany)
22. The Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House (Belarus)
23. WILPF Germany (Germany)
24. Association UMDPL (Ukraine)
25. Norwegian Helsinki Committee
26. The Kosova Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims (KRCT) from Kosovo
27. ZARA – Zivilcourage und Anti-Rassismus-Arbeit (Austria)
28. Women of the Don (Russia)
29. Crude Accountability
30. Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
31. Citizens Watch (Russia)
32. Regional Center for Strategic Studies ( Georgia/Azerbaijan)
33. Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russia)
34. UNITED
35. Netherlands Helsinki Committee

Source:
http://www.civicsolidarity.org/article/1545/polish-authorities-reduce-space-activities-ngos-including-human-rights-organizations

The Appeal about lack of proper medical care for Oleh Sentsov and other Ukrainian political prisoners from the LetMyPeopleGo list

November 29, 2017

To the Vice-Chancellor, the Federal Minister for Foreign

Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany,

Mr. Sigmar Gabriel

As of today, about 60 Ukrainian citizens have been detained on political grounds in the territory of the Russian Federation and the occupied Crimea. Most of them have been subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment to force false confessions about the actions they did not commit.

Oleh Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko, Valentyn Vygovsky, Mykola Karpiuk, Stanislav Klykh, Yevhen Panov, Andrii Zakhtey, Andrii Kolomiyets, Serhii Lytvynov, Oleksandr Kostenko and other illegally detained people publicly stated this. Yurii Yatsenko and Gennady Afanasyev, who were released, shared details about the unlawful practices that were applied to people under the control of the Russian Federation.

Stanislav Klykh’s appeal to the European Court of Human Rights is a clear illustration of illegal treatment by the state authorities of the Russian Federation:

“[…] In order to force me to testify, I was subjected to illegal methods of inquiry and investigation, expressed in causing me beatings and injuries, including using handcuffs and electric current, prolonged kneeling, resulting in numerous scars on my wrists, knees […] I was kept in the prison yard for several days without any water or food. As a result of the application of these methods, I was brought to a state of dystrophy, I could not hold a spoon, a pen in my hands, since the hands were dislocated as a result of being handcuffed to the bars”.

The situation is complicated by the unsatisfactory conditions of detention, which further contribute to a sharp deterioration in the health, development and exacerbation of chronic and other diseases.

 

The lawyer of the Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov, who was recognized as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, recently announced a sharp deterioration in the health of the illegally imprisoned. According to him, due to prolonged overcooling, the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis exacerbated and problems with the heart began.

 

We draw attention to the fact that human life and health are the highest values of every civilized state. The right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is guaranteed by Art. 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, Article 11, 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966, as well as Article 11 of the European Social Charter of 1996.

 

This year, the representative of the Russian Federation was elected as a President of the 70th World Health Assembly, the Charter of which was signed by the Russian Federation in 1946. Thus, she acknowledged that “the possession of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is one of the fundamental rights of everyone, regardless of race, religion, political beliefs, economic or social status”.

 

In addition, according to Art. 26 of the Federal Law of 21.11.2011 No 323-FZ “On the basis of public health protection in the Russian Federation” persons, who are in custody, serving a sentence in the form of restriction of liberty, arrest, deprivation of liberty or administrative arrest, are entitled to receive medical assistance, in particular, in necessary cases in medical institutions of the state health system and the municipal health care system in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation.

In pursuance of this Law the Government of the Russian Federation adopted the Resolution dated 28.12.2012 No 1466, which approved the Rules for the provision of medical care in medical institutions of the state and municipal health care system for persons held in custody or serving a sentence in the form of deprivation of liberty. The Rules provide for the possibility of inviting the medical specialists of the said medical institutions for consultation if it is impossible to provide medical assistance in the institutions of the criminal and executive system.

We note that all citizens of Ukraine, who are held for political reasons in the territory of the Russian Federation and the occupied Crimea, need proper medical care. Among them, Dmytro Shtyblikov, who after detention lost 30 kg and was brought to a dystopia, Stanislav Klykh, who lost his mental health after the torture that he suffered, Oleksandr Kostenko, who, due to the lack of an operation, runs the risk of losing the arm broken by the FSB’s staff, Oleksandr Rolchenko< who was in a hospital with a diagnosis of underweight, Volodymyr Dudka, who has been practicing self-medication with a stomach ulcer for ten months, Arsen Dzepparov, who is not provided with medical assistance despite cold kidneys, loss of hearing in his left ear and a sharp deterioration in vision, 19-year-old Pavlo Hryb who due to his disability is constantly taking drugs, so the lack of medicines and proper medical treatment in prison led to the appearance of ulcers on his body.

These are just a few examples of violation of the international obligations by the Russian Federation as for the right of Ukrainian political prisoners to the highest attainable standards of physical and mental health. From the moment of their illegal detention, independent physicians do not have access to them, and therefore, they cannot assess their health and provide proper medical care.

We address you with a request to raise before the Government of the Russian Federation the issue of the need to organize the access of physicians from the International Committee of the Red Cross and other reputable international health organizations to provide qualified medical assistance to Oleh Sentsov and all Ukrainian political prisoners from the LetMyPeopleGo list.

Center for Civil Liberties coordinating the #LetMyPeopleGo campaign

NGO “Association of Relatives of Political Prisoners of the Kremlin”

Media Initiative for Human Rights

Crimea Human Rights Group

Open Dialog Foundation

Association UMDPL

NGO “CrimeaSOS”

Luhansk Regional Human Rights Center “Alternative”

NGO “Social Action Center”

NGO “Peaceful Coast”

Human Rights Information Center

Expert Center for Human Rights

Charitable Foundation “East-SOS”

Euromaidan Press

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research

AIHO Foundation of Regional Initiatives

NGO “Human Rights Initiative”

NGO “Regional Center for Human Rights”/Sevastopol Human Rights Protection Group

KRF “Hromadska Alternatyva”

Centre for Civil Liberties’s statement on the pressure on civil society organisations in Poland

August 7, 2017

6 August, 2017, Kyiv

We have been cooperating with the Open Dialog Foundation (Poland) for many years. In the early days of mass protests in Ukraine, they were one of the first to render assistance to the
newly created initiative ‘EuroMaidan SOS’. The equipment that they provided was used by our civil society observers who were recording the process of fabricated trials against
peaceful protesters in Kyiv.
Following the occupation of Crimea by Russia and the commencement of the hybrid war in the Donbas, the Open Dialog Foundation supported our ‘LetMyPeopleGo’ campaign to
protect Ukrainian citizens, held in detention in Russian prisons for political reasons. Currently, they are among the most loyal defenders of the ‘Kremlin prisoners’ on the
international arena and consistently promote the issue of extending sanctions against the Russian Federation in the EU and the United States.
In view of this, it is very surprising to us to read statements, unsupported by evidence, about the alleged links of the Open Dialog Foundation with the Russian special services. It seems
that the publications, which appear in certain government media, are retaliation for the active position of the organisation and its participation in mass public protests in Poland. In
our opinion, it was the reason for which the shameful scheme of labelling dissidents as‘agents of the Kremlin’ was used.
In addition, currently, individual top Polish officials are calling for unreasonable additional tax audits of the Open Dialog Foundation and even for cancelling its registration as a non-
profit organisation. Similar pressure for participating in massive public protests is being exerted on a number of other public organisations in Poland.
We all remember what social changes took place after a long-lasting campaign of discrediting civic organisations in the Russian Federation alone. Therefore, we consider the
appearance of such publications a red flag for Poland, which has long been an example of democratic transformation of a country in the post-Soviet space, and especially for Ukraine.

Photo: Radio Liberty

Holding a meeting on human rights is not a terrorist conspiracy

July 10, 2017

10 July 2017

 

    On 5 July 2017, ten participants in a human rights training meeting were detained at Büyükada, one of the Princes’ Islands near İstanbul, Turkey. The group consisted of eight representatives of Turkish civil society organisations working on human rights and two foreign consultants on digital security and information management. By the afternoon of July 6, the lawyers of the detained persons learned that their clients are being investigated for membership of an armed organization, a terrorist offense, and will stay in investigative detention initially for seven days.
The undersigned organisations, national and international human rights NGOs from the OSCE region, members of the Civic Solidarity Platform, strongly reject this operation by the Turkish authorities. We appeal for the immediate and unconditional release of the detained persons, participants in a peaceful meeting to advance human rights. Human rights work should not be criminalized. Civil society work for human rights is an important contribution to a healthy society. Holding a meeting on human rights is not a terrorist conspiracy.
The Turkish citizens arrested are Özlem Dalkıran (Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly), lawyer Nalan Erkem (Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly), İlknur Üstün (Women’s Coalition), İdil Eser (Amnesty International Turkey director), Veli Acu (Human Rights Agenda Association), lawyer Günal Kurşun (Human Rights Agenda Association), Şeymus Özbekli (Rights Initiative), and Nejat Taştan (Equal Rights Watch Association). The two consultants are Ali Gharawi, from Sweden, and Peter Steudtner, from Germany.
In the past years, human rights defenders have on several occasions been targeted by governmental repression. This latest attack on human rights defenders comes amidst a wave of repression after the failed coup attempt of 15 July 2016 which has affected a much wider group of persons than those who may have been directly involved in the coup attempt, including journalists, lawyers and politicians. Only last month, Taner Kiliç, the president of Amnesty International Turkey, was arrested together with 22 other lawyers.

Article 19 (international, London)
Association of Ukrainian Human Rights Monitors on Law Enforcement
Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House
Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russia)
Center for Participation and Development (Georgia)
DRA – German-Russian Exchange (Germany)
Fair Trials (international, London)

Golos Svobody (Kyrgyzstan)
Helsinki Citizens Assembly Vanadzor (Armenia)
Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)
Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan
Human Rights House Foundation (international, Oslo)
Human Rights Information Center (Ukraine)
Human Rights Matter (Germany)
IDP Women Association “Consent” (Georgia)
International Partnership for Human Rights (international, Brussels)
International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (international, Copenhagen)
Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (Azerbaijan)
Kadyr Kasiyet (“Dignity”) (Kazakhstan)
Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law
Kharkiv regional foundation Public Alternative (Ukraine)
Legal Policy Research Center (Kazakhstan)
Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights (Germany)
Moscow Helsinki Group
Netherlands Helsinki Committee
Norwegian Helsinki Committee
Office of Civil Freedoms (Tajikistan)
Promo-LEX (Moldova)
Protection of rights without borders (Armenia)
Public Verdict (Russia)
Regional Center for Strategic Studies (Azerbaijan)
Solidarus (Germany)
SOVA Center for Information and Analysis (Russia)
Swiss Helsinki Committee
Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (Germany)
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) (international, Geneva)
[country names added if name of country not included in the name of the organization; for
international organisations, the city where their secretariat is located, is added]

The Civic Solidarity Platform is a decentralized advocacy network of independent civic groups
committed to improving the human rights situation in Europe, Eurasia and the US,
www.civicsolidarity.org.
Contact for this statement: Harry Hummel, Netherlands Helsinki Committee, hhummel@nhc.nl,
+31703926700

On the situation with the nomination at the “Eurovision” from Russia Yulia Samoylova

May 15, 2017

Ukraine has the right to demand the implementation of the law in relation to the Russian singer Yulii Samoylovoy, but the fact that Russia still decided to send its representative to this year held in Kiev “Eurovision” is a kind of a gesture of reconciliation. Such an opinion was expressed by the Russian human rights activist, head of the Moscow Helsinki Group Lyudmila Alekseeva.

“On the one hand, I am glad that our leaders still decide to send a Russian representative at” Eurovision “. Neighborly. This is a good step, which shows the desire of reconciliation. But on the other hand, I understand the Ukrainians: Crimea captured now want to make peace, but the Crimea is not returned. It is clear to me, “- Alexeyev said, commenting on the Ukrainian edition of” Explorer “the situation surrounding the nomination of the representative of Russia in the international music competition” Eurovision “.

Russian human rights activist has also recognized that “there are Ukrainian laws, and they must comply with.” However, she admitted that the Russian singer could have visited the Crimea, “whether he is Ukrainian.”

In this context, Alexeyev told that visited the peninsula, as it was her little homeland to the annexation of the Crimea. Due to old age she can not go there now, but “I fully admit that if I were younger, I would have to go on a his small home, no matter who it belongs to,” – she said.

“I would not want us to even about it [on participation in” Eurovision “Yulii Samoylovoy] quarreled. When fighting bosses, we should not pay attention to it. I belong to the Ukrainians as well as before. What a difference to us? Let them find out the relationship, and we have to treat each other with respect, as it should be neighbors, as it is necessary for people who have a common history, “- Alexeyev said.

At the same time, she added: “I feel very sorry for Russia because of this history of the Crimea.”

Recall that in Russia ended with the internal competitive selection of artists for the contest “Eurovision” -2017, the winner of which was a girl with a disability Julia Samoilova. In the summer of 2015 the singer participated in the festival “World of Sports, and good”, which was held in the Crimea. Thus, according to Ukrainian law, Samoilova violated the procedure for crossing the Ukrainian border. The singer is also listed as a “purgatory” center “Peacemaker”.

March 13 Advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Anton Gerashchenko said that the law enforcement agencies , there are two ways to resolve the situation on the Russian representative at “Eurovision” Yulii Samoylovoy, which violated the legislation of Ukraine. According to him, the first option – not to let Samoilov to Ukraine for violating the rules visit the occupied territory of Crimea. The second – to give Samoilova permission to enter the country, but at the same time and bring her to justice for violation of the state border.

Sourse, 14/05/2017

Such meetings are beneficial for all participants

June 10, 2015

Azerbaijani human rights activist and director of the Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan (HRCA), Eldar Zeynalov summed up ended in Kiev workshop on exchange of experiences and best practices “Improving skills in the field of human rights advocacy (promotion and protection of human rights).”

“Such meetings are mutually beneficial,” – suggested Eldar Zeynalov.

According to the head of the OCA, the seminar was attended by five representatives of Azerbaijan. “Except for me, their participation in the seminar later unveiled a lawyer Fariz Namazly. The names of the other three parties, I do not know if I can make public.

Organizers asked not to mention the names of the participants without agreement with them. I can only say that the two human rights defenders, and three lawyers participated from Azerbaijan. “

Recall that the seminar held in the capital of Ukraine on 4-5 June, organized by the Netherlands Helsinki Committee and the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland) for the human rights of a number of countries of the former Soviet Union, including Azerbaijan.

For two days, the participants discussed the planning and advocacy strategy (promotion and protection of human rights), including working with international organizations such as the UN, Council of Europe, the European Union and the OSCE, as well as exchanged between human rights defenders from different countries with innovative approaches to this area.

According to the expert, such events often performed earlier. It was the general training, and explain the ways of European standards, and so on.

“This workshop was more specific. Standards as they were, and have remained so, just change the working conditions. They exchanged views on how to operate in such conditions, how to achieve positive changes in human rights issues.

We never work in isolation. We have partners in the West, that we support or do not support. Which have their own vision of the situation in the country and is not always correct and complete. And the result is that some campaigns in our defense, wrong calculation, not the tone chosen, the methods used do not become “blank shot”, as he was selected.

And for “Westerners” to us useful to meet. It is mutually useful meeting. The workshop in addition to representatives of Azerbaijan, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, was also attended by representatives of immigrant organizations in France.

But in fact, they work in the Russian direction. I became more optimistic look at things and know what are the conditions for human rights defenders in Belarus, Russia.

In the same Russian clamped and dissidents, and human rights activists. They are looking for other outlets. Nobody is going to give, “- said E. Zeynalov.

Note that at the time of the seminar, after a brief lull, resumed again fighting in eastern Ukraine between the forces of the anti-terrorist operation and separatists.

According to E. Zeynalov, “in the city met the guys in camouflage, the number of police officers was greater than that observed a couple of years ago.”

“However, such as in Russia, where visitors to the carp, check documents, did not exist.

It is not felt that Kiev – the capital of the belligerent State. In the city center, where the Maidan, traces the events of last year. The same House of Trade Unions has not been refurbished. Many graffiti that were made then.

In a couple of places monuments installed. Sometimes came a beautiful girl who collected donations for the wounded. Only in this war, and manifested. No aggressive slogans on the wall, sometimes there are signs saying: “Ukraine – one country, one nation.” No militarist propaganda personally I have not seen “- he said.

Sourse, 09/06/2015

Результаты поиска:

Joint appeal on the inappropriate use of extremist charges, mass detention and use of torture against peaceful demonstrators, activists and government’s critics in Kazakhstan.

December 17, 2018

Despite the ratification of the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Kazakhstan, the human rights situation in the country has sharply deteriorated.

Fundamental rights, such as freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, are disrespected under the guise of fighting “extremism”. Since 13 March 2018, the day that marks the authorities’ ban of the peaceful opposition movement ‘Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan’ (DCK), more than 450 persons, participating in peaceful rallies or showing different form of support for DCK (e.g. posting and commenting social media contents, walking with blue balloons, etc.) have fallen victim of political persecution.

We call for a stepping up of efforts to ensure political pluralism in the country and condemn the repression of peaceful activists and supporters of opposition movement DCK and call for their unconditional release. Kazakhstan has to ensure its citizens free access to social media networks and independent media outlets, thus ceasing the blocking or restriction of such platforms. We stress the importance of the independence of lawyers and the protection of their rights to freely practice their profession and defend their clients without fear of reprisals.

We find this particularly worrying that on 10 May 2018, during the visit of European Parliament’s Delegation to Kazakhstan, police resorted to excessive use of force against peaceful protesters and detained more than 150 people, while others were placed under administrative arrests. On that day peaceful rallies against the use of torture and politically motivated imprisonment were held in cities across the country.

Among them, more than 30 people have been prosecuted in connection with their support of DCK’s ideas, including: activists Ablovas Dzhumayev, Almat Zhumagulov and poet Kenzhebek Abishev, social media user Aset Abishev and blogger Muratbek Tungishbayev. At least six persons have reported the use of torture and a lack of medical care in the place of detention. The practice of forced confession in exchange for release, and psychological pressure exerted on political prisoners and their relatives are undermining the trust in the Kazakhstani justice system, as exemplified by the cases of Aset Nurzhaubay and Muratbek Tungishbayev.

We were informed that political prisoners are losing hope for justice and taking desperate steps. For example, on 26 November 2018, Almat Zhumagulov and Kenzhebek Abishev threatened suicide in protest against the accusatory bias in court decisions and the fabricated nature of the case. On 27 November 2018, Zhumagulov cut his arm during the court session.At the same time Iskander Yerimbetov, the brother of human rights activist and lawyer Bota Jardemalie, was arrested, tortured and convicted in October 2018 to 7 years’ imprisonment in retaliation for his sister’s professional activities. Due to the outcome of his case, lawyers in Kazakhstan fear to defend victims of political persecution and torture.The number of political prisoners in Kazakhstan is increasing. More than 20 political prisoners are being held in detention. Human rights defenders are also under attack. Restrictions imposed on NGOs and criminal prosecution of human rights activists, such as Elena Semenova, severely shrink the space for civil society.

We call on Kazakhstani authorities to implement the communications from the UN Human Rights Committee, UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, and call without further delay to release the political prisoners Mukhtar Dzhakishev, Maks Bokayev and Iskander Yerimbetov; compliance with the UN requirements is an important condition for further cooperation between the EU and Kazakhstan

We expect the urgent intervention of the EEAS, encourage the initiation of further EU official monitoring missions and call on the EEAS to support such missions in order to observe the human rights situation and attend court trials against people prosecuted for political reasons. At the same time, we strongly recommend that the European Commission and the EU Member States pursue a policy of conditionality in the case of Kazakhstan. If the latter state wants to be a recipient of EU funding and attract investments, it first must ensure the cessation of cruel practices against detainees in prisons, an end to impunity for the offenders, freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, and the right to a defence and a free trial.

 

Signatures

 

Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)

Defending Democracy

Federazione Italiana Diritti Umani (FIDU)

Human Rights Information Center (Ukraine)

Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS)

Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG)

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research (KhISR)

Open Dialogue Foundation (ODF)

The Arrested Lawyers Initiative

Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF)

Polish authorities reduce the space for the activities of NGOs including human rights organizations in the country

May 2, 2018
Since the end of 2015, we have seen disturbing trends in the actions of the Polish government and the parliamentary majority formed by the populist-nationalist party, Law and Justice (PiS), which harm the activities of human rights defenders and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Poland.
Unconstitutional legislative initiatives have jeopardized both democracy and the rule of law in Poland, particularly the principle of effective separation of powers. Following an acute conflict, the ruling majority in the Parliament de facto subordinated the Constitutional Court to itself, making this state body fully dependent on political decisions.
Numerous leading Polish NGOs including human rights organizations have expressed disagreement with these actions. In July 2017, NGOs took active part in mass peaceful protests aimed at protecting the Constitution, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary in Poland.
The significant mobilization of society led to President Andrzej Duda vetoing two of the three controversial laws aimed at undermining the independence of the judiciary. in July 2017. The independence of the Supreme Court and the National Council of the Judiciary was temporarily preserved. However, the law on the system of ordinary courts came into force, widening the control of the Minister of Justice, who is also the General Prosecutor of Poland, over the courts. And so, as early as in December 2017, despite the next wave of public protests, the Parliament adopted slightly changed, unconstitutional laws that virtually eliminate the independence of the Supreme Court and the National Council of Justice.
In response to the participation of NGOs in peaceful protests, the authorities created numerous restrictions on the third sector. Many civil initiatives critical to the authorities were targeted for attack.
In July 2017, NGOs that criticized state bodies were subjected to escalated and unprecedented pressure. To date, this concerns, in particular, NGOs and initiatives such as: Citizens Solidary in Action [Obywatele Solidarnie w Akcji], Citizens of the Republic of Poland [Obywatele RP], the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog], the Committee for the Defence of Democracy [Komitet Obrony Demokracji], Action Democracy [Akcja Demokracja], the All-Poland Women’s Strike [Ogólnopolski Strajk Kobiet], the Centre for Women’s Rights [Centrum Praw Kobiet], the BABA Lubuskie Association for the Protection of Women’s Rights [BABA Lubuskie Stowarzyszenie na Rzecz Kobiet]. Some of these NGOs faced unjustified inspections, searches and lawsuits, and their representatives were subjected to numerous interrogations and even secret surveillance. Foreigners associated with these organizations are concerned about their future in Poland due to the possibility of losing their right to stay in the country.
For example, the Polish police conducted searches and seized documents and equipment from the offices of several women’s organizations (the offices of the Centre for Women’s Rights and the BABA Association). This happened the day after protest actions in defense of women’s rights in Poland was held in October 2017. Another example: Poland’s then-Minister of Foreign Affairs (MFA) filed a motion with the court to appoint what is known as a ‘compulsory administration’ to replace the existing members of the Management Board of the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog]. The dispute, which is being continued by the current Polish MFA Jacek Czaputowicz will eventually be resolved by a court ruling. Similar means were intended to be used against Citizens of the Republic of Poland [Obywatele RP] by the then-Minister of Interior, Mariusz Błaszczak.
Incidents of prosecution of LGBT organizations have been recorded. A particularly alarming signal is the cessation of a number of investigations into physical attacks against LGBT activists and the offices of their organizations. Alongside women’s rights organizations, they have been practically cut off from almost all available state-funding. The Polish state clearly favours initiatives focused on nationalist and religious values instead.
Members of the Polish government led by the then-Prime Minister Beata Szydło (in particular, the former Minister of the Interior, Mariusz Błaszczak, his deputy Jarosław Zieliński, the Minister–Coordinator of the Special Services of Poland Mariusz Kamiński, former Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski and the Minister of National Defence Antoni Macierewicz) publicly discussed actions to be taken against specific NGOs.
In addition, the aforementioned NGOs, as well as the Office of the Polish Ombudsman, have become victims of information attacks and denigrating media campaigns. These smear campaigns are based on manipulations, half-truths and outright falsehoods. These slanders are spread by state and pro-government Polish media having close ties to the ruling party.
NGOs have been accused of ‘manipulating public opinion’ and ‘artificially provoking protests’ ‘for money from abroad’. Their representatives are portrayed as ‘traitors to the motherland’, or ‘puppets’ in the hands of foreign states and other foreign actors (for example, George Soros, Russia, Germany or ‘Brussels elites’).
The denigrating campaigns aim to intimidate human rights defenders and undermine the trust of Polish society in the work of civil society. Another dangerous consequence of these campaigns may be the creation of negative attitudes towards any international or foreign structures in society. Recently, the actor and activist for the protection of the secular state Krzysztof Pieczyński fell victim to media harassment, and was subsequently beaten in the street by unknown persons in Warsaw.
Attacks on NGOs and human rights defenders are being carried out with the support of extreme right and nationalist organizations. The attacks are openly xenophobic in nature. In particular, they are being directed against the large community of Ukrainians in Poland. Some victims are being denied the right to Polish citizenship. These actions are related to the participation of Ukrainian citizens living in Poland in protests, as well as the work of the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog] and other Polish organizations which provided humanitarian assistance to Ukraine in the period of Euromaidan. 

Reluctant response of the law enforcement bodies to the nationalist and xenophobic incidents leads to growing number of assaults on foreigners in Poland.
Members of the right-wing parties of the Sejm and Members of the European Parliament from Poland are also carrying out hostile actions against specific NGOs and civil society in general. For example, six members of parliament have made public statements about the need to restrict or even stop the activities of the Open Dialog Foundation (Fundacja Otwarty Dialog). The organization was accused of representing an ‘external’ leftist ‘threat to the Polish State’, ‘violating Ukrainian–Polish relations’ and, in general, ‘provoking an uprising’ in Poland. No facts exist which would confirm that the organization has been carrying out such activities and, thus, no such evidence has been presented.
At the moment, according to the reports prepared by the Citizens of the Republic of Poland movement [Obywatele RP] (based on the gathered information), approximately 800 court proceedings are being conducted either directly against participants in the social protests and activists in social movements or in relation to their activities. In the report on oppression produced by the Citizens of the Republic of Poland,, as of the end of January 2018, 472 court trials had been initiated against protesters under the Code of Petty Offences; while a month earlier, there had been only 367 such trials. Twenty-eight criminal cases had been initiated under the Criminal Code (a month earlier there had been only 14 criminal cases), and nine persons were facing criminal charges.
Serious problems are also being caused by the new law on gatherings, which is highly controversial and widely perceived as unconstitutional, and which promotes the so-called cyclical gatherings, such as the Smolensk tragedy monthly commemoration (monthly demonstrations led by the leader of the ruling party, Jarosław Kaczyński, carried out with privileges unavailable to any other forms of street demonstration). For this reason, the Mazovian Voivode [governor] has regularly imposed a ban on pro-democracy protest actions organized on the same day by the Citizens Solidary in Action [Obywatele Solidarnie w Akcji]. Still, all of his previous decisions have been rejected by the District Court in Warsaw.
Serious concern over these attacks on the supremacy of civil rights and freedoms in Poland have been repeatedly expressed by members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (Resolution 2188 (2017), written declaration 641), pointing out in the statement on the resolution of 26 January 2018 that their demands have thus far been ignored by the Polish authorities.
The space for a dialogue between civil society and the authorities continues to shrink. Representatives of non-governmental organizations (particularly those affiliated with Citizens of the Republic of Poland movement [Obywatele RP] are commonly deprived of the opportunity to attend meetings and hearing of the Parliament’s Commissions. Several questionable legislative initiatives which address the most important aspects of public life are being considered without  any public consultation. In particular, these include changes in the legislation on the police, the introduction of anti-terrorism legislation, and amendments to the law on the Institute of National Remembrance (this last has already been adopted).
The authorities have changed some of the procedures for allocating public funds to NGOs. On 26 September 2017, the Senate passed a law regarding the National Institute of Freedom – Centre for the Development of Civil Society. The law was presented as being part of the government’s actions to strengthen civil society. However, the law was sharply criticized by the associations of NGOs and the Commissioner for Human Rights.
The law centralizes the government funds for public organizations within the framework of the established Centre. Since it is aimed at promoting activities which are in line with Christian and patriotic values, funding may become inaccessible for organizations whose work does not correlate with such values. Such an approach by the authorities violates the Constitution, which protects diversity of beliefs and views. The law was signed by the President on 12 October 2017 jeopardizing the independence of civil society in Poland.
Also, NGOs have recorded incidents of public funding having been either provided or terminated for political or ideological reasons.
In connection with the recent disturbing events, the International Civic Solidarity Platform hereby calls for the restoration of the participation of public and human rights organizations in democratic processes in Poland, a return to the European standards of interaction between civil society and government structures, and a guarantee of the independence of civil society initiatives in Poland.
Signed by the following organisations:​
1. The Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
2. Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)
3. Humanrights.ch
4. Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights (Germany/Switzerland)
5. International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law (Kazakhstan)
6. Citizens’ Watch, St. Petersburg (Russia)
7. Moscow Helsinki Group (Russia)
8. Public Verdict (Russia)
9. Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
10. Public Association “Dignity”
11. Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly – Vanadzor
12. Helsinki Committee of Armenia (Armenia)
13. KRF Public Alternative (Ukraine)
14. DRA – German-Russian Exchange (Germany)
15. “OMCT – World Organisation Against Torture”
16. Human Rights Monitoring Institute (Lithuania)
17. Legal Transformation Center (Belarus)
18. International Partnership for Human Rights (Belgium)
19. Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (Bulgaria)
20. Helsinki Association for Human Rights NGO Armenia (Armenia)
21. Human Rights Matter e.V. (Germany)
22. The Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House (Belarus)
23. WILPF Germany (Germany)
24. Association UMDPL (Ukraine)
25. Norwegian Helsinki Committee
26. The Kosova Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims (KRCT) from Kosovo
27. ZARA – Zivilcourage und Anti-Rassismus-Arbeit (Austria)
28. Women of the Don (Russia)
29. Crude Accountability
30. Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
31. Citizens Watch (Russia)
32. Regional Center for Strategic Studies ( Georgia/Azerbaijan)
33. Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russia)
34. UNITED
35. Netherlands Helsinki Committee

Source:
http://www.civicsolidarity.org/article/1545/polish-authorities-reduce-space-activities-ngos-including-human-rights-organizations

The Appeal about lack of proper medical care for Oleh Sentsov and other Ukrainian political prisoners from the LetMyPeopleGo list

November 29, 2017

To the Vice-Chancellor, the Federal Minister for Foreign

Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany,

Mr. Sigmar Gabriel

As of today, about 60 Ukrainian citizens have been detained on political grounds in the territory of the Russian Federation and the occupied Crimea. Most of them have been subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment to force false confessions about the actions they did not commit.

Oleh Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko, Valentyn Vygovsky, Mykola Karpiuk, Stanislav Klykh, Yevhen Panov, Andrii Zakhtey, Andrii Kolomiyets, Serhii Lytvynov, Oleksandr Kostenko and other illegally detained people publicly stated this. Yurii Yatsenko and Gennady Afanasyev, who were released, shared details about the unlawful practices that were applied to people under the control of the Russian Federation.

Stanislav Klykh’s appeal to the European Court of Human Rights is a clear illustration of illegal treatment by the state authorities of the Russian Federation:

“[…] In order to force me to testify, I was subjected to illegal methods of inquiry and investigation, expressed in causing me beatings and injuries, including using handcuffs and electric current, prolonged kneeling, resulting in numerous scars on my wrists, knees […] I was kept in the prison yard for several days without any water or food. As a result of the application of these methods, I was brought to a state of dystrophy, I could not hold a spoon, a pen in my hands, since the hands were dislocated as a result of being handcuffed to the bars”.

The situation is complicated by the unsatisfactory conditions of detention, which further contribute to a sharp deterioration in the health, development and exacerbation of chronic and other diseases.

 

The lawyer of the Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov, who was recognized as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, recently announced a sharp deterioration in the health of the illegally imprisoned. According to him, due to prolonged overcooling, the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis exacerbated and problems with the heart began.

 

We draw attention to the fact that human life and health are the highest values of every civilized state. The right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is guaranteed by Art. 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, Article 11, 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966, as well as Article 11 of the European Social Charter of 1996.

 

This year, the representative of the Russian Federation was elected as a President of the 70th World Health Assembly, the Charter of which was signed by the Russian Federation in 1946. Thus, she acknowledged that “the possession of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is one of the fundamental rights of everyone, regardless of race, religion, political beliefs, economic or social status”.

 

In addition, according to Art. 26 of the Federal Law of 21.11.2011 No 323-FZ “On the basis of public health protection in the Russian Federation” persons, who are in custody, serving a sentence in the form of restriction of liberty, arrest, deprivation of liberty or administrative arrest, are entitled to receive medical assistance, in particular, in necessary cases in medical institutions of the state health system and the municipal health care system in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation.

In pursuance of this Law the Government of the Russian Federation adopted the Resolution dated 28.12.2012 No 1466, which approved the Rules for the provision of medical care in medical institutions of the state and municipal health care system for persons held in custody or serving a sentence in the form of deprivation of liberty. The Rules provide for the possibility of inviting the medical specialists of the said medical institutions for consultation if it is impossible to provide medical assistance in the institutions of the criminal and executive system.

We note that all citizens of Ukraine, who are held for political reasons in the territory of the Russian Federation and the occupied Crimea, need proper medical care. Among them, Dmytro Shtyblikov, who after detention lost 30 kg and was brought to a dystopia, Stanislav Klykh, who lost his mental health after the torture that he suffered, Oleksandr Kostenko, who, due to the lack of an operation, runs the risk of losing the arm broken by the FSB’s staff, Oleksandr Rolchenko< who was in a hospital with a diagnosis of underweight, Volodymyr Dudka, who has been practicing self-medication with a stomach ulcer for ten months, Arsen Dzepparov, who is not provided with medical assistance despite cold kidneys, loss of hearing in his left ear and a sharp deterioration in vision, 19-year-old Pavlo Hryb who due to his disability is constantly taking drugs, so the lack of medicines and proper medical treatment in prison led to the appearance of ulcers on his body.

These are just a few examples of violation of the international obligations by the Russian Federation as for the right of Ukrainian political prisoners to the highest attainable standards of physical and mental health. From the moment of their illegal detention, independent physicians do not have access to them, and therefore, they cannot assess their health and provide proper medical care.

We address you with a request to raise before the Government of the Russian Federation the issue of the need to organize the access of physicians from the International Committee of the Red Cross and other reputable international health organizations to provide qualified medical assistance to Oleh Sentsov and all Ukrainian political prisoners from the LetMyPeopleGo list.

Center for Civil Liberties coordinating the #LetMyPeopleGo campaign

NGO “Association of Relatives of Political Prisoners of the Kremlin”

Media Initiative for Human Rights

Crimea Human Rights Group

Open Dialog Foundation

Association UMDPL

NGO “CrimeaSOS”

Luhansk Regional Human Rights Center “Alternative”

NGO “Social Action Center”

NGO “Peaceful Coast”

Human Rights Information Center

Expert Center for Human Rights

Charitable Foundation “East-SOS”

Euromaidan Press

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research

AIHO Foundation of Regional Initiatives

NGO “Human Rights Initiative”

NGO “Regional Center for Human Rights”/Sevastopol Human Rights Protection Group

KRF “Hromadska Alternatyva”

Centre for Civil Liberties’s statement on the pressure on civil society organisations in Poland

August 7, 2017

6 August, 2017, Kyiv

We have been cooperating with the Open Dialog Foundation (Poland) for many years. In the early days of mass protests in Ukraine, they were one of the first to render assistance to the
newly created initiative ‘EuroMaidan SOS’. The equipment that they provided was used by our civil society observers who were recording the process of fabricated trials against
peaceful protesters in Kyiv.
Following the occupation of Crimea by Russia and the commencement of the hybrid war in the Donbas, the Open Dialog Foundation supported our ‘LetMyPeopleGo’ campaign to
protect Ukrainian citizens, held in detention in Russian prisons for political reasons. Currently, they are among the most loyal defenders of the ‘Kremlin prisoners’ on the
international arena and consistently promote the issue of extending sanctions against the Russian Federation in the EU and the United States.
In view of this, it is very surprising to us to read statements, unsupported by evidence, about the alleged links of the Open Dialog Foundation with the Russian special services. It seems
that the publications, which appear in certain government media, are retaliation for the active position of the organisation and its participation in mass public protests in Poland. In
our opinion, it was the reason for which the shameful scheme of labelling dissidents as‘agents of the Kremlin’ was used.
In addition, currently, individual top Polish officials are calling for unreasonable additional tax audits of the Open Dialog Foundation and even for cancelling its registration as a non-
profit organisation. Similar pressure for participating in massive public protests is being exerted on a number of other public organisations in Poland.
We all remember what social changes took place after a long-lasting campaign of discrediting civic organisations in the Russian Federation alone. Therefore, we consider the
appearance of such publications a red flag for Poland, which has long been an example of democratic transformation of a country in the post-Soviet space, and especially for Ukraine.

Photo: Radio Liberty

Holding a meeting on human rights is not a terrorist conspiracy

July 10, 2017

10 July 2017

 

    On 5 July 2017, ten participants in a human rights training meeting were detained at Büyükada, one of the Princes’ Islands near İstanbul, Turkey. The group consisted of eight representatives of Turkish civil society organisations working on human rights and two foreign consultants on digital security and information management. By the afternoon of July 6, the lawyers of the detained persons learned that their clients are being investigated for membership of an armed organization, a terrorist offense, and will stay in investigative detention initially for seven days.
The undersigned organisations, national and international human rights NGOs from the OSCE region, members of the Civic Solidarity Platform, strongly reject this operation by the Turkish authorities. We appeal for the immediate and unconditional release of the detained persons, participants in a peaceful meeting to advance human rights. Human rights work should not be criminalized. Civil society work for human rights is an important contribution to a healthy society. Holding a meeting on human rights is not a terrorist conspiracy.
The Turkish citizens arrested are Özlem Dalkıran (Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly), lawyer Nalan Erkem (Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly), İlknur Üstün (Women’s Coalition), İdil Eser (Amnesty International Turkey director), Veli Acu (Human Rights Agenda Association), lawyer Günal Kurşun (Human Rights Agenda Association), Şeymus Özbekli (Rights Initiative), and Nejat Taştan (Equal Rights Watch Association). The two consultants are Ali Gharawi, from Sweden, and Peter Steudtner, from Germany.
In the past years, human rights defenders have on several occasions been targeted by governmental repression. This latest attack on human rights defenders comes amidst a wave of repression after the failed coup attempt of 15 July 2016 which has affected a much wider group of persons than those who may have been directly involved in the coup attempt, including journalists, lawyers and politicians. Only last month, Taner Kiliç, the president of Amnesty International Turkey, was arrested together with 22 other lawyers.

Article 19 (international, London)
Association of Ukrainian Human Rights Monitors on Law Enforcement
Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House
Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russia)
Center for Participation and Development (Georgia)
DRA – German-Russian Exchange (Germany)
Fair Trials (international, London)

Golos Svobody (Kyrgyzstan)
Helsinki Citizens Assembly Vanadzor (Armenia)
Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)
Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan
Human Rights House Foundation (international, Oslo)
Human Rights Information Center (Ukraine)
Human Rights Matter (Germany)
IDP Women Association “Consent” (Georgia)
International Partnership for Human Rights (international, Brussels)
International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (international, Copenhagen)
Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (Azerbaijan)
Kadyr Kasiyet (“Dignity”) (Kazakhstan)
Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law
Kharkiv regional foundation Public Alternative (Ukraine)
Legal Policy Research Center (Kazakhstan)
Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights (Germany)
Moscow Helsinki Group
Netherlands Helsinki Committee
Norwegian Helsinki Committee
Office of Civil Freedoms (Tajikistan)
Promo-LEX (Moldova)
Protection of rights without borders (Armenia)
Public Verdict (Russia)
Regional Center for Strategic Studies (Azerbaijan)
Solidarus (Germany)
SOVA Center for Information and Analysis (Russia)
Swiss Helsinki Committee
Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (Germany)
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) (international, Geneva)
[country names added if name of country not included in the name of the organization; for
international organisations, the city where their secretariat is located, is added]

The Civic Solidarity Platform is a decentralized advocacy network of independent civic groups
committed to improving the human rights situation in Europe, Eurasia and the US,
www.civicsolidarity.org.
Contact for this statement: Harry Hummel, Netherlands Helsinki Committee, hhummel@nhc.nl,
+31703926700

On the situation with the nomination at the “Eurovision” from Russia Yulia Samoylova

May 15, 2017

Ukraine has the right to demand the implementation of the law in relation to the Russian singer Yulii Samoylovoy, but the fact that Russia still decided to send its representative to this year held in Kiev “Eurovision” is a kind of a gesture of reconciliation. Such an opinion was expressed by the Russian human rights activist, head of the Moscow Helsinki Group Lyudmila Alekseeva.

“On the one hand, I am glad that our leaders still decide to send a Russian representative at” Eurovision “. Neighborly. This is a good step, which shows the desire of reconciliation. But on the other hand, I understand the Ukrainians: Crimea captured now want to make peace, but the Crimea is not returned. It is clear to me, “- Alexeyev said, commenting on the Ukrainian edition of” Explorer “the situation surrounding the nomination of the representative of Russia in the international music competition” Eurovision “.

Russian human rights activist has also recognized that “there are Ukrainian laws, and they must comply with.” However, she admitted that the Russian singer could have visited the Crimea, “whether he is Ukrainian.”

In this context, Alexeyev told that visited the peninsula, as it was her little homeland to the annexation of the Crimea. Due to old age she can not go there now, but “I fully admit that if I were younger, I would have to go on a his small home, no matter who it belongs to,” – she said.

“I would not want us to even about it [on participation in” Eurovision “Yulii Samoylovoy] quarreled. When fighting bosses, we should not pay attention to it. I belong to the Ukrainians as well as before. What a difference to us? Let them find out the relationship, and we have to treat each other with respect, as it should be neighbors, as it is necessary for people who have a common history, “- Alexeyev said.

At the same time, she added: “I feel very sorry for Russia because of this history of the Crimea.”

Recall that in Russia ended with the internal competitive selection of artists for the contest “Eurovision” -2017, the winner of which was a girl with a disability Julia Samoilova. In the summer of 2015 the singer participated in the festival “World of Sports, and good”, which was held in the Crimea. Thus, according to Ukrainian law, Samoilova violated the procedure for crossing the Ukrainian border. The singer is also listed as a “purgatory” center “Peacemaker”.

March 13 Advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Anton Gerashchenko said that the law enforcement agencies , there are two ways to resolve the situation on the Russian representative at “Eurovision” Yulii Samoylovoy, which violated the legislation of Ukraine. According to him, the first option – not to let Samoilov to Ukraine for violating the rules visit the occupied territory of Crimea. The second – to give Samoilova permission to enter the country, but at the same time and bring her to justice for violation of the state border.

Sourse, 14/05/2017

Such meetings are beneficial for all participants

June 10, 2015

Azerbaijani human rights activist and director of the Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan (HRCA), Eldar Zeynalov summed up ended in Kiev workshop on exchange of experiences and best practices “Improving skills in the field of human rights advocacy (promotion and protection of human rights).”

“Such meetings are mutually beneficial,” – suggested Eldar Zeynalov.

According to the head of the OCA, the seminar was attended by five representatives of Azerbaijan. “Except for me, their participation in the seminar later unveiled a lawyer Fariz Namazly. The names of the other three parties, I do not know if I can make public.

Organizers asked not to mention the names of the participants without agreement with them. I can only say that the two human rights defenders, and three lawyers participated from Azerbaijan. “

Recall that the seminar held in the capital of Ukraine on 4-5 June, organized by the Netherlands Helsinki Committee and the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland) for the human rights of a number of countries of the former Soviet Union, including Azerbaijan.

For two days, the participants discussed the planning and advocacy strategy (promotion and protection of human rights), including working with international organizations such as the UN, Council of Europe, the European Union and the OSCE, as well as exchanged between human rights defenders from different countries with innovative approaches to this area.

According to the expert, such events often performed earlier. It was the general training, and explain the ways of European standards, and so on.

“This workshop was more specific. Standards as they were, and have remained so, just change the working conditions. They exchanged views on how to operate in such conditions, how to achieve positive changes in human rights issues.

We never work in isolation. We have partners in the West, that we support or do not support. Which have their own vision of the situation in the country and is not always correct and complete. And the result is that some campaigns in our defense, wrong calculation, not the tone chosen, the methods used do not become “blank shot”, as he was selected.

And for “Westerners” to us useful to meet. It is mutually useful meeting. The workshop in addition to representatives of Azerbaijan, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, was also attended by representatives of immigrant organizations in France.

But in fact, they work in the Russian direction. I became more optimistic look at things and know what are the conditions for human rights defenders in Belarus, Russia.

In the same Russian clamped and dissidents, and human rights activists. They are looking for other outlets. Nobody is going to give, “- said E. Zeynalov.

Note that at the time of the seminar, after a brief lull, resumed again fighting in eastern Ukraine between the forces of the anti-terrorist operation and separatists.

According to E. Zeynalov, “in the city met the guys in camouflage, the number of police officers was greater than that observed a couple of years ago.”

“However, such as in Russia, where visitors to the carp, check documents, did not exist.

It is not felt that Kiev – the capital of the belligerent State. In the city center, where the Maidan, traces the events of last year. The same House of Trade Unions has not been refurbished. Many graffiti that were made then.

In a couple of places monuments installed. Sometimes came a beautiful girl who collected donations for the wounded. Only in this war, and manifested. No aggressive slogans on the wall, sometimes there are signs saying: “Ukraine – one country, one nation.” No militarist propaganda personally I have not seen “- he said.

Sourse, 09/06/2015

Результаты поиска:

Joint appeal on the inappropriate use of extremist charges, mass detention and use of torture against peaceful demonstrators, activists and government’s critics in Kazakhstan.

December 17, 2018

Despite the ratification of the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Kazakhstan, the human rights situation in the country has sharply deteriorated.

Fundamental rights, such as freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, are disrespected under the guise of fighting “extremism”. Since 13 March 2018, the day that marks the authorities’ ban of the peaceful opposition movement ‘Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan’ (DCK), more than 450 persons, participating in peaceful rallies or showing different form of support for DCK (e.g. posting and commenting social media contents, walking with blue balloons, etc.) have fallen victim of political persecution.

We call for a stepping up of efforts to ensure political pluralism in the country and condemn the repression of peaceful activists and supporters of opposition movement DCK and call for their unconditional release. Kazakhstan has to ensure its citizens free access to social media networks and independent media outlets, thus ceasing the blocking or restriction of such platforms. We stress the importance of the independence of lawyers and the protection of their rights to freely practice their profession and defend their clients without fear of reprisals.

We find this particularly worrying that on 10 May 2018, during the visit of European Parliament’s Delegation to Kazakhstan, police resorted to excessive use of force against peaceful protesters and detained more than 150 people, while others were placed under administrative arrests. On that day peaceful rallies against the use of torture and politically motivated imprisonment were held in cities across the country.

Among them, more than 30 people have been prosecuted in connection with their support of DCK’s ideas, including: activists Ablovas Dzhumayev, Almat Zhumagulov and poet Kenzhebek Abishev, social media user Aset Abishev and blogger Muratbek Tungishbayev. At least six persons have reported the use of torture and a lack of medical care in the place of detention. The practice of forced confession in exchange for release, and psychological pressure exerted on political prisoners and their relatives are undermining the trust in the Kazakhstani justice system, as exemplified by the cases of Aset Nurzhaubay and Muratbek Tungishbayev.

We were informed that political prisoners are losing hope for justice and taking desperate steps. For example, on 26 November 2018, Almat Zhumagulov and Kenzhebek Abishev threatened suicide in protest against the accusatory bias in court decisions and the fabricated nature of the case. On 27 November 2018, Zhumagulov cut his arm during the court session.At the same time Iskander Yerimbetov, the brother of human rights activist and lawyer Bota Jardemalie, was arrested, tortured and convicted in October 2018 to 7 years’ imprisonment in retaliation for his sister’s professional activities. Due to the outcome of his case, lawyers in Kazakhstan fear to defend victims of political persecution and torture.The number of political prisoners in Kazakhstan is increasing. More than 20 political prisoners are being held in detention. Human rights defenders are also under attack. Restrictions imposed on NGOs and criminal prosecution of human rights activists, such as Elena Semenova, severely shrink the space for civil society.

We call on Kazakhstani authorities to implement the communications from the UN Human Rights Committee, UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, and call without further delay to release the political prisoners Mukhtar Dzhakishev, Maks Bokayev and Iskander Yerimbetov; compliance with the UN requirements is an important condition for further cooperation between the EU and Kazakhstan

We expect the urgent intervention of the EEAS, encourage the initiation of further EU official monitoring missions and call on the EEAS to support such missions in order to observe the human rights situation and attend court trials against people prosecuted for political reasons. At the same time, we strongly recommend that the European Commission and the EU Member States pursue a policy of conditionality in the case of Kazakhstan. If the latter state wants to be a recipient of EU funding and attract investments, it first must ensure the cessation of cruel practices against detainees in prisons, an end to impunity for the offenders, freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, and the right to a defence and a free trial.

 

Signatures

 

Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)

Defending Democracy

Federazione Italiana Diritti Umani (FIDU)

Human Rights Information Center (Ukraine)

Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS)

Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG)

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research (KhISR)

Open Dialogue Foundation (ODF)

The Arrested Lawyers Initiative

Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF)

Polish authorities reduce the space for the activities of NGOs including human rights organizations in the country

May 2, 2018
Since the end of 2015, we have seen disturbing trends in the actions of the Polish government and the parliamentary majority formed by the populist-nationalist party, Law and Justice (PiS), which harm the activities of human rights defenders and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Poland.
Unconstitutional legislative initiatives have jeopardized both democracy and the rule of law in Poland, particularly the principle of effective separation of powers. Following an acute conflict, the ruling majority in the Parliament de facto subordinated the Constitutional Court to itself, making this state body fully dependent on political decisions.
Numerous leading Polish NGOs including human rights organizations have expressed disagreement with these actions. In July 2017, NGOs took active part in mass peaceful protests aimed at protecting the Constitution, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary in Poland.
The significant mobilization of society led to President Andrzej Duda vetoing two of the three controversial laws aimed at undermining the independence of the judiciary. in July 2017. The independence of the Supreme Court and the National Council of the Judiciary was temporarily preserved. However, the law on the system of ordinary courts came into force, widening the control of the Minister of Justice, who is also the General Prosecutor of Poland, over the courts. And so, as early as in December 2017, despite the next wave of public protests, the Parliament adopted slightly changed, unconstitutional laws that virtually eliminate the independence of the Supreme Court and the National Council of Justice.
In response to the participation of NGOs in peaceful protests, the authorities created numerous restrictions on the third sector. Many civil initiatives critical to the authorities were targeted for attack.
In July 2017, NGOs that criticized state bodies were subjected to escalated and unprecedented pressure. To date, this concerns, in particular, NGOs and initiatives such as: Citizens Solidary in Action [Obywatele Solidarnie w Akcji], Citizens of the Republic of Poland [Obywatele RP], the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog], the Committee for the Defence of Democracy [Komitet Obrony Demokracji], Action Democracy [Akcja Demokracja], the All-Poland Women’s Strike [Ogólnopolski Strajk Kobiet], the Centre for Women’s Rights [Centrum Praw Kobiet], the BABA Lubuskie Association for the Protection of Women’s Rights [BABA Lubuskie Stowarzyszenie na Rzecz Kobiet]. Some of these NGOs faced unjustified inspections, searches and lawsuits, and their representatives were subjected to numerous interrogations and even secret surveillance. Foreigners associated with these organizations are concerned about their future in Poland due to the possibility of losing their right to stay in the country.
For example, the Polish police conducted searches and seized documents and equipment from the offices of several women’s organizations (the offices of the Centre for Women’s Rights and the BABA Association). This happened the day after protest actions in defense of women’s rights in Poland was held in October 2017. Another example: Poland’s then-Minister of Foreign Affairs (MFA) filed a motion with the court to appoint what is known as a ‘compulsory administration’ to replace the existing members of the Management Board of the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog]. The dispute, which is being continued by the current Polish MFA Jacek Czaputowicz will eventually be resolved by a court ruling. Similar means were intended to be used against Citizens of the Republic of Poland [Obywatele RP] by the then-Minister of Interior, Mariusz Błaszczak.
Incidents of prosecution of LGBT organizations have been recorded. A particularly alarming signal is the cessation of a number of investigations into physical attacks against LGBT activists and the offices of their organizations. Alongside women’s rights organizations, they have been practically cut off from almost all available state-funding. The Polish state clearly favours initiatives focused on nationalist and religious values instead.
Members of the Polish government led by the then-Prime Minister Beata Szydło (in particular, the former Minister of the Interior, Mariusz Błaszczak, his deputy Jarosław Zieliński, the Minister–Coordinator of the Special Services of Poland Mariusz Kamiński, former Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski and the Minister of National Defence Antoni Macierewicz) publicly discussed actions to be taken against specific NGOs.
In addition, the aforementioned NGOs, as well as the Office of the Polish Ombudsman, have become victims of information attacks and denigrating media campaigns. These smear campaigns are based on manipulations, half-truths and outright falsehoods. These slanders are spread by state and pro-government Polish media having close ties to the ruling party.
NGOs have been accused of ‘manipulating public opinion’ and ‘artificially provoking protests’ ‘for money from abroad’. Their representatives are portrayed as ‘traitors to the motherland’, or ‘puppets’ in the hands of foreign states and other foreign actors (for example, George Soros, Russia, Germany or ‘Brussels elites’).
The denigrating campaigns aim to intimidate human rights defenders and undermine the trust of Polish society in the work of civil society. Another dangerous consequence of these campaigns may be the creation of negative attitudes towards any international or foreign structures in society. Recently, the actor and activist for the protection of the secular state Krzysztof Pieczyński fell victim to media harassment, and was subsequently beaten in the street by unknown persons in Warsaw.
Attacks on NGOs and human rights defenders are being carried out with the support of extreme right and nationalist organizations. The attacks are openly xenophobic in nature. In particular, they are being directed against the large community of Ukrainians in Poland. Some victims are being denied the right to Polish citizenship. These actions are related to the participation of Ukrainian citizens living in Poland in protests, as well as the work of the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog] and other Polish organizations which provided humanitarian assistance to Ukraine in the period of Euromaidan. 

Reluctant response of the law enforcement bodies to the nationalist and xenophobic incidents leads to growing number of assaults on foreigners in Poland.
Members of the right-wing parties of the Sejm and Members of the European Parliament from Poland are also carrying out hostile actions against specific NGOs and civil society in general. For example, six members of parliament have made public statements about the need to restrict or even stop the activities of the Open Dialog Foundation (Fundacja Otwarty Dialog). The organization was accused of representing an ‘external’ leftist ‘threat to the Polish State’, ‘violating Ukrainian–Polish relations’ and, in general, ‘provoking an uprising’ in Poland. No facts exist which would confirm that the organization has been carrying out such activities and, thus, no such evidence has been presented.
At the moment, according to the reports prepared by the Citizens of the Republic of Poland movement [Obywatele RP] (based on the gathered information), approximately 800 court proceedings are being conducted either directly against participants in the social protests and activists in social movements or in relation to their activities. In the report on oppression produced by the Citizens of the Republic of Poland,, as of the end of January 2018, 472 court trials had been initiated against protesters under the Code of Petty Offences; while a month earlier, there had been only 367 such trials. Twenty-eight criminal cases had been initiated under the Criminal Code (a month earlier there had been only 14 criminal cases), and nine persons were facing criminal charges.
Serious problems are also being caused by the new law on gatherings, which is highly controversial and widely perceived as unconstitutional, and which promotes the so-called cyclical gatherings, such as the Smolensk tragedy monthly commemoration (monthly demonstrations led by the leader of the ruling party, Jarosław Kaczyński, carried out with privileges unavailable to any other forms of street demonstration). For this reason, the Mazovian Voivode [governor] has regularly imposed a ban on pro-democracy protest actions organized on the same day by the Citizens Solidary in Action [Obywatele Solidarnie w Akcji]. Still, all of his previous decisions have been rejected by the District Court in Warsaw.
Serious concern over these attacks on the supremacy of civil rights and freedoms in Poland have been repeatedly expressed by members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (Resolution 2188 (2017), written declaration 641), pointing out in the statement on the resolution of 26 January 2018 that their demands have thus far been ignored by the Polish authorities.
The space for a dialogue between civil society and the authorities continues to shrink. Representatives of non-governmental organizations (particularly those affiliated with Citizens of the Republic of Poland movement [Obywatele RP] are commonly deprived of the opportunity to attend meetings and hearing of the Parliament’s Commissions. Several questionable legislative initiatives which address the most important aspects of public life are being considered without  any public consultation. In particular, these include changes in the legislation on the police, the introduction of anti-terrorism legislation, and amendments to the law on the Institute of National Remembrance (this last has already been adopted).
The authorities have changed some of the procedures for allocating public funds to NGOs. On 26 September 2017, the Senate passed a law regarding the National Institute of Freedom – Centre for the Development of Civil Society. The law was presented as being part of the government’s actions to strengthen civil society. However, the law was sharply criticized by the associations of NGOs and the Commissioner for Human Rights.
The law centralizes the government funds for public organizations within the framework of the established Centre. Since it is aimed at promoting activities which are in line with Christian and patriotic values, funding may become inaccessible for organizations whose work does not correlate with such values. Such an approach by the authorities violates the Constitution, which protects diversity of beliefs and views. The law was signed by the President on 12 October 2017 jeopardizing the independence of civil society in Poland.
Also, NGOs have recorded incidents of public funding having been either provided or terminated for political or ideological reasons.
In connection with the recent disturbing events, the International Civic Solidarity Platform hereby calls for the restoration of the participation of public and human rights organizations in democratic processes in Poland, a return to the European standards of interaction between civil society and government structures, and a guarantee of the independence of civil society initiatives in Poland.
Signed by the following organisations:​
1. The Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
2. Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)
3. Humanrights.ch
4. Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights (Germany/Switzerland)
5. International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law (Kazakhstan)
6. Citizens’ Watch, St. Petersburg (Russia)
7. Moscow Helsinki Group (Russia)
8. Public Verdict (Russia)
9. Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
10. Public Association “Dignity”
11. Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly – Vanadzor
12. Helsinki Committee of Armenia (Armenia)
13. KRF Public Alternative (Ukraine)
14. DRA – German-Russian Exchange (Germany)
15. “OMCT – World Organisation Against Torture”
16. Human Rights Monitoring Institute (Lithuania)
17. Legal Transformation Center (Belarus)
18. International Partnership for Human Rights (Belgium)
19. Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (Bulgaria)
20. Helsinki Association for Human Rights NGO Armenia (Armenia)
21. Human Rights Matter e.V. (Germany)
22. The Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House (Belarus)
23. WILPF Germany (Germany)
24. Association UMDPL (Ukraine)
25. Norwegian Helsinki Committee
26. The Kosova Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims (KRCT) from Kosovo
27. ZARA – Zivilcourage und Anti-Rassismus-Arbeit (Austria)
28. Women of the Don (Russia)
29. Crude Accountability
30. Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
31. Citizens Watch (Russia)
32. Regional Center for Strategic Studies ( Georgia/Azerbaijan)
33. Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russia)
34. UNITED
35. Netherlands Helsinki Committee

Source:
http://www.civicsolidarity.org/article/1545/polish-authorities-reduce-space-activities-ngos-including-human-rights-organizations

The Appeal about lack of proper medical care for Oleh Sentsov and other Ukrainian political prisoners from the LetMyPeopleGo list

November 29, 2017

To the Vice-Chancellor, the Federal Minister for Foreign

Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany,

Mr. Sigmar Gabriel

As of today, about 60 Ukrainian citizens have been detained on political grounds in the territory of the Russian Federation and the occupied Crimea. Most of them have been subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment to force false confessions about the actions they did not commit.

Oleh Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko, Valentyn Vygovsky, Mykola Karpiuk, Stanislav Klykh, Yevhen Panov, Andrii Zakhtey, Andrii Kolomiyets, Serhii Lytvynov, Oleksandr Kostenko and other illegally detained people publicly stated this. Yurii Yatsenko and Gennady Afanasyev, who were released, shared details about the unlawful practices that were applied to people under the control of the Russian Federation.

Stanislav Klykh’s appeal to the European Court of Human Rights is a clear illustration of illegal treatment by the state authorities of the Russian Federation:

“[…] In order to force me to testify, I was subjected to illegal methods of inquiry and investigation, expressed in causing me beatings and injuries, including using handcuffs and electric current, prolonged kneeling, resulting in numerous scars on my wrists, knees […] I was kept in the prison yard for several days without any water or food. As a result of the application of these methods, I was brought to a state of dystrophy, I could not hold a spoon, a pen in my hands, since the hands were dislocated as a result of being handcuffed to the bars”.

The situation is complicated by the unsatisfactory conditions of detention, which further contribute to a sharp deterioration in the health, development and exacerbation of chronic and other diseases.

 

The lawyer of the Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov, who was recognized as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, recently announced a sharp deterioration in the health of the illegally imprisoned. According to him, due to prolonged overcooling, the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis exacerbated and problems with the heart began.

 

We draw attention to the fact that human life and health are the highest values of every civilized state. The right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is guaranteed by Art. 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, Article 11, 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966, as well as Article 11 of the European Social Charter of 1996.

 

This year, the representative of the Russian Federation was elected as a President of the 70th World Health Assembly, the Charter of which was signed by the Russian Federation in 1946. Thus, she acknowledged that “the possession of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is one of the fundamental rights of everyone, regardless of race, religion, political beliefs, economic or social status”.

 

In addition, according to Art. 26 of the Federal Law of 21.11.2011 No 323-FZ “On the basis of public health protection in the Russian Federation” persons, who are in custody, serving a sentence in the form of restriction of liberty, arrest, deprivation of liberty or administrative arrest, are entitled to receive medical assistance, in particular, in necessary cases in medical institutions of the state health system and the municipal health care system in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation.

In pursuance of this Law the Government of the Russian Federation adopted the Resolution dated 28.12.2012 No 1466, which approved the Rules for the provision of medical care in medical institutions of the state and municipal health care system for persons held in custody or serving a sentence in the form of deprivation of liberty. The Rules provide for the possibility of inviting the medical specialists of the said medical institutions for consultation if it is impossible to provide medical assistance in the institutions of the criminal and executive system.

We note that all citizens of Ukraine, who are held for political reasons in the territory of the Russian Federation and the occupied Crimea, need proper medical care. Among them, Dmytro Shtyblikov, who after detention lost 30 kg and was brought to a dystopia, Stanislav Klykh, who lost his mental health after the torture that he suffered, Oleksandr Kostenko, who, due to the lack of an operation, runs the risk of losing the arm broken by the FSB’s staff, Oleksandr Rolchenko< who was in a hospital with a diagnosis of underweight, Volodymyr Dudka, who has been practicing self-medication with a stomach ulcer for ten months, Arsen Dzepparov, who is not provided with medical assistance despite cold kidneys, loss of hearing in his left ear and a sharp deterioration in vision, 19-year-old Pavlo Hryb who due to his disability is constantly taking drugs, so the lack of medicines and proper medical treatment in prison led to the appearance of ulcers on his body.

These are just a few examples of violation of the international obligations by the Russian Federation as for the right of Ukrainian political prisoners to the highest attainable standards of physical and mental health. From the moment of their illegal detention, independent physicians do not have access to them, and therefore, they cannot assess their health and provide proper medical care.

We address you with a request to raise before the Government of the Russian Federation the issue of the need to organize the access of physicians from the International Committee of the Red Cross and other reputable international health organizations to provide qualified medical assistance to Oleh Sentsov and all Ukrainian political prisoners from the LetMyPeopleGo list.

Center for Civil Liberties coordinating the #LetMyPeopleGo campaign

NGO “Association of Relatives of Political Prisoners of the Kremlin”

Media Initiative for Human Rights

Crimea Human Rights Group

Open Dialog Foundation

Association UMDPL

NGO “CrimeaSOS”

Luhansk Regional Human Rights Center “Alternative”

NGO “Social Action Center”

NGO “Peaceful Coast”

Human Rights Information Center

Expert Center for Human Rights

Charitable Foundation “East-SOS”

Euromaidan Press

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research

AIHO Foundation of Regional Initiatives

NGO “Human Rights Initiative”

NGO “Regional Center for Human Rights”/Sevastopol Human Rights Protection Group

KRF “Hromadska Alternatyva”

Centre for Civil Liberties’s statement on the pressure on civil society organisations in Poland

August 7, 2017

6 August, 2017, Kyiv

We have been cooperating with the Open Dialog Foundation (Poland) for many years. In the early days of mass protests in Ukraine, they were one of the first to render assistance to the
newly created initiative ‘EuroMaidan SOS’. The equipment that they provided was used by our civil society observers who were recording the process of fabricated trials against
peaceful protesters in Kyiv.
Following the occupation of Crimea by Russia and the commencement of the hybrid war in the Donbas, the Open Dialog Foundation supported our ‘LetMyPeopleGo’ campaign to
protect Ukrainian citizens, held in detention in Russian prisons for political reasons. Currently, they are among the most loyal defenders of the ‘Kremlin prisoners’ on the
international arena and consistently promote the issue of extending sanctions against the Russian Federation in the EU and the United States.
In view of this, it is very surprising to us to read statements, unsupported by evidence, about the alleged links of the Open Dialog Foundation with the Russian special services. It seems
that the publications, which appear in certain government media, are retaliation for the active position of the organisation and its participation in mass public protests in Poland. In
our opinion, it was the reason for which the shameful scheme of labelling dissidents as‘agents of the Kremlin’ was used.
In addition, currently, individual top Polish officials are calling for unreasonable additional tax audits of the Open Dialog Foundation and even for cancelling its registration as a non-
profit organisation. Similar pressure for participating in massive public protests is being exerted on a number of other public organisations in Poland.
We all remember what social changes took place after a long-lasting campaign of discrediting civic organisations in the Russian Federation alone. Therefore, we consider the
appearance of such publications a red flag for Poland, which has long been an example of democratic transformation of a country in the post-Soviet space, and especially for Ukraine.

Photo: Radio Liberty

Holding a meeting on human rights is not a terrorist conspiracy

July 10, 2017

10 July 2017

 

    On 5 July 2017, ten participants in a human rights training meeting were detained at Büyükada, one of the Princes’ Islands near İstanbul, Turkey. The group consisted of eight representatives of Turkish civil society organisations working on human rights and two foreign consultants on digital security and information management. By the afternoon of July 6, the lawyers of the detained persons learned that their clients are being investigated for membership of an armed organization, a terrorist offense, and will stay in investigative detention initially for seven days.
The undersigned organisations, national and international human rights NGOs from the OSCE region, members of the Civic Solidarity Platform, strongly reject this operation by the Turkish authorities. We appeal for the immediate and unconditional release of the detained persons, participants in a peaceful meeting to advance human rights. Human rights work should not be criminalized. Civil society work for human rights is an important contribution to a healthy society. Holding a meeting on human rights is not a terrorist conspiracy.
The Turkish citizens arrested are Özlem Dalkıran (Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly), lawyer Nalan Erkem (Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly), İlknur Üstün (Women’s Coalition), İdil Eser (Amnesty International Turkey director), Veli Acu (Human Rights Agenda Association), lawyer Günal Kurşun (Human Rights Agenda Association), Şeymus Özbekli (Rights Initiative), and Nejat Taştan (Equal Rights Watch Association). The two consultants are Ali Gharawi, from Sweden, and Peter Steudtner, from Germany.
In the past years, human rights defenders have on several occasions been targeted by governmental repression. This latest attack on human rights defenders comes amidst a wave of repression after the failed coup attempt of 15 July 2016 which has affected a much wider group of persons than those who may have been directly involved in the coup attempt, including journalists, lawyers and politicians. Only last month, Taner Kiliç, the president of Amnesty International Turkey, was arrested together with 22 other lawyers.

Article 19 (international, London)
Association of Ukrainian Human Rights Monitors on Law Enforcement
Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House
Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russia)
Center for Participation and Development (Georgia)
DRA – German-Russian Exchange (Germany)
Fair Trials (international, London)

Golos Svobody (Kyrgyzstan)
Helsinki Citizens Assembly Vanadzor (Armenia)
Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)
Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan
Human Rights House Foundation (international, Oslo)
Human Rights Information Center (Ukraine)
Human Rights Matter (Germany)
IDP Women Association “Consent” (Georgia)
International Partnership for Human Rights (international, Brussels)
International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (international, Copenhagen)
Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (Azerbaijan)
Kadyr Kasiyet (“Dignity”) (Kazakhstan)
Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law
Kharkiv regional foundation Public Alternative (Ukraine)
Legal Policy Research Center (Kazakhstan)
Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights (Germany)
Moscow Helsinki Group
Netherlands Helsinki Committee
Norwegian Helsinki Committee
Office of Civil Freedoms (Tajikistan)
Promo-LEX (Moldova)
Protection of rights without borders (Armenia)
Public Verdict (Russia)
Regional Center for Strategic Studies (Azerbaijan)
Solidarus (Germany)
SOVA Center for Information and Analysis (Russia)
Swiss Helsinki Committee
Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (Germany)
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) (international, Geneva)
[country names added if name of country not included in the name of the organization; for
international organisations, the city where their secretariat is located, is added]

The Civic Solidarity Platform is a decentralized advocacy network of independent civic groups
committed to improving the human rights situation in Europe, Eurasia and the US,
www.civicsolidarity.org.
Contact for this statement: Harry Hummel, Netherlands Helsinki Committee, hhummel@nhc.nl,
+31703926700

On the situation with the nomination at the “Eurovision” from Russia Yulia Samoylova

May 15, 2017

Ukraine has the right to demand the implementation of the law in relation to the Russian singer Yulii Samoylovoy, but the fact that Russia still decided to send its representative to this year held in Kiev “Eurovision” is a kind of a gesture of reconciliation. Such an opinion was expressed by the Russian human rights activist, head of the Moscow Helsinki Group Lyudmila Alekseeva.

“On the one hand, I am glad that our leaders still decide to send a Russian representative at” Eurovision “. Neighborly. This is a good step, which shows the desire of reconciliation. But on the other hand, I understand the Ukrainians: Crimea captured now want to make peace, but the Crimea is not returned. It is clear to me, “- Alexeyev said, commenting on the Ukrainian edition of” Explorer “the situation surrounding the nomination of the representative of Russia in the international music competition” Eurovision “.

Russian human rights activist has also recognized that “there are Ukrainian laws, and they must comply with.” However, she admitted that the Russian singer could have visited the Crimea, “whether he is Ukrainian.”

In this context, Alexeyev told that visited the peninsula, as it was her little homeland to the annexation of the Crimea. Due to old age she can not go there now, but “I fully admit that if I were younger, I would have to go on a his small home, no matter who it belongs to,” – she said.

“I would not want us to even about it [on participation in” Eurovision “Yulii Samoylovoy] quarreled. When fighting bosses, we should not pay attention to it. I belong to the Ukrainians as well as before. What a difference to us? Let them find out the relationship, and we have to treat each other with respect, as it should be neighbors, as it is necessary for people who have a common history, “- Alexeyev said.

At the same time, she added: “I feel very sorry for Russia because of this history of the Crimea.”

Recall that in Russia ended with the internal competitive selection of artists for the contest “Eurovision” -2017, the winner of which was a girl with a disability Julia Samoilova. In the summer of 2015 the singer participated in the festival “World of Sports, and good”, which was held in the Crimea. Thus, according to Ukrainian law, Samoilova violated the procedure for crossing the Ukrainian border. The singer is also listed as a “purgatory” center “Peacemaker”.

March 13 Advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Anton Gerashchenko said that the law enforcement agencies , there are two ways to resolve the situation on the Russian representative at “Eurovision” Yulii Samoylovoy, which violated the legislation of Ukraine. According to him, the first option – not to let Samoilov to Ukraine for violating the rules visit the occupied territory of Crimea. The second – to give Samoilova permission to enter the country, but at the same time and bring her to justice for violation of the state border.

Sourse, 14/05/2017

Such meetings are beneficial for all participants

June 10, 2015

Azerbaijani human rights activist and director of the Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan (HRCA), Eldar Zeynalov summed up ended in Kiev workshop on exchange of experiences and best practices “Improving skills in the field of human rights advocacy (promotion and protection of human rights).”

“Such meetings are mutually beneficial,” – suggested Eldar Zeynalov.

According to the head of the OCA, the seminar was attended by five representatives of Azerbaijan. “Except for me, their participation in the seminar later unveiled a lawyer Fariz Namazly. The names of the other three parties, I do not know if I can make public.

Organizers asked not to mention the names of the participants without agreement with them. I can only say that the two human rights defenders, and three lawyers participated from Azerbaijan. “

Recall that the seminar held in the capital of Ukraine on 4-5 June, organized by the Netherlands Helsinki Committee and the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland) for the human rights of a number of countries of the former Soviet Union, including Azerbaijan.

For two days, the participants discussed the planning and advocacy strategy (promotion and protection of human rights), including working with international organizations such as the UN, Council of Europe, the European Union and the OSCE, as well as exchanged between human rights defenders from different countries with innovative approaches to this area.

According to the expert, such events often performed earlier. It was the general training, and explain the ways of European standards, and so on.

“This workshop was more specific. Standards as they were, and have remained so, just change the working conditions. They exchanged views on how to operate in such conditions, how to achieve positive changes in human rights issues.

We never work in isolation. We have partners in the West, that we support or do not support. Which have their own vision of the situation in the country and is not always correct and complete. And the result is that some campaigns in our defense, wrong calculation, not the tone chosen, the methods used do not become “blank shot”, as he was selected.

And for “Westerners” to us useful to meet. It is mutually useful meeting. The workshop in addition to representatives of Azerbaijan, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, was also attended by representatives of immigrant organizations in France.

But in fact, they work in the Russian direction. I became more optimistic look at things and know what are the conditions for human rights defenders in Belarus, Russia.

In the same Russian clamped and dissidents, and human rights activists. They are looking for other outlets. Nobody is going to give, “- said E. Zeynalov.

Note that at the time of the seminar, after a brief lull, resumed again fighting in eastern Ukraine between the forces of the anti-terrorist operation and separatists.

According to E. Zeynalov, “in the city met the guys in camouflage, the number of police officers was greater than that observed a couple of years ago.”

“However, such as in Russia, where visitors to the carp, check documents, did not exist.

It is not felt that Kiev – the capital of the belligerent State. In the city center, where the Maidan, traces the events of last year. The same House of Trade Unions has not been refurbished. Many graffiti that were made then.

In a couple of places monuments installed. Sometimes came a beautiful girl who collected donations for the wounded. Only in this war, and manifested. No aggressive slogans on the wall, sometimes there are signs saying: “Ukraine – one country, one nation.” No militarist propaganda personally I have not seen “- he said.

Sourse, 09/06/2015

Результаты поиска:

Joint appeal on the inappropriate use of extremist charges, mass detention and use of torture against peaceful demonstrators, activists and government’s critics in Kazakhstan.

December 17, 2018

Despite the ratification of the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Kazakhstan, the human rights situation in the country has sharply deteriorated.

Fundamental rights, such as freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, are disrespected under the guise of fighting “extremism”. Since 13 March 2018, the day that marks the authorities’ ban of the peaceful opposition movement ‘Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan’ (DCK), more than 450 persons, participating in peaceful rallies or showing different form of support for DCK (e.g. posting and commenting social media contents, walking with blue balloons, etc.) have fallen victim of political persecution.

We call for a stepping up of efforts to ensure political pluralism in the country and condemn the repression of peaceful activists and supporters of opposition movement DCK and call for their unconditional release. Kazakhstan has to ensure its citizens free access to social media networks and independent media outlets, thus ceasing the blocking or restriction of such platforms. We stress the importance of the independence of lawyers and the protection of their rights to freely practice their profession and defend their clients without fear of reprisals.

We find this particularly worrying that on 10 May 2018, during the visit of European Parliament’s Delegation to Kazakhstan, police resorted to excessive use of force against peaceful protesters and detained more than 150 people, while others were placed under administrative arrests. On that day peaceful rallies against the use of torture and politically motivated imprisonment were held in cities across the country.

Among them, more than 30 people have been prosecuted in connection with their support of DCK’s ideas, including: activists Ablovas Dzhumayev, Almat Zhumagulov and poet Kenzhebek Abishev, social media user Aset Abishev and blogger Muratbek Tungishbayev. At least six persons have reported the use of torture and a lack of medical care in the place of detention. The practice of forced confession in exchange for release, and psychological pressure exerted on political prisoners and their relatives are undermining the trust in the Kazakhstani justice system, as exemplified by the cases of Aset Nurzhaubay and Muratbek Tungishbayev.

We were informed that political prisoners are losing hope for justice and taking desperate steps. For example, on 26 November 2018, Almat Zhumagulov and Kenzhebek Abishev threatened suicide in protest against the accusatory bias in court decisions and the fabricated nature of the case. On 27 November 2018, Zhumagulov cut his arm during the court session.At the same time Iskander Yerimbetov, the brother of human rights activist and lawyer Bota Jardemalie, was arrested, tortured and convicted in October 2018 to 7 years’ imprisonment in retaliation for his sister’s professional activities. Due to the outcome of his case, lawyers in Kazakhstan fear to defend victims of political persecution and torture.The number of political prisoners in Kazakhstan is increasing. More than 20 political prisoners are being held in detention. Human rights defenders are also under attack. Restrictions imposed on NGOs and criminal prosecution of human rights activists, such as Elena Semenova, severely shrink the space for civil society.

We call on Kazakhstani authorities to implement the communications from the UN Human Rights Committee, UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, and call without further delay to release the political prisoners Mukhtar Dzhakishev, Maks Bokayev and Iskander Yerimbetov; compliance with the UN requirements is an important condition for further cooperation between the EU and Kazakhstan

We expect the urgent intervention of the EEAS, encourage the initiation of further EU official monitoring missions and call on the EEAS to support such missions in order to observe the human rights situation and attend court trials against people prosecuted for political reasons. At the same time, we strongly recommend that the European Commission and the EU Member States pursue a policy of conditionality in the case of Kazakhstan. If the latter state wants to be a recipient of EU funding and attract investments, it first must ensure the cessation of cruel practices against detainees in prisons, an end to impunity for the offenders, freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, and the right to a defence and a free trial.

 

Signatures

 

Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)

Defending Democracy

Federazione Italiana Diritti Umani (FIDU)

Human Rights Information Center (Ukraine)

Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS)

Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG)

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research (KhISR)

Open Dialogue Foundation (ODF)

The Arrested Lawyers Initiative

Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF)

Polish authorities reduce the space for the activities of NGOs including human rights organizations in the country

May 2, 2018
Since the end of 2015, we have seen disturbing trends in the actions of the Polish government and the parliamentary majority formed by the populist-nationalist party, Law and Justice (PiS), which harm the activities of human rights defenders and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Poland.
Unconstitutional legislative initiatives have jeopardized both democracy and the rule of law in Poland, particularly the principle of effective separation of powers. Following an acute conflict, the ruling majority in the Parliament de facto subordinated the Constitutional Court to itself, making this state body fully dependent on political decisions.
Numerous leading Polish NGOs including human rights organizations have expressed disagreement with these actions. In July 2017, NGOs took active part in mass peaceful protests aimed at protecting the Constitution, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary in Poland.
The significant mobilization of society led to President Andrzej Duda vetoing two of the three controversial laws aimed at undermining the independence of the judiciary. in July 2017. The independence of the Supreme Court and the National Council of the Judiciary was temporarily preserved. However, the law on the system of ordinary courts came into force, widening the control of the Minister of Justice, who is also the General Prosecutor of Poland, over the courts. And so, as early as in December 2017, despite the next wave of public protests, the Parliament adopted slightly changed, unconstitutional laws that virtually eliminate the independence of the Supreme Court and the National Council of Justice.
In response to the participation of NGOs in peaceful protests, the authorities created numerous restrictions on the third sector. Many civil initiatives critical to the authorities were targeted for attack.
In July 2017, NGOs that criticized state bodies were subjected to escalated and unprecedented pressure. To date, this concerns, in particular, NGOs and initiatives such as: Citizens Solidary in Action [Obywatele Solidarnie w Akcji], Citizens of the Republic of Poland [Obywatele RP], the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog], the Committee for the Defence of Democracy [Komitet Obrony Demokracji], Action Democracy [Akcja Demokracja], the All-Poland Women’s Strike [Ogólnopolski Strajk Kobiet], the Centre for Women’s Rights [Centrum Praw Kobiet], the BABA Lubuskie Association for the Protection of Women’s Rights [BABA Lubuskie Stowarzyszenie na Rzecz Kobiet]. Some of these NGOs faced unjustified inspections, searches and lawsuits, and their representatives were subjected to numerous interrogations and even secret surveillance. Foreigners associated with these organizations are concerned about their future in Poland due to the possibility of losing their right to stay in the country.
For example, the Polish police conducted searches and seized documents and equipment from the offices of several women’s organizations (the offices of the Centre for Women’s Rights and the BABA Association). This happened the day after protest actions in defense of women’s rights in Poland was held in October 2017. Another example: Poland’s then-Minister of Foreign Affairs (MFA) filed a motion with the court to appoint what is known as a ‘compulsory administration’ to replace the existing members of the Management Board of the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog]. The dispute, which is being continued by the current Polish MFA Jacek Czaputowicz will eventually be resolved by a court ruling. Similar means were intended to be used against Citizens of the Republic of Poland [Obywatele RP] by the then-Minister of Interior, Mariusz Błaszczak.
Incidents of prosecution of LGBT organizations have been recorded. A particularly alarming signal is the cessation of a number of investigations into physical attacks against LGBT activists and the offices of their organizations. Alongside women’s rights organizations, they have been practically cut off from almost all available state-funding. The Polish state clearly favours initiatives focused on nationalist and religious values instead.
Members of the Polish government led by the then-Prime Minister Beata Szydło (in particular, the former Minister of the Interior, Mariusz Błaszczak, his deputy Jarosław Zieliński, the Minister–Coordinator of the Special Services of Poland Mariusz Kamiński, former Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski and the Minister of National Defence Antoni Macierewicz) publicly discussed actions to be taken against specific NGOs.
In addition, the aforementioned NGOs, as well as the Office of the Polish Ombudsman, have become victims of information attacks and denigrating media campaigns. These smear campaigns are based on manipulations, half-truths and outright falsehoods. These slanders are spread by state and pro-government Polish media having close ties to the ruling party.
NGOs have been accused of ‘manipulating public opinion’ and ‘artificially provoking protests’ ‘for money from abroad’. Their representatives are portrayed as ‘traitors to the motherland’, or ‘puppets’ in the hands of foreign states and other foreign actors (for example, George Soros, Russia, Germany or ‘Brussels elites’).
The denigrating campaigns aim to intimidate human rights defenders and undermine the trust of Polish society in the work of civil society. Another dangerous consequence of these campaigns may be the creation of negative attitudes towards any international or foreign structures in society. Recently, the actor and activist for the protection of the secular state Krzysztof Pieczyński fell victim to media harassment, and was subsequently beaten in the street by unknown persons in Warsaw.
Attacks on NGOs and human rights defenders are being carried out with the support of extreme right and nationalist organizations. The attacks are openly xenophobic in nature. In particular, they are being directed against the large community of Ukrainians in Poland. Some victims are being denied the right to Polish citizenship. These actions are related to the participation of Ukrainian citizens living in Poland in protests, as well as the work of the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog] and other Polish organizations which provided humanitarian assistance to Ukraine in the period of Euromaidan. 

Reluctant response of the law enforcement bodies to the nationalist and xenophobic incidents leads to growing number of assaults on foreigners in Poland.
Members of the right-wing parties of the Sejm and Members of the European Parliament from Poland are also carrying out hostile actions against specific NGOs and civil society in general. For example, six members of parliament have made public statements about the need to restrict or even stop the activities of the Open Dialog Foundation (Fundacja Otwarty Dialog). The organization was accused of representing an ‘external’ leftist ‘threat to the Polish State’, ‘violating Ukrainian–Polish relations’ and, in general, ‘provoking an uprising’ in Poland. No facts exist which would confirm that the organization has been carrying out such activities and, thus, no such evidence has been presented.
At the moment, according to the reports prepared by the Citizens of the Republic of Poland movement [Obywatele RP] (based on the gathered information), approximately 800 court proceedings are being conducted either directly against participants in the social protests and activists in social movements or in relation to their activities. In the report on oppression produced by the Citizens of the Republic of Poland,, as of the end of January 2018, 472 court trials had been initiated against protesters under the Code of Petty Offences; while a month earlier, there had been only 367 such trials. Twenty-eight criminal cases had been initiated under the Criminal Code (a month earlier there had been only 14 criminal cases), and nine persons were facing criminal charges.
Serious problems are also being caused by the new law on gatherings, which is highly controversial and widely perceived as unconstitutional, and which promotes the so-called cyclical gatherings, such as the Smolensk tragedy monthly commemoration (monthly demonstrations led by the leader of the ruling party, Jarosław Kaczyński, carried out with privileges unavailable to any other forms of street demonstration). For this reason, the Mazovian Voivode [governor] has regularly imposed a ban on pro-democracy protest actions organized on the same day by the Citizens Solidary in Action [Obywatele Solidarnie w Akcji]. Still, all of his previous decisions have been rejected by the District Court in Warsaw.
Serious concern over these attacks on the supremacy of civil rights and freedoms in Poland have been repeatedly expressed by members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (Resolution 2188 (2017), written declaration 641), pointing out in the statement on the resolution of 26 January 2018 that their demands have thus far been ignored by the Polish authorities.
The space for a dialogue between civil society and the authorities continues to shrink. Representatives of non-governmental organizations (particularly those affiliated with Citizens of the Republic of Poland movement [Obywatele RP] are commonly deprived of the opportunity to attend meetings and hearing of the Parliament’s Commissions. Several questionable legislative initiatives which address the most important aspects of public life are being considered without  any public consultation. In particular, these include changes in the legislation on the police, the introduction of anti-terrorism legislation, and amendments to the law on the Institute of National Remembrance (this last has already been adopted).
The authorities have changed some of the procedures for allocating public funds to NGOs. On 26 September 2017, the Senate passed a law regarding the National Institute of Freedom – Centre for the Development of Civil Society. The law was presented as being part of the government’s actions to strengthen civil society. However, the law was sharply criticized by the associations of NGOs and the Commissioner for Human Rights.
The law centralizes the government funds for public organizations within the framework of the established Centre. Since it is aimed at promoting activities which are in line with Christian and patriotic values, funding may become inaccessible for organizations whose work does not correlate with such values. Such an approach by the authorities violates the Constitution, which protects diversity of beliefs and views. The law was signed by the President on 12 October 2017 jeopardizing the independence of civil society in Poland.
Also, NGOs have recorded incidents of public funding having been either provided or terminated for political or ideological reasons.
In connection with the recent disturbing events, the International Civic Solidarity Platform hereby calls for the restoration of the participation of public and human rights organizations in democratic processes in Poland, a return to the European standards of interaction between civil society and government structures, and a guarantee of the independence of civil society initiatives in Poland.
Signed by the following organisations:​
1. The Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
2. Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)
3. Humanrights.ch
4. Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights (Germany/Switzerland)
5. International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law (Kazakhstan)
6. Citizens’ Watch, St. Petersburg (Russia)
7. Moscow Helsinki Group (Russia)
8. Public Verdict (Russia)
9. Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
10. Public Association “Dignity”
11. Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly – Vanadzor
12. Helsinki Committee of Armenia (Armenia)
13. KRF Public Alternative (Ukraine)
14. DRA – German-Russian Exchange (Germany)
15. “OMCT – World Organisation Against Torture”
16. Human Rights Monitoring Institute (Lithuania)
17. Legal Transformation Center (Belarus)
18. International Partnership for Human Rights (Belgium)
19. Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (Bulgaria)
20. Helsinki Association for Human Rights NGO Armenia (Armenia)
21. Human Rights Matter e.V. (Germany)
22. The Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House (Belarus)
23. WILPF Germany (Germany)
24. Association UMDPL (Ukraine)
25. Norwegian Helsinki Committee
26. The Kosova Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims (KRCT) from Kosovo
27. ZARA – Zivilcourage und Anti-Rassismus-Arbeit (Austria)
28. Women of the Don (Russia)
29. Crude Accountability
30. Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
31. Citizens Watch (Russia)
32. Regional Center for Strategic Studies ( Georgia/Azerbaijan)
33. Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russia)
34. UNITED
35. Netherlands Helsinki Committee

Source:
http://www.civicsolidarity.org/article/1545/polish-authorities-reduce-space-activities-ngos-including-human-rights-organizations

The Appeal about lack of proper medical care for Oleh Sentsov and other Ukrainian political prisoners from the LetMyPeopleGo list

November 29, 2017

To the Vice-Chancellor, the Federal Minister for Foreign

Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany,

Mr. Sigmar Gabriel

As of today, about 60 Ukrainian citizens have been detained on political grounds in the territory of the Russian Federation and the occupied Crimea. Most of them have been subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment to force false confessions about the actions they did not commit.

Oleh Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko, Valentyn Vygovsky, Mykola Karpiuk, Stanislav Klykh, Yevhen Panov, Andrii Zakhtey, Andrii Kolomiyets, Serhii Lytvynov, Oleksandr Kostenko and other illegally detained people publicly stated this. Yurii Yatsenko and Gennady Afanasyev, who were released, shared details about the unlawful practices that were applied to people under the control of the Russian Federation.

Stanislav Klykh’s appeal to the European Court of Human Rights is a clear illustration of illegal treatment by the state authorities of the Russian Federation:

“[…] In order to force me to testify, I was subjected to illegal methods of inquiry and investigation, expressed in causing me beatings and injuries, including using handcuffs and electric current, prolonged kneeling, resulting in numerous scars on my wrists, knees […] I was kept in the prison yard for several days without any water or food. As a result of the application of these methods, I was brought to a state of dystrophy, I could not hold a spoon, a pen in my hands, since the hands were dislocated as a result of being handcuffed to the bars”.

The situation is complicated by the unsatisfactory conditions of detention, which further contribute to a sharp deterioration in the health, development and exacerbation of chronic and other diseases.

 

The lawyer of the Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov, who was recognized as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, recently announced a sharp deterioration in the health of the illegally imprisoned. According to him, due to prolonged overcooling, the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis exacerbated and problems with the heart began.

 

We draw attention to the fact that human life and health are the highest values of every civilized state. The right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is guaranteed by Art. 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, Article 11, 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966, as well as Article 11 of the European Social Charter of 1996.

 

This year, the representative of the Russian Federation was elected as a President of the 70th World Health Assembly, the Charter of which was signed by the Russian Federation in 1946. Thus, she acknowledged that “the possession of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is one of the fundamental rights of everyone, regardless of race, religion, political beliefs, economic or social status”.

 

In addition, according to Art. 26 of the Federal Law of 21.11.2011 No 323-FZ “On the basis of public health protection in the Russian Federation” persons, who are in custody, serving a sentence in the form of restriction of liberty, arrest, deprivation of liberty or administrative arrest, are entitled to receive medical assistance, in particular, in necessary cases in medical institutions of the state health system and the municipal health care system in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation.

In pursuance of this Law the Government of the Russian Federation adopted the Resolution dated 28.12.2012 No 1466, which approved the Rules for the provision of medical care in medical institutions of the state and municipal health care system for persons held in custody or serving a sentence in the form of deprivation of liberty. The Rules provide for the possibility of inviting the medical specialists of the said medical institutions for consultation if it is impossible to provide medical assistance in the institutions of the criminal and executive system.

We note that all citizens of Ukraine, who are held for political reasons in the territory of the Russian Federation and the occupied Crimea, need proper medical care. Among them, Dmytro Shtyblikov, who after detention lost 30 kg and was brought to a dystopia, Stanislav Klykh, who lost his mental health after the torture that he suffered, Oleksandr Kostenko, who, due to the lack of an operation, runs the risk of losing the arm broken by the FSB’s staff, Oleksandr Rolchenko< who was in a hospital with a diagnosis of underweight, Volodymyr Dudka, who has been practicing self-medication with a stomach ulcer for ten months, Arsen Dzepparov, who is not provided with medical assistance despite cold kidneys, loss of hearing in his left ear and a sharp deterioration in vision, 19-year-old Pavlo Hryb who due to his disability is constantly taking drugs, so the lack of medicines and proper medical treatment in prison led to the appearance of ulcers on his body.

These are just a few examples of violation of the international obligations by the Russian Federation as for the right of Ukrainian political prisoners to the highest attainable standards of physical and mental health. From the moment of their illegal detention, independent physicians do not have access to them, and therefore, they cannot assess their health and provide proper medical care.

We address you with a request to raise before the Government of the Russian Federation the issue of the need to organize the access of physicians from the International Committee of the Red Cross and other reputable international health organizations to provide qualified medical assistance to Oleh Sentsov and all Ukrainian political prisoners from the LetMyPeopleGo list.

Center for Civil Liberties coordinating the #LetMyPeopleGo campaign

NGO “Association of Relatives of Political Prisoners of the Kremlin”

Media Initiative for Human Rights

Crimea Human Rights Group

Open Dialog Foundation

Association UMDPL

NGO “CrimeaSOS”

Luhansk Regional Human Rights Center “Alternative”

NGO “Social Action Center”

NGO “Peaceful Coast”

Human Rights Information Center

Expert Center for Human Rights

Charitable Foundation “East-SOS”

Euromaidan Press

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research

AIHO Foundation of Regional Initiatives

NGO “Human Rights Initiative”

NGO “Regional Center for Human Rights”/Sevastopol Human Rights Protection Group

KRF “Hromadska Alternatyva”

Centre for Civil Liberties’s statement on the pressure on civil society organisations in Poland

August 7, 2017

6 August, 2017, Kyiv

We have been cooperating with the Open Dialog Foundation (Poland) for many years. In the early days of mass protests in Ukraine, they were one of the first to render assistance to the
newly created initiative ‘EuroMaidan SOS’. The equipment that they provided was used by our civil society observers who were recording the process of fabricated trials against
peaceful protesters in Kyiv.
Following the occupation of Crimea by Russia and the commencement of the hybrid war in the Donbas, the Open Dialog Foundation supported our ‘LetMyPeopleGo’ campaign to
protect Ukrainian citizens, held in detention in Russian prisons for political reasons. Currently, they are among the most loyal defenders of the ‘Kremlin prisoners’ on the
international arena and consistently promote the issue of extending sanctions against the Russian Federation in the EU and the United States.
In view of this, it is very surprising to us to read statements, unsupported by evidence, about the alleged links of the Open Dialog Foundation with the Russian special services. It seems
that the publications, which appear in certain government media, are retaliation for the active position of the organisation and its participation in mass public protests in Poland. In
our opinion, it was the reason for which the shameful scheme of labelling dissidents as‘agents of the Kremlin’ was used.
In addition, currently, individual top Polish officials are calling for unreasonable additional tax audits of the Open Dialog Foundation and even for cancelling its registration as a non-
profit organisation. Similar pressure for participating in massive public protests is being exerted on a number of other public organisations in Poland.
We all remember what social changes took place after a long-lasting campaign of discrediting civic organisations in the Russian Federation alone. Therefore, we consider the
appearance of such publications a red flag for Poland, which has long been an example of democratic transformation of a country in the post-Soviet space, and especially for Ukraine.

Photo: Radio Liberty

Holding a meeting on human rights is not a terrorist conspiracy

July 10, 2017

10 July 2017

 

    On 5 July 2017, ten participants in a human rights training meeting were detained at Büyükada, one of the Princes’ Islands near İstanbul, Turkey. The group consisted of eight representatives of Turkish civil society organisations working on human rights and two foreign consultants on digital security and information management. By the afternoon of July 6, the lawyers of the detained persons learned that their clients are being investigated for membership of an armed organization, a terrorist offense, and will stay in investigative detention initially for seven days.
The undersigned organisations, national and international human rights NGOs from the OSCE region, members of the Civic Solidarity Platform, strongly reject this operation by the Turkish authorities. We appeal for the immediate and unconditional release of the detained persons, participants in a peaceful meeting to advance human rights. Human rights work should not be criminalized. Civil society work for human rights is an important contribution to a healthy society. Holding a meeting on human rights is not a terrorist conspiracy.
The Turkish citizens arrested are Özlem Dalkıran (Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly), lawyer Nalan Erkem (Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly), İlknur Üstün (Women’s Coalition), İdil Eser (Amnesty International Turkey director), Veli Acu (Human Rights Agenda Association), lawyer Günal Kurşun (Human Rights Agenda Association), Şeymus Özbekli (Rights Initiative), and Nejat Taştan (Equal Rights Watch Association). The two consultants are Ali Gharawi, from Sweden, and Peter Steudtner, from Germany.
In the past years, human rights defenders have on several occasions been targeted by governmental repression. This latest attack on human rights defenders comes amidst a wave of repression after the failed coup attempt of 15 July 2016 which has affected a much wider group of persons than those who may have been directly involved in the coup attempt, including journalists, lawyers and politicians. Only last month, Taner Kiliç, the president of Amnesty International Turkey, was arrested together with 22 other lawyers.

Article 19 (international, London)
Association of Ukrainian Human Rights Monitors on Law Enforcement
Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House
Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russia)
Center for Participation and Development (Georgia)
DRA – German-Russian Exchange (Germany)
Fair Trials (international, London)

Golos Svobody (Kyrgyzstan)
Helsinki Citizens Assembly Vanadzor (Armenia)
Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)
Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan
Human Rights House Foundation (international, Oslo)
Human Rights Information Center (Ukraine)
Human Rights Matter (Germany)
IDP Women Association “Consent” (Georgia)
International Partnership for Human Rights (international, Brussels)
International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (international, Copenhagen)
Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (Azerbaijan)
Kadyr Kasiyet (“Dignity”) (Kazakhstan)
Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law
Kharkiv regional foundation Public Alternative (Ukraine)
Legal Policy Research Center (Kazakhstan)
Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights (Germany)
Moscow Helsinki Group
Netherlands Helsinki Committee
Norwegian Helsinki Committee
Office of Civil Freedoms (Tajikistan)
Promo-LEX (Moldova)
Protection of rights without borders (Armenia)
Public Verdict (Russia)
Regional Center for Strategic Studies (Azerbaijan)
Solidarus (Germany)
SOVA Center for Information and Analysis (Russia)
Swiss Helsinki Committee
Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (Germany)
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) (international, Geneva)
[country names added if name of country not included in the name of the organization; for
international organisations, the city where their secretariat is located, is added]

The Civic Solidarity Platform is a decentralized advocacy network of independent civic groups
committed to improving the human rights situation in Europe, Eurasia and the US,
www.civicsolidarity.org.
Contact for this statement: Harry Hummel, Netherlands Helsinki Committee, hhummel@nhc.nl,
+31703926700

On the situation with the nomination at the “Eurovision” from Russia Yulia Samoylova

May 15, 2017

Ukraine has the right to demand the implementation of the law in relation to the Russian singer Yulii Samoylovoy, but the fact that Russia still decided to send its representative to this year held in Kiev “Eurovision” is a kind of a gesture of reconciliation. Such an opinion was expressed by the Russian human rights activist, head of the Moscow Helsinki Group Lyudmila Alekseeva.

“On the one hand, I am glad that our leaders still decide to send a Russian representative at” Eurovision “. Neighborly. This is a good step, which shows the desire of reconciliation. But on the other hand, I understand the Ukrainians: Crimea captured now want to make peace, but the Crimea is not returned. It is clear to me, “- Alexeyev said, commenting on the Ukrainian edition of” Explorer “the situation surrounding the nomination of the representative of Russia in the international music competition” Eurovision “.

Russian human rights activist has also recognized that “there are Ukrainian laws, and they must comply with.” However, she admitted that the Russian singer could have visited the Crimea, “whether he is Ukrainian.”

In this context, Alexeyev told that visited the peninsula, as it was her little homeland to the annexation of the Crimea. Due to old age she can not go there now, but “I fully admit that if I were younger, I would have to go on a his small home, no matter who it belongs to,” – she said.

“I would not want us to even about it [on participation in” Eurovision “Yulii Samoylovoy] quarreled. When fighting bosses, we should not pay attention to it. I belong to the Ukrainians as well as before. What a difference to us? Let them find out the relationship, and we have to treat each other with respect, as it should be neighbors, as it is necessary for people who have a common history, “- Alexeyev said.

At the same time, she added: “I feel very sorry for Russia because of this history of the Crimea.”

Recall that in Russia ended with the internal competitive selection of artists for the contest “Eurovision” -2017, the winner of which was a girl with a disability Julia Samoilova. In the summer of 2015 the singer participated in the festival “World of Sports, and good”, which was held in the Crimea. Thus, according to Ukrainian law, Samoilova violated the procedure for crossing the Ukrainian border. The singer is also listed as a “purgatory” center “Peacemaker”.

March 13 Advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Anton Gerashchenko said that the law enforcement agencies , there are two ways to resolve the situation on the Russian representative at “Eurovision” Yulii Samoylovoy, which violated the legislation of Ukraine. According to him, the first option – not to let Samoilov to Ukraine for violating the rules visit the occupied territory of Crimea. The second – to give Samoilova permission to enter the country, but at the same time and bring her to justice for violation of the state border.

Sourse, 14/05/2017

Such meetings are beneficial for all participants

June 10, 2015

Azerbaijani human rights activist and director of the Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan (HRCA), Eldar Zeynalov summed up ended in Kiev workshop on exchange of experiences and best practices “Improving skills in the field of human rights advocacy (promotion and protection of human rights).”

“Such meetings are mutually beneficial,” – suggested Eldar Zeynalov.

According to the head of the OCA, the seminar was attended by five representatives of Azerbaijan. “Except for me, their participation in the seminar later unveiled a lawyer Fariz Namazly. The names of the other three parties, I do not know if I can make public.

Organizers asked not to mention the names of the participants without agreement with them. I can only say that the two human rights defenders, and three lawyers participated from Azerbaijan. “

Recall that the seminar held in the capital of Ukraine on 4-5 June, organized by the Netherlands Helsinki Committee and the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland) for the human rights of a number of countries of the former Soviet Union, including Azerbaijan.

For two days, the participants discussed the planning and advocacy strategy (promotion and protection of human rights), including working with international organizations such as the UN, Council of Europe, the European Union and the OSCE, as well as exchanged between human rights defenders from different countries with innovative approaches to this area.

According to the expert, such events often performed earlier. It was the general training, and explain the ways of European standards, and so on.

“This workshop was more specific. Standards as they were, and have remained so, just change the working conditions. They exchanged views on how to operate in such conditions, how to achieve positive changes in human rights issues.

We never work in isolation. We have partners in the West, that we support or do not support. Which have their own vision of the situation in the country and is not always correct and complete. And the result is that some campaigns in our defense, wrong calculation, not the tone chosen, the methods used do not become “blank shot”, as he was selected.

And for “Westerners” to us useful to meet. It is mutually useful meeting. The workshop in addition to representatives of Azerbaijan, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, was also attended by representatives of immigrant organizations in France.

But in fact, they work in the Russian direction. I became more optimistic look at things and know what are the conditions for human rights defenders in Belarus, Russia.

In the same Russian clamped and dissidents, and human rights activists. They are looking for other outlets. Nobody is going to give, “- said E. Zeynalov.

Note that at the time of the seminar, after a brief lull, resumed again fighting in eastern Ukraine between the forces of the anti-terrorist operation and separatists.

According to E. Zeynalov, “in the city met the guys in camouflage, the number of police officers was greater than that observed a couple of years ago.”

“However, such as in Russia, where visitors to the carp, check documents, did not exist.

It is not felt that Kiev – the capital of the belligerent State. In the city center, where the Maidan, traces the events of last year. The same House of Trade Unions has not been refurbished. Many graffiti that were made then.

In a couple of places monuments installed. Sometimes came a beautiful girl who collected donations for the wounded. Only in this war, and manifested. No aggressive slogans on the wall, sometimes there are signs saying: “Ukraine – one country, one nation.” No militarist propaganda personally I have not seen “- he said.

Sourse, 09/06/2015

Результаты поиска:

Joint appeal on the inappropriate use of extremist charges, mass detention and use of torture against peaceful demonstrators, activists and government’s critics in Kazakhstan.

December 17, 2018

Despite the ratification of the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Kazakhstan, the human rights situation in the country has sharply deteriorated.

Fundamental rights, such as freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, are disrespected under the guise of fighting “extremism”. Since 13 March 2018, the day that marks the authorities’ ban of the peaceful opposition movement ‘Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan’ (DCK), more than 450 persons, participating in peaceful rallies or showing different form of support for DCK (e.g. posting and commenting social media contents, walking with blue balloons, etc.) have fallen victim of political persecution.

We call for a stepping up of efforts to ensure political pluralism in the country and condemn the repression of peaceful activists and supporters of opposition movement DCK and call for their unconditional release. Kazakhstan has to ensure its citizens free access to social media networks and independent media outlets, thus ceasing the blocking or restriction of such platforms. We stress the importance of the independence of lawyers and the protection of their rights to freely practice their profession and defend their clients without fear of reprisals.

We find this particularly worrying that on 10 May 2018, during the visit of European Parliament’s Delegation to Kazakhstan, police resorted to excessive use of force against peaceful protesters and detained more than 150 people, while others were placed under administrative arrests. On that day peaceful rallies against the use of torture and politically motivated imprisonment were held in cities across the country.

Among them, more than 30 people have been prosecuted in connection with their support of DCK’s ideas, including: activists Ablovas Dzhumayev, Almat Zhumagulov and poet Kenzhebek Abishev, social media user Aset Abishev and blogger Muratbek Tungishbayev. At least six persons have reported the use of torture and a lack of medical care in the place of detention. The practice of forced confession in exchange for release, and psychological pressure exerted on political prisoners and their relatives are undermining the trust in the Kazakhstani justice system, as exemplified by the cases of Aset Nurzhaubay and Muratbek Tungishbayev.

We were informed that political prisoners are losing hope for justice and taking desperate steps. For example, on 26 November 2018, Almat Zhumagulov and Kenzhebek Abishev threatened suicide in protest against the accusatory bias in court decisions and the fabricated nature of the case. On 27 November 2018, Zhumagulov cut his arm during the court session.At the same time Iskander Yerimbetov, the brother of human rights activist and lawyer Bota Jardemalie, was arrested, tortured and convicted in October 2018 to 7 years’ imprisonment in retaliation for his sister’s professional activities. Due to the outcome of his case, lawyers in Kazakhstan fear to defend victims of political persecution and torture.The number of political prisoners in Kazakhstan is increasing. More than 20 political prisoners are being held in detention. Human rights defenders are also under attack. Restrictions imposed on NGOs and criminal prosecution of human rights activists, such as Elena Semenova, severely shrink the space for civil society.

We call on Kazakhstani authorities to implement the communications from the UN Human Rights Committee, UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, and call without further delay to release the political prisoners Mukhtar Dzhakishev, Maks Bokayev and Iskander Yerimbetov; compliance with the UN requirements is an important condition for further cooperation between the EU and Kazakhstan

We expect the urgent intervention of the EEAS, encourage the initiation of further EU official monitoring missions and call on the EEAS to support such missions in order to observe the human rights situation and attend court trials against people prosecuted for political reasons. At the same time, we strongly recommend that the European Commission and the EU Member States pursue a policy of conditionality in the case of Kazakhstan. If the latter state wants to be a recipient of EU funding and attract investments, it first must ensure the cessation of cruel practices against detainees in prisons, an end to impunity for the offenders, freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, and the right to a defence and a free trial.

 

Signatures

 

Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)

Defending Democracy

Federazione Italiana Diritti Umani (FIDU)

Human Rights Information Center (Ukraine)

Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS)

Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG)

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research (KhISR)

Open Dialogue Foundation (ODF)

The Arrested Lawyers Initiative

Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF)

Polish authorities reduce the space for the activities of NGOs including human rights organizations in the country

May 2, 2018
Since the end of 2015, we have seen disturbing trends in the actions of the Polish government and the parliamentary majority formed by the populist-nationalist party, Law and Justice (PiS), which harm the activities of human rights defenders and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Poland.
Unconstitutional legislative initiatives have jeopardized both democracy and the rule of law in Poland, particularly the principle of effective separation of powers. Following an acute conflict, the ruling majority in the Parliament de facto subordinated the Constitutional Court to itself, making this state body fully dependent on political decisions.
Numerous leading Polish NGOs including human rights organizations have expressed disagreement with these actions. In July 2017, NGOs took active part in mass peaceful protests aimed at protecting the Constitution, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary in Poland.
The significant mobilization of society led to President Andrzej Duda vetoing two of the three controversial laws aimed at undermining the independence of the judiciary. in July 2017. The independence of the Supreme Court and the National Council of the Judiciary was temporarily preserved. However, the law on the system of ordinary courts came into force, widening the control of the Minister of Justice, who is also the General Prosecutor of Poland, over the courts. And so, as early as in December 2017, despite the next wave of public protests, the Parliament adopted slightly changed, unconstitutional laws that virtually eliminate the independence of the Supreme Court and the National Council of Justice.
In response to the participation of NGOs in peaceful protests, the authorities created numerous restrictions on the third sector. Many civil initiatives critical to the authorities were targeted for attack.
In July 2017, NGOs that criticized state bodies were subjected to escalated and unprecedented pressure. To date, this concerns, in particular, NGOs and initiatives such as: Citizens Solidary in Action [Obywatele Solidarnie w Akcji], Citizens of the Republic of Poland [Obywatele RP], the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog], the Committee for the Defence of Democracy [Komitet Obrony Demokracji], Action Democracy [Akcja Demokracja], the All-Poland Women’s Strike [Ogólnopolski Strajk Kobiet], the Centre for Women’s Rights [Centrum Praw Kobiet], the BABA Lubuskie Association for the Protection of Women’s Rights [BABA Lubuskie Stowarzyszenie na Rzecz Kobiet]. Some of these NGOs faced unjustified inspections, searches and lawsuits, and their representatives were subjected to numerous interrogations and even secret surveillance. Foreigners associated with these organizations are concerned about their future in Poland due to the possibility of losing their right to stay in the country.
For example, the Polish police conducted searches and seized documents and equipment from the offices of several women’s organizations (the offices of the Centre for Women’s Rights and the BABA Association). This happened the day after protest actions in defense of women’s rights in Poland was held in October 2017. Another example: Poland’s then-Minister of Foreign Affairs (MFA) filed a motion with the court to appoint what is known as a ‘compulsory administration’ to replace the existing members of the Management Board of the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog]. The dispute, which is being continued by the current Polish MFA Jacek Czaputowicz will eventually be resolved by a court ruling. Similar means were intended to be used against Citizens of the Republic of Poland [Obywatele RP] by the then-Minister of Interior, Mariusz Błaszczak.
Incidents of prosecution of LGBT organizations have been recorded. A particularly alarming signal is the cessation of a number of investigations into physical attacks against LGBT activists and the offices of their organizations. Alongside women’s rights organizations, they have been practically cut off from almost all available state-funding. The Polish state clearly favours initiatives focused on nationalist and religious values instead.
Members of the Polish government led by the then-Prime Minister Beata Szydło (in particular, the former Minister of the Interior, Mariusz Błaszczak, his deputy Jarosław Zieliński, the Minister–Coordinator of the Special Services of Poland Mariusz Kamiński, former Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski and the Minister of National Defence Antoni Macierewicz) publicly discussed actions to be taken against specific NGOs.
In addition, the aforementioned NGOs, as well as the Office of the Polish Ombudsman, have become victims of information attacks and denigrating media campaigns. These smear campaigns are based on manipulations, half-truths and outright falsehoods. These slanders are spread by state and pro-government Polish media having close ties to the ruling party.
NGOs have been accused of ‘manipulating public opinion’ and ‘artificially provoking protests’ ‘for money from abroad’. Their representatives are portrayed as ‘traitors to the motherland’, or ‘puppets’ in the hands of foreign states and other foreign actors (for example, George Soros, Russia, Germany or ‘Brussels elites’).
The denigrating campaigns aim to intimidate human rights defenders and undermine the trust of Polish society in the work of civil society. Another dangerous consequence of these campaigns may be the creation of negative attitudes towards any international or foreign structures in society. Recently, the actor and activist for the protection of the secular state Krzysztof Pieczyński fell victim to media harassment, and was subsequently beaten in the street by unknown persons in Warsaw.
Attacks on NGOs and human rights defenders are being carried out with the support of extreme right and nationalist organizations. The attacks are openly xenophobic in nature. In particular, they are being directed against the large community of Ukrainians in Poland. Some victims are being denied the right to Polish citizenship. These actions are related to the participation of Ukrainian citizens living in Poland in protests, as well as the work of the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog] and other Polish organizations which provided humanitarian assistance to Ukraine in the period of Euromaidan. 

Reluctant response of the law enforcement bodies to the nationalist and xenophobic incidents leads to growing number of assaults on foreigners in Poland.
Members of the right-wing parties of the Sejm and Members of the European Parliament from Poland are also carrying out hostile actions against specific NGOs and civil society in general. For example, six members of parliament have made public statements about the need to restrict or even stop the activities of the Open Dialog Foundation (Fundacja Otwarty Dialog). The organization was accused of representing an ‘external’ leftist ‘threat to the Polish State’, ‘violating Ukrainian–Polish relations’ and, in general, ‘provoking an uprising’ in Poland. No facts exist which would confirm that the organization has been carrying out such activities and, thus, no such evidence has been presented.
At the moment, according to the reports prepared by the Citizens of the Republic of Poland movement [Obywatele RP] (based on the gathered information), approximately 800 court proceedings are being conducted either directly against participants in the social protests and activists in social movements or in relation to their activities. In the report on oppression produced by the Citizens of the Republic of Poland,, as of the end of January 2018, 472 court trials had been initiated against protesters under the Code of Petty Offences; while a month earlier, there had been only 367 such trials. Twenty-eight criminal cases had been initiated under the Criminal Code (a month earlier there had been only 14 criminal cases), and nine persons were facing criminal charges.
Serious problems are also being caused by the new law on gatherings, which is highly controversial and widely perceived as unconstitutional, and which promotes the so-called cyclical gatherings, such as the Smolensk tragedy monthly commemoration (monthly demonstrations led by the leader of the ruling party, Jarosław Kaczyński, carried out with privileges unavailable to any other forms of street demonstration). For this reason, the Mazovian Voivode [governor] has regularly imposed a ban on pro-democracy protest actions organized on the same day by the Citizens Solidary in Action [Obywatele Solidarnie w Akcji]. Still, all of his previous decisions have been rejected by the District Court in Warsaw.
Serious concern over these attacks on the supremacy of civil rights and freedoms in Poland have been repeatedly expressed by members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (Resolution 2188 (2017), written declaration 641), pointing out in the statement on the resolution of 26 January 2018 that their demands have thus far been ignored by the Polish authorities.
The space for a dialogue between civil society and the authorities continues to shrink. Representatives of non-governmental organizations (particularly those affiliated with Citizens of the Republic of Poland movement [Obywatele RP] are commonly deprived of the opportunity to attend meetings and hearing of the Parliament’s Commissions. Several questionable legislative initiatives which address the most important aspects of public life are being considered without  any public consultation. In particular, these include changes in the legislation on the police, the introduction of anti-terrorism legislation, and amendments to the law on the Institute of National Remembrance (this last has already been adopted).
The authorities have changed some of the procedures for allocating public funds to NGOs. On 26 September 2017, the Senate passed a law regarding the National Institute of Freedom – Centre for the Development of Civil Society. The law was presented as being part of the government’s actions to strengthen civil society. However, the law was sharply criticized by the associations of NGOs and the Commissioner for Human Rights.
The law centralizes the government funds for public organizations within the framework of the established Centre. Since it is aimed at promoting activities which are in line with Christian and patriotic values, funding may become inaccessible for organizations whose work does not correlate with such values. Such an approach by the authorities violates the Constitution, which protects diversity of beliefs and views. The law was signed by the President on 12 October 2017 jeopardizing the independence of civil society in Poland.
Also, NGOs have recorded incidents of public funding having been either provided or terminated for political or ideological reasons.
In connection with the recent disturbing events, the International Civic Solidarity Platform hereby calls for the restoration of the participation of public and human rights organizations in democratic processes in Poland, a return to the European standards of interaction between civil society and government structures, and a guarantee of the independence of civil society initiatives in Poland.
Signed by the following organisations:​
1. The Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
2. Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)
3. Humanrights.ch
4. Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights (Germany/Switzerland)
5. International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law (Kazakhstan)
6. Citizens’ Watch, St. Petersburg (Russia)
7. Moscow Helsinki Group (Russia)
8. Public Verdict (Russia)
9. Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
10. Public Association “Dignity”
11. Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly – Vanadzor
12. Helsinki Committee of Armenia (Armenia)
13. KRF Public Alternative (Ukraine)
14. DRA – German-Russian Exchange (Germany)
15. “OMCT – World Organisation Against Torture”
16. Human Rights Monitoring Institute (Lithuania)
17. Legal Transformation Center (Belarus)
18. International Partnership for Human Rights (Belgium)
19. Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (Bulgaria)
20. Helsinki Association for Human Rights NGO Armenia (Armenia)
21. Human Rights Matter e.V. (Germany)
22. The Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House (Belarus)
23. WILPF Germany (Germany)
24. Association UMDPL (Ukraine)
25. Norwegian Helsinki Committee
26. The Kosova Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims (KRCT) from Kosovo
27. ZARA – Zivilcourage und Anti-Rassismus-Arbeit (Austria)
28. Women of the Don (Russia)
29. Crude Accountability
30. Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
31. Citizens Watch (Russia)
32. Regional Center for Strategic Studies ( Georgia/Azerbaijan)
33. Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russia)
34. UNITED
35. Netherlands Helsinki Committee

Source:
http://www.civicsolidarity.org/article/1545/polish-authorities-reduce-space-activities-ngos-including-human-rights-organizations

The Appeal about lack of proper medical care for Oleh Sentsov and other Ukrainian political prisoners from the LetMyPeopleGo list

November 29, 2017

To the Vice-Chancellor, the Federal Minister for Foreign

Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany,

Mr. Sigmar Gabriel

As of today, about 60 Ukrainian citizens have been detained on political grounds in the territory of the Russian Federation and the occupied Crimea. Most of them have been subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment to force false confessions about the actions they did not commit.

Oleh Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko, Valentyn Vygovsky, Mykola Karpiuk, Stanislav Klykh, Yevhen Panov, Andrii Zakhtey, Andrii Kolomiyets, Serhii Lytvynov, Oleksandr Kostenko and other illegally detained people publicly stated this. Yurii Yatsenko and Gennady Afanasyev, who were released, shared details about the unlawful practices that were applied to people under the control of the Russian Federation.

Stanislav Klykh’s appeal to the European Court of Human Rights is a clear illustration of illegal treatment by the state authorities of the Russian Federation:

“[…] In order to force me to testify, I was subjected to illegal methods of inquiry and investigation, expressed in causing me beatings and injuries, including using handcuffs and electric current, prolonged kneeling, resulting in numerous scars on my wrists, knees […] I was kept in the prison yard for several days without any water or food. As a result of the application of these methods, I was brought to a state of dystrophy, I could not hold a spoon, a pen in my hands, since the hands were dislocated as a result of being handcuffed to the bars”.

The situation is complicated by the unsatisfactory conditions of detention, which further contribute to a sharp deterioration in the health, development and exacerbation of chronic and other diseases.

 

The lawyer of the Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov, who was recognized as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, recently announced a sharp deterioration in the health of the illegally imprisoned. According to him, due to prolonged overcooling, the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis exacerbated and problems with the heart began.

 

We draw attention to the fact that human life and health are the highest values of every civilized state. The right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is guaranteed by Art. 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, Article 11, 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966, as well as Article 11 of the European Social Charter of 1996.

 

This year, the representative of the Russian Federation was elected as a President of the 70th World Health Assembly, the Charter of which was signed by the Russian Federation in 1946. Thus, she acknowledged that “the possession of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is one of the fundamental rights of everyone, regardless of race, religion, political beliefs, economic or social status”.

 

In addition, according to Art. 26 of the Federal Law of 21.11.2011 No 323-FZ “On the basis of public health protection in the Russian Federation” persons, who are in custody, serving a sentence in the form of restriction of liberty, arrest, deprivation of liberty or administrative arrest, are entitled to receive medical assistance, in particular, in necessary cases in medical institutions of the state health system and the municipal health care system in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation.

In pursuance of this Law the Government of the Russian Federation adopted the Resolution dated 28.12.2012 No 1466, which approved the Rules for the provision of medical care in medical institutions of the state and municipal health care system for persons held in custody or serving a sentence in the form of deprivation of liberty. The Rules provide for the possibility of inviting the medical specialists of the said medical institutions for consultation if it is impossible to provide medical assistance in the institutions of the criminal and executive system.

We note that all citizens of Ukraine, who are held for political reasons in the territory of the Russian Federation and the occupied Crimea, need proper medical care. Among them, Dmytro Shtyblikov, who after detention lost 30 kg and was brought to a dystopia, Stanislav Klykh, who lost his mental health after the torture that he suffered, Oleksandr Kostenko, who, due to the lack of an operation, runs the risk of losing the arm broken by the FSB’s staff, Oleksandr Rolchenko< who was in a hospital with a diagnosis of underweight, Volodymyr Dudka, who has been practicing self-medication with a stomach ulcer for ten months, Arsen Dzepparov, who is not provided with medical assistance despite cold kidneys, loss of hearing in his left ear and a sharp deterioration in vision, 19-year-old Pavlo Hryb who due to his disability is constantly taking drugs, so the lack of medicines and proper medical treatment in prison led to the appearance of ulcers on his body.

These are just a few examples of violation of the international obligations by the Russian Federation as for the right of Ukrainian political prisoners to the highest attainable standards of physical and mental health. From the moment of their illegal detention, independent physicians do not have access to them, and therefore, they cannot assess their health and provide proper medical care.

We address you with a request to raise before the Government of the Russian Federation the issue of the need to organize the access of physicians from the International Committee of the Red Cross and other reputable international health organizations to provide qualified medical assistance to Oleh Sentsov and all Ukrainian political prisoners from the LetMyPeopleGo list.

Center for Civil Liberties coordinating the #LetMyPeopleGo campaign

NGO “Association of Relatives of Political Prisoners of the Kremlin”

Media Initiative for Human Rights

Crimea Human Rights Group

Open Dialog Foundation

Association UMDPL

NGO “CrimeaSOS”

Luhansk Regional Human Rights Center “Alternative”

NGO “Social Action Center”

NGO “Peaceful Coast”

Human Rights Information Center

Expert Center for Human Rights

Charitable Foundation “East-SOS”

Euromaidan Press

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research

AIHO Foundation of Regional Initiatives

NGO “Human Rights Initiative”

NGO “Regional Center for Human Rights”/Sevastopol Human Rights Protection Group

KRF “Hromadska Alternatyva”

Centre for Civil Liberties’s statement on the pressure on civil society organisations in Poland

August 7, 2017

6 August, 2017, Kyiv

We have been cooperating with the Open Dialog Foundation (Poland) for many years. In the early days of mass protests in Ukraine, they were one of the first to render assistance to the
newly created initiative ‘EuroMaidan SOS’. The equipment that they provided was used by our civil society observers who were recording the process of fabricated trials against
peaceful protesters in Kyiv.
Following the occupation of Crimea by Russia and the commencement of the hybrid war in the Donbas, the Open Dialog Foundation supported our ‘LetMyPeopleGo’ campaign to
protect Ukrainian citizens, held in detention in Russian prisons for political reasons. Currently, they are among the most loyal defenders of the ‘Kremlin prisoners’ on the
international arena and consistently promote the issue of extending sanctions against the Russian Federation in the EU and the United States.
In view of this, it is very surprising to us to read statements, unsupported by evidence, about the alleged links of the Open Dialog Foundation with the Russian special services. It seems
that the publications, which appear in certain government media, are retaliation for the active position of the organisation and its participation in mass public protests in Poland. In
our opinion, it was the reason for which the shameful scheme of labelling dissidents as‘agents of the Kremlin’ was used.
In addition, currently, individual top Polish officials are calling for unreasonable additional tax audits of the Open Dialog Foundation and even for cancelling its registration as a non-
profit organisation. Similar pressure for participating in massive public protests is being exerted on a number of other public organisations in Poland.
We all remember what social changes took place after a long-lasting campaign of discrediting civic organisations in the Russian Federation alone. Therefore, we consider the
appearance of such publications a red flag for Poland, which has long been an example of democratic transformation of a country in the post-Soviet space, and especially for Ukraine.

Photo: Radio Liberty

Holding a meeting on human rights is not a terrorist conspiracy

July 10, 2017

10 July 2017

 

    On 5 July 2017, ten participants in a human rights training meeting were detained at Büyükada, one of the Princes’ Islands near İstanbul, Turkey. The group consisted of eight representatives of Turkish civil society organisations working on human rights and two foreign consultants on digital security and information management. By the afternoon of July 6, the lawyers of the detained persons learned that their clients are being investigated for membership of an armed organization, a terrorist offense, and will stay in investigative detention initially for seven days.
The undersigned organisations, national and international human rights NGOs from the OSCE region, members of the Civic Solidarity Platform, strongly reject this operation by the Turkish authorities. We appeal for the immediate and unconditional release of the detained persons, participants in a peaceful meeting to advance human rights. Human rights work should not be criminalized. Civil society work for human rights is an important contribution to a healthy society. Holding a meeting on human rights is not a terrorist conspiracy.
The Turkish citizens arrested are Özlem Dalkıran (Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly), lawyer Nalan Erkem (Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly), İlknur Üstün (Women’s Coalition), İdil Eser (Amnesty International Turkey director), Veli Acu (Human Rights Agenda Association), lawyer Günal Kurşun (Human Rights Agenda Association), Şeymus Özbekli (Rights Initiative), and Nejat Taştan (Equal Rights Watch Association). The two consultants are Ali Gharawi, from Sweden, and Peter Steudtner, from Germany.
In the past years, human rights defenders have on several occasions been targeted by governmental repression. This latest attack on human rights defenders comes amidst a wave of repression after the failed coup attempt of 15 July 2016 which has affected a much wider group of persons than those who may have been directly involved in the coup attempt, including journalists, lawyers and politicians. Only last month, Taner Kiliç, the president of Amnesty International Turkey, was arrested together with 22 other lawyers.

Article 19 (international, London)
Association of Ukrainian Human Rights Monitors on Law Enforcement
Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House
Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russia)
Center for Participation and Development (Georgia)
DRA – German-Russian Exchange (Germany)
Fair Trials (international, London)

Golos Svobody (Kyrgyzstan)
Helsinki Citizens Assembly Vanadzor (Armenia)
Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)
Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan
Human Rights House Foundation (international, Oslo)
Human Rights Information Center (Ukraine)
Human Rights Matter (Germany)
IDP Women Association “Consent” (Georgia)
International Partnership for Human Rights (international, Brussels)
International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (international, Copenhagen)
Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (Azerbaijan)
Kadyr Kasiyet (“Dignity”) (Kazakhstan)
Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law
Kharkiv regional foundation Public Alternative (Ukraine)
Legal Policy Research Center (Kazakhstan)
Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights (Germany)
Moscow Helsinki Group
Netherlands Helsinki Committee
Norwegian Helsinki Committee
Office of Civil Freedoms (Tajikistan)
Promo-LEX (Moldova)
Protection of rights without borders (Armenia)
Public Verdict (Russia)
Regional Center for Strategic Studies (Azerbaijan)
Solidarus (Germany)
SOVA Center for Information and Analysis (Russia)
Swiss Helsinki Committee
Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (Germany)
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) (international, Geneva)
[country names added if name of country not included in the name of the organization; for
international organisations, the city where their secretariat is located, is added]

The Civic Solidarity Platform is a decentralized advocacy network of independent civic groups
committed to improving the human rights situation in Europe, Eurasia and the US,
www.civicsolidarity.org.
Contact for this statement: Harry Hummel, Netherlands Helsinki Committee, hhummel@nhc.nl,
+31703926700

On the situation with the nomination at the “Eurovision” from Russia Yulia Samoylova

May 15, 2017

Ukraine has the right to demand the implementation of the law in relation to the Russian singer Yulii Samoylovoy, but the fact that Russia still decided to send its representative to this year held in Kiev “Eurovision” is a kind of a gesture of reconciliation. Such an opinion was expressed by the Russian human rights activist, head of the Moscow Helsinki Group Lyudmila Alekseeva.

“On the one hand, I am glad that our leaders still decide to send a Russian representative at” Eurovision “. Neighborly. This is a good step, which shows the desire of reconciliation. But on the other hand, I understand the Ukrainians: Crimea captured now want to make peace, but the Crimea is not returned. It is clear to me, “- Alexeyev said, commenting on the Ukrainian edition of” Explorer “the situation surrounding the nomination of the representative of Russia in the international music competition” Eurovision “.

Russian human rights activist has also recognized that “there are Ukrainian laws, and they must comply with.” However, she admitted that the Russian singer could have visited the Crimea, “whether he is Ukrainian.”

In this context, Alexeyev told that visited the peninsula, as it was her little homeland to the annexation of the Crimea. Due to old age she can not go there now, but “I fully admit that if I were younger, I would have to go on a his small home, no matter who it belongs to,” – she said.

“I would not want us to even about it [on participation in” Eurovision “Yulii Samoylovoy] quarreled. When fighting bosses, we should not pay attention to it. I belong to the Ukrainians as well as before. What a difference to us? Let them find out the relationship, and we have to treat each other with respect, as it should be neighbors, as it is necessary for people who have a common history, “- Alexeyev said.

At the same time, she added: “I feel very sorry for Russia because of this history of the Crimea.”

Recall that in Russia ended with the internal competitive selection of artists for the contest “Eurovision” -2017, the winner of which was a girl with a disability Julia Samoilova. In the summer of 2015 the singer participated in the festival “World of Sports, and good”, which was held in the Crimea. Thus, according to Ukrainian law, Samoilova violated the procedure for crossing the Ukrainian border. The singer is also listed as a “purgatory” center “Peacemaker”.

March 13 Advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Anton Gerashchenko said that the law enforcement agencies , there are two ways to resolve the situation on the Russian representative at “Eurovision” Yulii Samoylovoy, which violated the legislation of Ukraine. According to him, the first option – not to let Samoilov to Ukraine for violating the rules visit the occupied territory of Crimea. The second – to give Samoilova permission to enter the country, but at the same time and bring her to justice for violation of the state border.

Sourse, 14/05/2017

Such meetings are beneficial for all participants

June 10, 2015

Azerbaijani human rights activist and director of the Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan (HRCA), Eldar Zeynalov summed up ended in Kiev workshop on exchange of experiences and best practices “Improving skills in the field of human rights advocacy (promotion and protection of human rights).”

“Such meetings are mutually beneficial,” – suggested Eldar Zeynalov.

According to the head of the OCA, the seminar was attended by five representatives of Azerbaijan. “Except for me, their participation in the seminar later unveiled a lawyer Fariz Namazly. The names of the other three parties, I do not know if I can make public.

Organizers asked not to mention the names of the participants without agreement with them. I can only say that the two human rights defenders, and three lawyers participated from Azerbaijan. “

Recall that the seminar held in the capital of Ukraine on 4-5 June, organized by the Netherlands Helsinki Committee and the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland) for the human rights of a number of countries of the former Soviet Union, including Azerbaijan.

For two days, the participants discussed the planning and advocacy strategy (promotion and protection of human rights), including working with international organizations such as the UN, Council of Europe, the European Union and the OSCE, as well as exchanged between human rights defenders from different countries with innovative approaches to this area.

According to the expert, such events often performed earlier. It was the general training, and explain the ways of European standards, and so on.

“This workshop was more specific. Standards as they were, and have remained so, just change the working conditions. They exchanged views on how to operate in such conditions, how to achieve positive changes in human rights issues.

We never work in isolation. We have partners in the West, that we support or do not support. Which have their own vision of the situation in the country and is not always correct and complete. And the result is that some campaigns in our defense, wrong calculation, not the tone chosen, the methods used do not become “blank shot”, as he was selected.

And for “Westerners” to us useful to meet. It is mutually useful meeting. The workshop in addition to representatives of Azerbaijan, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, was also attended by representatives of immigrant organizations in France.

But in fact, they work in the Russian direction. I became more optimistic look at things and know what are the conditions for human rights defenders in Belarus, Russia.

In the same Russian clamped and dissidents, and human rights activists. They are looking for other outlets. Nobody is going to give, “- said E. Zeynalov.

Note that at the time of the seminar, after a brief lull, resumed again fighting in eastern Ukraine between the forces of the anti-terrorist operation and separatists.

According to E. Zeynalov, “in the city met the guys in camouflage, the number of police officers was greater than that observed a couple of years ago.”

“However, such as in Russia, where visitors to the carp, check documents, did not exist.

It is not felt that Kiev – the capital of the belligerent State. In the city center, where the Maidan, traces the events of last year. The same House of Trade Unions has not been refurbished. Many graffiti that were made then.

In a couple of places monuments installed. Sometimes came a beautiful girl who collected donations for the wounded. Only in this war, and manifested. No aggressive slogans on the wall, sometimes there are signs saying: “Ukraine – one country, one nation.” No militarist propaganda personally I have not seen “- he said.

Sourse, 09/06/2015

Результаты поиска:

Joint appeal on the inappropriate use of extremist charges, mass detention and use of torture against peaceful demonstrators, activists and government’s critics in Kazakhstan.

December 17, 2018

Despite the ratification of the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Kazakhstan, the human rights situation in the country has sharply deteriorated.

Fundamental rights, such as freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, are disrespected under the guise of fighting “extremism”. Since 13 March 2018, the day that marks the authorities’ ban of the peaceful opposition movement ‘Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan’ (DCK), more than 450 persons, participating in peaceful rallies or showing different form of support for DCK (e.g. posting and commenting social media contents, walking with blue balloons, etc.) have fallen victim of political persecution.

We call for a stepping up of efforts to ensure political pluralism in the country and condemn the repression of peaceful activists and supporters of opposition movement DCK and call for their unconditional release. Kazakhstan has to ensure its citizens free access to social media networks and independent media outlets, thus ceasing the blocking or restriction of such platforms. We stress the importance of the independence of lawyers and the protection of their rights to freely practice their profession and defend their clients without fear of reprisals.

We find this particularly worrying that on 10 May 2018, during the visit of European Parliament’s Delegation to Kazakhstan, police resorted to excessive use of force against peaceful protesters and detained more than 150 people, while others were placed under administrative arrests. On that day peaceful rallies against the use of torture and politically motivated imprisonment were held in cities across the country.

Among them, more than 30 people have been prosecuted in connection with their support of DCK’s ideas, including: activists Ablovas Dzhumayev, Almat Zhumagulov and poet Kenzhebek Abishev, social media user Aset Abishev and blogger Muratbek Tungishbayev. At least six persons have reported the use of torture and a lack of medical care in the place of detention. The practice of forced confession in exchange for release, and psychological pressure exerted on political prisoners and their relatives are undermining the trust in the Kazakhstani justice system, as exemplified by the cases of Aset Nurzhaubay and Muratbek Tungishbayev.

We were informed that political prisoners are losing hope for justice and taking desperate steps. For example, on 26 November 2018, Almat Zhumagulov and Kenzhebek Abishev threatened suicide in protest against the accusatory bias in court decisions and the fabricated nature of the case. On 27 November 2018, Zhumagulov cut his arm during the court session.At the same time Iskander Yerimbetov, the brother of human rights activist and lawyer Bota Jardemalie, was arrested, tortured and convicted in October 2018 to 7 years’ imprisonment in retaliation for his sister’s professional activities. Due to the outcome of his case, lawyers in Kazakhstan fear to defend victims of political persecution and torture.The number of political prisoners in Kazakhstan is increasing. More than 20 political prisoners are being held in detention. Human rights defenders are also under attack. Restrictions imposed on NGOs and criminal prosecution of human rights activists, such as Elena Semenova, severely shrink the space for civil society.

We call on Kazakhstani authorities to implement the communications from the UN Human Rights Committee, UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, and call without further delay to release the political prisoners Mukhtar Dzhakishev, Maks Bokayev and Iskander Yerimbetov; compliance with the UN requirements is an important condition for further cooperation between the EU and Kazakhstan

We expect the urgent intervention of the EEAS, encourage the initiation of further EU official monitoring missions and call on the EEAS to support such missions in order to observe the human rights situation and attend court trials against people prosecuted for political reasons. At the same time, we strongly recommend that the European Commission and the EU Member States pursue a policy of conditionality in the case of Kazakhstan. If the latter state wants to be a recipient of EU funding and attract investments, it first must ensure the cessation of cruel practices against detainees in prisons, an end to impunity for the offenders, freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, and the right to a defence and a free trial.

 

Signatures

 

Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)

Defending Democracy

Federazione Italiana Diritti Umani (FIDU)

Human Rights Information Center (Ukraine)

Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS)

Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG)

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research (KhISR)

Open Dialogue Foundation (ODF)

The Arrested Lawyers Initiative

Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF)

Polish authorities reduce the space for the activities of NGOs including human rights organizations in the country

May 2, 2018
Since the end of 2015, we have seen disturbing trends in the actions of the Polish government and the parliamentary majority formed by the populist-nationalist party, Law and Justice (PiS), which harm the activities of human rights defenders and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Poland.
Unconstitutional legislative initiatives have jeopardized both democracy and the rule of law in Poland, particularly the principle of effective separation of powers. Following an acute conflict, the ruling majority in the Parliament de facto subordinated the Constitutional Court to itself, making this state body fully dependent on political decisions.
Numerous leading Polish NGOs including human rights organizations have expressed disagreement with these actions. In July 2017, NGOs took active part in mass peaceful protests aimed at protecting the Constitution, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary in Poland.
The significant mobilization of society led to President Andrzej Duda vetoing two of the three controversial laws aimed at undermining the independence of the judiciary. in July 2017. The independence of the Supreme Court and the National Council of the Judiciary was temporarily preserved. However, the law on the system of ordinary courts came into force, widening the control of the Minister of Justice, who is also the General Prosecutor of Poland, over the courts. And so, as early as in December 2017, despite the next wave of public protests, the Parliament adopted slightly changed, unconstitutional laws that virtually eliminate the independence of the Supreme Court and the National Council of Justice.
In response to the participation of NGOs in peaceful protests, the authorities created numerous restrictions on the third sector. Many civil initiatives critical to the authorities were targeted for attack.
In July 2017, NGOs that criticized state bodies were subjected to escalated and unprecedented pressure. To date, this concerns, in particular, NGOs and initiatives such as: Citizens Solidary in Action [Obywatele Solidarnie w Akcji], Citizens of the Republic of Poland [Obywatele RP], the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog], the Committee for the Defence of Democracy [Komitet Obrony Demokracji], Action Democracy [Akcja Demokracja], the All-Poland Women’s Strike [Ogólnopolski Strajk Kobiet], the Centre for Women’s Rights [Centrum Praw Kobiet], the BABA Lubuskie Association for the Protection of Women’s Rights [BABA Lubuskie Stowarzyszenie na Rzecz Kobiet]. Some of these NGOs faced unjustified inspections, searches and lawsuits, and their representatives were subjected to numerous interrogations and even secret surveillance. Foreigners associated with these organizations are concerned about their future in Poland due to the possibility of losing their right to stay in the country.
For example, the Polish police conducted searches and seized documents and equipment from the offices of several women’s organizations (the offices of the Centre for Women’s Rights and the BABA Association). This happened the day after protest actions in defense of women’s rights in Poland was held in October 2017. Another example: Poland’s then-Minister of Foreign Affairs (MFA) filed a motion with the court to appoint what is known as a ‘compulsory administration’ to replace the existing members of the Management Board of the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog]. The dispute, which is being continued by the current Polish MFA Jacek Czaputowicz will eventually be resolved by a court ruling. Similar means were intended to be used against Citizens of the Republic of Poland [Obywatele RP] by the then-Minister of Interior, Mariusz Błaszczak.
Incidents of prosecution of LGBT organizations have been recorded. A particularly alarming signal is the cessation of a number of investigations into physical attacks against LGBT activists and the offices of their organizations. Alongside women’s rights organizations, they have been practically cut off from almost all available state-funding. The Polish state clearly favours initiatives focused on nationalist and religious values instead.
Members of the Polish government led by the then-Prime Minister Beata Szydło (in particular, the former Minister of the Interior, Mariusz Błaszczak, his deputy Jarosław Zieliński, the Minister–Coordinator of the Special Services of Poland Mariusz Kamiński, former Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski and the Minister of National Defence Antoni Macierewicz) publicly discussed actions to be taken against specific NGOs.
In addition, the aforementioned NGOs, as well as the Office of the Polish Ombudsman, have become victims of information attacks and denigrating media campaigns. These smear campaigns are based on manipulations, half-truths and outright falsehoods. These slanders are spread by state and pro-government Polish media having close ties to the ruling party.
NGOs have been accused of ‘manipulating public opinion’ and ‘artificially provoking protests’ ‘for money from abroad’. Their representatives are portrayed as ‘traitors to the motherland’, or ‘puppets’ in the hands of foreign states and other foreign actors (for example, George Soros, Russia, Germany or ‘Brussels elites’).
The denigrating campaigns aim to intimidate human rights defenders and undermine the trust of Polish society in the work of civil society. Another dangerous consequence of these campaigns may be the creation of negative attitudes towards any international or foreign structures in society. Recently, the actor and activist for the protection of the secular state Krzysztof Pieczyński fell victim to media harassment, and was subsequently beaten in the street by unknown persons in Warsaw.
Attacks on NGOs and human rights defenders are being carried out with the support of extreme right and nationalist organizations. The attacks are openly xenophobic in nature. In particular, they are being directed against the large community of Ukrainians in Poland. Some victims are being denied the right to Polish citizenship. These actions are related to the participation of Ukrainian citizens living in Poland in protests, as well as the work of the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog] and other Polish organizations which provided humanitarian assistance to Ukraine in the period of Euromaidan. 

Reluctant response of the law enforcement bodies to the nationalist and xenophobic incidents leads to growing number of assaults on foreigners in Poland.
Members of the right-wing parties of the Sejm and Members of the European Parliament from Poland are also carrying out hostile actions against specific NGOs and civil society in general. For example, six members of parliament have made public statements about the need to restrict or even stop the activities of the Open Dialog Foundation (Fundacja Otwarty Dialog). The organization was accused of representing an ‘external’ leftist ‘threat to the Polish State’, ‘violating Ukrainian–Polish relations’ and, in general, ‘provoking an uprising’ in Poland. No facts exist which would confirm that the organization has been carrying out such activities and, thus, no such evidence has been presented.
At the moment, according to the reports prepared by the Citizens of the Republic of Poland movement [Obywatele RP] (based on the gathered information), approximately 800 court proceedings are being conducted either directly against participants in the social protests and activists in social movements or in relation to their activities. In the report on oppression produced by the Citizens of the Republic of Poland,, as of the end of January 2018, 472 court trials had been initiated against protesters under the Code of Petty Offences; while a month earlier, there had been only 367 such trials. Twenty-eight criminal cases had been initiated under the Criminal Code (a month earlier there had been only 14 criminal cases), and nine persons were facing criminal charges.
Serious problems are also being caused by the new law on gatherings, which is highly controversial and widely perceived as unconstitutional, and which promotes the so-called cyclical gatherings, such as the Smolensk tragedy monthly commemoration (monthly demonstrations led by the leader of the ruling party, Jarosław Kaczyński, carried out with privileges unavailable to any other forms of street demonstration). For this reason, the Mazovian Voivode [governor] has regularly imposed a ban on pro-democracy protest actions organized on the same day by the Citizens Solidary in Action [Obywatele Solidarnie w Akcji]. Still, all of his previous decisions have been rejected by the District Court in Warsaw.
Serious concern over these attacks on the supremacy of civil rights and freedoms in Poland have been repeatedly expressed by members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (Resolution 2188 (2017), written declaration 641), pointing out in the statement on the resolution of 26 January 2018 that their demands have thus far been ignored by the Polish authorities.
The space for a dialogue between civil society and the authorities continues to shrink. Representatives of non-governmental organizations (particularly those affiliated with Citizens of the Republic of Poland movement [Obywatele RP] are commonly deprived of the opportunity to attend meetings and hearing of the Parliament’s Commissions. Several questionable legislative initiatives which address the most important aspects of public life are being considered without  any public consultation. In particular, these include changes in the legislation on the police, the introduction of anti-terrorism legislation, and amendments to the law on the Institute of National Remembrance (this last has already been adopted).
The authorities have changed some of the procedures for allocating public funds to NGOs. On 26 September 2017, the Senate passed a law regarding the National Institute of Freedom – Centre for the Development of Civil Society. The law was presented as being part of the government’s actions to strengthen civil society. However, the law was sharply criticized by the associations of NGOs and the Commissioner for Human Rights.
The law centralizes the government funds for public organizations within the framework of the established Centre. Since it is aimed at promoting activities which are in line with Christian and patriotic values, funding may become inaccessible for organizations whose work does not correlate with such values. Such an approach by the authorities violates the Constitution, which protects diversity of beliefs and views. The law was signed by the President on 12 October 2017 jeopardizing the independence of civil society in Poland.
Also, NGOs have recorded incidents of public funding having been either provided or terminated for political or ideological reasons.
In connection with the recent disturbing events, the International Civic Solidarity Platform hereby calls for the restoration of the participation of public and human rights organizations in democratic processes in Poland, a return to the European standards of interaction between civil society and government structures, and a guarantee of the independence of civil society initiatives in Poland.
Signed by the following organisations:​
1. The Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
2. Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)
3. Humanrights.ch
4. Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights (Germany/Switzerland)
5. International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law (Kazakhstan)
6. Citizens’ Watch, St. Petersburg (Russia)
7. Moscow Helsinki Group (Russia)
8. Public Verdict (Russia)
9. Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
10. Public Association “Dignity”
11. Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly – Vanadzor
12. Helsinki Committee of Armenia (Armenia)
13. KRF Public Alternative (Ukraine)
14. DRA – German-Russian Exchange (Germany)
15. “OMCT – World Organisation Against Torture”
16. Human Rights Monitoring Institute (Lithuania)
17. Legal Transformation Center (Belarus)
18. International Partnership for Human Rights (Belgium)
19. Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (Bulgaria)
20. Helsinki Association for Human Rights NGO Armenia (Armenia)
21. Human Rights Matter e.V. (Germany)
22. The Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House (Belarus)
23. WILPF Germany (Germany)
24. Association UMDPL (Ukraine)
25. Norwegian Helsinki Committee
26. The Kosova Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims (KRCT) from Kosovo
27. ZARA – Zivilcourage und Anti-Rassismus-Arbeit (Austria)
28. Women of the Don (Russia)
29. Crude Accountability
30. Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
31. Citizens Watch (Russia)
32. Regional Center for Strategic Studies ( Georgia/Azerbaijan)
33. Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russia)
34. UNITED
35. Netherlands Helsinki Committee

Source:
http://www.civicsolidarity.org/article/1545/polish-authorities-reduce-space-activities-ngos-including-human-rights-organizations

The Appeal about lack of proper medical care for Oleh Sentsov and other Ukrainian political prisoners from the LetMyPeopleGo list

November 29, 2017

To the Vice-Chancellor, the Federal Minister for Foreign

Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany,

Mr. Sigmar Gabriel

As of today, about 60 Ukrainian citizens have been detained on political grounds in the territory of the Russian Federation and the occupied Crimea. Most of them have been subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment to force false confessions about the actions they did not commit.

Oleh Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko, Valentyn Vygovsky, Mykola Karpiuk, Stanislav Klykh, Yevhen Panov, Andrii Zakhtey, Andrii Kolomiyets, Serhii Lytvynov, Oleksandr Kostenko and other illegally detained people publicly stated this. Yurii Yatsenko and Gennady Afanasyev, who were released, shared details about the unlawful practices that were applied to people under the control of the Russian Federation.

Stanislav Klykh’s appeal to the European Court of Human Rights is a clear illustration of illegal treatment by the state authorities of the Russian Federation:

“[…] In order to force me to testify, I was subjected to illegal methods of inquiry and investigation, expressed in causing me beatings and injuries, including using handcuffs and electric current, prolonged kneeling, resulting in numerous scars on my wrists, knees […] I was kept in the prison yard for several days without any water or food. As a result of the application of these methods, I was brought to a state of dystrophy, I could not hold a spoon, a pen in my hands, since the hands were dislocated as a result of being handcuffed to the bars”.

The situation is complicated by the unsatisfactory conditions of detention, which further contribute to a sharp deterioration in the health, development and exacerbation of chronic and other diseases.

 

The lawyer of the Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov, who was recognized as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, recently announced a sharp deterioration in the health of the illegally imprisoned. According to him, due to prolonged overcooling, the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis exacerbated and problems with the heart began.

 

We draw attention to the fact that human life and health are the highest values of every civilized state. The right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is guaranteed by Art. 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, Article 11, 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966, as well as Article 11 of the European Social Charter of 1996.

 

This year, the representative of the Russian Federation was elected as a President of the 70th World Health Assembly, the Charter of which was signed by the Russian Federation in 1946. Thus, she acknowledged that “the possession of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is one of the fundamental rights of everyone, regardless of race, religion, political beliefs, economic or social status”.

 

In addition, according to Art. 26 of the Federal Law of 21.11.2011 No 323-FZ “On the basis of public health protection in the Russian Federation” persons, who are in custody, serving a sentence in the form of restriction of liberty, arrest, deprivation of liberty or administrative arrest, are entitled to receive medical assistance, in particular, in necessary cases in medical institutions of the state health system and the municipal health care system in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation.

In pursuance of this Law the Government of the Russian Federation adopted the Resolution dated 28.12.2012 No 1466, which approved the Rules for the provision of medical care in medical institutions of the state and municipal health care system for persons held in custody or serving a sentence in the form of deprivation of liberty. The Rules provide for the possibility of inviting the medical specialists of the said medical institutions for consultation if it is impossible to provide medical assistance in the institutions of the criminal and executive system.

We note that all citizens of Ukraine, who are held for political reasons in the territory of the Russian Federation and the occupied Crimea, need proper medical care. Among them, Dmytro Shtyblikov, who after detention lost 30 kg and was brought to a dystopia, Stanislav Klykh, who lost his mental health after the torture that he suffered, Oleksandr Kostenko, who, due to the lack of an operation, runs the risk of losing the arm broken by the FSB’s staff, Oleksandr Rolchenko< who was in a hospital with a diagnosis of underweight, Volodymyr Dudka, who has been practicing self-medication with a stomach ulcer for ten months, Arsen Dzepparov, who is not provided with medical assistance despite cold kidneys, loss of hearing in his left ear and a sharp deterioration in vision, 19-year-old Pavlo Hryb who due to his disability is constantly taking drugs, so the lack of medicines and proper medical treatment in prison led to the appearance of ulcers on his body.

These are just a few examples of violation of the international obligations by the Russian Federation as for the right of Ukrainian political prisoners to the highest attainable standards of physical and mental health. From the moment of their illegal detention, independent physicians do not have access to them, and therefore, they cannot assess their health and provide proper medical care.

We address you with a request to raise before the Government of the Russian Federation the issue of the need to organize the access of physicians from the International Committee of the Red Cross and other reputable international health organizations to provide qualified medical assistance to Oleh Sentsov and all Ukrainian political prisoners from the LetMyPeopleGo list.

Center for Civil Liberties coordinating the #LetMyPeopleGo campaign

NGO “Association of Relatives of Political Prisoners of the Kremlin”

Media Initiative for Human Rights

Crimea Human Rights Group

Open Dialog Foundation

Association UMDPL

NGO “CrimeaSOS”

Luhansk Regional Human Rights Center “Alternative”

NGO “Social Action Center”

NGO “Peaceful Coast”

Human Rights Information Center

Expert Center for Human Rights

Charitable Foundation “East-SOS”

Euromaidan Press

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research

AIHO Foundation of Regional Initiatives

NGO “Human Rights Initiative”

NGO “Regional Center for Human Rights”/Sevastopol Human Rights Protection Group

KRF “Hromadska Alternatyva”

Centre for Civil Liberties’s statement on the pressure on civil society organisations in Poland

August 7, 2017

6 August, 2017, Kyiv

We have been cooperating with the Open Dialog Foundation (Poland) for many years. In the early days of mass protests in Ukraine, they were one of the first to render assistance to the
newly created initiative ‘EuroMaidan SOS’. The equipment that they provided was used by our civil society observers who were recording the process of fabricated trials against
peaceful protesters in Kyiv.
Following the occupation of Crimea by Russia and the commencement of the hybrid war in the Donbas, the Open Dialog Foundation supported our ‘LetMyPeopleGo’ campaign to
protect Ukrainian citizens, held in detention in Russian prisons for political reasons. Currently, they are among the most loyal defenders of the ‘Kremlin prisoners’ on the
international arena and consistently promote the issue of extending sanctions against the Russian Federation in the EU and the United States.
In view of this, it is very surprising to us to read statements, unsupported by evidence, about the alleged links of the Open Dialog Foundation with the Russian special services. It seems
that the publications, which appear in certain government media, are retaliation for the active position of the organisation and its participation in mass public protests in Poland. In
our opinion, it was the reason for which the shameful scheme of labelling dissidents as‘agents of the Kremlin’ was used.
In addition, currently, individual top Polish officials are calling for unreasonable additional tax audits of the Open Dialog Foundation and even for cancelling its registration as a non-
profit organisation. Similar pressure for participating in massive public protests is being exerted on a number of other public organisations in Poland.
We all remember what social changes took place after a long-lasting campaign of discrediting civic organisations in the Russian Federation alone. Therefore, we consider the
appearance of such publications a red flag for Poland, which has long been an example of democratic transformation of a country in the post-Soviet space, and especially for Ukraine.

Photo: Radio Liberty

Holding a meeting on human rights is not a terrorist conspiracy

July 10, 2017

10 July 2017

 

    On 5 July 2017, ten participants in a human rights training meeting were detained at Büyükada, one of the Princes’ Islands near İstanbul, Turkey. The group consisted of eight representatives of Turkish civil society organisations working on human rights and two foreign consultants on digital security and information management. By the afternoon of July 6, the lawyers of the detained persons learned that their clients are being investigated for membership of an armed organization, a terrorist offense, and will stay in investigative detention initially for seven days.
The undersigned organisations, national and international human rights NGOs from the OSCE region, members of the Civic Solidarity Platform, strongly reject this operation by the Turkish authorities. We appeal for the immediate and unconditional release of the detained persons, participants in a peaceful meeting to advance human rights. Human rights work should not be criminalized. Civil society work for human rights is an important contribution to a healthy society. Holding a meeting on human rights is not a terrorist conspiracy.
The Turkish citizens arrested are Özlem Dalkıran (Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly), lawyer Nalan Erkem (Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly), İlknur Üstün (Women’s Coalition), İdil Eser (Amnesty International Turkey director), Veli Acu (Human Rights Agenda Association), lawyer Günal Kurşun (Human Rights Agenda Association), Şeymus Özbekli (Rights Initiative), and Nejat Taştan (Equal Rights Watch Association). The two consultants are Ali Gharawi, from Sweden, and Peter Steudtner, from Germany.
In the past years, human rights defenders have on several occasions been targeted by governmental repression. This latest attack on human rights defenders comes amidst a wave of repression after the failed coup attempt of 15 July 2016 which has affected a much wider group of persons than those who may have been directly involved in the coup attempt, including journalists, lawyers and politicians. Only last month, Taner Kiliç, the president of Amnesty International Turkey, was arrested together with 22 other lawyers.

Article 19 (international, London)
Association of Ukrainian Human Rights Monitors on Law Enforcement
Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House
Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russia)
Center for Participation and Development (Georgia)
DRA – German-Russian Exchange (Germany)
Fair Trials (international, London)

Golos Svobody (Kyrgyzstan)
Helsinki Citizens Assembly Vanadzor (Armenia)
Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)
Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan
Human Rights House Foundation (international, Oslo)
Human Rights Information Center (Ukraine)
Human Rights Matter (Germany)
IDP Women Association “Consent” (Georgia)
International Partnership for Human Rights (international, Brussels)
International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (international, Copenhagen)
Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (Azerbaijan)
Kadyr Kasiyet (“Dignity”) (Kazakhstan)
Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law
Kharkiv regional foundation Public Alternative (Ukraine)
Legal Policy Research Center (Kazakhstan)
Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights (Germany)
Moscow Helsinki Group
Netherlands Helsinki Committee
Norwegian Helsinki Committee
Office of Civil Freedoms (Tajikistan)
Promo-LEX (Moldova)
Protection of rights without borders (Armenia)
Public Verdict (Russia)
Regional Center for Strategic Studies (Azerbaijan)
Solidarus (Germany)
SOVA Center for Information and Analysis (Russia)
Swiss Helsinki Committee
Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (Germany)
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) (international, Geneva)
[country names added if name of country not included in the name of the organization; for
international organisations, the city where their secretariat is located, is added]

The Civic Solidarity Platform is a decentralized advocacy network of independent civic groups
committed to improving the human rights situation in Europe, Eurasia and the US,
www.civicsolidarity.org.
Contact for this statement: Harry Hummel, Netherlands Helsinki Committee, hhummel@nhc.nl,
+31703926700

On the situation with the nomination at the “Eurovision” from Russia Yulia Samoylova

May 15, 2017

Ukraine has the right to demand the implementation of the law in relation to the Russian singer Yulii Samoylovoy, but the fact that Russia still decided to send its representative to this year held in Kiev “Eurovision” is a kind of a gesture of reconciliation. Such an opinion was expressed by the Russian human rights activist, head of the Moscow Helsinki Group Lyudmila Alekseeva.

“On the one hand, I am glad that our leaders still decide to send a Russian representative at” Eurovision “. Neighborly. This is a good step, which shows the desire of reconciliation. But on the other hand, I understand the Ukrainians: Crimea captured now want to make peace, but the Crimea is not returned. It is clear to me, “- Alexeyev said, commenting on the Ukrainian edition of” Explorer “the situation surrounding the nomination of the representative of Russia in the international music competition” Eurovision “.

Russian human rights activist has also recognized that “there are Ukrainian laws, and they must comply with.” However, she admitted that the Russian singer could have visited the Crimea, “whether he is Ukrainian.”

In this context, Alexeyev told that visited the peninsula, as it was her little homeland to the annexation of the Crimea. Due to old age she can not go there now, but “I fully admit that if I were younger, I would have to go on a his small home, no matter who it belongs to,” – she said.

“I would not want us to even about it [on participation in” Eurovision “Yulii Samoylovoy] quarreled. When fighting bosses, we should not pay attention to it. I belong to the Ukrainians as well as before. What a difference to us? Let them find out the relationship, and we have to treat each other with respect, as it should be neighbors, as it is necessary for people who have a common history, “- Alexeyev said.

At the same time, she added: “I feel very sorry for Russia because of this history of the Crimea.”

Recall that in Russia ended with the internal competitive selection of artists for the contest “Eurovision” -2017, the winner of which was a girl with a disability Julia Samoilova. In the summer of 2015 the singer participated in the festival “World of Sports, and good”, which was held in the Crimea. Thus, according to Ukrainian law, Samoilova violated the procedure for crossing the Ukrainian border. The singer is also listed as a “purgatory” center “Peacemaker”.

March 13 Advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Anton Gerashchenko said that the law enforcement agencies , there are two ways to resolve the situation on the Russian representative at “Eurovision” Yulii Samoylovoy, which violated the legislation of Ukraine. According to him, the first option – not to let Samoilov to Ukraine for violating the rules visit the occupied territory of Crimea. The second – to give Samoilova permission to enter the country, but at the same time and bring her to justice for violation of the state border.

Sourse, 14/05/2017

Such meetings are beneficial for all participants

June 10, 2015

Azerbaijani human rights activist and director of the Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan (HRCA), Eldar Zeynalov summed up ended in Kiev workshop on exchange of experiences and best practices “Improving skills in the field of human rights advocacy (promotion and protection of human rights).”

“Such meetings are mutually beneficial,” – suggested Eldar Zeynalov.

According to the head of the OCA, the seminar was attended by five representatives of Azerbaijan. “Except for me, their participation in the seminar later unveiled a lawyer Fariz Namazly. The names of the other three parties, I do not know if I can make public.

Organizers asked not to mention the names of the participants without agreement with them. I can only say that the two human rights defenders, and three lawyers participated from Azerbaijan. “

Recall that the seminar held in the capital of Ukraine on 4-5 June, organized by the Netherlands Helsinki Committee and the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland) for the human rights of a number of countries of the former Soviet Union, including Azerbaijan.

For two days, the participants discussed the planning and advocacy strategy (promotion and protection of human rights), including working with international organizations such as the UN, Council of Europe, the European Union and the OSCE, as well as exchanged between human rights defenders from different countries with innovative approaches to this area.

According to the expert, such events often performed earlier. It was the general training, and explain the ways of European standards, and so on.

“This workshop was more specific. Standards as they were, and have remained so, just change the working conditions. They exchanged views on how to operate in such conditions, how to achieve positive changes in human rights issues.

We never work in isolation. We have partners in the West, that we support or do not support. Which have their own vision of the situation in the country and is not always correct and complete. And the result is that some campaigns in our defense, wrong calculation, not the tone chosen, the methods used do not become “blank shot”, as he was selected.

And for “Westerners” to us useful to meet. It is mutually useful meeting. The workshop in addition to representatives of Azerbaijan, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, was also attended by representatives of immigrant organizations in France.

But in fact, they work in the Russian direction. I became more optimistic look at things and know what are the conditions for human rights defenders in Belarus, Russia.

In the same Russian clamped and dissidents, and human rights activists. They are looking for other outlets. Nobody is going to give, “- said E. Zeynalov.

Note that at the time of the seminar, after a brief lull, resumed again fighting in eastern Ukraine between the forces of the anti-terrorist operation and separatists.

According to E. Zeynalov, “in the city met the guys in camouflage, the number of police officers was greater than that observed a couple of years ago.”

“However, such as in Russia, where visitors to the carp, check documents, did not exist.

It is not felt that Kiev – the capital of the belligerent State. In the city center, where the Maidan, traces the events of last year. The same House of Trade Unions has not been refurbished. Many graffiti that were made then.

In a couple of places monuments installed. Sometimes came a beautiful girl who collected donations for the wounded. Only in this war, and manifested. No aggressive slogans on the wall, sometimes there are signs saying: “Ukraine – one country, one nation.” No militarist propaganda personally I have not seen “- he said.

Sourse, 09/06/2015

Результаты поиска:

Joint appeal on the inappropriate use of extremist charges, mass detention and use of torture against peaceful demonstrators, activists and government’s critics in Kazakhstan.

December 17, 2018

Despite the ratification of the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Kazakhstan, the human rights situation in the country has sharply deteriorated.

Fundamental rights, such as freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, are disrespected under the guise of fighting “extremism”. Since 13 March 2018, the day that marks the authorities’ ban of the peaceful opposition movement ‘Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan’ (DCK), more than 450 persons, participating in peaceful rallies or showing different form of support for DCK (e.g. posting and commenting social media contents, walking with blue balloons, etc.) have fallen victim of political persecution.

We call for a stepping up of efforts to ensure political pluralism in the country and condemn the repression of peaceful activists and supporters of opposition movement DCK and call for their unconditional release. Kazakhstan has to ensure its citizens free access to social media networks and independent media outlets, thus ceasing the blocking or restriction of such platforms. We stress the importance of the independence of lawyers and the protection of their rights to freely practice their profession and defend their clients without fear of reprisals.

We find this particularly worrying that on 10 May 2018, during the visit of European Parliament’s Delegation to Kazakhstan, police resorted to excessive use of force against peaceful protesters and detained more than 150 people, while others were placed under administrative arrests. On that day peaceful rallies against the use of torture and politically motivated imprisonment were held in cities across the country.

Among them, more than 30 people have been prosecuted in connection with their support of DCK’s ideas, including: activists Ablovas Dzhumayev, Almat Zhumagulov and poet Kenzhebek Abishev, social media user Aset Abishev and blogger Muratbek Tungishbayev. At least six persons have reported the use of torture and a lack of medical care in the place of detention. The practice of forced confession in exchange for release, and psychological pressure exerted on political prisoners and their relatives are undermining the trust in the Kazakhstani justice system, as exemplified by the cases of Aset Nurzhaubay and Muratbek Tungishbayev.

We were informed that political prisoners are losing hope for justice and taking desperate steps. For example, on 26 November 2018, Almat Zhumagulov and Kenzhebek Abishev threatened suicide in protest against the accusatory bias in court decisions and the fabricated nature of the case. On 27 November 2018, Zhumagulov cut his arm during the court session.At the same time Iskander Yerimbetov, the brother of human rights activist and lawyer Bota Jardemalie, was arrested, tortured and convicted in October 2018 to 7 years’ imprisonment in retaliation for his sister’s professional activities. Due to the outcome of his case, lawyers in Kazakhstan fear to defend victims of political persecution and torture.The number of political prisoners in Kazakhstan is increasing. More than 20 political prisoners are being held in detention. Human rights defenders are also under attack. Restrictions imposed on NGOs and criminal prosecution of human rights activists, such as Elena Semenova, severely shrink the space for civil society.

We call on Kazakhstani authorities to implement the communications from the UN Human Rights Committee, UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, and call without further delay to release the political prisoners Mukhtar Dzhakishev, Maks Bokayev and Iskander Yerimbetov; compliance with the UN requirements is an important condition for further cooperation between the EU and Kazakhstan

We expect the urgent intervention of the EEAS, encourage the initiation of further EU official monitoring missions and call on the EEAS to support such missions in order to observe the human rights situation and attend court trials against people prosecuted for political reasons. At the same time, we strongly recommend that the European Commission and the EU Member States pursue a policy of conditionality in the case of Kazakhstan. If the latter state wants to be a recipient of EU funding and attract investments, it first must ensure the cessation of cruel practices against detainees in prisons, an end to impunity for the offenders, freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, and the right to a defence and a free trial.

 

Signatures

 

Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)

Defending Democracy

Federazione Italiana Diritti Umani (FIDU)

Human Rights Information Center (Ukraine)

Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS)

Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG)

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research (KhISR)

Open Dialogue Foundation (ODF)

The Arrested Lawyers Initiative

Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF)

Polish authorities reduce the space for the activities of NGOs including human rights organizations in the country

May 2, 2018
Since the end of 2015, we have seen disturbing trends in the actions of the Polish government and the parliamentary majority formed by the populist-nationalist party, Law and Justice (PiS), which harm the activities of human rights defenders and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Poland.
Unconstitutional legislative initiatives have jeopardized both democracy and the rule of law in Poland, particularly the principle of effective separation of powers. Following an acute conflict, the ruling majority in the Parliament de facto subordinated the Constitutional Court to itself, making this state body fully dependent on political decisions.
Numerous leading Polish NGOs including human rights organizations have expressed disagreement with these actions. In July 2017, NGOs took active part in mass peaceful protests aimed at protecting the Constitution, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary in Poland.
The significant mobilization of society led to President Andrzej Duda vetoing two of the three controversial laws aimed at undermining the independence of the judiciary. in July 2017. The independence of the Supreme Court and the National Council of the Judiciary was temporarily preserved. However, the law on the system of ordinary courts came into force, widening the control of the Minister of Justice, who is also the General Prosecutor of Poland, over the courts. And so, as early as in December 2017, despite the next wave of public protests, the Parliament adopted slightly changed, unconstitutional laws that virtually eliminate the independence of the Supreme Court and the National Council of Justice.
In response to the participation of NGOs in peaceful protests, the authorities created numerous restrictions on the third sector. Many civil initiatives critical to the authorities were targeted for attack.
In July 2017, NGOs that criticized state bodies were subjected to escalated and unprecedented pressure. To date, this concerns, in particular, NGOs and initiatives such as: Citizens Solidary in Action [Obywatele Solidarnie w Akcji], Citizens of the Republic of Poland [Obywatele RP], the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog], the Committee for the Defence of Democracy [Komitet Obrony Demokracji], Action Democracy [Akcja Demokracja], the All-Poland Women’s Strike [Ogólnopolski Strajk Kobiet], the Centre for Women’s Rights [Centrum Praw Kobiet], the BABA Lubuskie Association for the Protection of Women’s Rights [BABA Lubuskie Stowarzyszenie na Rzecz Kobiet]. Some of these NGOs faced unjustified inspections, searches and lawsuits, and their representatives were subjected to numerous interrogations and even secret surveillance. Foreigners associated with these organizations are concerned about their future in Poland due to the possibility of losing their right to stay in the country.
For example, the Polish police conducted searches and seized documents and equipment from the offices of several women’s organizations (the offices of the Centre for Women’s Rights and the BABA Association). This happened the day after protest actions in defense of women’s rights in Poland was held in October 2017. Another example: Poland’s then-Minister of Foreign Affairs (MFA) filed a motion with the court to appoint what is known as a ‘compulsory administration’ to replace the existing members of the Management Board of the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog]. The dispute, which is being continued by the current Polish MFA Jacek Czaputowicz will eventually be resolved by a court ruling. Similar means were intended to be used against Citizens of the Republic of Poland [Obywatele RP] by the then-Minister of Interior, Mariusz Błaszczak.
Incidents of prosecution of LGBT organizations have been recorded. A particularly alarming signal is the cessation of a number of investigations into physical attacks against LGBT activists and the offices of their organizations. Alongside women’s rights organizations, they have been practically cut off from almost all available state-funding. The Polish state clearly favours initiatives focused on nationalist and religious values instead.
Members of the Polish government led by the then-Prime Minister Beata Szydło (in particular, the former Minister of the Interior, Mariusz Błaszczak, his deputy Jarosław Zieliński, the Minister–Coordinator of the Special Services of Poland Mariusz Kamiński, former Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski and the Minister of National Defence Antoni Macierewicz) publicly discussed actions to be taken against specific NGOs.
In addition, the aforementioned NGOs, as well as the Office of the Polish Ombudsman, have become victims of information attacks and denigrating media campaigns. These smear campaigns are based on manipulations, half-truths and outright falsehoods. These slanders are spread by state and pro-government Polish media having close ties to the ruling party.
NGOs have been accused of ‘manipulating public opinion’ and ‘artificially provoking protests’ ‘for money from abroad’. Their representatives are portrayed as ‘traitors to the motherland’, or ‘puppets’ in the hands of foreign states and other foreign actors (for example, George Soros, Russia, Germany or ‘Brussels elites’).
The denigrating campaigns aim to intimidate human rights defenders and undermine the trust of Polish society in the work of civil society. Another dangerous consequence of these campaigns may be the creation of negative attitudes towards any international or foreign structures in society. Recently, the actor and activist for the protection of the secular state Krzysztof Pieczyński fell victim to media harassment, and was subsequently beaten in the street by unknown persons in Warsaw.
Attacks on NGOs and human rights defenders are being carried out with the support of extreme right and nationalist organizations. The attacks are openly xenophobic in nature. In particular, they are being directed against the large community of Ukrainians in Poland. Some victims are being denied the right to Polish citizenship. These actions are related to the participation of Ukrainian citizens living in Poland in protests, as well as the work of the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog] and other Polish organizations which provided humanitarian assistance to Ukraine in the period of Euromaidan. 

Reluctant response of the law enforcement bodies to the nationalist and xenophobic incidents leads to growing number of assaults on foreigners in Poland.
Members of the right-wing parties of the Sejm and Members of the European Parliament from Poland are also carrying out hostile actions against specific NGOs and civil society in general. For example, six members of parliament have made public statements about the need to restrict or even stop the activities of the Open Dialog Foundation (Fundacja Otwarty Dialog). The organization was accused of representing an ‘external’ leftist ‘threat to the Polish State’, ‘violating Ukrainian–Polish relations’ and, in general, ‘provoking an uprising’ in Poland. No facts exist which would confirm that the organization has been carrying out such activities and, thus, no such evidence has been presented.
At the moment, according to the reports prepared by the Citizens of the Republic of Poland movement [Obywatele RP] (based on the gathered information), approximately 800 court proceedings are being conducted either directly against participants in the social protests and activists in social movements or in relation to their activities. In the report on oppression produced by the Citizens of the Republic of Poland,, as of the end of January 2018, 472 court trials had been initiated against protesters under the Code of Petty Offences; while a month earlier, there had been only 367 such trials. Twenty-eight criminal cases had been initiated under the Criminal Code (a month earlier there had been only 14 criminal cases), and nine persons were facing criminal charges.
Serious problems are also being caused by the new law on gatherings, which is highly controversial and widely perceived as unconstitutional, and which promotes the so-called cyclical gatherings, such as the Smolensk tragedy monthly commemoration (monthly demonstrations led by the leader of the ruling party, Jarosław Kaczyński, carried out with privileges unavailable to any other forms of street demonstration). For this reason, the Mazovian Voivode [governor] has regularly imposed a ban on pro-democracy protest actions organized on the same day by the Citizens Solidary in Action [Obywatele Solidarnie w Akcji]. Still, all of his previous decisions have been rejected by the District Court in Warsaw.
Serious concern over these attacks on the supremacy of civil rights and freedoms in Poland have been repeatedly expressed by members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (Resolution 2188 (2017), written declaration 641), pointing out in the statement on the resolution of 26 January 2018 that their demands have thus far been ignored by the Polish authorities.
The space for a dialogue between civil society and the authorities continues to shrink. Representatives of non-governmental organizations (particularly those affiliated with Citizens of the Republic of Poland movement [Obywatele RP] are commonly deprived of the opportunity to attend meetings and hearing of the Parliament’s Commissions. Several questionable legislative initiatives which address the most important aspects of public life are being considered without  any public consultation. In particular, these include changes in the legislation on the police, the introduction of anti-terrorism legislation, and amendments to the law on the Institute of National Remembrance (this last has already been adopted).
The authorities have changed some of the procedures for allocating public funds to NGOs. On 26 September 2017, the Senate passed a law regarding the National Institute of Freedom – Centre for the Development of Civil Society. The law was presented as being part of the government’s actions to strengthen civil society. However, the law was sharply criticized by the associations of NGOs and the Commissioner for Human Rights.
The law centralizes the government funds for public organizations within the framework of the established Centre. Since it is aimed at promoting activities which are in line with Christian and patriotic values, funding may become inaccessible for organizations whose work does not correlate with such values. Such an approach by the authorities violates the Constitution, which protects diversity of beliefs and views. The law was signed by the President on 12 October 2017 jeopardizing the independence of civil society in Poland.
Also, NGOs have recorded incidents of public funding having been either provided or terminated for political or ideological reasons.
In connection with the recent disturbing events, the International Civic Solidarity Platform hereby calls for the restoration of the participation of public and human rights organizations in democratic processes in Poland, a return to the European standards of interaction between civil society and government structures, and a guarantee of the independence of civil society initiatives in Poland.
Signed by the following organisations:​
1. The Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
2. Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)
3. Humanrights.ch
4. Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights (Germany/Switzerland)
5. International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law (Kazakhstan)
6. Citizens’ Watch, St. Petersburg (Russia)
7. Moscow Helsinki Group (Russia)
8. Public Verdict (Russia)
9. Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
10. Public Association “Dignity”
11. Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly – Vanadzor
12. Helsinki Committee of Armenia (Armenia)
13. KRF Public Alternative (Ukraine)
14. DRA – German-Russian Exchange (Germany)
15. “OMCT – World Organisation Against Torture”
16. Human Rights Monitoring Institute (Lithuania)
17. Legal Transformation Center (Belarus)
18. International Partnership for Human Rights (Belgium)
19. Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (Bulgaria)
20. Helsinki Association for Human Rights NGO Armenia (Armenia)
21. Human Rights Matter e.V. (Germany)
22. The Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House (Belarus)
23. WILPF Germany (Germany)
24. Association UMDPL (Ukraine)
25. Norwegian Helsinki Committee
26. The Kosova Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims (KRCT) from Kosovo
27. ZARA – Zivilcourage und Anti-Rassismus-Arbeit (Austria)
28. Women of the Don (Russia)
29. Crude Accountability
30. Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
31. Citizens Watch (Russia)
32. Regional Center for Strategic Studies ( Georgia/Azerbaijan)
33. Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russia)
34. UNITED
35. Netherlands Helsinki Committee

Source:
http://www.civicsolidarity.org/article/1545/polish-authorities-reduce-space-activities-ngos-including-human-rights-organizations

The Appeal about lack of proper medical care for Oleh Sentsov and other Ukrainian political prisoners from the LetMyPeopleGo list

November 29, 2017

To the Vice-Chancellor, the Federal Minister for Foreign

Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany,

Mr. Sigmar Gabriel

As of today, about 60 Ukrainian citizens have been detained on political grounds in the territory of the Russian Federation and the occupied Crimea. Most of them have been subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment to force false confessions about the actions they did not commit.

Oleh Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko, Valentyn Vygovsky, Mykola Karpiuk, Stanislav Klykh, Yevhen Panov, Andrii Zakhtey, Andrii Kolomiyets, Serhii Lytvynov, Oleksandr Kostenko and other illegally detained people publicly stated this. Yurii Yatsenko and Gennady Afanasyev, who were released, shared details about the unlawful practices that were applied to people under the control of the Russian Federation.

Stanislav Klykh’s appeal to the European Court of Human Rights is a clear illustration of illegal treatment by the state authorities of the Russian Federation:

“[…] In order to force me to testify, I was subjected to illegal methods of inquiry and investigation, expressed in causing me beatings and injuries, including using handcuffs and electric current, prolonged kneeling, resulting in numerous scars on my wrists, knees […] I was kept in the prison yard for several days without any water or food. As a result of the application of these methods, I was brought to a state of dystrophy, I could not hold a spoon, a pen in my hands, since the hands were dislocated as a result of being handcuffed to the bars”.

The situation is complicated by the unsatisfactory conditions of detention, which further contribute to a sharp deterioration in the health, development and exacerbation of chronic and other diseases.

 

The lawyer of the Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov, who was recognized as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, recently announced a sharp deterioration in the health of the illegally imprisoned. According to him, due to prolonged overcooling, the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis exacerbated and problems with the heart began.

 

We draw attention to the fact that human life and health are the highest values of every civilized state. The right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is guaranteed by Art. 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, Article 11, 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966, as well as Article 11 of the European Social Charter of 1996.

 

This year, the representative of the Russian Federation was elected as a President of the 70th World Health Assembly, the Charter of which was signed by the Russian Federation in 1946. Thus, she acknowledged that “the possession of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is one of the fundamental rights of everyone, regardless of race, religion, political beliefs, economic or social status”.

 

In addition, according to Art. 26 of the Federal Law of 21.11.2011 No 323-FZ “On the basis of public health protection in the Russian Federation” persons, who are in custody, serving a sentence in the form of restriction of liberty, arrest, deprivation of liberty or administrative arrest, are entitled to receive medical assistance, in particular, in necessary cases in medical institutions of the state health system and the municipal health care system in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation.

In pursuance of this Law the Government of the Russian Federation adopted the Resolution dated 28.12.2012 No 1466, which approved the Rules for the provision of medical care in medical institutions of the state and municipal health care system for persons held in custody or serving a sentence in the form of deprivation of liberty. The Rules provide for the possibility of inviting the medical specialists of the said medical institutions for consultation if it is impossible to provide medical assistance in the institutions of the criminal and executive system.

We note that all citizens of Ukraine, who are held for political reasons in the territory of the Russian Federation and the occupied Crimea, need proper medical care. Among them, Dmytro Shtyblikov, who after detention lost 30 kg and was brought to a dystopia, Stanislav Klykh, who lost his mental health after the torture that he suffered, Oleksandr Kostenko, who, due to the lack of an operation, runs the risk of losing the arm broken by the FSB’s staff, Oleksandr Rolchenko< who was in a hospital with a diagnosis of underweight, Volodymyr Dudka, who has been practicing self-medication with a stomach ulcer for ten months, Arsen Dzepparov, who is not provided with medical assistance despite cold kidneys, loss of hearing in his left ear and a sharp deterioration in vision, 19-year-old Pavlo Hryb who due to his disability is constantly taking drugs, so the lack of medicines and proper medical treatment in prison led to the appearance of ulcers on his body.

These are just a few examples of violation of the international obligations by the Russian Federation as for the right of Ukrainian political prisoners to the highest attainable standards of physical and mental health. From the moment of their illegal detention, independent physicians do not have access to them, and therefore, they cannot assess their health and provide proper medical care.

We address you with a request to raise before the Government of the Russian Federation the issue of the need to organize the access of physicians from the International Committee of the Red Cross and other reputable international health organizations to provide qualified medical assistance to Oleh Sentsov and all Ukrainian political prisoners from the LetMyPeopleGo list.

Center for Civil Liberties coordinating the #LetMyPeopleGo campaign

NGO “Association of Relatives of Political Prisoners of the Kremlin”

Media Initiative for Human Rights

Crimea Human Rights Group

Open Dialog Foundation

Association UMDPL

NGO “CrimeaSOS”

Luhansk Regional Human Rights Center “Alternative”

NGO “Social Action Center”

NGO “Peaceful Coast”

Human Rights Information Center

Expert Center for Human Rights

Charitable Foundation “East-SOS”

Euromaidan Press

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research

AIHO Foundation of Regional Initiatives

NGO “Human Rights Initiative”

NGO “Regional Center for Human Rights”/Sevastopol Human Rights Protection Group

KRF “Hromadska Alternatyva”

Centre for Civil Liberties’s statement on the pressure on civil society organisations in Poland

August 7, 2017

6 August, 2017, Kyiv

We have been cooperating with the Open Dialog Foundation (Poland) for many years. In the early days of mass protests in Ukraine, they were one of the first to render assistance to the
newly created initiative ‘EuroMaidan SOS’. The equipment that they provided was used by our civil society observers who were recording the process of fabricated trials against
peaceful protesters in Kyiv.
Following the occupation of Crimea by Russia and the commencement of the hybrid war in the Donbas, the Open Dialog Foundation supported our ‘LetMyPeopleGo’ campaign to
protect Ukrainian citizens, held in detention in Russian prisons for political reasons. Currently, they are among the most loyal defenders of the ‘Kremlin prisoners’ on the
international arena and consistently promote the issue of extending sanctions against the Russian Federation in the EU and the United States.
In view of this, it is very surprising to us to read statements, unsupported by evidence, about the alleged links of the Open Dialog Foundation with the Russian special services. It seems
that the publications, which appear in certain government media, are retaliation for the active position of the organisation and its participation in mass public protests in Poland. In
our opinion, it was the reason for which the shameful scheme of labelling dissidents as‘agents of the Kremlin’ was used.
In addition, currently, individual top Polish officials are calling for unreasonable additional tax audits of the Open Dialog Foundation and even for cancelling its registration as a non-
profit organisation. Similar pressure for participating in massive public protests is being exerted on a number of other public organisations in Poland.
We all remember what social changes took place after a long-lasting campaign of discrediting civic organisations in the Russian Federation alone. Therefore, we consider the
appearance of such publications a red flag for Poland, which has long been an example of democratic transformation of a country in the post-Soviet space, and especially for Ukraine.

Photo: Radio Liberty

Holding a meeting on human rights is not a terrorist conspiracy

July 10, 2017

10 July 2017

 

    On 5 July 2017, ten participants in a human rights training meeting were detained at Büyükada, one of the Princes’ Islands near İstanbul, Turkey. The group consisted of eight representatives of Turkish civil society organisations working on human rights and two foreign consultants on digital security and information management. By the afternoon of July 6, the lawyers of the detained persons learned that their clients are being investigated for membership of an armed organization, a terrorist offense, and will stay in investigative detention initially for seven days.
The undersigned organisations, national and international human rights NGOs from the OSCE region, members of the Civic Solidarity Platform, strongly reject this operation by the Turkish authorities. We appeal for the immediate and unconditional release of the detained persons, participants in a peaceful meeting to advance human rights. Human rights work should not be criminalized. Civil society work for human rights is an important contribution to a healthy society. Holding a meeting on human rights is not a terrorist conspiracy.
The Turkish citizens arrested are Özlem Dalkıran (Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly), lawyer Nalan Erkem (Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly), İlknur Üstün (Women’s Coalition), İdil Eser (Amnesty International Turkey director), Veli Acu (Human Rights Agenda Association), lawyer Günal Kurşun (Human Rights Agenda Association), Şeymus Özbekli (Rights Initiative), and Nejat Taştan (Equal Rights Watch Association). The two consultants are Ali Gharawi, from Sweden, and Peter Steudtner, from Germany.
In the past years, human rights defenders have on several occasions been targeted by governmental repression. This latest attack on human rights defenders comes amidst a wave of repression after the failed coup attempt of 15 July 2016 which has affected a much wider group of persons than those who may have been directly involved in the coup attempt, including journalists, lawyers and politicians. Only last month, Taner Kiliç, the president of Amnesty International Turkey, was arrested together with 22 other lawyers.

Article 19 (international, London)
Association of Ukrainian Human Rights Monitors on Law Enforcement
Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House
Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russia)
Center for Participation and Development (Georgia)
DRA – German-Russian Exchange (Germany)
Fair Trials (international, London)

Golos Svobody (Kyrgyzstan)
Helsinki Citizens Assembly Vanadzor (Armenia)
Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)
Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan
Human Rights House Foundation (international, Oslo)
Human Rights Information Center (Ukraine)
Human Rights Matter (Germany)
IDP Women Association “Consent” (Georgia)
International Partnership for Human Rights (international, Brussels)
International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (international, Copenhagen)
Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (Azerbaijan)
Kadyr Kasiyet (“Dignity”) (Kazakhstan)
Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law
Kharkiv regional foundation Public Alternative (Ukraine)
Legal Policy Research Center (Kazakhstan)
Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights (Germany)
Moscow Helsinki Group
Netherlands Helsinki Committee
Norwegian Helsinki Committee
Office of Civil Freedoms (Tajikistan)
Promo-LEX (Moldova)
Protection of rights without borders (Armenia)
Public Verdict (Russia)
Regional Center for Strategic Studies (Azerbaijan)
Solidarus (Germany)
SOVA Center for Information and Analysis (Russia)
Swiss Helsinki Committee
Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (Germany)
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) (international, Geneva)
[country names added if name of country not included in the name of the organization; for
international organisations, the city where their secretariat is located, is added]

The Civic Solidarity Platform is a decentralized advocacy network of independent civic groups
committed to improving the human rights situation in Europe, Eurasia and the US,
www.civicsolidarity.org.
Contact for this statement: Harry Hummel, Netherlands Helsinki Committee, hhummel@nhc.nl,
+31703926700

On the situation with the nomination at the “Eurovision” from Russia Yulia Samoylova

May 15, 2017

Ukraine has the right to demand the implementation of the law in relation to the Russian singer Yulii Samoylovoy, but the fact that Russia still decided to send its representative to this year held in Kiev “Eurovision” is a kind of a gesture of reconciliation. Such an opinion was expressed by the Russian human rights activist, head of the Moscow Helsinki Group Lyudmila Alekseeva.

“On the one hand, I am glad that our leaders still decide to send a Russian representative at” Eurovision “. Neighborly. This is a good step, which shows the desire of reconciliation. But on the other hand, I understand the Ukrainians: Crimea captured now want to make peace, but the Crimea is not returned. It is clear to me, “- Alexeyev said, commenting on the Ukrainian edition of” Explorer “the situation surrounding the nomination of the representative of Russia in the international music competition” Eurovision “.

Russian human rights activist has also recognized that “there are Ukrainian laws, and they must comply with.” However, she admitted that the Russian singer could have visited the Crimea, “whether he is Ukrainian.”

In this context, Alexeyev told that visited the peninsula, as it was her little homeland to the annexation of the Crimea. Due to old age she can not go there now, but “I fully admit that if I were younger, I would have to go on a his small home, no matter who it belongs to,” – she said.

“I would not want us to even about it [on participation in” Eurovision “Yulii Samoylovoy] quarreled. When fighting bosses, we should not pay attention to it. I belong to the Ukrainians as well as before. What a difference to us? Let them find out the relationship, and we have to treat each other with respect, as it should be neighbors, as it is necessary for people who have a common history, “- Alexeyev said.

At the same time, she added: “I feel very sorry for Russia because of this history of the Crimea.”

Recall that in Russia ended with the internal competitive selection of artists for the contest “Eurovision” -2017, the winner of which was a girl with a disability Julia Samoilova. In the summer of 2015 the singer participated in the festival “World of Sports, and good”, which was held in the Crimea. Thus, according to Ukrainian law, Samoilova violated the procedure for crossing the Ukrainian border. The singer is also listed as a “purgatory” center “Peacemaker”.

March 13 Advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Anton Gerashchenko said that the law enforcement agencies , there are two ways to resolve the situation on the Russian representative at “Eurovision” Yulii Samoylovoy, which violated the legislation of Ukraine. According to him, the first option – not to let Samoilov to Ukraine for violating the rules visit the occupied territory of Crimea. The second – to give Samoilova permission to enter the country, but at the same time and bring her to justice for violation of the state border.

Sourse, 14/05/2017

Such meetings are beneficial for all participants

June 10, 2015

Azerbaijani human rights activist and director of the Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan (HRCA), Eldar Zeynalov summed up ended in Kiev workshop on exchange of experiences and best practices “Improving skills in the field of human rights advocacy (promotion and protection of human rights).”

“Such meetings are mutually beneficial,” – suggested Eldar Zeynalov.

According to the head of the OCA, the seminar was attended by five representatives of Azerbaijan. “Except for me, their participation in the seminar later unveiled a lawyer Fariz Namazly. The names of the other three parties, I do not know if I can make public.

Organizers asked not to mention the names of the participants without agreement with them. I can only say that the two human rights defenders, and three lawyers participated from Azerbaijan. “

Recall that the seminar held in the capital of Ukraine on 4-5 June, organized by the Netherlands Helsinki Committee and the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland) for the human rights of a number of countries of the former Soviet Union, including Azerbaijan.

For two days, the participants discussed the planning and advocacy strategy (promotion and protection of human rights), including working with international organizations such as the UN, Council of Europe, the European Union and the OSCE, as well as exchanged between human rights defenders from different countries with innovative approaches to this area.

According to the expert, such events often performed earlier. It was the general training, and explain the ways of European standards, and so on.

“This workshop was more specific. Standards as they were, and have remained so, just change the working conditions. They exchanged views on how to operate in such conditions, how to achieve positive changes in human rights issues.

We never work in isolation. We have partners in the West, that we support or do not support. Which have their own vision of the situation in the country and is not always correct and complete. And the result is that some campaigns in our defense, wrong calculation, not the tone chosen, the methods used do not become “blank shot”, as he was selected.

And for “Westerners” to us useful to meet. It is mutually useful meeting. The workshop in addition to representatives of Azerbaijan, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, was also attended by representatives of immigrant organizations in France.

But in fact, they work in the Russian direction. I became more optimistic look at things and know what are the conditions for human rights defenders in Belarus, Russia.

In the same Russian clamped and dissidents, and human rights activists. They are looking for other outlets. Nobody is going to give, “- said E. Zeynalov.

Note that at the time of the seminar, after a brief lull, resumed again fighting in eastern Ukraine between the forces of the anti-terrorist operation and separatists.

According to E. Zeynalov, “in the city met the guys in camouflage, the number of police officers was greater than that observed a couple of years ago.”

“However, such as in Russia, where visitors to the carp, check documents, did not exist.

It is not felt that Kiev – the capital of the belligerent State. In the city center, where the Maidan, traces the events of last year. The same House of Trade Unions has not been refurbished. Many graffiti that were made then.

In a couple of places monuments installed. Sometimes came a beautiful girl who collected donations for the wounded. Only in this war, and manifested. No aggressive slogans on the wall, sometimes there are signs saying: “Ukraine – one country, one nation.” No militarist propaganda personally I have not seen “- he said.

Sourse, 09/06/2015

Результаты поиска:

Joint appeal on the inappropriate use of extremist charges, mass detention and use of torture against peaceful demonstrators, activists and government’s critics in Kazakhstan.

December 17, 2018

Despite the ratification of the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Kazakhstan, the human rights situation in the country has sharply deteriorated.

Fundamental rights, such as freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, are disrespected under the guise of fighting “extremism”. Since 13 March 2018, the day that marks the authorities’ ban of the peaceful opposition movement ‘Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan’ (DCK), more than 450 persons, participating in peaceful rallies or showing different form of support for DCK (e.g. posting and commenting social media contents, walking with blue balloons, etc.) have fallen victim of political persecution.

We call for a stepping up of efforts to ensure political pluralism in the country and condemn the repression of peaceful activists and supporters of opposition movement DCK and call for their unconditional release. Kazakhstan has to ensure its citizens free access to social media networks and independent media outlets, thus ceasing the blocking or restriction of such platforms. We stress the importance of the independence of lawyers and the protection of their rights to freely practice their profession and defend their clients without fear of reprisals.

We find this particularly worrying that on 10 May 2018, during the visit of European Parliament’s Delegation to Kazakhstan, police resorted to excessive use of force against peaceful protesters and detained more than 150 people, while others were placed under administrative arrests. On that day peaceful rallies against the use of torture and politically motivated imprisonment were held in cities across the country.

Among them, more than 30 people have been prosecuted in connection with their support of DCK’s ideas, including: activists Ablovas Dzhumayev, Almat Zhumagulov and poet Kenzhebek Abishev, social media user Aset Abishev and blogger Muratbek Tungishbayev. At least six persons have reported the use of torture and a lack of medical care in the place of detention. The practice of forced confession in exchange for release, and psychological pressure exerted on political prisoners and their relatives are undermining the trust in the Kazakhstani justice system, as exemplified by the cases of Aset Nurzhaubay and Muratbek Tungishbayev.

We were informed that political prisoners are losing hope for justice and taking desperate steps. For example, on 26 November 2018, Almat Zhumagulov and Kenzhebek Abishev threatened suicide in protest against the accusatory bias in court decisions and the fabricated nature of the case. On 27 November 2018, Zhumagulov cut his arm during the court session.At the same time Iskander Yerimbetov, the brother of human rights activist and lawyer Bota Jardemalie, was arrested, tortured and convicted in October 2018 to 7 years’ imprisonment in retaliation for his sister’s professional activities. Due to the outcome of his case, lawyers in Kazakhstan fear to defend victims of political persecution and torture.The number of political prisoners in Kazakhstan is increasing. More than 20 political prisoners are being held in detention. Human rights defenders are also under attack. Restrictions imposed on NGOs and criminal prosecution of human rights activists, such as Elena Semenova, severely shrink the space for civil society.

We call on Kazakhstani authorities to implement the communications from the UN Human Rights Committee, UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, and call without further delay to release the political prisoners Mukhtar Dzhakishev, Maks Bokayev and Iskander Yerimbetov; compliance with the UN requirements is an important condition for further cooperation between the EU and Kazakhstan

We expect the urgent intervention of the EEAS, encourage the initiation of further EU official monitoring missions and call on the EEAS to support such missions in order to observe the human rights situation and attend court trials against people prosecuted for political reasons. At the same time, we strongly recommend that the European Commission and the EU Member States pursue a policy of conditionality in the case of Kazakhstan. If the latter state wants to be a recipient of EU funding and attract investments, it first must ensure the cessation of cruel practices against detainees in prisons, an end to impunity for the offenders, freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, and the right to a defence and a free trial.

 

Signatures

 

Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)

Defending Democracy

Federazione Italiana Diritti Umani (FIDU)

Human Rights Information Center (Ukraine)

Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS)

Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG)

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research (KhISR)

Open Dialogue Foundation (ODF)

The Arrested Lawyers Initiative

Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF)

Polish authorities reduce the space for the activities of NGOs including human rights organizations in the country

May 2, 2018
Since the end of 2015, we have seen disturbing trends in the actions of the Polish government and the parliamentary majority formed by the populist-nationalist party, Law and Justice (PiS), which harm the activities of human rights defenders and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Poland.
Unconstitutional legislative initiatives have jeopardized both democracy and the rule of law in Poland, particularly the principle of effective separation of powers. Following an acute conflict, the ruling majority in the Parliament de facto subordinated the Constitutional Court to itself, making this state body fully dependent on political decisions.
Numerous leading Polish NGOs including human rights organizations have expressed disagreement with these actions. In July 2017, NGOs took active part in mass peaceful protests aimed at protecting the Constitution, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary in Poland.
The significant mobilization of society led to President Andrzej Duda vetoing two of the three controversial laws aimed at undermining the independence of the judiciary. in July 2017. The independence of the Supreme Court and the National Council of the Judiciary was temporarily preserved. However, the law on the system of ordinary courts came into force, widening the control of the Minister of Justice, who is also the General Prosecutor of Poland, over the courts. And so, as early as in December 2017, despite the next wave of public protests, the Parliament adopted slightly changed, unconstitutional laws that virtually eliminate the independence of the Supreme Court and the National Council of Justice.
In response to the participation of NGOs in peaceful protests, the authorities created numerous restrictions on the third sector. Many civil initiatives critical to the authorities were targeted for attack.
In July 2017, NGOs that criticized state bodies were subjected to escalated and unprecedented pressure. To date, this concerns, in particular, NGOs and initiatives such as: Citizens Solidary in Action [Obywatele Solidarnie w Akcji], Citizens of the Republic of Poland [Obywatele RP], the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog], the Committee for the Defence of Democracy [Komitet Obrony Demokracji], Action Democracy [Akcja Demokracja], the All-Poland Women’s Strike [Ogólnopolski Strajk Kobiet], the Centre for Women’s Rights [Centrum Praw Kobiet], the BABA Lubuskie Association for the Protection of Women’s Rights [BABA Lubuskie Stowarzyszenie na Rzecz Kobiet]. Some of these NGOs faced unjustified inspections, searches and lawsuits, and their representatives were subjected to numerous interrogations and even secret surveillance. Foreigners associated with these organizations are concerned about their future in Poland due to the possibility of losing their right to stay in the country.
For example, the Polish police conducted searches and seized documents and equipment from the offices of several women’s organizations (the offices of the Centre for Women’s Rights and the BABA Association). This happened the day after protest actions in defense of women’s rights in Poland was held in October 2017. Another example: Poland’s then-Minister of Foreign Affairs (MFA) filed a motion with the court to appoint what is known as a ‘compulsory administration’ to replace the existing members of the Management Board of the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog]. The dispute, which is being continued by the current Polish MFA Jacek Czaputowicz will eventually be resolved by a court ruling. Similar means were intended to be used against Citizens of the Republic of Poland [Obywatele RP] by the then-Minister of Interior, Mariusz Błaszczak.
Incidents of prosecution of LGBT organizations have been recorded. A particularly alarming signal is the cessation of a number of investigations into physical attacks against LGBT activists and the offices of their organizations. Alongside women’s rights organizations, they have been practically cut off from almost all available state-funding. The Polish state clearly favours initiatives focused on nationalist and religious values instead.
Members of the Polish government led by the then-Prime Minister Beata Szydło (in particular, the former Minister of the Interior, Mariusz Błaszczak, his deputy Jarosław Zieliński, the Minister–Coordinator of the Special Services of Poland Mariusz Kamiński, former Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski and the Minister of National Defence Antoni Macierewicz) publicly discussed actions to be taken against specific NGOs.
In addition, the aforementioned NGOs, as well as the Office of the Polish Ombudsman, have become victims of information attacks and denigrating media campaigns. These smear campaigns are based on manipulations, half-truths and outright falsehoods. These slanders are spread by state and pro-government Polish media having close ties to the ruling party.
NGOs have been accused of ‘manipulating public opinion’ and ‘artificially provoking protests’ ‘for money from abroad’. Their representatives are portrayed as ‘traitors to the motherland’, or ‘puppets’ in the hands of foreign states and other foreign actors (for example, George Soros, Russia, Germany or ‘Brussels elites’).
The denigrating campaigns aim to intimidate human rights defenders and undermine the trust of Polish society in the work of civil society. Another dangerous consequence of these campaigns may be the creation of negative attitudes towards any international or foreign structures in society. Recently, the actor and activist for the protection of the secular state Krzysztof Pieczyński fell victim to media harassment, and was subsequently beaten in the street by unknown persons in Warsaw.
Attacks on NGOs and human rights defenders are being carried out with the support of extreme right and nationalist organizations. The attacks are openly xenophobic in nature. In particular, they are being directed against the large community of Ukrainians in Poland. Some victims are being denied the right to Polish citizenship. These actions are related to the participation of Ukrainian citizens living in Poland in protests, as well as the work of the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog] and other Polish organizations which provided humanitarian assistance to Ukraine in the period of Euromaidan. 

Reluctant response of the law enforcement bodies to the nationalist and xenophobic incidents leads to growing number of assaults on foreigners in Poland.
Members of the right-wing parties of the Sejm and Members of the European Parliament from Poland are also carrying out hostile actions against specific NGOs and civil society in general. For example, six members of parliament have made public statements about the need to restrict or even stop the activities of the Open Dialog Foundation (Fundacja Otwarty Dialog). The organization was accused of representing an ‘external’ leftist ‘threat to the Polish State’, ‘violating Ukrainian–Polish relations’ and, in general, ‘provoking an uprising’ in Poland. No facts exist which would confirm that the organization has been carrying out such activities and, thus, no such evidence has been presented.
At the moment, according to the reports prepared by the Citizens of the Republic of Poland movement [Obywatele RP] (based on the gathered information), approximately 800 court proceedings are being conducted either directly against participants in the social protests and activists in social movements or in relation to their activities. In the report on oppression produced by the Citizens of the Republic of Poland,, as of the end of January 2018, 472 court trials had been initiated against protesters under the Code of Petty Offences; while a month earlier, there had been only 367 such trials. Twenty-eight criminal cases had been initiated under the Criminal Code (a month earlier there had been only 14 criminal cases), and nine persons were facing criminal charges.
Serious problems are also being caused by the new law on gatherings, which is highly controversial and widely perceived as unconstitutional, and which promotes the so-called cyclical gatherings, such as the Smolensk tragedy monthly commemoration (monthly demonstrations led by the leader of the ruling party, Jarosław Kaczyński, carried out with privileges unavailable to any other forms of street demonstration). For this reason, the Mazovian Voivode [governor] has regularly imposed a ban on pro-democracy protest actions organized on the same day by the Citizens Solidary in Action [Obywatele Solidarnie w Akcji]. Still, all of his previous decisions have been rejected by the District Court in Warsaw.
Serious concern over these attacks on the supremacy of civil rights and freedoms in Poland have been repeatedly expressed by members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (Resolution 2188 (2017), written declaration 641), pointing out in the statement on the resolution of 26 January 2018 that their demands have thus far been ignored by the Polish authorities.
The space for a dialogue between civil society and the authorities continues to shrink. Representatives of non-governmental organizations (particularly those affiliated with Citizens of the Republic of Poland movement [Obywatele RP] are commonly deprived of the opportunity to attend meetings and hearing of the Parliament’s Commissions. Several questionable legislative initiatives which address the most important aspects of public life are being considered without  any public consultation. In particular, these include changes in the legislation on the police, the introduction of anti-terrorism legislation, and amendments to the law on the Institute of National Remembrance (this last has already been adopted).
The authorities have changed some of the procedures for allocating public funds to NGOs. On 26 September 2017, the Senate passed a law regarding the National Institute of Freedom – Centre for the Development of Civil Society. The law was presented as being part of the government’s actions to strengthen civil society. However, the law was sharply criticized by the associations of NGOs and the Commissioner for Human Rights.
The law centralizes the government funds for public organizations within the framework of the established Centre. Since it is aimed at promoting activities which are in line with Christian and patriotic values, funding may become inaccessible for organizations whose work does not correlate with such values. Such an approach by the authorities violates the Constitution, which protects diversity of beliefs and views. The law was signed by the President on 12 October 2017 jeopardizing the independence of civil society in Poland.
Also, NGOs have recorded incidents of public funding having been either provided or terminated for political or ideological reasons.
In connection with the recent disturbing events, the International Civic Solidarity Platform hereby calls for the restoration of the participation of public and human rights organizations in democratic processes in Poland, a return to the European standards of interaction between civil society and government structures, and a guarantee of the independence of civil society initiatives in Poland.
Signed by the following organisations:​
1. The Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
2. Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)
3. Humanrights.ch
4. Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights (Germany/Switzerland)
5. International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law (Kazakhstan)
6. Citizens’ Watch, St. Petersburg (Russia)
7. Moscow Helsinki Group (Russia)
8. Public Verdict (Russia)
9. Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
10. Public Association “Dignity”
11. Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly – Vanadzor
12. Helsinki Committee of Armenia (Armenia)
13. KRF Public Alternative (Ukraine)
14. DRA – German-Russian Exchange (Germany)
15. “OMCT – World Organisation Against Torture”
16. Human Rights Monitoring Institute (Lithuania)
17. Legal Transformation Center (Belarus)
18. International Partnership for Human Rights (Belgium)
19. Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (Bulgaria)
20. Helsinki Association for Human Rights NGO Armenia (Armenia)
21. Human Rights Matter e.V. (Germany)
22. The Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House (Belarus)
23. WILPF Germany (Germany)
24. Association UMDPL (Ukraine)
25. Norwegian Helsinki Committee
26. The Kosova Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims (KRCT) from Kosovo
27. ZARA – Zivilcourage und Anti-Rassismus-Arbeit (Austria)
28. Women of the Don (Russia)
29. Crude Accountability
30. Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
31. Citizens Watch (Russia)
32. Regional Center for Strategic Studies ( Georgia/Azerbaijan)
33. Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russia)
34. UNITED
35. Netherlands Helsinki Committee

Source:
http://www.civicsolidarity.org/article/1545/polish-authorities-reduce-space-activities-ngos-including-human-rights-organizations

The Appeal about lack of proper medical care for Oleh Sentsov and other Ukrainian political prisoners from the LetMyPeopleGo list

November 29, 2017

To the Vice-Chancellor, the Federal Minister for Foreign

Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany,

Mr. Sigmar Gabriel

As of today, about 60 Ukrainian citizens have been detained on political grounds in the territory of the Russian Federation and the occupied Crimea. Most of them have been subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment to force false confessions about the actions they did not commit.

Oleh Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko, Valentyn Vygovsky, Mykola Karpiuk, Stanislav Klykh, Yevhen Panov, Andrii Zakhtey, Andrii Kolomiyets, Serhii Lytvynov, Oleksandr Kostenko and other illegally detained people publicly stated this. Yurii Yatsenko and Gennady Afanasyev, who were released, shared details about the unlawful practices that were applied to people under the control of the Russian Federation.

Stanislav Klykh’s appeal to the European Court of Human Rights is a clear illustration of illegal treatment by the state authorities of the Russian Federation:

“[…] In order to force me to testify, I was subjected to illegal methods of inquiry and investigation, expressed in causing me beatings and injuries, including using handcuffs and electric current, prolonged kneeling, resulting in numerous scars on my wrists, knees […] I was kept in the prison yard for several days without any water or food. As a result of the application of these methods, I was brought to a state of dystrophy, I could not hold a spoon, a pen in my hands, since the hands were dislocated as a result of being handcuffed to the bars”.

The situation is complicated by the unsatisfactory conditions of detention, which further contribute to a sharp deterioration in the health, development and exacerbation of chronic and other diseases.

 

The lawyer of the Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov, who was recognized as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, recently announced a sharp deterioration in the health of the illegally imprisoned. According to him, due to prolonged overcooling, the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis exacerbated and problems with the heart began.

 

We draw attention to the fact that human life and health are the highest values of every civilized state. The right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is guaranteed by Art. 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, Article 11, 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966, as well as Article 11 of the European Social Charter of 1996.

 

This year, the representative of the Russian Federation was elected as a President of the 70th World Health Assembly, the Charter of which was signed by the Russian Federation in 1946. Thus, she acknowledged that “the possession of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is one of the fundamental rights of everyone, regardless of race, religion, political beliefs, economic or social status”.

 

In addition, according to Art. 26 of the Federal Law of 21.11.2011 No 323-FZ “On the basis of public health protection in the Russian Federation” persons, who are in custody, serving a sentence in the form of restriction of liberty, arrest, deprivation of liberty or administrative arrest, are entitled to receive medical assistance, in particular, in necessary cases in medical institutions of the state health system and the municipal health care system in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation.

In pursuance of this Law the Government of the Russian Federation adopted the Resolution dated 28.12.2012 No 1466, which approved the Rules for the provision of medical care in medical institutions of the state and municipal health care system for persons held in custody or serving a sentence in the form of deprivation of liberty. The Rules provide for the possibility of inviting the medical specialists of the said medical institutions for consultation if it is impossible to provide medical assistance in the institutions of the criminal and executive system.

We note that all citizens of Ukraine, who are held for political reasons in the territory of the Russian Federation and the occupied Crimea, need proper medical care. Among them, Dmytro Shtyblikov, who after detention lost 30 kg and was brought to a dystopia, Stanislav Klykh, who lost his mental health after the torture that he suffered, Oleksandr Kostenko, who, due to the lack of an operation, runs the risk of losing the arm broken by the FSB’s staff, Oleksandr Rolchenko< who was in a hospital with a diagnosis of underweight, Volodymyr Dudka, who has been practicing self-medication with a stomach ulcer for ten months, Arsen Dzepparov, who is not provided with medical assistance despite cold kidneys, loss of hearing in his left ear and a sharp deterioration in vision, 19-year-old Pavlo Hryb who due to his disability is constantly taking drugs, so the lack of medicines and proper medical treatment in prison led to the appearance of ulcers on his body.

These are just a few examples of violation of the international obligations by the Russian Federation as for the right of Ukrainian political prisoners to the highest attainable standards of physical and mental health. From the moment of their illegal detention, independent physicians do not have access to them, and therefore, they cannot assess their health and provide proper medical care.

We address you with a request to raise before the Government of the Russian Federation the issue of the need to organize the access of physicians from the International Committee of the Red Cross and other reputable international health organizations to provide qualified medical assistance to Oleh Sentsov and all Ukrainian political prisoners from the LetMyPeopleGo list.

Center for Civil Liberties coordinating the #LetMyPeopleGo campaign

NGO “Association of Relatives of Political Prisoners of the Kremlin”

Media Initiative for Human Rights

Crimea Human Rights Group

Open Dialog Foundation

Association UMDPL

NGO “CrimeaSOS”

Luhansk Regional Human Rights Center “Alternative”

NGO “Social Action Center”

NGO “Peaceful Coast”

Human Rights Information Center

Expert Center for Human Rights

Charitable Foundation “East-SOS”

Euromaidan Press

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research

AIHO Foundation of Regional Initiatives

NGO “Human Rights Initiative”

NGO “Regional Center for Human Rights”/Sevastopol Human Rights Protection Group

KRF “Hromadska Alternatyva”

Centre for Civil Liberties’s statement on the pressure on civil society organisations in Poland

August 7, 2017

6 August, 2017, Kyiv

We have been cooperating with the Open Dialog Foundation (Poland) for many years. In the early days of mass protests in Ukraine, they were one of the first to render assistance to the
newly created initiative ‘EuroMaidan SOS’. The equipment that they provided was used by our civil society observers who were recording the process of fabricated trials against
peaceful protesters in Kyiv.
Following the occupation of Crimea by Russia and the commencement of the hybrid war in the Donbas, the Open Dialog Foundation supported our ‘LetMyPeopleGo’ campaign to
protect Ukrainian citizens, held in detention in Russian prisons for political reasons. Currently, they are among the most loyal defenders of the ‘Kremlin prisoners’ on the
international arena and consistently promote the issue of extending sanctions against the Russian Federation in the EU and the United States.
In view of this, it is very surprising to us to read statements, unsupported by evidence, about the alleged links of the Open Dialog Foundation with the Russian special services. It seems
that the publications, which appear in certain government media, are retaliation for the active position of the organisation and its participation in mass public protests in Poland. In
our opinion, it was the reason for which the shameful scheme of labelling dissidents as‘agents of the Kremlin’ was used.
In addition, currently, individual top Polish officials are calling for unreasonable additional tax audits of the Open Dialog Foundation and even for cancelling its registration as a non-
profit organisation. Similar pressure for participating in massive public protests is being exerted on a number of other public organisations in Poland.
We all remember what social changes took place after a long-lasting campaign of discrediting civic organisations in the Russian Federation alone. Therefore, we consider the
appearance of such publications a red flag for Poland, which has long been an example of democratic transformation of a country in the post-Soviet space, and especially for Ukraine.

Photo: Radio Liberty

Holding a meeting on human rights is not a terrorist conspiracy

July 10, 2017

10 July 2017

 

    On 5 July 2017, ten participants in a human rights training meeting were detained at Büyükada, one of the Princes’ Islands near İstanbul, Turkey. The group consisted of eight representatives of Turkish civil society organisations working on human rights and two foreign consultants on digital security and information management. By the afternoon of July 6, the lawyers of the detained persons learned that their clients are being investigated for membership of an armed organization, a terrorist offense, and will stay in investigative detention initially for seven days.
The undersigned organisations, national and international human rights NGOs from the OSCE region, members of the Civic Solidarity Platform, strongly reject this operation by the Turkish authorities. We appeal for the immediate and unconditional release of the detained persons, participants in a peaceful meeting to advance human rights. Human rights work should not be criminalized. Civil society work for human rights is an important contribution to a healthy society. Holding a meeting on human rights is not a terrorist conspiracy.
The Turkish citizens arrested are Özlem Dalkıran (Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly), lawyer Nalan Erkem (Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly), İlknur Üstün (Women’s Coalition), İdil Eser (Amnesty International Turkey director), Veli Acu (Human Rights Agenda Association), lawyer Günal Kurşun (Human Rights Agenda Association), Şeymus Özbekli (Rights Initiative), and Nejat Taştan (Equal Rights Watch Association). The two consultants are Ali Gharawi, from Sweden, and Peter Steudtner, from Germany.
In the past years, human rights defenders have on several occasions been targeted by governmental repression. This latest attack on human rights defenders comes amidst a wave of repression after the failed coup attempt of 15 July 2016 which has affected a much wider group of persons than those who may have been directly involved in the coup attempt, including journalists, lawyers and politicians. Only last month, Taner Kiliç, the president of Amnesty International Turkey, was arrested together with 22 other lawyers.

Article 19 (international, London)
Association of Ukrainian Human Rights Monitors on Law Enforcement
Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House
Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russia)
Center for Participation and Development (Georgia)
DRA – German-Russian Exchange (Germany)
Fair Trials (international, London)

Golos Svobody (Kyrgyzstan)
Helsinki Citizens Assembly Vanadzor (Armenia)
Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)
Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan
Human Rights House Foundation (international, Oslo)
Human Rights Information Center (Ukraine)
Human Rights Matter (Germany)
IDP Women Association “Consent” (Georgia)
International Partnership for Human Rights (international, Brussels)
International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (international, Copenhagen)
Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (Azerbaijan)
Kadyr Kasiyet (“Dignity”) (Kazakhstan)
Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law
Kharkiv regional foundation Public Alternative (Ukraine)
Legal Policy Research Center (Kazakhstan)
Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights (Germany)
Moscow Helsinki Group
Netherlands Helsinki Committee
Norwegian Helsinki Committee
Office of Civil Freedoms (Tajikistan)
Promo-LEX (Moldova)
Protection of rights without borders (Armenia)
Public Verdict (Russia)
Regional Center for Strategic Studies (Azerbaijan)
Solidarus (Germany)
SOVA Center for Information and Analysis (Russia)
Swiss Helsinki Committee
Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (Germany)
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) (international, Geneva)
[country names added if name of country not included in the name of the organization; for
international organisations, the city where their secretariat is located, is added]

The Civic Solidarity Platform is a decentralized advocacy network of independent civic groups
committed to improving the human rights situation in Europe, Eurasia and the US,
www.civicsolidarity.org.
Contact for this statement: Harry Hummel, Netherlands Helsinki Committee, hhummel@nhc.nl,
+31703926700

On the situation with the nomination at the “Eurovision” from Russia Yulia Samoylova

May 15, 2017

Ukraine has the right to demand the implementation of the law in relation to the Russian singer Yulii Samoylovoy, but the fact that Russia still decided to send its representative to this year held in Kiev “Eurovision” is a kind of a gesture of reconciliation. Such an opinion was expressed by the Russian human rights activist, head of the Moscow Helsinki Group Lyudmila Alekseeva.

“On the one hand, I am glad that our leaders still decide to send a Russian representative at” Eurovision “. Neighborly. This is a good step, which shows the desire of reconciliation. But on the other hand, I understand the Ukrainians: Crimea captured now want to make peace, but the Crimea is not returned. It is clear to me, “- Alexeyev said, commenting on the Ukrainian edition of” Explorer “the situation surrounding the nomination of the representative of Russia in the international music competition” Eurovision “.

Russian human rights activist has also recognized that “there are Ukrainian laws, and they must comply with.” However, she admitted that the Russian singer could have visited the Crimea, “whether he is Ukrainian.”

In this context, Alexeyev told that visited the peninsula, as it was her little homeland to the annexation of the Crimea. Due to old age she can not go there now, but “I fully admit that if I were younger, I would have to go on a his small home, no matter who it belongs to,” – she said.

“I would not want us to even about it [on participation in” Eurovision “Yulii Samoylovoy] quarreled. When fighting bosses, we should not pay attention to it. I belong to the Ukrainians as well as before. What a difference to us? Let them find out the relationship, and we have to treat each other with respect, as it should be neighbors, as it is necessary for people who have a common history, “- Alexeyev said.

At the same time, she added: “I feel very sorry for Russia because of this history of the Crimea.”

Recall that in Russia ended with the internal competitive selection of artists for the contest “Eurovision” -2017, the winner of which was a girl with a disability Julia Samoilova. In the summer of 2015 the singer participated in the festival “World of Sports, and good”, which was held in the Crimea. Thus, according to Ukrainian law, Samoilova violated the procedure for crossing the Ukrainian border. The singer is also listed as a “purgatory” center “Peacemaker”.

March 13 Advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Anton Gerashchenko said that the law enforcement agencies , there are two ways to resolve the situation on the Russian representative at “Eurovision” Yulii Samoylovoy, which violated the legislation of Ukraine. According to him, the first option – not to let Samoilov to Ukraine for violating the rules visit the occupied territory of Crimea. The second – to give Samoilova permission to enter the country, but at the same time and bring her to justice for violation of the state border.

Sourse, 14/05/2017

Such meetings are beneficial for all participants

June 10, 2015

Azerbaijani human rights activist and director of the Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan (HRCA), Eldar Zeynalov summed up ended in Kiev workshop on exchange of experiences and best practices “Improving skills in the field of human rights advocacy (promotion and protection of human rights).”

“Such meetings are mutually beneficial,” – suggested Eldar Zeynalov.

According to the head of the OCA, the seminar was attended by five representatives of Azerbaijan. “Except for me, their participation in the seminar later unveiled a lawyer Fariz Namazly. The names of the other three parties, I do not know if I can make public.

Organizers asked not to mention the names of the participants without agreement with them. I can only say that the two human rights defenders, and three lawyers participated from Azerbaijan. “

Recall that the seminar held in the capital of Ukraine on 4-5 June, organized by the Netherlands Helsinki Committee and the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland) for the human rights of a number of countries of the former Soviet Union, including Azerbaijan.

For two days, the participants discussed the planning and advocacy strategy (promotion and protection of human rights), including working with international organizations such as the UN, Council of Europe, the European Union and the OSCE, as well as exchanged between human rights defenders from different countries with innovative approaches to this area.

According to the expert, such events often performed earlier. It was the general training, and explain the ways of European standards, and so on.

“This workshop was more specific. Standards as they were, and have remained so, just change the working conditions. They exchanged views on how to operate in such conditions, how to achieve positive changes in human rights issues.

We never work in isolation. We have partners in the West, that we support or do not support. Which have their own vision of the situation in the country and is not always correct and complete. And the result is that some campaigns in our defense, wrong calculation, not the tone chosen, the methods used do not become “blank shot”, as he was selected.

And for “Westerners” to us useful to meet. It is mutually useful meeting. The workshop in addition to representatives of Azerbaijan, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, was also attended by representatives of immigrant organizations in France.

But in fact, they work in the Russian direction. I became more optimistic look at things and know what are the conditions for human rights defenders in Belarus, Russia.

In the same Russian clamped and dissidents, and human rights activists. They are looking for other outlets. Nobody is going to give, “- said E. Zeynalov.

Note that at the time of the seminar, after a brief lull, resumed again fighting in eastern Ukraine between the forces of the anti-terrorist operation and separatists.

According to E. Zeynalov, “in the city met the guys in camouflage, the number of police officers was greater than that observed a couple of years ago.”

“However, such as in Russia, where visitors to the carp, check documents, did not exist.

It is not felt that Kiev – the capital of the belligerent State. In the city center, where the Maidan, traces the events of last year. The same House of Trade Unions has not been refurbished. Many graffiti that were made then.

In a couple of places monuments installed. Sometimes came a beautiful girl who collected donations for the wounded. Only in this war, and manifested. No aggressive slogans on the wall, sometimes there are signs saying: “Ukraine – one country, one nation.” No militarist propaganda personally I have not seen “- he said.

Sourse, 09/06/2015

Результаты поиска:

Joint appeal on the inappropriate use of extremist charges, mass detention and use of torture against peaceful demonstrators, activists and government’s critics in Kazakhstan.

December 17, 2018

Despite the ratification of the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Kazakhstan, the human rights situation in the country has sharply deteriorated.

Fundamental rights, such as freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, are disrespected under the guise of fighting “extremism”. Since 13 March 2018, the day that marks the authorities’ ban of the peaceful opposition movement ‘Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan’ (DCK), more than 450 persons, participating in peaceful rallies or showing different form of support for DCK (e.g. posting and commenting social media contents, walking with blue balloons, etc.) have fallen victim of political persecution.

We call for a stepping up of efforts to ensure political pluralism in the country and condemn the repression of peaceful activists and supporters of opposition movement DCK and call for their unconditional release. Kazakhstan has to ensure its citizens free access to social media networks and independent media outlets, thus ceasing the blocking or restriction of such platforms. We stress the importance of the independence of lawyers and the protection of their rights to freely practice their profession and defend their clients without fear of reprisals.

We find this particularly worrying that on 10 May 2018, during the visit of European Parliament’s Delegation to Kazakhstan, police resorted to excessive use of force against peaceful protesters and detained more than 150 people, while others were placed under administrative arrests. On that day peaceful rallies against the use of torture and politically motivated imprisonment were held in cities across the country.

Among them, more than 30 people have been prosecuted in connection with their support of DCK’s ideas, including: activists Ablovas Dzhumayev, Almat Zhumagulov and poet Kenzhebek Abishev, social media user Aset Abishev and blogger Muratbek Tungishbayev. At least six persons have reported the use of torture and a lack of medical care in the place of detention. The practice of forced confession in exchange for release, and psychological pressure exerted on political prisoners and their relatives are undermining the trust in the Kazakhstani justice system, as exemplified by the cases of Aset Nurzhaubay and Muratbek Tungishbayev.

We were informed that political prisoners are losing hope for justice and taking desperate steps. For example, on 26 November 2018, Almat Zhumagulov and Kenzhebek Abishev threatened suicide in protest against the accusatory bias in court decisions and the fabricated nature of the case. On 27 November 2018, Zhumagulov cut his arm during the court session.At the same time Iskander Yerimbetov, the brother of human rights activist and lawyer Bota Jardemalie, was arrested, tortured and convicted in October 2018 to 7 years’ imprisonment in retaliation for his sister’s professional activities. Due to the outcome of his case, lawyers in Kazakhstan fear to defend victims of political persecution and torture.The number of political prisoners in Kazakhstan is increasing. More than 20 political prisoners are being held in detention. Human rights defenders are also under attack. Restrictions imposed on NGOs and criminal prosecution of human rights activists, such as Elena Semenova, severely shrink the space for civil society.

We call on Kazakhstani authorities to implement the communications from the UN Human Rights Committee, UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, and call without further delay to release the political prisoners Mukhtar Dzhakishev, Maks Bokayev and Iskander Yerimbetov; compliance with the UN requirements is an important condition for further cooperation between the EU and Kazakhstan

We expect the urgent intervention of the EEAS, encourage the initiation of further EU official monitoring missions and call on the EEAS to support such missions in order to observe the human rights situation and attend court trials against people prosecuted for political reasons. At the same time, we strongly recommend that the European Commission and the EU Member States pursue a policy of conditionality in the case of Kazakhstan. If the latter state wants to be a recipient of EU funding and attract investments, it first must ensure the cessation of cruel practices against detainees in prisons, an end to impunity for the offenders, freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, and the right to a defence and a free trial.

 

Signatures

 

Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)

Defending Democracy

Federazione Italiana Diritti Umani (FIDU)

Human Rights Information Center (Ukraine)

Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS)

Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG)

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research (KhISR)

Open Dialogue Foundation (ODF)

The Arrested Lawyers Initiative

Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF)

Polish authorities reduce the space for the activities of NGOs including human rights organizations in the country

May 2, 2018
Since the end of 2015, we have seen disturbing trends in the actions of the Polish government and the parliamentary majority formed by the populist-nationalist party, Law and Justice (PiS), which harm the activities of human rights defenders and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Poland.
Unconstitutional legislative initiatives have jeopardized both democracy and the rule of law in Poland, particularly the principle of effective separation of powers. Following an acute conflict, the ruling majority in the Parliament de facto subordinated the Constitutional Court to itself, making this state body fully dependent on political decisions.
Numerous leading Polish NGOs including human rights organizations have expressed disagreement with these actions. In July 2017, NGOs took active part in mass peaceful protests aimed at protecting the Constitution, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary in Poland.
The significant mobilization of society led to President Andrzej Duda vetoing two of the three controversial laws aimed at undermining the independence of the judiciary. in July 2017. The independence of the Supreme Court and the National Council of the Judiciary was temporarily preserved. However, the law on the system of ordinary courts came into force, widening the control of the Minister of Justice, who is also the General Prosecutor of Poland, over the courts. And so, as early as in December 2017, despite the next wave of public protests, the Parliament adopted slightly changed, unconstitutional laws that virtually eliminate the independence of the Supreme Court and the National Council of Justice.
In response to the participation of NGOs in peaceful protests, the authorities created numerous restrictions on the third sector. Many civil initiatives critical to the authorities were targeted for attack.
In July 2017, NGOs that criticized state bodies were subjected to escalated and unprecedented pressure. To date, this concerns, in particular, NGOs and initiatives such as: Citizens Solidary in Action [Obywatele Solidarnie w Akcji], Citizens of the Republic of Poland [Obywatele RP], the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog], the Committee for the Defence of Democracy [Komitet Obrony Demokracji], Action Democracy [Akcja Demokracja], the All-Poland Women’s Strike [Ogólnopolski Strajk Kobiet], the Centre for Women’s Rights [Centrum Praw Kobiet], the BABA Lubuskie Association for the Protection of Women’s Rights [BABA Lubuskie Stowarzyszenie na Rzecz Kobiet]. Some of these NGOs faced unjustified inspections, searches and lawsuits, and their representatives were subjected to numerous interrogations and even secret surveillance. Foreigners associated with these organizations are concerned about their future in Poland due to the possibility of losing their right to stay in the country.
For example, the Polish police conducted searches and seized documents and equipment from the offices of several women’s organizations (the offices of the Centre for Women’s Rights and the BABA Association). This happened the day after protest actions in defense of women’s rights in Poland was held in October 2017. Another example: Poland’s then-Minister of Foreign Affairs (MFA) filed a motion with the court to appoint what is known as a ‘compulsory administration’ to replace the existing members of the Management Board of the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog]. The dispute, which is being continued by the current Polish MFA Jacek Czaputowicz will eventually be resolved by a court ruling. Similar means were intended to be used against Citizens of the Republic of Poland [Obywatele RP] by the then-Minister of Interior, Mariusz Błaszczak.
Incidents of prosecution of LGBT organizations have been recorded. A particularly alarming signal is the cessation of a number of investigations into physical attacks against LGBT activists and the offices of their organizations. Alongside women’s rights organizations, they have been practically cut off from almost all available state-funding. The Polish state clearly favours initiatives focused on nationalist and religious values instead.
Members of the Polish government led by the then-Prime Minister Beata Szydło (in particular, the former Minister of the Interior, Mariusz Błaszczak, his deputy Jarosław Zieliński, the Minister–Coordinator of the Special Services of Poland Mariusz Kamiński, former Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski and the Minister of National Defence Antoni Macierewicz) publicly discussed actions to be taken against specific NGOs.
In addition, the aforementioned NGOs, as well as the Office of the Polish Ombudsman, have become victims of information attacks and denigrating media campaigns. These smear campaigns are based on manipulations, half-truths and outright falsehoods. These slanders are spread by state and pro-government Polish media having close ties to the ruling party.
NGOs have been accused of ‘manipulating public opinion’ and ‘artificially provoking protests’ ‘for money from abroad’. Their representatives are portrayed as ‘traitors to the motherland’, or ‘puppets’ in the hands of foreign states and other foreign actors (for example, George Soros, Russia, Germany or ‘Brussels elites’).
The denigrating campaigns aim to intimidate human rights defenders and undermine the trust of Polish society in the work of civil society. Another dangerous consequence of these campaigns may be the creation of negative attitudes towards any international or foreign structures in society. Recently, the actor and activist for the protection of the secular state Krzysztof Pieczyński fell victim to media harassment, and was subsequently beaten in the street by unknown persons in Warsaw.
Attacks on NGOs and human rights defenders are being carried out with the support of extreme right and nationalist organizations. The attacks are openly xenophobic in nature. In particular, they are being directed against the large community of Ukrainians in Poland. Some victims are being denied the right to Polish citizenship. These actions are related to the participation of Ukrainian citizens living in Poland in protests, as well as the work of the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog] and other Polish organizations which provided humanitarian assistance to Ukraine in the period of Euromaidan. 

Reluctant response of the law enforcement bodies to the nationalist and xenophobic incidents leads to growing number of assaults on foreigners in Poland.
Members of the right-wing parties of the Sejm and Members of the European Parliament from Poland are also carrying out hostile actions against specific NGOs and civil society in general. For example, six members of parliament have made public statements about the need to restrict or even stop the activities of the Open Dialog Foundation (Fundacja Otwarty Dialog). The organization was accused of representing an ‘external’ leftist ‘threat to the Polish State’, ‘violating Ukrainian–Polish relations’ and, in general, ‘provoking an uprising’ in Poland. No facts exist which would confirm that the organization has been carrying out such activities and, thus, no such evidence has been presented.
At the moment, according to the reports prepared by the Citizens of the Republic of Poland movement [Obywatele RP] (based on the gathered information), approximately 800 court proceedings are being conducted either directly against participants in the social protests and activists in social movements or in relation to their activities. In the report on oppression produced by the Citizens of the Republic of Poland,, as of the end of January 2018, 472 court trials had been initiated against protesters under the Code of Petty Offences; while a month earlier, there had been only 367 such trials. Twenty-eight criminal cases had been initiated under the Criminal Code (a month earlier there had been only 14 criminal cases), and nine persons were facing criminal charges.
Serious problems are also being caused by the new law on gatherings, which is highly controversial and widely perceived as unconstitutional, and which promotes the so-called cyclical gatherings, such as the Smolensk tragedy monthly commemoration (monthly demonstrations led by the leader of the ruling party, Jarosław Kaczyński, carried out with privileges unavailable to any other forms of street demonstration). For this reason, the Mazovian Voivode [governor] has regularly imposed a ban on pro-democracy protest actions organized on the same day by the Citizens Solidary in Action [Obywatele Solidarnie w Akcji]. Still, all of his previous decisions have been rejected by the District Court in Warsaw.
Serious concern over these attacks on the supremacy of civil rights and freedoms in Poland have been repeatedly expressed by members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (Resolution 2188 (2017), written declaration 641), pointing out in the statement on the resolution of 26 January 2018 that their demands have thus far been ignored by the Polish authorities.
The space for a dialogue between civil society and the authorities continues to shrink. Representatives of non-governmental organizations (particularly those affiliated with Citizens of the Republic of Poland movement [Obywatele RP] are commonly deprived of the opportunity to attend meetings and hearing of the Parliament’s Commissions. Several questionable legislative initiatives which address the most important aspects of public life are being considered without  any public consultation. In particular, these include changes in the legislation on the police, the introduction of anti-terrorism legislation, and amendments to the law on the Institute of National Remembrance (this last has already been adopted).
The authorities have changed some of the procedures for allocating public funds to NGOs. On 26 September 2017, the Senate passed a law regarding the National Institute of Freedom – Centre for the Development of Civil Society. The law was presented as being part of the government’s actions to strengthen civil society. However, the law was sharply criticized by the associations of NGOs and the Commissioner for Human Rights.
The law centralizes the government funds for public organizations within the framework of the established Centre. Since it is aimed at promoting activities which are in line with Christian and patriotic values, funding may become inaccessible for organizations whose work does not correlate with such values. Such an approach by the authorities violates the Constitution, which protects diversity of beliefs and views. The law was signed by the President on 12 October 2017 jeopardizing the independence of civil society in Poland.
Also, NGOs have recorded incidents of public funding having been either provided or terminated for political or ideological reasons.
In connection with the recent disturbing events, the International Civic Solidarity Platform hereby calls for the restoration of the participation of public and human rights organizations in democratic processes in Poland, a return to the European standards of interaction between civil society and government structures, and a guarantee of the independence of civil society initiatives in Poland.
Signed by the following organisations:​
1. The Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
2. Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)
3. Humanrights.ch
4. Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights (Germany/Switzerland)
5. International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law (Kazakhstan)
6. Citizens’ Watch, St. Petersburg (Russia)
7. Moscow Helsinki Group (Russia)
8. Public Verdict (Russia)
9. Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
10. Public Association “Dignity”
11. Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly – Vanadzor
12. Helsinki Committee of Armenia (Armenia)
13. KRF Public Alternative (Ukraine)
14. DRA – German-Russian Exchange (Germany)
15. “OMCT – World Organisation Against Torture”
16. Human Rights Monitoring Institute (Lithuania)
17. Legal Transformation Center (Belarus)
18. International Partnership for Human Rights (Belgium)
19. Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (Bulgaria)
20. Helsinki Association for Human Rights NGO Armenia (Armenia)
21. Human Rights Matter e.V. (Germany)
22. The Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House (Belarus)
23. WILPF Germany (Germany)
24. Association UMDPL (Ukraine)
25. Norwegian Helsinki Committee
26. The Kosova Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims (KRCT) from Kosovo
27. ZARA – Zivilcourage und Anti-Rassismus-Arbeit (Austria)
28. Women of the Don (Russia)
29. Crude Accountability
30. Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
31. Citizens Watch (Russia)
32. Regional Center for Strategic Studies ( Georgia/Azerbaijan)
33. Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russia)
34. UNITED
35. Netherlands Helsinki Committee

Source:
http://www.civicsolidarity.org/article/1545/polish-authorities-reduce-space-activities-ngos-including-human-rights-organizations

The Appeal about lack of proper medical care for Oleh Sentsov and other Ukrainian political prisoners from the LetMyPeopleGo list

November 29, 2017

To the Vice-Chancellor, the Federal Minister for Foreign

Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany,

Mr. Sigmar Gabriel

As of today, about 60 Ukrainian citizens have been detained on political grounds in the territory of the Russian Federation and the occupied Crimea. Most of them have been subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment to force false confessions about the actions they did not commit.

Oleh Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko, Valentyn Vygovsky, Mykola Karpiuk, Stanislav Klykh, Yevhen Panov, Andrii Zakhtey, Andrii Kolomiyets, Serhii Lytvynov, Oleksandr Kostenko and other illegally detained people publicly stated this. Yurii Yatsenko and Gennady Afanasyev, who were released, shared details about the unlawful practices that were applied to people under the control of the Russian Federation.

Stanislav Klykh’s appeal to the European Court of Human Rights is a clear illustration of illegal treatment by the state authorities of the Russian Federation:

“[…] In order to force me to testify, I was subjected to illegal methods of inquiry and investigation, expressed in causing me beatings and injuries, including using handcuffs and electric current, prolonged kneeling, resulting in numerous scars on my wrists, knees […] I was kept in the prison yard for several days without any water or food. As a result of the application of these methods, I was brought to a state of dystrophy, I could not hold a spoon, a pen in my hands, since the hands were dislocated as a result of being handcuffed to the bars”.

The situation is complicated by the unsatisfactory conditions of detention, which further contribute to a sharp deterioration in the health, development and exacerbation of chronic and other diseases.

 

The lawyer of the Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov, who was recognized as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, recently announced a sharp deterioration in the health of the illegally imprisoned. According to him, due to prolonged overcooling, the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis exacerbated and problems with the heart began.

 

We draw attention to the fact that human life and health are the highest values of every civilized state. The right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is guaranteed by Art. 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, Article 11, 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966, as well as Article 11 of the European Social Charter of 1996.

 

This year, the representative of the Russian Federation was elected as a President of the 70th World Health Assembly, the Charter of which was signed by the Russian Federation in 1946. Thus, she acknowledged that “the possession of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is one of the fundamental rights of everyone, regardless of race, religion, political beliefs, economic or social status”.

 

In addition, according to Art. 26 of the Federal Law of 21.11.2011 No 323-FZ “On the basis of public health protection in the Russian Federation” persons, who are in custody, serving a sentence in the form of restriction of liberty, arrest, deprivation of liberty or administrative arrest, are entitled to receive medical assistance, in particular, in necessary cases in medical institutions of the state health system and the municipal health care system in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation.

In pursuance of this Law the Government of the Russian Federation adopted the Resolution dated 28.12.2012 No 1466, which approved the Rules for the provision of medical care in medical institutions of the state and municipal health care system for persons held in custody or serving a sentence in the form of deprivation of liberty. The Rules provide for the possibility of inviting the medical specialists of the said medical institutions for consultation if it is impossible to provide medical assistance in the institutions of the criminal and executive system.

We note that all citizens of Ukraine, who are held for political reasons in the territory of the Russian Federation and the occupied Crimea, need proper medical care. Among them, Dmytro Shtyblikov, who after detention lost 30 kg and was brought to a dystopia, Stanislav Klykh, who lost his mental health after the torture that he suffered, Oleksandr Kostenko, who, due to the lack of an operation, runs the risk of losing the arm broken by the FSB’s staff, Oleksandr Rolchenko< who was in a hospital with a diagnosis of underweight, Volodymyr Dudka, who has been practicing self-medication with a stomach ulcer for ten months, Arsen Dzepparov, who is not provided with medical assistance despite cold kidneys, loss of hearing in his left ear and a sharp deterioration in vision, 19-year-old Pavlo Hryb who due to his disability is constantly taking drugs, so the lack of medicines and proper medical treatment in prison led to the appearance of ulcers on his body.

These are just a few examples of violation of the international obligations by the Russian Federation as for the right of Ukrainian political prisoners to the highest attainable standards of physical and mental health. From the moment of their illegal detention, independent physicians do not have access to them, and therefore, they cannot assess their health and provide proper medical care.

We address you with a request to raise before the Government of the Russian Federation the issue of the need to organize the access of physicians from the International Committee of the Red Cross and other reputable international health organizations to provide qualified medical assistance to Oleh Sentsov and all Ukrainian political prisoners from the LetMyPeopleGo list.

Center for Civil Liberties coordinating the #LetMyPeopleGo campaign

NGO “Association of Relatives of Political Prisoners of the Kremlin”

Media Initiative for Human Rights

Crimea Human Rights Group

Open Dialog Foundation

Association UMDPL

NGO “CrimeaSOS”

Luhansk Regional Human Rights Center “Alternative”

NGO “Social Action Center”

NGO “Peaceful Coast”

Human Rights Information Center

Expert Center for Human Rights

Charitable Foundation “East-SOS”

Euromaidan Press

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research

AIHO Foundation of Regional Initiatives

NGO “Human Rights Initiative”

NGO “Regional Center for Human Rights”/Sevastopol Human Rights Protection Group

KRF “Hromadska Alternatyva”

Centre for Civil Liberties’s statement on the pressure on civil society organisations in Poland

August 7, 2017

6 August, 2017, Kyiv

We have been cooperating with the Open Dialog Foundation (Poland) for many years. In the early days of mass protests in Ukraine, they were one of the first to render assistance to the
newly created initiative ‘EuroMaidan SOS’. The equipment that they provided was used by our civil society observers who were recording the process of fabricated trials against
peaceful protesters in Kyiv.
Following the occupation of Crimea by Russia and the commencement of the hybrid war in the Donbas, the Open Dialog Foundation supported our ‘LetMyPeopleGo’ campaign to
protect Ukrainian citizens, held in detention in Russian prisons for political reasons. Currently, they are among the most loyal defenders of the ‘Kremlin prisoners’ on the
international arena and consistently promote the issue of extending sanctions against the Russian Federation in the EU and the United States.
In view of this, it is very surprising to us to read statements, unsupported by evidence, about the alleged links of the Open Dialog Foundation with the Russian special services. It seems
that the publications, which appear in certain government media, are retaliation for the active position of the organisation and its participation in mass public protests in Poland. In
our opinion, it was the reason for which the shameful scheme of labelling dissidents as‘agents of the Kremlin’ was used.
In addition, currently, individual top Polish officials are calling for unreasonable additional tax audits of the Open Dialog Foundation and even for cancelling its registration as a non-
profit organisation. Similar pressure for participating in massive public protests is being exerted on a number of other public organisations in Poland.
We all remember what social changes took place after a long-lasting campaign of discrediting civic organisations in the Russian Federation alone. Therefore, we consider the
appearance of such publications a red flag for Poland, which has long been an example of democratic transformation of a country in the post-Soviet space, and especially for Ukraine.

Photo: Radio Liberty

Holding a meeting on human rights is not a terrorist conspiracy

July 10, 2017

10 July 2017

 

    On 5 July 2017, ten participants in a human rights training meeting were detained at Büyükada, one of the Princes’ Islands near İstanbul, Turkey. The group consisted of eight representatives of Turkish civil society organisations working on human rights and two foreign consultants on digital security and information management. By the afternoon of July 6, the lawyers of the detained persons learned that their clients are being investigated for membership of an armed organization, a terrorist offense, and will stay in investigative detention initially for seven days.
The undersigned organisations, national and international human rights NGOs from the OSCE region, members of the Civic Solidarity Platform, strongly reject this operation by the Turkish authorities. We appeal for the immediate and unconditional release of the detained persons, participants in a peaceful meeting to advance human rights. Human rights work should not be criminalized. Civil society work for human rights is an important contribution to a healthy society. Holding a meeting on human rights is not a terrorist conspiracy.
The Turkish citizens arrested are Özlem Dalkıran (Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly), lawyer Nalan Erkem (Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly), İlknur Üstün (Women’s Coalition), İdil Eser (Amnesty International Turkey director), Veli Acu (Human Rights Agenda Association), lawyer Günal Kurşun (Human Rights Agenda Association), Şeymus Özbekli (Rights Initiative), and Nejat Taştan (Equal Rights Watch Association). The two consultants are Ali Gharawi, from Sweden, and Peter Steudtner, from Germany.
In the past years, human rights defenders have on several occasions been targeted by governmental repression. This latest attack on human rights defenders comes amidst a wave of repression after the failed coup attempt of 15 July 2016 which has affected a much wider group of persons than those who may have been directly involved in the coup attempt, including journalists, lawyers and politicians. Only last month, Taner Kiliç, the president of Amnesty International Turkey, was arrested together with 22 other lawyers.

Article 19 (international, London)
Association of Ukrainian Human Rights Monitors on Law Enforcement
Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House
Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russia)
Center for Participation and Development (Georgia)
DRA – German-Russian Exchange (Germany)
Fair Trials (international, London)

Golos Svobody (Kyrgyzstan)
Helsinki Citizens Assembly Vanadzor (Armenia)
Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)
Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan
Human Rights House Foundation (international, Oslo)
Human Rights Information Center (Ukraine)
Human Rights Matter (Germany)
IDP Women Association “Consent” (Georgia)
International Partnership for Human Rights (international, Brussels)
International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (international, Copenhagen)
Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (Azerbaijan)
Kadyr Kasiyet (“Dignity”) (Kazakhstan)
Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law
Kharkiv regional foundation Public Alternative (Ukraine)
Legal Policy Research Center (Kazakhstan)
Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights (Germany)
Moscow Helsinki Group
Netherlands Helsinki Committee
Norwegian Helsinki Committee
Office of Civil Freedoms (Tajikistan)
Promo-LEX (Moldova)
Protection of rights without borders (Armenia)
Public Verdict (Russia)
Regional Center for Strategic Studies (Azerbaijan)
Solidarus (Germany)
SOVA Center for Information and Analysis (Russia)
Swiss Helsinki Committee
Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (Germany)
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) (international, Geneva)
[country names added if name of country not included in the name of the organization; for
international organisations, the city where their secretariat is located, is added]

The Civic Solidarity Platform is a decentralized advocacy network of independent civic groups
committed to improving the human rights situation in Europe, Eurasia and the US,
www.civicsolidarity.org.
Contact for this statement: Harry Hummel, Netherlands Helsinki Committee, hhummel@nhc.nl,
+31703926700

On the situation with the nomination at the “Eurovision” from Russia Yulia Samoylova

May 15, 2017

Ukraine has the right to demand the implementation of the law in relation to the Russian singer Yulii Samoylovoy, but the fact that Russia still decided to send its representative to this year held in Kiev “Eurovision” is a kind of a gesture of reconciliation. Such an opinion was expressed by the Russian human rights activist, head of the Moscow Helsinki Group Lyudmila Alekseeva.

“On the one hand, I am glad that our leaders still decide to send a Russian representative at” Eurovision “. Neighborly. This is a good step, which shows the desire of reconciliation. But on the other hand, I understand the Ukrainians: Crimea captured now want to make peace, but the Crimea is not returned. It is clear to me, “- Alexeyev said, commenting on the Ukrainian edition of” Explorer “the situation surrounding the nomination of the representative of Russia in the international music competition” Eurovision “.

Russian human rights activist has also recognized that “there are Ukrainian laws, and they must comply with.” However, she admitted that the Russian singer could have visited the Crimea, “whether he is Ukrainian.”

In this context, Alexeyev told that visited the peninsula, as it was her little homeland to the annexation of the Crimea. Due to old age she can not go there now, but “I fully admit that if I were younger, I would have to go on a his small home, no matter who it belongs to,” – she said.

“I would not want us to even about it [on participation in” Eurovision “Yulii Samoylovoy] quarreled. When fighting bosses, we should not pay attention to it. I belong to the Ukrainians as well as before. What a difference to us? Let them find out the relationship, and we have to treat each other with respect, as it should be neighbors, as it is necessary for people who have a common history, “- Alexeyev said.

At the same time, she added: “I feel very sorry for Russia because of this history of the Crimea.”

Recall that in Russia ended with the internal competitive selection of artists for the contest “Eurovision” -2017, the winner of which was a girl with a disability Julia Samoilova. In the summer of 2015 the singer participated in the festival “World of Sports, and good”, which was held in the Crimea. Thus, according to Ukrainian law, Samoilova violated the procedure for crossing the Ukrainian border. The singer is also listed as a “purgatory” center “Peacemaker”.

March 13 Advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Anton Gerashchenko said that the law enforcement agencies , there are two ways to resolve the situation on the Russian representative at “Eurovision” Yulii Samoylovoy, which violated the legislation of Ukraine. According to him, the first option – not to let Samoilov to Ukraine for violating the rules visit the occupied territory of Crimea. The second – to give Samoilova permission to enter the country, but at the same time and bring her to justice for violation of the state border.

Sourse, 14/05/2017

Such meetings are beneficial for all participants

June 10, 2015

Azerbaijani human rights activist and director of the Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan (HRCA), Eldar Zeynalov summed up ended in Kiev workshop on exchange of experiences and best practices “Improving skills in the field of human rights advocacy (promotion and protection of human rights).”

“Such meetings are mutually beneficial,” – suggested Eldar Zeynalov.

According to the head of the OCA, the seminar was attended by five representatives of Azerbaijan. “Except for me, their participation in the seminar later unveiled a lawyer Fariz Namazly. The names of the other three parties, I do not know if I can make public.

Organizers asked not to mention the names of the participants without agreement with them. I can only say that the two human rights defenders, and three lawyers participated from Azerbaijan. “

Recall that the seminar held in the capital of Ukraine on 4-5 June, organized by the Netherlands Helsinki Committee and the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland) for the human rights of a number of countries of the former Soviet Union, including Azerbaijan.

For two days, the participants discussed the planning and advocacy strategy (promotion and protection of human rights), including working with international organizations such as the UN, Council of Europe, the European Union and the OSCE, as well as exchanged between human rights defenders from different countries with innovative approaches to this area.

According to the expert, such events often performed earlier. It was the general training, and explain the ways of European standards, and so on.

“This workshop was more specific. Standards as they were, and have remained so, just change the working conditions. They exchanged views on how to operate in such conditions, how to achieve positive changes in human rights issues.

We never work in isolation. We have partners in the West, that we support or do not support. Which have their own vision of the situation in the country and is not always correct and complete. And the result is that some campaigns in our defense, wrong calculation, not the tone chosen, the methods used do not become “blank shot”, as he was selected.

And for “Westerners” to us useful to meet. It is mutually useful meeting. The workshop in addition to representatives of Azerbaijan, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, was also attended by representatives of immigrant organizations in France.

But in fact, they work in the Russian direction. I became more optimistic look at things and know what are the conditions for human rights defenders in Belarus, Russia.

In the same Russian clamped and dissidents, and human rights activists. They are looking for other outlets. Nobody is going to give, “- said E. Zeynalov.

Note that at the time of the seminar, after a brief lull, resumed again fighting in eastern Ukraine between the forces of the anti-terrorist operation and separatists.

According to E. Zeynalov, “in the city met the guys in camouflage, the number of police officers was greater than that observed a couple of years ago.”

“However, such as in Russia, where visitors to the carp, check documents, did not exist.

It is not felt that Kiev – the capital of the belligerent State. In the city center, where the Maidan, traces the events of last year. The same House of Trade Unions has not been refurbished. Many graffiti that were made then.

In a couple of places monuments installed. Sometimes came a beautiful girl who collected donations for the wounded. Only in this war, and manifested. No aggressive slogans on the wall, sometimes there are signs saying: “Ukraine – one country, one nation.” No militarist propaganda personally I have not seen “- he said.

Sourse, 09/06/2015

Результаты поиска:

Joint appeal on the inappropriate use of extremist charges, mass detention and use of torture against peaceful demonstrators, activists and government’s critics in Kazakhstan.

December 17, 2018

Despite the ratification of the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Kazakhstan, the human rights situation in the country has sharply deteriorated.

Fundamental rights, such as freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, are disrespected under the guise of fighting “extremism”. Since 13 March 2018, the day that marks the authorities’ ban of the peaceful opposition movement ‘Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan’ (DCK), more than 450 persons, participating in peaceful rallies or showing different form of support for DCK (e.g. posting and commenting social media contents, walking with blue balloons, etc.) have fallen victim of political persecution.

We call for a stepping up of efforts to ensure political pluralism in the country and condemn the repression of peaceful activists and supporters of opposition movement DCK and call for their unconditional release. Kazakhstan has to ensure its citizens free access to social media networks and independent media outlets, thus ceasing the blocking or restriction of such platforms. We stress the importance of the independence of lawyers and the protection of their rights to freely practice their profession and defend their clients without fear of reprisals.

We find this particularly worrying that on 10 May 2018, during the visit of European Parliament’s Delegation to Kazakhstan, police resorted to excessive use of force against peaceful protesters and detained more than 150 people, while others were placed under administrative arrests. On that day peaceful rallies against the use of torture and politically motivated imprisonment were held in cities across the country.

Among them, more than 30 people have been prosecuted in connection with their support of DCK’s ideas, including: activists Ablovas Dzhumayev, Almat Zhumagulov and poet Kenzhebek Abishev, social media user Aset Abishev and blogger Muratbek Tungishbayev. At least six persons have reported the use of torture and a lack of medical care in the place of detention. The practice of forced confession in exchange for release, and psychological pressure exerted on political prisoners and their relatives are undermining the trust in the Kazakhstani justice system, as exemplified by the cases of Aset Nurzhaubay and Muratbek Tungishbayev.

We were informed that political prisoners are losing hope for justice and taking desperate steps. For example, on 26 November 2018, Almat Zhumagulov and Kenzhebek Abishev threatened suicide in protest against the accusatory bias in court decisions and the fabricated nature of the case. On 27 November 2018, Zhumagulov cut his arm during the court session.At the same time Iskander Yerimbetov, the brother of human rights activist and lawyer Bota Jardemalie, was arrested, tortured and convicted in October 2018 to 7 years’ imprisonment in retaliation for his sister’s professional activities. Due to the outcome of his case, lawyers in Kazakhstan fear to defend victims of political persecution and torture.The number of political prisoners in Kazakhstan is increasing. More than 20 political prisoners are being held in detention. Human rights defenders are also under attack. Restrictions imposed on NGOs and criminal prosecution of human rights activists, such as Elena Semenova, severely shrink the space for civil society.

We call on Kazakhstani authorities to implement the communications from the UN Human Rights Committee, UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, and call without further delay to release the political prisoners Mukhtar Dzhakishev, Maks Bokayev and Iskander Yerimbetov; compliance with the UN requirements is an important condition for further cooperation between the EU and Kazakhstan

We expect the urgent intervention of the EEAS, encourage the initiation of further EU official monitoring missions and call on the EEAS to support such missions in order to observe the human rights situation and attend court trials against people prosecuted for political reasons. At the same time, we strongly recommend that the European Commission and the EU Member States pursue a policy of conditionality in the case of Kazakhstan. If the latter state wants to be a recipient of EU funding and attract investments, it first must ensure the cessation of cruel practices against detainees in prisons, an end to impunity for the offenders, freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, and the right to a defence and a free trial.

 

Signatures

 

Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)

Defending Democracy

Federazione Italiana Diritti Umani (FIDU)

Human Rights Information Center (Ukraine)

Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS)

Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG)

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research (KhISR)

Open Dialogue Foundation (ODF)

The Arrested Lawyers Initiative

Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF)

Polish authorities reduce the space for the activities of NGOs including human rights organizations in the country

May 2, 2018
Since the end of 2015, we have seen disturbing trends in the actions of the Polish government and the parliamentary majority formed by the populist-nationalist party, Law and Justice (PiS), which harm the activities of human rights defenders and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Poland.
Unconstitutional legislative initiatives have jeopardized both democracy and the rule of law in Poland, particularly the principle of effective separation of powers. Following an acute conflict, the ruling majority in the Parliament de facto subordinated the Constitutional Court to itself, making this state body fully dependent on political decisions.
Numerous leading Polish NGOs including human rights organizations have expressed disagreement with these actions. In July 2017, NGOs took active part in mass peaceful protests aimed at protecting the Constitution, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary in Poland.
The significant mobilization of society led to President Andrzej Duda vetoing two of the three controversial laws aimed at undermining the independence of the judiciary. in July 2017. The independence of the Supreme Court and the National Council of the Judiciary was temporarily preserved. However, the law on the system of ordinary courts came into force, widening the control of the Minister of Justice, who is also the General Prosecutor of Poland, over the courts. And so, as early as in December 2017, despite the next wave of public protests, the Parliament adopted slightly changed, unconstitutional laws that virtually eliminate the independence of the Supreme Court and the National Council of Justice.
In response to the participation of NGOs in peaceful protests, the authorities created numerous restrictions on the third sector. Many civil initiatives critical to the authorities were targeted for attack.
In July 2017, NGOs that criticized state bodies were subjected to escalated and unprecedented pressure. To date, this concerns, in particular, NGOs and initiatives such as: Citizens Solidary in Action [Obywatele Solidarnie w Akcji], Citizens of the Republic of Poland [Obywatele RP], the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog], the Committee for the Defence of Democracy [Komitet Obrony Demokracji], Action Democracy [Akcja Demokracja], the All-Poland Women’s Strike [Ogólnopolski Strajk Kobiet], the Centre for Women’s Rights [Centrum Praw Kobiet], the BABA Lubuskie Association for the Protection of Women’s Rights [BABA Lubuskie Stowarzyszenie na Rzecz Kobiet]. Some of these NGOs faced unjustified inspections, searches and lawsuits, and their representatives were subjected to numerous interrogations and even secret surveillance. Foreigners associated with these organizations are concerned about their future in Poland due to the possibility of losing their right to stay in the country.
For example, the Polish police conducted searches and seized documents and equipment from the offices of several women’s organizations (the offices of the Centre for Women’s Rights and the BABA Association). This happened the day after protest actions in defense of women’s rights in Poland was held in October 2017. Another example: Poland’s then-Minister of Foreign Affairs (MFA) filed a motion with the court to appoint what is known as a ‘compulsory administration’ to replace the existing members of the Management Board of the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog]. The dispute, which is being continued by the current Polish MFA Jacek Czaputowicz will eventually be resolved by a court ruling. Similar means were intended to be used against Citizens of the Republic of Poland [Obywatele RP] by the then-Minister of Interior, Mariusz Błaszczak.
Incidents of prosecution of LGBT organizations have been recorded. A particularly alarming signal is the cessation of a number of investigations into physical attacks against LGBT activists and the offices of their organizations. Alongside women’s rights organizations, they have been practically cut off from almost all available state-funding. The Polish state clearly favours initiatives focused on nationalist and religious values instead.
Members of the Polish government led by the then-Prime Minister Beata Szydło (in particular, the former Minister of the Interior, Mariusz Błaszczak, his deputy Jarosław Zieliński, the Minister–Coordinator of the Special Services of Poland Mariusz Kamiński, former Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski and the Minister of National Defence Antoni Macierewicz) publicly discussed actions to be taken against specific NGOs.
In addition, the aforementioned NGOs, as well as the Office of the Polish Ombudsman, have become victims of information attacks and denigrating media campaigns. These smear campaigns are based on manipulations, half-truths and outright falsehoods. These slanders are spread by state and pro-government Polish media having close ties to the ruling party.
NGOs have been accused of ‘manipulating public opinion’ and ‘artificially provoking protests’ ‘for money from abroad’. Their representatives are portrayed as ‘traitors to the motherland’, or ‘puppets’ in the hands of foreign states and other foreign actors (for example, George Soros, Russia, Germany or ‘Brussels elites’).
The denigrating campaigns aim to intimidate human rights defenders and undermine the trust of Polish society in the work of civil society. Another dangerous consequence of these campaigns may be the creation of negative attitudes towards any international or foreign structures in society. Recently, the actor and activist for the protection of the secular state Krzysztof Pieczyński fell victim to media harassment, and was subsequently beaten in the street by unknown persons in Warsaw.
Attacks on NGOs and human rights defenders are being carried out with the support of extreme right and nationalist organizations. The attacks are openly xenophobic in nature. In particular, they are being directed against the large community of Ukrainians in Poland. Some victims are being denied the right to Polish citizenship. These actions are related to the participation of Ukrainian citizens living in Poland in protests, as well as the work of the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog] and other Polish organizations which provided humanitarian assistance to Ukraine in the period of Euromaidan. 

Reluctant response of the law enforcement bodies to the nationalist and xenophobic incidents leads to growing number of assaults on foreigners in Poland.
Members of the right-wing parties of the Sejm and Members of the European Parliament from Poland are also carrying out hostile actions against specific NGOs and civil society in general. For example, six members of parliament have made public statements about the need to restrict or even stop the activities of the Open Dialog Foundation (Fundacja Otwarty Dialog). The organization was accused of representing an ‘external’ leftist ‘threat to the Polish State’, ‘violating Ukrainian–Polish relations’ and, in general, ‘provoking an uprising’ in Poland. No facts exist which would confirm that the organization has been carrying out such activities and, thus, no such evidence has been presented.
At the moment, according to the reports prepared by the Citizens of the Republic of Poland movement [Obywatele RP] (based on the gathered information), approximately 800 court proceedings are being conducted either directly against participants in the social protests and activists in social movements or in relation to their activities. In the report on oppression produced by the Citizens of the Republic of Poland,, as of the end of January 2018, 472 court trials had been initiated against protesters under the Code of Petty Offences; while a month earlier, there had been only 367 such trials. Twenty-eight criminal cases had been initiated under the Criminal Code (a month earlier there had been only 14 criminal cases), and nine persons were facing criminal charges.
Serious problems are also being caused by the new law on gatherings, which is highly controversial and widely perceived as unconstitutional, and which promotes the so-called cyclical gatherings, such as the Smolensk tragedy monthly commemoration (monthly demonstrations led by the leader of the ruling party, Jarosław Kaczyński, carried out with privileges unavailable to any other forms of street demonstration). For this reason, the Mazovian Voivode [governor] has regularly imposed a ban on pro-democracy protest actions organized on the same day by the Citizens Solidary in Action [Obywatele Solidarnie w Akcji]. Still, all of his previous decisions have been rejected by the District Court in Warsaw.
Serious concern over these attacks on the supremacy of civil rights and freedoms in Poland have been repeatedly expressed by members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (Resolution 2188 (2017), written declaration 641), pointing out in the statement on the resolution of 26 January 2018 that their demands have thus far been ignored by the Polish authorities.
The space for a dialogue between civil society and the authorities continues to shrink. Representatives of non-governmental organizations (particularly those affiliated with Citizens of the Republic of Poland movement [Obywatele RP] are commonly deprived of the opportunity to attend meetings and hearing of the Parliament’s Commissions. Several questionable legislative initiatives which address the most important aspects of public life are being considered without  any public consultation. In particular, these include changes in the legislation on the police, the introduction of anti-terrorism legislation, and amendments to the law on the Institute of National Remembrance (this last has already been adopted).
The authorities have changed some of the procedures for allocating public funds to NGOs. On 26 September 2017, the Senate passed a law regarding the National Institute of Freedom – Centre for the Development of Civil Society. The law was presented as being part of the government’s actions to strengthen civil society. However, the law was sharply criticized by the associations of NGOs and the Commissioner for Human Rights.
The law centralizes the government funds for public organizations within the framework of the established Centre. Since it is aimed at promoting activities which are in line with Christian and patriotic values, funding may become inaccessible for organizations whose work does not correlate with such values. Such an approach by the authorities violates the Constitution, which protects diversity of beliefs and views. The law was signed by the President on 12 October 2017 jeopardizing the independence of civil society in Poland.
Also, NGOs have recorded incidents of public funding having been either provided or terminated for political or ideological reasons.
In connection with the recent disturbing events, the International Civic Solidarity Platform hereby calls for the restoration of the participation of public and human rights organizations in democratic processes in Poland, a return to the European standards of interaction between civil society and government structures, and a guarantee of the independence of civil society initiatives in Poland.
Signed by the following organisations:​
1. The Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
2. Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)
3. Humanrights.ch
4. Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights (Germany/Switzerland)
5. International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law (Kazakhstan)
6. Citizens’ Watch, St. Petersburg (Russia)
7. Moscow Helsinki Group (Russia)
8. Public Verdict (Russia)
9. Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
10. Public Association “Dignity”
11. Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly – Vanadzor
12. Helsinki Committee of Armenia (Armenia)
13. KRF Public Alternative (Ukraine)
14. DRA – German-Russian Exchange (Germany)
15. “OMCT – World Organisation Against Torture”
16. Human Rights Monitoring Institute (Lithuania)
17. Legal Transformation Center (Belarus)
18. International Partnership for Human Rights (Belgium)
19. Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (Bulgaria)
20. Helsinki Association for Human Rights NGO Armenia (Armenia)
21. Human Rights Matter e.V. (Germany)
22. The Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House (Belarus)
23. WILPF Germany (Germany)
24. Association UMDPL (Ukraine)
25. Norwegian Helsinki Committee
26. The Kosova Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims (KRCT) from Kosovo
27. ZARA – Zivilcourage und Anti-Rassismus-Arbeit (Austria)
28. Women of the Don (Russia)
29. Crude Accountability
30. Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
31. Citizens Watch (Russia)
32. Regional Center for Strategic Studies ( Georgia/Azerbaijan)
33. Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russia)
34. UNITED
35. Netherlands Helsinki Committee

Source:
http://www.civicsolidarity.org/article/1545/polish-authorities-reduce-space-activities-ngos-including-human-rights-organizations

The Appeal about lack of proper medical care for Oleh Sentsov and other Ukrainian political prisoners from the LetMyPeopleGo list

November 29, 2017

To the Vice-Chancellor, the Federal Minister for Foreign

Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany,

Mr. Sigmar Gabriel

As of today, about 60 Ukrainian citizens have been detained on political grounds in the territory of the Russian Federation and the occupied Crimea. Most of them have been subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment to force false confessions about the actions they did not commit.

Oleh Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko, Valentyn Vygovsky, Mykola Karpiuk, Stanislav Klykh, Yevhen Panov, Andrii Zakhtey, Andrii Kolomiyets, Serhii Lytvynov, Oleksandr Kostenko and other illegally detained people publicly stated this. Yurii Yatsenko and Gennady Afanasyev, who were released, shared details about the unlawful practices that were applied to people under the control of the Russian Federation.

Stanislav Klykh’s appeal to the European Court of Human Rights is a clear illustration of illegal treatment by the state authorities of the Russian Federation:

“[…] In order to force me to testify, I was subjected to illegal methods of inquiry and investigation, expressed in causing me beatings and injuries, including using handcuffs and electric current, prolonged kneeling, resulting in numerous scars on my wrists, knees […] I was kept in the prison yard for several days without any water or food. As a result of the application of these methods, I was brought to a state of dystrophy, I could not hold a spoon, a pen in my hands, since the hands were dislocated as a result of being handcuffed to the bars”.

The situation is complicated by the unsatisfactory conditions of detention, which further contribute to a sharp deterioration in the health, development and exacerbation of chronic and other diseases.

 

The lawyer of the Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov, who was recognized as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, recently announced a sharp deterioration in the health of the illegally imprisoned. According to him, due to prolonged overcooling, the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis exacerbated and problems with the heart began.

 

We draw attention to the fact that human life and health are the highest values of every civilized state. The right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is guaranteed by Art. 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, Article 11, 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966, as well as Article 11 of the European Social Charter of 1996.

 

This year, the representative of the Russian Federation was elected as a President of the 70th World Health Assembly, the Charter of which was signed by the Russian Federation in 1946. Thus, she acknowledged that “the possession of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is one of the fundamental rights of everyone, regardless of race, religion, political beliefs, economic or social status”.

 

In addition, according to Art. 26 of the Federal Law of 21.11.2011 No 323-FZ “On the basis of public health protection in the Russian Federation” persons, who are in custody, serving a sentence in the form of restriction of liberty, arrest, deprivation of liberty or administrative arrest, are entitled to receive medical assistance, in particular, in necessary cases in medical institutions of the state health system and the municipal health care system in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation.

In pursuance of this Law the Government of the Russian Federation adopted the Resolution dated 28.12.2012 No 1466, which approved the Rules for the provision of medical care in medical institutions of the state and municipal health care system for persons held in custody or serving a sentence in the form of deprivation of liberty. The Rules provide for the possibility of inviting the medical specialists of the said medical institutions for consultation if it is impossible to provide medical assistance in the institutions of the criminal and executive system.

We note that all citizens of Ukraine, who are held for political reasons in the territory of the Russian Federation and the occupied Crimea, need proper medical care. Among them, Dmytro Shtyblikov, who after detention lost 30 kg and was brought to a dystopia, Stanislav Klykh, who lost his mental health after the torture that he suffered, Oleksandr Kostenko, who, due to the lack of an operation, runs the risk of losing the arm broken by the FSB’s staff, Oleksandr Rolchenko< who was in a hospital with a diagnosis of underweight, Volodymyr Dudka, who has been practicing self-medication with a stomach ulcer for ten months, Arsen Dzepparov, who is not provided with medical assistance despite cold kidneys, loss of hearing in his left ear and a sharp deterioration in vision, 19-year-old Pavlo Hryb who due to his disability is constantly taking drugs, so the lack of medicines and proper medical treatment in prison led to the appearance of ulcers on his body.

These are just a few examples of violation of the international obligations by the Russian Federation as for the right of Ukrainian political prisoners to the highest attainable standards of physical and mental health. From the moment of their illegal detention, independent physicians do not have access to them, and therefore, they cannot assess their health and provide proper medical care.

We address you with a request to raise before the Government of the Russian Federation the issue of the need to organize the access of physicians from the International Committee of the Red Cross and other reputable international health organizations to provide qualified medical assistance to Oleh Sentsov and all Ukrainian political prisoners from the LetMyPeopleGo list.

Center for Civil Liberties coordinating the #LetMyPeopleGo campaign

NGO “Association of Relatives of Political Prisoners of the Kremlin”

Media Initiative for Human Rights

Crimea Human Rights Group

Open Dialog Foundation

Association UMDPL

NGO “CrimeaSOS”

Luhansk Regional Human Rights Center “Alternative”

NGO “Social Action Center”

NGO “Peaceful Coast”

Human Rights Information Center

Expert Center for Human Rights

Charitable Foundation “East-SOS”

Euromaidan Press

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research

AIHO Foundation of Regional Initiatives

NGO “Human Rights Initiative”

NGO “Regional Center for Human Rights”/Sevastopol Human Rights Protection Group

KRF “Hromadska Alternatyva”

Centre for Civil Liberties’s statement on the pressure on civil society organisations in Poland

August 7, 2017

6 August, 2017, Kyiv

We have been cooperating with the Open Dialog Foundation (Poland) for many years. In the early days of mass protests in Ukraine, they were one of the first to render assistance to the
newly created initiative ‘EuroMaidan SOS’. The equipment that they provided was used by our civil society observers who were recording the process of fabricated trials against
peaceful protesters in Kyiv.
Following the occupation of Crimea by Russia and the commencement of the hybrid war in the Donbas, the Open Dialog Foundation supported our ‘LetMyPeopleGo’ campaign to
protect Ukrainian citizens, held in detention in Russian prisons for political reasons. Currently, they are among the most loyal defenders of the ‘Kremlin prisoners’ on the
international arena and consistently promote the issue of extending sanctions against the Russian Federation in the EU and the United States.
In view of this, it is very surprising to us to read statements, unsupported by evidence, about the alleged links of the Open Dialog Foundation with the Russian special services. It seems
that the publications, which appear in certain government media, are retaliation for the active position of the organisation and its participation in mass public protests in Poland. In
our opinion, it was the reason for which the shameful scheme of labelling dissidents as‘agents of the Kremlin’ was used.
In addition, currently, individual top Polish officials are calling for unreasonable additional tax audits of the Open Dialog Foundation and even for cancelling its registration as a non-
profit organisation. Similar pressure for participating in massive public protests is being exerted on a number of other public organisations in Poland.
We all remember what social changes took place after a long-lasting campaign of discrediting civic organisations in the Russian Federation alone. Therefore, we consider the
appearance of such publications a red flag for Poland, which has long been an example of democratic transformation of a country in the post-Soviet space, and especially for Ukraine.

Photo: Radio Liberty

Holding a meeting on human rights is not a terrorist conspiracy

July 10, 2017

10 July 2017

 

    On 5 July 2017, ten participants in a human rights training meeting were detained at Büyükada, one of the Princes’ Islands near İstanbul, Turkey. The group consisted of eight representatives of Turkish civil society organisations working on human rights and two foreign consultants on digital security and information management. By the afternoon of July 6, the lawyers of the detained persons learned that their clients are being investigated for membership of an armed organization, a terrorist offense, and will stay in investigative detention initially for seven days.
The undersigned organisations, national and international human rights NGOs from the OSCE region, members of the Civic Solidarity Platform, strongly reject this operation by the Turkish authorities. We appeal for the immediate and unconditional release of the detained persons, participants in a peaceful meeting to advance human rights. Human rights work should not be criminalized. Civil society work for human rights is an important contribution to a healthy society. Holding a meeting on human rights is not a terrorist conspiracy.
The Turkish citizens arrested are Özlem Dalkıran (Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly), lawyer Nalan Erkem (Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly), İlknur Üstün (Women’s Coalition), İdil Eser (Amnesty International Turkey director), Veli Acu (Human Rights Agenda Association), lawyer Günal Kurşun (Human Rights Agenda Association), Şeymus Özbekli (Rights Initiative), and Nejat Taştan (Equal Rights Watch Association). The two consultants are Ali Gharawi, from Sweden, and Peter Steudtner, from Germany.
In the past years, human rights defenders have on several occasions been targeted by governmental repression. This latest attack on human rights defenders comes amidst a wave of repression after the failed coup attempt of 15 July 2016 which has affected a much wider group of persons than those who may have been directly involved in the coup attempt, including journalists, lawyers and politicians. Only last month, Taner Kiliç, the president of Amnesty International Turkey, was arrested together with 22 other lawyers.

Article 19 (international, London)
Association of Ukrainian Human Rights Monitors on Law Enforcement
Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House
Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russia)
Center for Participation and Development (Georgia)
DRA – German-Russian Exchange (Germany)
Fair Trials (international, London)

Golos Svobody (Kyrgyzstan)
Helsinki Citizens Assembly Vanadzor (Armenia)
Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)
Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan
Human Rights House Foundation (international, Oslo)
Human Rights Information Center (Ukraine)
Human Rights Matter (Germany)
IDP Women Association “Consent” (Georgia)
International Partnership for Human Rights (international, Brussels)
International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (international, Copenhagen)
Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (Azerbaijan)
Kadyr Kasiyet (“Dignity”) (Kazakhstan)
Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law
Kharkiv regional foundation Public Alternative (Ukraine)
Legal Policy Research Center (Kazakhstan)
Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights (Germany)
Moscow Helsinki Group
Netherlands Helsinki Committee
Norwegian Helsinki Committee
Office of Civil Freedoms (Tajikistan)
Promo-LEX (Moldova)
Protection of rights without borders (Armenia)
Public Verdict (Russia)
Regional Center for Strategic Studies (Azerbaijan)
Solidarus (Germany)
SOVA Center for Information and Analysis (Russia)
Swiss Helsinki Committee
Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (Germany)
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) (international, Geneva)
[country names added if name of country not included in the name of the organization; for
international organisations, the city where their secretariat is located, is added]

The Civic Solidarity Platform is a decentralized advocacy network of independent civic groups
committed to improving the human rights situation in Europe, Eurasia and the US,
www.civicsolidarity.org.
Contact for this statement: Harry Hummel, Netherlands Helsinki Committee, hhummel@nhc.nl,
+31703926700

On the situation with the nomination at the “Eurovision” from Russia Yulia Samoylova

May 15, 2017

Ukraine has the right to demand the implementation of the law in relation to the Russian singer Yulii Samoylovoy, but the fact that Russia still decided to send its representative to this year held in Kiev “Eurovision” is a kind of a gesture of reconciliation. Such an opinion was expressed by the Russian human rights activist, head of the Moscow Helsinki Group Lyudmila Alekseeva.

“On the one hand, I am glad that our leaders still decide to send a Russian representative at” Eurovision “. Neighborly. This is a good step, which shows the desire of reconciliation. But on the other hand, I understand the Ukrainians: Crimea captured now want to make peace, but the Crimea is not returned. It is clear to me, “- Alexeyev said, commenting on the Ukrainian edition of” Explorer “the situation surrounding the nomination of the representative of Russia in the international music competition” Eurovision “.

Russian human rights activist has also recognized that “there are Ukrainian laws, and they must comply with.” However, she admitted that the Russian singer could have visited the Crimea, “whether he is Ukrainian.”

In this context, Alexeyev told that visited the peninsula, as it was her little homeland to the annexation of the Crimea. Due to old age she can not go there now, but “I fully admit that if I were younger, I would have to go on a his small home, no matter who it belongs to,” – she said.

“I would not want us to even about it [on participation in” Eurovision “Yulii Samoylovoy] quarreled. When fighting bosses, we should not pay attention to it. I belong to the Ukrainians as well as before. What a difference to us? Let them find out the relationship, and we have to treat each other with respect, as it should be neighbors, as it is necessary for people who have a common history, “- Alexeyev said.

At the same time, she added: “I feel very sorry for Russia because of this history of the Crimea.”

Recall that in Russia ended with the internal competitive selection of artists for the contest “Eurovision” -2017, the winner of which was a girl with a disability Julia Samoilova. In the summer of 2015 the singer participated in the festival “World of Sports, and good”, which was held in the Crimea. Thus, according to Ukrainian law, Samoilova violated the procedure for crossing the Ukrainian border. The singer is also listed as a “purgatory” center “Peacemaker”.

March 13 Advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Anton Gerashchenko said that the law enforcement agencies , there are two ways to resolve the situation on the Russian representative at “Eurovision” Yulii Samoylovoy, which violated the legislation of Ukraine. According to him, the first option – not to let Samoilov to Ukraine for violating the rules visit the occupied territory of Crimea. The second – to give Samoilova permission to enter the country, but at the same time and bring her to justice for violation of the state border.

Sourse, 14/05/2017

Such meetings are beneficial for all participants

June 10, 2015

Azerbaijani human rights activist and director of the Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan (HRCA), Eldar Zeynalov summed up ended in Kiev workshop on exchange of experiences and best practices “Improving skills in the field of human rights advocacy (promotion and protection of human rights).”

“Such meetings are mutually beneficial,” – suggested Eldar Zeynalov.

According to the head of the OCA, the seminar was attended by five representatives of Azerbaijan. “Except for me, their participation in the seminar later unveiled a lawyer Fariz Namazly. The names of the other three parties, I do not know if I can make public.

Organizers asked not to mention the names of the participants without agreement with them. I can only say that the two human rights defenders, and three lawyers participated from Azerbaijan. “

Recall that the seminar held in the capital of Ukraine on 4-5 June, organized by the Netherlands Helsinki Committee and the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland) for the human rights of a number of countries of the former Soviet Union, including Azerbaijan.

For two days, the participants discussed the planning and advocacy strategy (promotion and protection of human rights), including working with international organizations such as the UN, Council of Europe, the European Union and the OSCE, as well as exchanged between human rights defenders from different countries with innovative approaches to this area.

According to the expert, such events often performed earlier. It was the general training, and explain the ways of European standards, and so on.

“This workshop was more specific. Standards as they were, and have remained so, just change the working conditions. They exchanged views on how to operate in such conditions, how to achieve positive changes in human rights issues.

We never work in isolation. We have partners in the West, that we support or do not support. Which have their own vision of the situation in the country and is not always correct and complete. And the result is that some campaigns in our defense, wrong calculation, not the tone chosen, the methods used do not become “blank shot”, as he was selected.

And for “Westerners” to us useful to meet. It is mutually useful meeting. The workshop in addition to representatives of Azerbaijan, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, was also attended by representatives of immigrant organizations in France.

But in fact, they work in the Russian direction. I became more optimistic look at things and know what are the conditions for human rights defenders in Belarus, Russia.

In the same Russian clamped and dissidents, and human rights activists. They are looking for other outlets. Nobody is going to give, “- said E. Zeynalov.

Note that at the time of the seminar, after a brief lull, resumed again fighting in eastern Ukraine between the forces of the anti-terrorist operation and separatists.

According to E. Zeynalov, “in the city met the guys in camouflage, the number of police officers was greater than that observed a couple of years ago.”

“However, such as in Russia, where visitors to the carp, check documents, did not exist.

It is not felt that Kiev – the capital of the belligerent State. In the city center, where the Maidan, traces the events of last year. The same House of Trade Unions has not been refurbished. Many graffiti that were made then.

In a couple of places monuments installed. Sometimes came a beautiful girl who collected donations for the wounded. Only in this war, and manifested. No aggressive slogans on the wall, sometimes there are signs saying: “Ukraine – one country, one nation.” No militarist propaganda personally I have not seen “- he said.

Sourse, 09/06/2015

Результаты поиска:

Joint appeal on the inappropriate use of extremist charges, mass detention and use of torture against peaceful demonstrators, activists and government’s critics in Kazakhstan.

December 17, 2018

Despite the ratification of the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Kazakhstan, the human rights situation in the country has sharply deteriorated.

Fundamental rights, such as freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, are disrespected under the guise of fighting “extremism”. Since 13 March 2018, the day that marks the authorities’ ban of the peaceful opposition movement ‘Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan’ (DCK), more than 450 persons, participating in peaceful rallies or showing different form of support for DCK (e.g. posting and commenting social media contents, walking with blue balloons, etc.) have fallen victim of political persecution.

We call for a stepping up of efforts to ensure political pluralism in the country and condemn the repression of peaceful activists and supporters of opposition movement DCK and call for their unconditional release. Kazakhstan has to ensure its citizens free access to social media networks and independent media outlets, thus ceasing the blocking or restriction of such platforms. We stress the importance of the independence of lawyers and the protection of their rights to freely practice their profession and defend their clients without fear of reprisals.

We find this particularly worrying that on 10 May 2018, during the visit of European Parliament’s Delegation to Kazakhstan, police resorted to excessive use of force against peaceful protesters and detained more than 150 people, while others were placed under administrative arrests. On that day peaceful rallies against the use of torture and politically motivated imprisonment were held in cities across the country.

Among them, more than 30 people have been prosecuted in connection with their support of DCK’s ideas, including: activists Ablovas Dzhumayev, Almat Zhumagulov and poet Kenzhebek Abishev, social media user Aset Abishev and blogger Muratbek Tungishbayev. At least six persons have reported the use of torture and a lack of medical care in the place of detention. The practice of forced confession in exchange for release, and psychological pressure exerted on political prisoners and their relatives are undermining the trust in the Kazakhstani justice system, as exemplified by the cases of Aset Nurzhaubay and Muratbek Tungishbayev.

We were informed that political prisoners are losing hope for justice and taking desperate steps. For example, on 26 November 2018, Almat Zhumagulov and Kenzhebek Abishev threatened suicide in protest against the accusatory bias in court decisions and the fabricated nature of the case. On 27 November 2018, Zhumagulov cut his arm during the court session.At the same time Iskander Yerimbetov, the brother of human rights activist and lawyer Bota Jardemalie, was arrested, tortured and convicted in October 2018 to 7 years’ imprisonment in retaliation for his sister’s professional activities. Due to the outcome of his case, lawyers in Kazakhstan fear to defend victims of political persecution and torture.The number of political prisoners in Kazakhstan is increasing. More than 20 political prisoners are being held in detention. Human rights defenders are also under attack. Restrictions imposed on NGOs and criminal prosecution of human rights activists, such as Elena Semenova, severely shrink the space for civil society.

We call on Kazakhstani authorities to implement the communications from the UN Human Rights Committee, UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, and call without further delay to release the political prisoners Mukhtar Dzhakishev, Maks Bokayev and Iskander Yerimbetov; compliance with the UN requirements is an important condition for further cooperation between the EU and Kazakhstan

We expect the urgent intervention of the EEAS, encourage the initiation of further EU official monitoring missions and call on the EEAS to support such missions in order to observe the human rights situation and attend court trials against people prosecuted for political reasons. At the same time, we strongly recommend that the European Commission and the EU Member States pursue a policy of conditionality in the case of Kazakhstan. If the latter state wants to be a recipient of EU funding and attract investments, it first must ensure the cessation of cruel practices against detainees in prisons, an end to impunity for the offenders, freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, and the right to a defence and a free trial.

 

Signatures

 

Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)

Defending Democracy

Federazione Italiana Diritti Umani (FIDU)

Human Rights Information Center (Ukraine)

Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS)

Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG)

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research (KhISR)

Open Dialogue Foundation (ODF)

The Arrested Lawyers Initiative

Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF)

Polish authorities reduce the space for the activities of NGOs including human rights organizations in the country

May 2, 2018
Since the end of 2015, we have seen disturbing trends in the actions of the Polish government and the parliamentary majority formed by the populist-nationalist party, Law and Justice (PiS), which harm the activities of human rights defenders and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Poland.
Unconstitutional legislative initiatives have jeopardized both democracy and the rule of law in Poland, particularly the principle of effective separation of powers. Following an acute conflict, the ruling majority in the Parliament de facto subordinated the Constitutional Court to itself, making this state body fully dependent on political decisions.
Numerous leading Polish NGOs including human rights organizations have expressed disagreement with these actions. In July 2017, NGOs took active part in mass peaceful protests aimed at protecting the Constitution, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary in Poland.
The significant mobilization of society led to President Andrzej Duda vetoing two of the three controversial laws aimed at undermining the independence of the judiciary. in July 2017. The independence of the Supreme Court and the National Council of the Judiciary was temporarily preserved. However, the law on the system of ordinary courts came into force, widening the control of the Minister of Justice, who is also the General Prosecutor of Poland, over the courts. And so, as early as in December 2017, despite the next wave of public protests, the Parliament adopted slightly changed, unconstitutional laws that virtually eliminate the independence of the Supreme Court and the National Council of Justice.
In response to the participation of NGOs in peaceful protests, the authorities created numerous restrictions on the third sector. Many civil initiatives critical to the authorities were targeted for attack.
In July 2017, NGOs that criticized state bodies were subjected to escalated and unprecedented pressure. To date, this concerns, in particular, NGOs and initiatives such as: Citizens Solidary in Action [Obywatele Solidarnie w Akcji], Citizens of the Republic of Poland [Obywatele RP], the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog], the Committee for the Defence of Democracy [Komitet Obrony Demokracji], Action Democracy [Akcja Demokracja], the All-Poland Women’s Strike [Ogólnopolski Strajk Kobiet], the Centre for Women’s Rights [Centrum Praw Kobiet], the BABA Lubuskie Association for the Protection of Women’s Rights [BABA Lubuskie Stowarzyszenie na Rzecz Kobiet]. Some of these NGOs faced unjustified inspections, searches and lawsuits, and their representatives were subjected to numerous interrogations and even secret surveillance. Foreigners associated with these organizations are concerned about their future in Poland due to the possibility of losing their right to stay in the country.
For example, the Polish police conducted searches and seized documents and equipment from the offices of several women’s organizations (the offices of the Centre for Women’s Rights and the BABA Association). This happened the day after protest actions in defense of women’s rights in Poland was held in October 2017. Another example: Poland’s then-Minister of Foreign Affairs (MFA) filed a motion with the court to appoint what is known as a ‘compulsory administration’ to replace the existing members of the Management Board of the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog]. The dispute, which is being continued by the current Polish MFA Jacek Czaputowicz will eventually be resolved by a court ruling. Similar means were intended to be used against Citizens of the Republic of Poland [Obywatele RP] by the then-Minister of Interior, Mariusz Błaszczak.
Incidents of prosecution of LGBT organizations have been recorded. A particularly alarming signal is the cessation of a number of investigations into physical attacks against LGBT activists and the offices of their organizations. Alongside women’s rights organizations, they have been practically cut off from almost all available state-funding. The Polish state clearly favours initiatives focused on nationalist and religious values instead.
Members of the Polish government led by the then-Prime Minister Beata Szydło (in particular, the former Minister of the Interior, Mariusz Błaszczak, his deputy Jarosław Zieliński, the Minister–Coordinator of the Special Services of Poland Mariusz Kamiński, former Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski and the Minister of National Defence Antoni Macierewicz) publicly discussed actions to be taken against specific NGOs.
In addition, the aforementioned NGOs, as well as the Office of the Polish Ombudsman, have become victims of information attacks and denigrating media campaigns. These smear campaigns are based on manipulations, half-truths and outright falsehoods. These slanders are spread by state and pro-government Polish media having close ties to the ruling party.
NGOs have been accused of ‘manipulating public opinion’ and ‘artificially provoking protests’ ‘for money from abroad’. Their representatives are portrayed as ‘traitors to the motherland’, or ‘puppets’ in the hands of foreign states and other foreign actors (for example, George Soros, Russia, Germany or ‘Brussels elites’).
The denigrating campaigns aim to intimidate human rights defenders and undermine the trust of Polish society in the work of civil society. Another dangerous consequence of these campaigns may be the creation of negative attitudes towards any international or foreign structures in society. Recently, the actor and activist for the protection of the secular state Krzysztof Pieczyński fell victim to media harassment, and was subsequently beaten in the street by unknown persons in Warsaw.
Attacks on NGOs and human rights defenders are being carried out with the support of extreme right and nationalist organizations. The attacks are openly xenophobic in nature. In particular, they are being directed against the large community of Ukrainians in Poland. Some victims are being denied the right to Polish citizenship. These actions are related to the participation of Ukrainian citizens living in Poland in protests, as well as the work of the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog] and other Polish organizations which provided humanitarian assistance to Ukraine in the period of Euromaidan. 

Reluctant response of the law enforcement bodies to the nationalist and xenophobic incidents leads to growing number of assaults on foreigners in Poland.
Members of the right-wing parties of the Sejm and Members of the European Parliament from Poland are also carrying out hostile actions against specific NGOs and civil society in general. For example, six members of parliament have made public statements about the need to restrict or even stop the activities of the Open Dialog Foundation (Fundacja Otwarty Dialog). The organization was accused of representing an ‘external’ leftist ‘threat to the Polish State’, ‘violating Ukrainian–Polish relations’ and, in general, ‘provoking an uprising’ in Poland. No facts exist which would confirm that the organization has been carrying out such activities and, thus, no such evidence has been presented.
At the moment, according to the reports prepared by the Citizens of the Republic of Poland movement [Obywatele RP] (based on the gathered information), approximately 800 court proceedings are being conducted either directly against participants in the social protests and activists in social movements or in relation to their activities. In the report on oppression produced by the Citizens of the Republic of Poland,, as of the end of January 2018, 472 court trials had been initiated against protesters under the Code of Petty Offences; while a month earlier, there had been only 367 such trials. Twenty-eight criminal cases had been initiated under the Criminal Code (a month earlier there had been only 14 criminal cases), and nine persons were facing criminal charges.
Serious problems are also being caused by the new law on gatherings, which is highly controversial and widely perceived as unconstitutional, and which promotes the so-called cyclical gatherings, such as the Smolensk tragedy monthly commemoration (monthly demonstrations led by the leader of the ruling party, Jarosław Kaczyński, carried out with privileges unavailable to any other forms of street demonstration). For this reason, the Mazovian Voivode [governor] has regularly imposed a ban on pro-democracy protest actions organized on the same day by the Citizens Solidary in Action [Obywatele Solidarnie w Akcji]. Still, all of his previous decisions have been rejected by the District Court in Warsaw.
Serious concern over these attacks on the supremacy of civil rights and freedoms in Poland have been repeatedly expressed by members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (Resolution 2188 (2017), written declaration 641), pointing out in the statement on the resolution of 26 January 2018 that their demands have thus far been ignored by the Polish authorities.
The space for a dialogue between civil society and the authorities continues to shrink. Representatives of non-governmental organizations (particularly those affiliated with Citizens of the Republic of Poland movement [Obywatele RP] are commonly deprived of the opportunity to attend meetings and hearing of the Parliament’s Commissions. Several questionable legislative initiatives which address the most important aspects of public life are being considered without  any public consultation. In particular, these include changes in the legislation on the police, the introduction of anti-terrorism legislation, and amendments to the law on the Institute of National Remembrance (this last has already been adopted).
The authorities have changed some of the procedures for allocating public funds to NGOs. On 26 September 2017, the Senate passed a law regarding the National Institute of Freedom – Centre for the Development of Civil Society. The law was presented as being part of the government’s actions to strengthen civil society. However, the law was sharply criticized by the associations of NGOs and the Commissioner for Human Rights.
The law centralizes the government funds for public organizations within the framework of the established Centre. Since it is aimed at promoting activities which are in line with Christian and patriotic values, funding may become inaccessible for organizations whose work does not correlate with such values. Such an approach by the authorities violates the Constitution, which protects diversity of beliefs and views. The law was signed by the President on 12 October 2017 jeopardizing the independence of civil society in Poland.
Also, NGOs have recorded incidents of public funding having been either provided or terminated for political or ideological reasons.
In connection with the recent disturbing events, the International Civic Solidarity Platform hereby calls for the restoration of the participation of public and human rights organizations in democratic processes in Poland, a return to the European standards of interaction between civil society and government structures, and a guarantee of the independence of civil society initiatives in Poland.
Signed by the following organisations:​
1. The Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
2. Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)
3. Humanrights.ch
4. Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights (Germany/Switzerland)
5. International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law (Kazakhstan)
6. Citizens’ Watch, St. Petersburg (Russia)
7. Moscow Helsinki Group (Russia)
8. Public Verdict (Russia)
9. Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
10. Public Association “Dignity”
11. Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly – Vanadzor
12. Helsinki Committee of Armenia (Armenia)
13. KRF Public Alternative (Ukraine)
14. DRA – German-Russian Exchange (Germany)
15. “OMCT – World Organisation Against Torture”
16. Human Rights Monitoring Institute (Lithuania)
17. Legal Transformation Center (Belarus)
18. International Partnership for Human Rights (Belgium)
19. Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (Bulgaria)
20. Helsinki Association for Human Rights NGO Armenia (Armenia)
21. Human Rights Matter e.V. (Germany)
22. The Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House (Belarus)
23. WILPF Germany (Germany)
24. Association UMDPL (Ukraine)
25. Norwegian Helsinki Committee
26. The Kosova Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims (KRCT) from Kosovo
27. ZARA – Zivilcourage und Anti-Rassismus-Arbeit (Austria)
28. Women of the Don (Russia)
29. Crude Accountability
30. Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
31. Citizens Watch (Russia)
32. Regional Center for Strategic Studies ( Georgia/Azerbaijan)
33. Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russia)
34. UNITED
35. Netherlands Helsinki Committee

Source:
http://www.civicsolidarity.org/article/1545/polish-authorities-reduce-space-activities-ngos-including-human-rights-organizations

The Appeal about lack of proper medical care for Oleh Sentsov and other Ukrainian political prisoners from the LetMyPeopleGo list

November 29, 2017

To the Vice-Chancellor, the Federal Minister for Foreign

Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany,

Mr. Sigmar Gabriel

As of today, about 60 Ukrainian citizens have been detained on political grounds in the territory of the Russian Federation and the occupied Crimea. Most of them have been subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment to force false confessions about the actions they did not commit.

Oleh Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko, Valentyn Vygovsky, Mykola Karpiuk, Stanislav Klykh, Yevhen Panov, Andrii Zakhtey, Andrii Kolomiyets, Serhii Lytvynov, Oleksandr Kostenko and other illegally detained people publicly stated this. Yurii Yatsenko and Gennady Afanasyev, who were released, shared details about the unlawful practices that were applied to people under the control of the Russian Federation.

Stanislav Klykh’s appeal to the European Court of Human Rights is a clear illustration of illegal treatment by the state authorities of the Russian Federation:

“[…] In order to force me to testify, I was subjected to illegal methods of inquiry and investigation, expressed in causing me beatings and injuries, including using handcuffs and electric current, prolonged kneeling, resulting in numerous scars on my wrists, knees […] I was kept in the prison yard for several days without any water or food. As a result of the application of these methods, I was brought to a state of dystrophy, I could not hold a spoon, a pen in my hands, since the hands were dislocated as a result of being handcuffed to the bars”.

The situation is complicated by the unsatisfactory conditions of detention, which further contribute to a sharp deterioration in the health, development and exacerbation of chronic and other diseases.

 

The lawyer of the Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov, who was recognized as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, recently announced a sharp deterioration in the health of the illegally imprisoned. According to him, due to prolonged overcooling, the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis exacerbated and problems with the heart began.

 

We draw attention to the fact that human life and health are the highest values of every civilized state. The right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is guaranteed by Art. 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, Article 11, 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966, as well as Article 11 of the European Social Charter of 1996.

 

This year, the representative of the Russian Federation was elected as a President of the 70th World Health Assembly, the Charter of which was signed by the Russian Federation in 1946. Thus, she acknowledged that “the possession of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is one of the fundamental rights of everyone, regardless of race, religion, political beliefs, economic or social status”.

 

In addition, according to Art. 26 of the Federal Law of 21.11.2011 No 323-FZ “On the basis of public health protection in the Russian Federation” persons, who are in custody, serving a sentence in the form of restriction of liberty, arrest, deprivation of liberty or administrative arrest, are entitled to receive medical assistance, in particular, in necessary cases in medical institutions of the state health system and the municipal health care system in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation.

In pursuance of this Law the Government of the Russian Federation adopted the Resolution dated 28.12.2012 No 1466, which approved the Rules for the provision of medical care in medical institutions of the state and municipal health care system for persons held in custody or serving a sentence in the form of deprivation of liberty. The Rules provide for the possibility of inviting the medical specialists of the said medical institutions for consultation if it is impossible to provide medical assistance in the institutions of the criminal and executive system.

We note that all citizens of Ukraine, who are held for political reasons in the territory of the Russian Federation and the occupied Crimea, need proper medical care. Among them, Dmytro Shtyblikov, who after detention lost 30 kg and was brought to a dystopia, Stanislav Klykh, who lost his mental health after the torture that he suffered, Oleksandr Kostenko, who, due to the lack of an operation, runs the risk of losing the arm broken by the FSB’s staff, Oleksandr Rolchenko< who was in a hospital with a diagnosis of underweight, Volodymyr Dudka, who has been practicing self-medication with a stomach ulcer for ten months, Arsen Dzepparov, who is not provided with medical assistance despite cold kidneys, loss of hearing in his left ear and a sharp deterioration in vision, 19-year-old Pavlo Hryb who due to his disability is constantly taking drugs, so the lack of medicines and proper medical treatment in prison led to the appearance of ulcers on his body.

These are just a few examples of violation of the international obligations by the Russian Federation as for the right of Ukrainian political prisoners to the highest attainable standards of physical and mental health. From the moment of their illegal detention, independent physicians do not have access to them, and therefore, they cannot assess their health and provide proper medical care.

We address you with a request to raise before the Government of the Russian Federation the issue of the need to organize the access of physicians from the International Committee of the Red Cross and other reputable international health organizations to provide qualified medical assistance to Oleh Sentsov and all Ukrainian political prisoners from the LetMyPeopleGo list.

Center for Civil Liberties coordinating the #LetMyPeopleGo campaign

NGO “Association of Relatives of Political Prisoners of the Kremlin”

Media Initiative for Human Rights

Crimea Human Rights Group

Open Dialog Foundation

Association UMDPL

NGO “CrimeaSOS”

Luhansk Regional Human Rights Center “Alternative”

NGO “Social Action Center”

NGO “Peaceful Coast”

Human Rights Information Center

Expert Center for Human Rights

Charitable Foundation “East-SOS”

Euromaidan Press

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research

AIHO Foundation of Regional Initiatives

NGO “Human Rights Initiative”

NGO “Regional Center for Human Rights”/Sevastopol Human Rights Protection Group

KRF “Hromadska Alternatyva”

Centre for Civil Liberties’s statement on the pressure on civil society organisations in Poland

August 7, 2017

6 August, 2017, Kyiv

We have been cooperating with the Open Dialog Foundation (Poland) for many years. In the early days of mass protests in Ukraine, they were one of the first to render assistance to the
newly created initiative ‘EuroMaidan SOS’. The equipment that they provided was used by our civil society observers who were recording the process of fabricated trials against
peaceful protesters in Kyiv.
Following the occupation of Crimea by Russia and the commencement of the hybrid war in the Donbas, the Open Dialog Foundation supported our ‘LetMyPeopleGo’ campaign to
protect Ukrainian citizens, held in detention in Russian prisons for political reasons. Currently, they are among the most loyal defenders of the ‘Kremlin prisoners’ on the
international arena and consistently promote the issue of extending sanctions against the Russian Federation in the EU and the United States.
In view of this, it is very surprising to us to read statements, unsupported by evidence, about the alleged links of the Open Dialog Foundation with the Russian special services. It seems
that the publications, which appear in certain government media, are retaliation for the active position of the organisation and its participation in mass public protests in Poland. In
our opinion, it was the reason for which the shameful scheme of labelling dissidents as‘agents of the Kremlin’ was used.
In addition, currently, individual top Polish officials are calling for unreasonable additional tax audits of the Open Dialog Foundation and even for cancelling its registration as a non-
profit organisation. Similar pressure for participating in massive public protests is being exerted on a number of other public organisations in Poland.
We all remember what social changes took place after a long-lasting campaign of discrediting civic organisations in the Russian Federation alone. Therefore, we consider the
appearance of such publications a red flag for Poland, which has long been an example of democratic transformation of a country in the post-Soviet space, and especially for Ukraine.

Photo: Radio Liberty

Holding a meeting on human rights is not a terrorist conspiracy

July 10, 2017

10 July 2017

 

    On 5 July 2017, ten participants in a human rights training meeting were detained at Büyükada, one of the Princes’ Islands near İstanbul, Turkey. The group consisted of eight representatives of Turkish civil society organisations working on human rights and two foreign consultants on digital security and information management. By the afternoon of July 6, the lawyers of the detained persons learned that their clients are being investigated for membership of an armed organization, a terrorist offense, and will stay in investigative detention initially for seven days.
The undersigned organisations, national and international human rights NGOs from the OSCE region, members of the Civic Solidarity Platform, strongly reject this operation by the Turkish authorities. We appeal for the immediate and unconditional release of the detained persons, participants in a peaceful meeting to advance human rights. Human rights work should not be criminalized. Civil society work for human rights is an important contribution to a healthy society. Holding a meeting on human rights is not a terrorist conspiracy.
The Turkish citizens arrested are Özlem Dalkıran (Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly), lawyer Nalan Erkem (Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly), İlknur Üstün (Women’s Coalition), İdil Eser (Amnesty International Turkey director), Veli Acu (Human Rights Agenda Association), lawyer Günal Kurşun (Human Rights Agenda Association), Şeymus Özbekli (Rights Initiative), and Nejat Taştan (Equal Rights Watch Association). The two consultants are Ali Gharawi, from Sweden, and Peter Steudtner, from Germany.
In the past years, human rights defenders have on several occasions been targeted by governmental repression. This latest attack on human rights defenders comes amidst a wave of repression after the failed coup attempt of 15 July 2016 which has affected a much wider group of persons than those who may have been directly involved in the coup attempt, including journalists, lawyers and politicians. Only last month, Taner Kiliç, the president of Amnesty International Turkey, was arrested together with 22 other lawyers.

Article 19 (international, London)
Association of Ukrainian Human Rights Monitors on Law Enforcement
Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House
Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russia)
Center for Participation and Development (Georgia)
DRA – German-Russian Exchange (Germany)
Fair Trials (international, London)

Golos Svobody (Kyrgyzstan)
Helsinki Citizens Assembly Vanadzor (Armenia)
Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)
Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan
Human Rights House Foundation (international, Oslo)
Human Rights Information Center (Ukraine)
Human Rights Matter (Germany)
IDP Women Association “Consent” (Georgia)
International Partnership for Human Rights (international, Brussels)
International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (international, Copenhagen)
Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (Azerbaijan)
Kadyr Kasiyet (“Dignity”) (Kazakhstan)
Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law
Kharkiv regional foundation Public Alternative (Ukraine)
Legal Policy Research Center (Kazakhstan)
Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights (Germany)
Moscow Helsinki Group
Netherlands Helsinki Committee
Norwegian Helsinki Committee
Office of Civil Freedoms (Tajikistan)
Promo-LEX (Moldova)
Protection of rights without borders (Armenia)
Public Verdict (Russia)
Regional Center for Strategic Studies (Azerbaijan)
Solidarus (Germany)
SOVA Center for Information and Analysis (Russia)
Swiss Helsinki Committee
Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (Germany)
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) (international, Geneva)
[country names added if name of country not included in the name of the organization; for
international organisations, the city where their secretariat is located, is added]

The Civic Solidarity Platform is a decentralized advocacy network of independent civic groups
committed to improving the human rights situation in Europe, Eurasia and the US,
www.civicsolidarity.org.
Contact for this statement: Harry Hummel, Netherlands Helsinki Committee, hhummel@nhc.nl,
+31703926700

On the situation with the nomination at the “Eurovision” from Russia Yulia Samoylova

May 15, 2017

Ukraine has the right to demand the implementation of the law in relation to the Russian singer Yulii Samoylovoy, but the fact that Russia still decided to send its representative to this year held in Kiev “Eurovision” is a kind of a gesture of reconciliation. Such an opinion was expressed by the Russian human rights activist, head of the Moscow Helsinki Group Lyudmila Alekseeva.

“On the one hand, I am glad that our leaders still decide to send a Russian representative at” Eurovision “. Neighborly. This is a good step, which shows the desire of reconciliation. But on the other hand, I understand the Ukrainians: Crimea captured now want to make peace, but the Crimea is not returned. It is clear to me, “- Alexeyev said, commenting on the Ukrainian edition of” Explorer “the situation surrounding the nomination of the representative of Russia in the international music competition” Eurovision “.

Russian human rights activist has also recognized that “there are Ukrainian laws, and they must comply with.” However, she admitted that the Russian singer could have visited the Crimea, “whether he is Ukrainian.”

In this context, Alexeyev told that visited the peninsula, as it was her little homeland to the annexation of the Crimea. Due to old age she can not go there now, but “I fully admit that if I were younger, I would have to go on a his small home, no matter who it belongs to,” – she said.

“I would not want us to even about it [on participation in” Eurovision “Yulii Samoylovoy] quarreled. When fighting bosses, we should not pay attention to it. I belong to the Ukrainians as well as before. What a difference to us? Let them find out the relationship, and we have to treat each other with respect, as it should be neighbors, as it is necessary for people who have a common history, “- Alexeyev said.

At the same time, she added: “I feel very sorry for Russia because of this history of the Crimea.”

Recall that in Russia ended with the internal competitive selection of artists for the contest “Eurovision” -2017, the winner of which was a girl with a disability Julia Samoilova. In the summer of 2015 the singer participated in the festival “World of Sports, and good”, which was held in the Crimea. Thus, according to Ukrainian law, Samoilova violated the procedure for crossing the Ukrainian border. The singer is also listed as a “purgatory” center “Peacemaker”.

March 13 Advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Anton Gerashchenko said that the law enforcement agencies , there are two ways to resolve the situation on the Russian representative at “Eurovision” Yulii Samoylovoy, which violated the legislation of Ukraine. According to him, the first option – not to let Samoilov to Ukraine for violating the rules visit the occupied territory of Crimea. The second – to give Samoilova permission to enter the country, but at the same time and bring her to justice for violation of the state border.

Sourse, 14/05/2017

Such meetings are beneficial for all participants

June 10, 2015

Azerbaijani human rights activist and director of the Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan (HRCA), Eldar Zeynalov summed up ended in Kiev workshop on exchange of experiences and best practices “Improving skills in the field of human rights advocacy (promotion and protection of human rights).”

“Such meetings are mutually beneficial,” – suggested Eldar Zeynalov.

According to the head of the OCA, the seminar was attended by five representatives of Azerbaijan. “Except for me, their participation in the seminar later unveiled a lawyer Fariz Namazly. The names of the other three parties, I do not know if I can make public.

Organizers asked not to mention the names of the participants without agreement with them. I can only say that the two human rights defenders, and three lawyers participated from Azerbaijan. “

Recall that the seminar held in the capital of Ukraine on 4-5 June, organized by the Netherlands Helsinki Committee and the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland) for the human rights of a number of countries of the former Soviet Union, including Azerbaijan.

For two days, the participants discussed the planning and advocacy strategy (promotion and protection of human rights), including working with international organizations such as the UN, Council of Europe, the European Union and the OSCE, as well as exchanged between human rights defenders from different countries with innovative approaches to this area.

According to the expert, such events often performed earlier. It was the general training, and explain the ways of European standards, and so on.

“This workshop was more specific. Standards as they were, and have remained so, just change the working conditions. They exchanged views on how to operate in such conditions, how to achieve positive changes in human rights issues.

We never work in isolation. We have partners in the West, that we support or do not support. Which have their own vision of the situation in the country and is not always correct and complete. And the result is that some campaigns in our defense, wrong calculation, not the tone chosen, the methods used do not become “blank shot”, as he was selected.

And for “Westerners” to us useful to meet. It is mutually useful meeting. The workshop in addition to representatives of Azerbaijan, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, was also attended by representatives of immigrant organizations in France.

But in fact, they work in the Russian direction. I became more optimistic look at things and know what are the conditions for human rights defenders in Belarus, Russia.

In the same Russian clamped and dissidents, and human rights activists. They are looking for other outlets. Nobody is going to give, “- said E. Zeynalov.

Note that at the time of the seminar, after a brief lull, resumed again fighting in eastern Ukraine between the forces of the anti-terrorist operation and separatists.

According to E. Zeynalov, “in the city met the guys in camouflage, the number of police officers was greater than that observed a couple of years ago.”

“However, such as in Russia, where visitors to the carp, check documents, did not exist.

It is not felt that Kiev – the capital of the belligerent State. In the city center, where the Maidan, traces the events of last year. The same House of Trade Unions has not been refurbished. Many graffiti that were made then.

In a couple of places monuments installed. Sometimes came a beautiful girl who collected donations for the wounded. Only in this war, and manifested. No aggressive slogans on the wall, sometimes there are signs saying: “Ukraine – one country, one nation.” No militarist propaganda personally I have not seen “- he said.

Sourse, 09/06/2015

Результаты поиска:

Joint appeal on the inappropriate use of extremist charges, mass detention and use of torture against peaceful demonstrators, activists and government’s critics in Kazakhstan.

December 17, 2018

Despite the ratification of the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Kazakhstan, the human rights situation in the country has sharply deteriorated.

Fundamental rights, such as freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, are disrespected under the guise of fighting “extremism”. Since 13 March 2018, the day that marks the authorities’ ban of the peaceful opposition movement ‘Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan’ (DCK), more than 450 persons, participating in peaceful rallies or showing different form of support for DCK (e.g. posting and commenting social media contents, walking with blue balloons, etc.) have fallen victim of political persecution.

We call for a stepping up of efforts to ensure political pluralism in the country and condemn the repression of peaceful activists and supporters of opposition movement DCK and call for their unconditional release. Kazakhstan has to ensure its citizens free access to social media networks and independent media outlets, thus ceasing the blocking or restriction of such platforms. We stress the importance of the independence of lawyers and the protection of their rights to freely practice their profession and defend their clients without fear of reprisals.

We find this particularly worrying that on 10 May 2018, during the visit of European Parliament’s Delegation to Kazakhstan, police resorted to excessive use of force against peaceful protesters and detained more than 150 people, while others were placed under administrative arrests. On that day peaceful rallies against the use of torture and politically motivated imprisonment were held in cities across the country.

Among them, more than 30 people have been prosecuted in connection with their support of DCK’s ideas, including: activists Ablovas Dzhumayev, Almat Zhumagulov and poet Kenzhebek Abishev, social media user Aset Abishev and blogger Muratbek Tungishbayev. At least six persons have reported the use of torture and a lack of medical care in the place of detention. The practice of forced confession in exchange for release, and psychological pressure exerted on political prisoners and their relatives are undermining the trust in the Kazakhstani justice system, as exemplified by the cases of Aset Nurzhaubay and Muratbek Tungishbayev.

We were informed that political prisoners are losing hope for justice and taking desperate steps. For example, on 26 November 2018, Almat Zhumagulov and Kenzhebek Abishev threatened suicide in protest against the accusatory bias in court decisions and the fabricated nature of the case. On 27 November 2018, Zhumagulov cut his arm during the court session.At the same time Iskander Yerimbetov, the brother of human rights activist and lawyer Bota Jardemalie, was arrested, tortured and convicted in October 2018 to 7 years’ imprisonment in retaliation for his sister’s professional activities. Due to the outcome of his case, lawyers in Kazakhstan fear to defend victims of political persecution and torture.The number of political prisoners in Kazakhstan is increasing. More than 20 political prisoners are being held in detention. Human rights defenders are also under attack. Restrictions imposed on NGOs and criminal prosecution of human rights activists, such as Elena Semenova, severely shrink the space for civil society.

We call on Kazakhstani authorities to implement the communications from the UN Human Rights Committee, UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, and call without further delay to release the political prisoners Mukhtar Dzhakishev, Maks Bokayev and Iskander Yerimbetov; compliance with the UN requirements is an important condition for further cooperation between the EU and Kazakhstan

We expect the urgent intervention of the EEAS, encourage the initiation of further EU official monitoring missions and call on the EEAS to support such missions in order to observe the human rights situation and attend court trials against people prosecuted for political reasons. At the same time, we strongly recommend that the European Commission and the EU Member States pursue a policy of conditionality in the case of Kazakhstan. If the latter state wants to be a recipient of EU funding and attract investments, it first must ensure the cessation of cruel practices against detainees in prisons, an end to impunity for the offenders, freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, and the right to a defence and a free trial.

 

Signatures

 

Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)

Defending Democracy

Federazione Italiana Diritti Umani (FIDU)

Human Rights Information Center (Ukraine)

Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS)

Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG)

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research (KhISR)

Open Dialogue Foundation (ODF)

The Arrested Lawyers Initiative

Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF)

Polish authorities reduce the space for the activities of NGOs including human rights organizations in the country

May 2, 2018
Since the end of 2015, we have seen disturbing trends in the actions of the Polish government and the parliamentary majority formed by the populist-nationalist party, Law and Justice (PiS), which harm the activities of human rights defenders and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Poland.
Unconstitutional legislative initiatives have jeopardized both democracy and the rule of law in Poland, particularly the principle of effective separation of powers. Following an acute conflict, the ruling majority in the Parliament de facto subordinated the Constitutional Court to itself, making this state body fully dependent on political decisions.
Numerous leading Polish NGOs including human rights organizations have expressed disagreement with these actions. In July 2017, NGOs took active part in mass peaceful protests aimed at protecting the Constitution, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary in Poland.
The significant mobilization of society led to President Andrzej Duda vetoing two of the three controversial laws aimed at undermining the independence of the judiciary. in July 2017. The independence of the Supreme Court and the National Council of the Judiciary was temporarily preserved. However, the law on the system of ordinary courts came into force, widening the control of the Minister of Justice, who is also the General Prosecutor of Poland, over the courts. And so, as early as in December 2017, despite the next wave of public protests, the Parliament adopted slightly changed, unconstitutional laws that virtually eliminate the independence of the Supreme Court and the National Council of Justice.
In response to the participation of NGOs in peaceful protests, the authorities created numerous restrictions on the third sector. Many civil initiatives critical to the authorities were targeted for attack.
In July 2017, NGOs that criticized state bodies were subjected to escalated and unprecedented pressure. To date, this concerns, in particular, NGOs and initiatives such as: Citizens Solidary in Action [Obywatele Solidarnie w Akcji], Citizens of the Republic of Poland [Obywatele RP], the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog], the Committee for the Defence of Democracy [Komitet Obrony Demokracji], Action Democracy [Akcja Demokracja], the All-Poland Women’s Strike [Ogólnopolski Strajk Kobiet], the Centre for Women’s Rights [Centrum Praw Kobiet], the BABA Lubuskie Association for the Protection of Women’s Rights [BABA Lubuskie Stowarzyszenie na Rzecz Kobiet]. Some of these NGOs faced unjustified inspections, searches and lawsuits, and their representatives were subjected to numerous interrogations and even secret surveillance. Foreigners associated with these organizations are concerned about their future in Poland due to the possibility of losing their right to stay in the country.
For example, the Polish police conducted searches and seized documents and equipment from the offices of several women’s organizations (the offices of the Centre for Women’s Rights and the BABA Association). This happened the day after protest actions in defense of women’s rights in Poland was held in October 2017. Another example: Poland’s then-Minister of Foreign Affairs (MFA) filed a motion with the court to appoint what is known as a ‘compulsory administration’ to replace the existing members of the Management Board of the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog]. The dispute, which is being continued by the current Polish MFA Jacek Czaputowicz will eventually be resolved by a court ruling. Similar means were intended to be used against Citizens of the Republic of Poland [Obywatele RP] by the then-Minister of Interior, Mariusz Błaszczak.
Incidents of prosecution of LGBT organizations have been recorded. A particularly alarming signal is the cessation of a number of investigations into physical attacks against LGBT activists and the offices of their organizations. Alongside women’s rights organizations, they have been practically cut off from almost all available state-funding. The Polish state clearly favours initiatives focused on nationalist and religious values instead.
Members of the Polish government led by the then-Prime Minister Beata Szydło (in particular, the former Minister of the Interior, Mariusz Błaszczak, his deputy Jarosław Zieliński, the Minister–Coordinator of the Special Services of Poland Mariusz Kamiński, former Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski and the Minister of National Defence Antoni Macierewicz) publicly discussed actions to be taken against specific NGOs.
In addition, the aforementioned NGOs, as well as the Office of the Polish Ombudsman, have become victims of information attacks and denigrating media campaigns. These smear campaigns are based on manipulations, half-truths and outright falsehoods. These slanders are spread by state and pro-government Polish media having close ties to the ruling party.
NGOs have been accused of ‘manipulating public opinion’ and ‘artificially provoking protests’ ‘for money from abroad’. Their representatives are portrayed as ‘traitors to the motherland’, or ‘puppets’ in the hands of foreign states and other foreign actors (for example, George Soros, Russia, Germany or ‘Brussels elites’).
The denigrating campaigns aim to intimidate human rights defenders and undermine the trust of Polish society in the work of civil society. Another dangerous consequence of these campaigns may be the creation of negative attitudes towards any international or foreign structures in society. Recently, the actor and activist for the protection of the secular state Krzysztof Pieczyński fell victim to media harassment, and was subsequently beaten in the street by unknown persons in Warsaw.
Attacks on NGOs and human rights defenders are being carried out with the support of extreme right and nationalist organizations. The attacks are openly xenophobic in nature. In particular, they are being directed against the large community of Ukrainians in Poland. Some victims are being denied the right to Polish citizenship. These actions are related to the participation of Ukrainian citizens living in Poland in protests, as well as the work of the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog] and other Polish organizations which provided humanitarian assistance to Ukraine in the period of Euromaidan. 

Reluctant response of the law enforcement bodies to the nationalist and xenophobic incidents leads to growing number of assaults on foreigners in Poland.
Members of the right-wing parties of the Sejm and Members of the European Parliament from Poland are also carrying out hostile actions against specific NGOs and civil society in general. For example, six members of parliament have made public statements about the need to restrict or even stop the activities of the Open Dialog Foundation (Fundacja Otwarty Dialog). The organization was accused of representing an ‘external’ leftist ‘threat to the Polish State’, ‘violating Ukrainian–Polish relations’ and, in general, ‘provoking an uprising’ in Poland. No facts exist which would confirm that the organization has been carrying out such activities and, thus, no such evidence has been presented.
At the moment, according to the reports prepared by the Citizens of the Republic of Poland movement [Obywatele RP] (based on the gathered information), approximately 800 court proceedings are being conducted either directly against participants in the social protests and activists in social movements or in relation to their activities. In the report on oppression produced by the Citizens of the Republic of Poland,, as of the end of January 2018, 472 court trials had been initiated against protesters under the Code of Petty Offences; while a month earlier, there had been only 367 such trials. Twenty-eight criminal cases had been initiated under the Criminal Code (a month earlier there had been only 14 criminal cases), and nine persons were facing criminal charges.
Serious problems are also being caused by the new law on gatherings, which is highly controversial and widely perceived as unconstitutional, and which promotes the so-called cyclical gatherings, such as the Smolensk tragedy monthly commemoration (monthly demonstrations led by the leader of the ruling party, Jarosław Kaczyński, carried out with privileges unavailable to any other forms of street demonstration). For this reason, the Mazovian Voivode [governor] has regularly imposed a ban on pro-democracy protest actions organized on the same day by the Citizens Solidary in Action [Obywatele Solidarnie w Akcji]. Still, all of his previous decisions have been rejected by the District Court in Warsaw.
Serious concern over these attacks on the supremacy of civil rights and freedoms in Poland have been repeatedly expressed by members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (Resolution 2188 (2017), written declaration 641), pointing out in the statement on the resolution of 26 January 2018 that their demands have thus far been ignored by the Polish authorities.
The space for a dialogue between civil society and the authorities continues to shrink. Representatives of non-governmental organizations (particularly those affiliated with Citizens of the Republic of Poland movement [Obywatele RP] are commonly deprived of the opportunity to attend meetings and hearing of the Parliament’s Commissions. Several questionable legislative initiatives which address the most important aspects of public life are being considered without  any public consultation. In particular, these include changes in the legislation on the police, the introduction of anti-terrorism legislation, and amendments to the law on the Institute of National Remembrance (this last has already been adopted).
The authorities have changed some of the procedures for allocating public funds to NGOs. On 26 September 2017, the Senate passed a law regarding the National Institute of Freedom – Centre for the Development of Civil Society. The law was presented as being part of the government’s actions to strengthen civil society. However, the law was sharply criticized by the associations of NGOs and the Commissioner for Human Rights.
The law centralizes the government funds for public organizations within the framework of the established Centre. Since it is aimed at promoting activities which are in line with Christian and patriotic values, funding may become inaccessible for organizations whose work does not correlate with such values. Such an approach by the authorities violates the Constitution, which protects diversity of beliefs and views. The law was signed by the President on 12 October 2017 jeopardizing the independence of civil society in Poland.
Also, NGOs have recorded incidents of public funding having been either provided or terminated for political or ideological reasons.
In connection with the recent disturbing events, the International Civic Solidarity Platform hereby calls for the restoration of the participation of public and human rights organizations in democratic processes in Poland, a return to the European standards of interaction between civil society and government structures, and a guarantee of the independence of civil society initiatives in Poland.
Signed by the following organisations:​
1. The Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
2. Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)
3. Humanrights.ch
4. Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights (Germany/Switzerland)
5. International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law (Kazakhstan)
6. Citizens’ Watch, St. Petersburg (Russia)
7. Moscow Helsinki Group (Russia)
8. Public Verdict (Russia)
9. Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
10. Public Association “Dignity”
11. Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly – Vanadzor
12. Helsinki Committee of Armenia (Armenia)
13. KRF Public Alternative (Ukraine)
14. DRA – German-Russian Exchange (Germany)
15. “OMCT – World Organisation Against Torture”
16. Human Rights Monitoring Institute (Lithuania)
17. Legal Transformation Center (Belarus)
18. International Partnership for Human Rights (Belgium)
19. Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (Bulgaria)
20. Helsinki Association for Human Rights NGO Armenia (Armenia)
21. Human Rights Matter e.V. (Germany)
22. The Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House (Belarus)
23. WILPF Germany (Germany)
24. Association UMDPL (Ukraine)
25. Norwegian Helsinki Committee
26. The Kosova Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims (KRCT) from Kosovo
27. ZARA – Zivilcourage und Anti-Rassismus-Arbeit (Austria)
28. Women of the Don (Russia)
29. Crude Accountability
30. Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
31. Citizens Watch (Russia)
32. Regional Center for Strategic Studies ( Georgia/Azerbaijan)
33. Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russia)
34. UNITED
35. Netherlands Helsinki Committee

Source:
http://www.civicsolidarity.org/article/1545/polish-authorities-reduce-space-activities-ngos-including-human-rights-organizations

The Appeal about lack of proper medical care for Oleh Sentsov and other Ukrainian political prisoners from the LetMyPeopleGo list

November 29, 2017

To the Vice-Chancellor, the Federal Minister for Foreign

Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany,

Mr. Sigmar Gabriel

As of today, about 60 Ukrainian citizens have been detained on political grounds in the territory of the Russian Federation and the occupied Crimea. Most of them have been subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment to force false confessions about the actions they did not commit.

Oleh Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko, Valentyn Vygovsky, Mykola Karpiuk, Stanislav Klykh, Yevhen Panov, Andrii Zakhtey, Andrii Kolomiyets, Serhii Lytvynov, Oleksandr Kostenko and other illegally detained people publicly stated this. Yurii Yatsenko and Gennady Afanasyev, who were released, shared details about the unlawful practices that were applied to people under the control of the Russian Federation.

Stanislav Klykh’s appeal to the European Court of Human Rights is a clear illustration of illegal treatment by the state authorities of the Russian Federation:

“[…] In order to force me to testify, I was subjected to illegal methods of inquiry and investigation, expressed in causing me beatings and injuries, including using handcuffs and electric current, prolonged kneeling, resulting in numerous scars on my wrists, knees […] I was kept in the prison yard for several days without any water or food. As a result of the application of these methods, I was brought to a state of dystrophy, I could not hold a spoon, a pen in my hands, since the hands were dislocated as a result of being handcuffed to the bars”.

The situation is complicated by the unsatisfactory conditions of detention, which further contribute to a sharp deterioration in the health, development and exacerbation of chronic and other diseases.

 

The lawyer of the Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov, who was recognized as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, recently announced a sharp deterioration in the health of the illegally imprisoned. According to him, due to prolonged overcooling, the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis exacerbated and problems with the heart began.

 

We draw attention to the fact that human life and health are the highest values of every civilized state. The right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is guaranteed by Art. 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, Article 11, 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966, as well as Article 11 of the European Social Charter of 1996.

 

This year, the representative of the Russian Federation was elected as a President of the 70th World Health Assembly, the Charter of which was signed by the Russian Federation in 1946. Thus, she acknowledged that “the possession of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is one of the fundamental rights of everyone, regardless of race, religion, political beliefs, economic or social status”.

 

In addition, according to Art. 26 of the Federal Law of 21.11.2011 No 323-FZ “On the basis of public health protection in the Russian Federation” persons, who are in custody, serving a sentence in the form of restriction of liberty, arrest, deprivation of liberty or administrative arrest, are entitled to receive medical assistance, in particular, in necessary cases in medical institutions of the state health system and the municipal health care system in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation.

In pursuance of this Law the Government of the Russian Federation adopted the Resolution dated 28.12.2012 No 1466, which approved the Rules for the provision of medical care in medical institutions of the state and municipal health care system for persons held in custody or serving a sentence in the form of deprivation of liberty. The Rules provide for the possibility of inviting the medical specialists of the said medical institutions for consultation if it is impossible to provide medical assistance in the institutions of the criminal and executive system.

We note that all citizens of Ukraine, who are held for political reasons in the territory of the Russian Federation and the occupied Crimea, need proper medical care. Among them, Dmytro Shtyblikov, who after detention lost 30 kg and was brought to a dystopia, Stanislav Klykh, who lost his mental health after the torture that he suffered, Oleksandr Kostenko, who, due to the lack of an operation, runs the risk of losing the arm broken by the FSB’s staff, Oleksandr Rolchenko< who was in a hospital with a diagnosis of underweight, Volodymyr Dudka, who has been practicing self-medication with a stomach ulcer for ten months, Arsen Dzepparov, who is not provided with medical assistance despite cold kidneys, loss of hearing in his left ear and a sharp deterioration in vision, 19-year-old Pavlo Hryb who due to his disability is constantly taking drugs, so the lack of medicines and proper medical treatment in prison led to the appearance of ulcers on his body.

These are just a few examples of violation of the international obligations by the Russian Federation as for the right of Ukrainian political prisoners to the highest attainable standards of physical and mental health. From the moment of their illegal detention, independent physicians do not have access to them, and therefore, they cannot assess their health and provide proper medical care.

We address you with a request to raise before the Government of the Russian Federation the issue of the need to organize the access of physicians from the International Committee of the Red Cross and other reputable international health organizations to provide qualified medical assistance to Oleh Sentsov and all Ukrainian political prisoners from the LetMyPeopleGo list.

Center for Civil Liberties coordinating the #LetMyPeopleGo campaign

NGO “Association of Relatives of Political Prisoners of the Kremlin”

Media Initiative for Human Rights

Crimea Human Rights Group

Open Dialog Foundation

Association UMDPL

NGO “CrimeaSOS”

Luhansk Regional Human Rights Center “Alternative”

NGO “Social Action Center”

NGO “Peaceful Coast”

Human Rights Information Center

Expert Center for Human Rights

Charitable Foundation “East-SOS”

Euromaidan Press

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research

AIHO Foundation of Regional Initiatives

NGO “Human Rights Initiative”

NGO “Regional Center for Human Rights”/Sevastopol Human Rights Protection Group

KRF “Hromadska Alternatyva”

Centre for Civil Liberties’s statement on the pressure on civil society organisations in Poland

August 7, 2017

6 August, 2017, Kyiv

We have been cooperating with the Open Dialog Foundation (Poland) for many years. In the early days of mass protests in Ukraine, they were one of the first to render assistance to the
newly created initiative ‘EuroMaidan SOS’. The equipment that they provided was used by our civil society observers who were recording the process of fabricated trials against
peaceful protesters in Kyiv.
Following the occupation of Crimea by Russia and the commencement of the hybrid war in the Donbas, the Open Dialog Foundation supported our ‘LetMyPeopleGo’ campaign to
protect Ukrainian citizens, held in detention in Russian prisons for political reasons. Currently, they are among the most loyal defenders of the ‘Kremlin prisoners’ on the
international arena and consistently promote the issue of extending sanctions against the Russian Federation in the EU and the United States.
In view of this, it is very surprising to us to read statements, unsupported by evidence, about the alleged links of the Open Dialog Foundation with the Russian special services. It seems
that the publications, which appear in certain government media, are retaliation for the active position of the organisation and its participation in mass public protests in Poland. In
our opinion, it was the reason for which the shameful scheme of labelling dissidents as‘agents of the Kremlin’ was used.
In addition, currently, individual top Polish officials are calling for unreasonable additional tax audits of the Open Dialog Foundation and even for cancelling its registration as a non-
profit organisation. Similar pressure for participating in massive public protests is being exerted on a number of other public organisations in Poland.
We all remember what social changes took place after a long-lasting campaign of discrediting civic organisations in the Russian Federation alone. Therefore, we consider the
appearance of such publications a red flag for Poland, which has long been an example of democratic transformation of a country in the post-Soviet space, and especially for Ukraine.

Photo: Radio Liberty

Holding a meeting on human rights is not a terrorist conspiracy

July 10, 2017

10 July 2017

 

    On 5 July 2017, ten participants in a human rights training meeting were detained at Büyükada, one of the Princes’ Islands near İstanbul, Turkey. The group consisted of eight representatives of Turkish civil society organisations working on human rights and two foreign consultants on digital security and information management. By the afternoon of July 6, the lawyers of the detained persons learned that their clients are being investigated for membership of an armed organization, a terrorist offense, and will stay in investigative detention initially for seven days.
The undersigned organisations, national and international human rights NGOs from the OSCE region, members of the Civic Solidarity Platform, strongly reject this operation by the Turkish authorities. We appeal for the immediate and unconditional release of the detained persons, participants in a peaceful meeting to advance human rights. Human rights work should not be criminalized. Civil society work for human rights is an important contribution to a healthy society. Holding a meeting on human rights is not a terrorist conspiracy.
The Turkish citizens arrested are Özlem Dalkıran (Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly), lawyer Nalan Erkem (Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly), İlknur Üstün (Women’s Coalition), İdil Eser (Amnesty International Turkey director), Veli Acu (Human Rights Agenda Association), lawyer Günal Kurşun (Human Rights Agenda Association), Şeymus Özbekli (Rights Initiative), and Nejat Taştan (Equal Rights Watch Association). The two consultants are Ali Gharawi, from Sweden, and Peter Steudtner, from Germany.
In the past years, human rights defenders have on several occasions been targeted by governmental repression. This latest attack on human rights defenders comes amidst a wave of repression after the failed coup attempt of 15 July 2016 which has affected a much wider group of persons than those who may have been directly involved in the coup attempt, including journalists, lawyers and politicians. Only last month, Taner Kiliç, the president of Amnesty International Turkey, was arrested together with 22 other lawyers.

Article 19 (international, London)
Association of Ukrainian Human Rights Monitors on Law Enforcement
Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House
Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russia)
Center for Participation and Development (Georgia)
DRA – German-Russian Exchange (Germany)
Fair Trials (international, London)

Golos Svobody (Kyrgyzstan)
Helsinki Citizens Assembly Vanadzor (Armenia)
Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)
Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan
Human Rights House Foundation (international, Oslo)
Human Rights Information Center (Ukraine)
Human Rights Matter (Germany)
IDP Women Association “Consent” (Georgia)
International Partnership for Human Rights (international, Brussels)
International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (international, Copenhagen)
Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (Azerbaijan)
Kadyr Kasiyet (“Dignity”) (Kazakhstan)
Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law
Kharkiv regional foundation Public Alternative (Ukraine)
Legal Policy Research Center (Kazakhstan)
Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights (Germany)
Moscow Helsinki Group
Netherlands Helsinki Committee
Norwegian Helsinki Committee
Office of Civil Freedoms (Tajikistan)
Promo-LEX (Moldova)
Protection of rights without borders (Armenia)
Public Verdict (Russia)
Regional Center for Strategic Studies (Azerbaijan)
Solidarus (Germany)
SOVA Center for Information and Analysis (Russia)
Swiss Helsinki Committee
Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (Germany)
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) (international, Geneva)
[country names added if name of country not included in the name of the organization; for
international organisations, the city where their secretariat is located, is added]

The Civic Solidarity Platform is a decentralized advocacy network of independent civic groups
committed to improving the human rights situation in Europe, Eurasia and the US,
www.civicsolidarity.org.
Contact for this statement: Harry Hummel, Netherlands Helsinki Committee, hhummel@nhc.nl,
+31703926700

On the situation with the nomination at the “Eurovision” from Russia Yulia Samoylova

May 15, 2017

Ukraine has the right to demand the implementation of the law in relation to the Russian singer Yulii Samoylovoy, but the fact that Russia still decided to send its representative to this year held in Kiev “Eurovision” is a kind of a gesture of reconciliation. Such an opinion was expressed by the Russian human rights activist, head of the Moscow Helsinki Group Lyudmila Alekseeva.

“On the one hand, I am glad that our leaders still decide to send a Russian representative at” Eurovision “. Neighborly. This is a good step, which shows the desire of reconciliation. But on the other hand, I understand the Ukrainians: Crimea captured now want to make peace, but the Crimea is not returned. It is clear to me, “- Alexeyev said, commenting on the Ukrainian edition of” Explorer “the situation surrounding the nomination of the representative of Russia in the international music competition” Eurovision “.

Russian human rights activist has also recognized that “there are Ukrainian laws, and they must comply with.” However, she admitted that the Russian singer could have visited the Crimea, “whether he is Ukrainian.”

In this context, Alexeyev told that visited the peninsula, as it was her little homeland to the annexation of the Crimea. Due to old age she can not go there now, but “I fully admit that if I were younger, I would have to go on a his small home, no matter who it belongs to,” – she said.

“I would not want us to even about it [on participation in” Eurovision “Yulii Samoylovoy] quarreled. When fighting bosses, we should not pay attention to it. I belong to the Ukrainians as well as before. What a difference to us? Let them find out the relationship, and we have to treat each other with respect, as it should be neighbors, as it is necessary for people who have a common history, “- Alexeyev said.

At the same time, she added: “I feel very sorry for Russia because of this history of the Crimea.”

Recall that in Russia ended with the internal competitive selection of artists for the contest “Eurovision” -2017, the winner of which was a girl with a disability Julia Samoilova. In the summer of 2015 the singer participated in the festival “World of Sports, and good”, which was held in the Crimea. Thus, according to Ukrainian law, Samoilova violated the procedure for crossing the Ukrainian border. The singer is also listed as a “purgatory” center “Peacemaker”.

March 13 Advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Anton Gerashchenko said that the law enforcement agencies , there are two ways to resolve the situation on the Russian representative at “Eurovision” Yulii Samoylovoy, which violated the legislation of Ukraine. According to him, the first option – not to let Samoilov to Ukraine for violating the rules visit the occupied territory of Crimea. The second – to give Samoilova permission to enter the country, but at the same time and bring her to justice for violation of the state border.

Sourse, 14/05/2017

Such meetings are beneficial for all participants

June 10, 2015

Azerbaijani human rights activist and director of the Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan (HRCA), Eldar Zeynalov summed up ended in Kiev workshop on exchange of experiences and best practices “Improving skills in the field of human rights advocacy (promotion and protection of human rights).”

“Such meetings are mutually beneficial,” – suggested Eldar Zeynalov.

According to the head of the OCA, the seminar was attended by five representatives of Azerbaijan. “Except for me, their participation in the seminar later unveiled a lawyer Fariz Namazly. The names of the other three parties, I do not know if I can make public.

Organizers asked not to mention the names of the participants without agreement with them. I can only say that the two human rights defenders, and three lawyers participated from Azerbaijan. “

Recall that the seminar held in the capital of Ukraine on 4-5 June, organized by the Netherlands Helsinki Committee and the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland) for the human rights of a number of countries of the former Soviet Union, including Azerbaijan.

For two days, the participants discussed the planning and advocacy strategy (promotion and protection of human rights), including working with international organizations such as the UN, Council of Europe, the European Union and the OSCE, as well as exchanged between human rights defenders from different countries with innovative approaches to this area.

According to the expert, such events often performed earlier. It was the general training, and explain the ways of European standards, and so on.

“This workshop was more specific. Standards as they were, and have remained so, just change the working conditions. They exchanged views on how to operate in such conditions, how to achieve positive changes in human rights issues.

We never work in isolation. We have partners in the West, that we support or do not support. Which have their own vision of the situation in the country and is not always correct and complete. And the result is that some campaigns in our defense, wrong calculation, not the tone chosen, the methods used do not become “blank shot”, as he was selected.

And for “Westerners” to us useful to meet. It is mutually useful meeting. The workshop in addition to representatives of Azerbaijan, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, was also attended by representatives of immigrant organizations in France.

But in fact, they work in the Russian direction. I became more optimistic look at things and know what are the conditions for human rights defenders in Belarus, Russia.

In the same Russian clamped and dissidents, and human rights activists. They are looking for other outlets. Nobody is going to give, “- said E. Zeynalov.

Note that at the time of the seminar, after a brief lull, resumed again fighting in eastern Ukraine between the forces of the anti-terrorist operation and separatists.

According to E. Zeynalov, “in the city met the guys in camouflage, the number of police officers was greater than that observed a couple of years ago.”

“However, such as in Russia, where visitors to the carp, check documents, did not exist.

It is not felt that Kiev – the capital of the belligerent State. In the city center, where the Maidan, traces the events of last year. The same House of Trade Unions has not been refurbished. Many graffiti that were made then.

In a couple of places monuments installed. Sometimes came a beautiful girl who collected donations for the wounded. Only in this war, and manifested. No aggressive slogans on the wall, sometimes there are signs saying: “Ukraine – one country, one nation.” No militarist propaganda personally I have not seen “- he said.

Sourse, 09/06/2015

Результаты поиска:

Joint appeal on the inappropriate use of extremist charges, mass detention and use of torture against peaceful demonstrators, activists and government’s critics in Kazakhstan.

December 17, 2018

Despite the ratification of the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Kazakhstan, the human rights situation in the country has sharply deteriorated.

Fundamental rights, such as freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, are disrespected under the guise of fighting “extremism”. Since 13 March 2018, the day that marks the authorities’ ban of the peaceful opposition movement ‘Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan’ (DCK), more than 450 persons, participating in peaceful rallies or showing different form of support for DCK (e.g. posting and commenting social media contents, walking with blue balloons, etc.) have fallen victim of political persecution.

We call for a stepping up of efforts to ensure political pluralism in the country and condemn the repression of peaceful activists and supporters of opposition movement DCK and call for their unconditional release. Kazakhstan has to ensure its citizens free access to social media networks and independent media outlets, thus ceasing the blocking or restriction of such platforms. We stress the importance of the independence of lawyers and the protection of their rights to freely practice their profession and defend their clients without fear of reprisals.

We find this particularly worrying that on 10 May 2018, during the visit of European Parliament’s Delegation to Kazakhstan, police resorted to excessive use of force against peaceful protesters and detained more than 150 people, while others were placed under administrative arrests. On that day peaceful rallies against the use of torture and politically motivated imprisonment were held in cities across the country.

Among them, more than 30 people have been prosecuted in connection with their support of DCK’s ideas, including: activists Ablovas Dzhumayev, Almat Zhumagulov and poet Kenzhebek Abishev, social media user Aset Abishev and blogger Muratbek Tungishbayev. At least six persons have reported the use of torture and a lack of medical care in the place of detention. The practice of forced confession in exchange for release, and psychological pressure exerted on political prisoners and their relatives are undermining the trust in the Kazakhstani justice system, as exemplified by the cases of Aset Nurzhaubay and Muratbek Tungishbayev.

We were informed that political prisoners are losing hope for justice and taking desperate steps. For example, on 26 November 2018, Almat Zhumagulov and Kenzhebek Abishev threatened suicide in protest against the accusatory bias in court decisions and the fabricated nature of the case. On 27 November 2018, Zhumagulov cut his arm during the court session.At the same time Iskander Yerimbetov, the brother of human rights activist and lawyer Bota Jardemalie, was arrested, tortured and convicted in October 2018 to 7 years’ imprisonment in retaliation for his sister’s professional activities. Due to the outcome of his case, lawyers in Kazakhstan fear to defend victims of political persecution and torture.The number of political prisoners in Kazakhstan is increasing. More than 20 political prisoners are being held in detention. Human rights defenders are also under attack. Restrictions imposed on NGOs and criminal prosecution of human rights activists, such as Elena Semenova, severely shrink the space for civil society.

We call on Kazakhstani authorities to implement the communications from the UN Human Rights Committee, UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, and call without further delay to release the political prisoners Mukhtar Dzhakishev, Maks Bokayev and Iskander Yerimbetov; compliance with the UN requirements is an important condition for further cooperation between the EU and Kazakhstan

We expect the urgent intervention of the EEAS, encourage the initiation of further EU official monitoring missions and call on the EEAS to support such missions in order to observe the human rights situation and attend court trials against people prosecuted for political reasons. At the same time, we strongly recommend that the European Commission and the EU Member States pursue a policy of conditionality in the case of Kazakhstan. If the latter state wants to be a recipient of EU funding and attract investments, it first must ensure the cessation of cruel practices against detainees in prisons, an end to impunity for the offenders, freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, and the right to a defence and a free trial.

 

Signatures

 

Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)

Defending Democracy

Federazione Italiana Diritti Umani (FIDU)

Human Rights Information Center (Ukraine)

Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS)

Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG)

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research (KhISR)

Open Dialogue Foundation (ODF)

The Arrested Lawyers Initiative

Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF)

Polish authorities reduce the space for the activities of NGOs including human rights organizations in the country

May 2, 2018
Since the end of 2015, we have seen disturbing trends in the actions of the Polish government and the parliamentary majority formed by the populist-nationalist party, Law and Justice (PiS), which harm the activities of human rights defenders and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Poland.
Unconstitutional legislative initiatives have jeopardized both democracy and the rule of law in Poland, particularly the principle of effective separation of powers. Following an acute conflict, the ruling majority in the Parliament de facto subordinated the Constitutional Court to itself, making this state body fully dependent on political decisions.
Numerous leading Polish NGOs including human rights organizations have expressed disagreement with these actions. In July 2017, NGOs took active part in mass peaceful protests aimed at protecting the Constitution, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary in Poland.
The significant mobilization of society led to President Andrzej Duda vetoing two of the three controversial laws aimed at undermining the independence of the judiciary. in July 2017. The independence of the Supreme Court and the National Council of the Judiciary was temporarily preserved. However, the law on the system of ordinary courts came into force, widening the control of the Minister of Justice, who is also the General Prosecutor of Poland, over the courts. And so, as early as in December 2017, despite the next wave of public protests, the Parliament adopted slightly changed, unconstitutional laws that virtually eliminate the independence of the Supreme Court and the National Council of Justice.
In response to the participation of NGOs in peaceful protests, the authorities created numerous restrictions on the third sector. Many civil initiatives critical to the authorities were targeted for attack.
In July 2017, NGOs that criticized state bodies were subjected to escalated and unprecedented pressure. To date, this concerns, in particular, NGOs and initiatives such as: Citizens Solidary in Action [Obywatele Solidarnie w Akcji], Citizens of the Republic of Poland [Obywatele RP], the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog], the Committee for the Defence of Democracy [Komitet Obrony Demokracji], Action Democracy [Akcja Demokracja], the All-Poland Women’s Strike [Ogólnopolski Strajk Kobiet], the Centre for Women’s Rights [Centrum Praw Kobiet], the BABA Lubuskie Association for the Protection of Women’s Rights [BABA Lubuskie Stowarzyszenie na Rzecz Kobiet]. Some of these NGOs faced unjustified inspections, searches and lawsuits, and their representatives were subjected to numerous interrogations and even secret surveillance. Foreigners associated with these organizations are concerned about their future in Poland due to the possibility of losing their right to stay in the country.
For example, the Polish police conducted searches and seized documents and equipment from the offices of several women’s organizations (the offices of the Centre for Women’s Rights and the BABA Association). This happened the day after protest actions in defense of women’s rights in Poland was held in October 2017. Another example: Poland’s then-Minister of Foreign Affairs (MFA) filed a motion with the court to appoint what is known as a ‘compulsory administration’ to replace the existing members of the Management Board of the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog]. The dispute, which is being continued by the current Polish MFA Jacek Czaputowicz will eventually be resolved by a court ruling. Similar means were intended to be used against Citizens of the Republic of Poland [Obywatele RP] by the then-Minister of Interior, Mariusz Błaszczak.
Incidents of prosecution of LGBT organizations have been recorded. A particularly alarming signal is the cessation of a number of investigations into physical attacks against LGBT activists and the offices of their organizations. Alongside women’s rights organizations, they have been practically cut off from almost all available state-funding. The Polish state clearly favours initiatives focused on nationalist and religious values instead.
Members of the Polish government led by the then-Prime Minister Beata Szydło (in particular, the former Minister of the Interior, Mariusz Błaszczak, his deputy Jarosław Zieliński, the Minister–Coordinator of the Special Services of Poland Mariusz Kamiński, former Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski and the Minister of National Defence Antoni Macierewicz) publicly discussed actions to be taken against specific NGOs.
In addition, the aforementioned NGOs, as well as the Office of the Polish Ombudsman, have become victims of information attacks and denigrating media campaigns. These smear campaigns are based on manipulations, half-truths and outright falsehoods. These slanders are spread by state and pro-government Polish media having close ties to the ruling party.
NGOs have been accused of ‘manipulating public opinion’ and ‘artificially provoking protests’ ‘for money from abroad’. Their representatives are portrayed as ‘traitors to the motherland’, or ‘puppets’ in the hands of foreign states and other foreign actors (for example, George Soros, Russia, Germany or ‘Brussels elites’).
The denigrating campaigns aim to intimidate human rights defenders and undermine the trust of Polish society in the work of civil society. Another dangerous consequence of these campaigns may be the creation of negative attitudes towards any international or foreign structures in society. Recently, the actor and activist for the protection of the secular state Krzysztof Pieczyński fell victim to media harassment, and was subsequently beaten in the street by unknown persons in Warsaw.
Attacks on NGOs and human rights defenders are being carried out with the support of extreme right and nationalist organizations. The attacks are openly xenophobic in nature. In particular, they are being directed against the large community of Ukrainians in Poland. Some victims are being denied the right to Polish citizenship. These actions are related to the participation of Ukrainian citizens living in Poland in protests, as well as the work of the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog] and other Polish organizations which provided humanitarian assistance to Ukraine in the period of Euromaidan. 

Reluctant response of the law enforcement bodies to the nationalist and xenophobic incidents leads to growing number of assaults on foreigners in Poland.
Members of the right-wing parties of the Sejm and Members of the European Parliament from Poland are also carrying out hostile actions against specific NGOs and civil society in general. For example, six members of parliament have made public statements about the need to restrict or even stop the activities of the Open Dialog Foundation (Fundacja Otwarty Dialog). The organization was accused of representing an ‘external’ leftist ‘threat to the Polish State’, ‘violating Ukrainian–Polish relations’ and, in general, ‘provoking an uprising’ in Poland. No facts exist which would confirm that the organization has been carrying out such activities and, thus, no such evidence has been presented.
At the moment, according to the reports prepared by the Citizens of the Republic of Poland movement [Obywatele RP] (based on the gathered information), approximately 800 court proceedings are being conducted either directly against participants in the social protests and activists in social movements or in relation to their activities. In the report on oppression produced by the Citizens of the Republic of Poland,, as of the end of January 2018, 472 court trials had been initiated against protesters under the Code of Petty Offences; while a month earlier, there had been only 367 such trials. Twenty-eight criminal cases had been initiated under the Criminal Code (a month earlier there had been only 14 criminal cases), and nine persons were facing criminal charges.
Serious problems are also being caused by the new law on gatherings, which is highly controversial and widely perceived as unconstitutional, and which promotes the so-called cyclical gatherings, such as the Smolensk tragedy monthly commemoration (monthly demonstrations led by the leader of the ruling party, Jarosław Kaczyński, carried out with privileges unavailable to any other forms of street demonstration). For this reason, the Mazovian Voivode [governor] has regularly imposed a ban on pro-democracy protest actions organized on the same day by the Citizens Solidary in Action [Obywatele Solidarnie w Akcji]. Still, all of his previous decisions have been rejected by the District Court in Warsaw.
Serious concern over these attacks on the supremacy of civil rights and freedoms in Poland have been repeatedly expressed by members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (Resolution 2188 (2017), written declaration 641), pointing out in the statement on the resolution of 26 January 2018 that their demands have thus far been ignored by the Polish authorities.
The space for a dialogue between civil society and the authorities continues to shrink. Representatives of non-governmental organizations (particularly those affiliated with Citizens of the Republic of Poland movement [Obywatele RP] are commonly deprived of the opportunity to attend meetings and hearing of the Parliament’s Commissions. Several questionable legislative initiatives which address the most important aspects of public life are being considered without  any public consultation. In particular, these include changes in the legislation on the police, the introduction of anti-terrorism legislation, and amendments to the law on the Institute of National Remembrance (this last has already been adopted).
The authorities have changed some of the procedures for allocating public funds to NGOs. On 26 September 2017, the Senate passed a law regarding the National Institute of Freedom – Centre for the Development of Civil Society. The law was presented as being part of the government’s actions to strengthen civil society. However, the law was sharply criticized by the associations of NGOs and the Commissioner for Human Rights.
The law centralizes the government funds for public organizations within the framework of the established Centre. Since it is aimed at promoting activities which are in line with Christian and patriotic values, funding may become inaccessible for organizations whose work does not correlate with such values. Such an approach by the authorities violates the Constitution, which protects diversity of beliefs and views. The law was signed by the President on 12 October 2017 jeopardizing the independence of civil society in Poland.
Also, NGOs have recorded incidents of public funding having been either provided or terminated for political or ideological reasons.
In connection with the recent disturbing events, the International Civic Solidarity Platform hereby calls for the restoration of the participation of public and human rights organizations in democratic processes in Poland, a return to the European standards of interaction between civil society and government structures, and a guarantee of the independence of civil society initiatives in Poland.
Signed by the following organisations:​
1. The Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
2. Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)
3. Humanrights.ch
4. Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights (Germany/Switzerland)
5. International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law (Kazakhstan)
6. Citizens’ Watch, St. Petersburg (Russia)
7. Moscow Helsinki Group (Russia)
8. Public Verdict (Russia)
9. Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
10. Public Association “Dignity”
11. Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly – Vanadzor
12. Helsinki Committee of Armenia (Armenia)
13. KRF Public Alternative (Ukraine)
14. DRA – German-Russian Exchange (Germany)
15. “OMCT – World Organisation Against Torture”
16. Human Rights Monitoring Institute (Lithuania)
17. Legal Transformation Center (Belarus)
18. International Partnership for Human Rights (Belgium)
19. Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (Bulgaria)
20. Helsinki Association for Human Rights NGO Armenia (Armenia)
21. Human Rights Matter e.V. (Germany)
22. The Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House (Belarus)
23. WILPF Germany (Germany)
24. Association UMDPL (Ukraine)
25. Norwegian Helsinki Committee
26. The Kosova Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims (KRCT) from Kosovo
27. ZARA – Zivilcourage und Anti-Rassismus-Arbeit (Austria)
28. Women of the Don (Russia)
29. Crude Accountability
30. Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
31. Citizens Watch (Russia)
32. Regional Center for Strategic Studies ( Georgia/Azerbaijan)
33. Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russia)
34. UNITED
35. Netherlands Helsinki Committee

Source:
http://www.civicsolidarity.org/article/1545/polish-authorities-reduce-space-activities-ngos-including-human-rights-organizations

The Appeal about lack of proper medical care for Oleh Sentsov and other Ukrainian political prisoners from the LetMyPeopleGo list

November 29, 2017

To the Vice-Chancellor, the Federal Minister for Foreign

Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany,

Mr. Sigmar Gabriel

As of today, about 60 Ukrainian citizens have been detained on political grounds in the territory of the Russian Federation and the occupied Crimea. Most of them have been subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment to force false confessions about the actions they did not commit.

Oleh Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko, Valentyn Vygovsky, Mykola Karpiuk, Stanislav Klykh, Yevhen Panov, Andrii Zakhtey, Andrii Kolomiyets, Serhii Lytvynov, Oleksandr Kostenko and other illegally detained people publicly stated this. Yurii Yatsenko and Gennady Afanasyev, who were released, shared details about the unlawful practices that were applied to people under the control of the Russian Federation.

Stanislav Klykh’s appeal to the European Court of Human Rights is a clear illustration of illegal treatment by the state authorities of the Russian Federation:

“[…] In order to force me to testify, I was subjected to illegal methods of inquiry and investigation, expressed in causing me beatings and injuries, including using handcuffs and electric current, prolonged kneeling, resulting in numerous scars on my wrists, knees […] I was kept in the prison yard for several days without any water or food. As a result of the application of these methods, I was brought to a state of dystrophy, I could not hold a spoon, a pen in my hands, since the hands were dislocated as a result of being handcuffed to the bars”.

The situation is complicated by the unsatisfactory conditions of detention, which further contribute to a sharp deterioration in the health, development and exacerbation of chronic and other diseases.

 

The lawyer of the Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov, who was recognized as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, recently announced a sharp deterioration in the health of the illegally imprisoned. According to him, due to prolonged overcooling, the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis exacerbated and problems with the heart began.

 

We draw attention to the fact that human life and health are the highest values of every civilized state. The right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is guaranteed by Art. 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, Article 11, 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966, as well as Article 11 of the European Social Charter of 1996.

 

This year, the representative of the Russian Federation was elected as a President of the 70th World Health Assembly, the Charter of which was signed by the Russian Federation in 1946. Thus, she acknowledged that “the possession of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is one of the fundamental rights of everyone, regardless of race, religion, political beliefs, economic or social status”.

 

In addition, according to Art. 26 of the Federal Law of 21.11.2011 No 323-FZ “On the basis of public health protection in the Russian Federation” persons, who are in custody, serving a sentence in the form of restriction of liberty, arrest, deprivation of liberty or administrative arrest, are entitled to receive medical assistance, in particular, in necessary cases in medical institutions of the state health system and the municipal health care system in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation.

In pursuance of this Law the Government of the Russian Federation adopted the Resolution dated 28.12.2012 No 1466, which approved the Rules for the provision of medical care in medical institutions of the state and municipal health care system for persons held in custody or serving a sentence in the form of deprivation of liberty. The Rules provide for the possibility of inviting the medical specialists of the said medical institutions for consultation if it is impossible to provide medical assistance in the institutions of the criminal and executive system.

We note that all citizens of Ukraine, who are held for political reasons in the territory of the Russian Federation and the occupied Crimea, need proper medical care. Among them, Dmytro Shtyblikov, who after detention lost 30 kg and was brought to a dystopia, Stanislav Klykh, who lost his mental health after the torture that he suffered, Oleksandr Kostenko, who, due to the lack of an operation, runs the risk of losing the arm broken by the FSB’s staff, Oleksandr Rolchenko< who was in a hospital with a diagnosis of underweight, Volodymyr Dudka, who has been practicing self-medication with a stomach ulcer for ten months, Arsen Dzepparov, who is not provided with medical assistance despite cold kidneys, loss of hearing in his left ear and a sharp deterioration in vision, 19-year-old Pavlo Hryb who due to his disability is constantly taking drugs, so the lack of medicines and proper medical treatment in prison led to the appearance of ulcers on his body.

These are just a few examples of violation of the international obligations by the Russian Federation as for the right of Ukrainian political prisoners to the highest attainable standards of physical and mental health. From the moment of their illegal detention, independent physicians do not have access to them, and therefore, they cannot assess their health and provide proper medical care.

We address you with a request to raise before the Government of the Russian Federation the issue of the need to organize the access of physicians from the International Committee of the Red Cross and other reputable international health organizations to provide qualified medical assistance to Oleh Sentsov and all Ukrainian political prisoners from the LetMyPeopleGo list.

Center for Civil Liberties coordinating the #LetMyPeopleGo campaign

NGO “Association of Relatives of Political Prisoners of the Kremlin”

Media Initiative for Human Rights

Crimea Human Rights Group

Open Dialog Foundation

Association UMDPL

NGO “CrimeaSOS”

Luhansk Regional Human Rights Center “Alternative”

NGO “Social Action Center”

NGO “Peaceful Coast”

Human Rights Information Center

Expert Center for Human Rights

Charitable Foundation “East-SOS”

Euromaidan Press

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research

AIHO Foundation of Regional Initiatives

NGO “Human Rights Initiative”

NGO “Regional Center for Human Rights”/Sevastopol Human Rights Protection Group

KRF “Hromadska Alternatyva”

Centre for Civil Liberties’s statement on the pressure on civil society organisations in Poland

August 7, 2017

6 August, 2017, Kyiv

We have been cooperating with the Open Dialog Foundation (Poland) for many years. In the early days of mass protests in Ukraine, they were one of the first to render assistance to the
newly created initiative ‘EuroMaidan SOS’. The equipment that they provided was used by our civil society observers who were recording the process of fabricated trials against
peaceful protesters in Kyiv.
Following the occupation of Crimea by Russia and the commencement of the hybrid war in the Donbas, the Open Dialog Foundation supported our ‘LetMyPeopleGo’ campaign to
protect Ukrainian citizens, held in detention in Russian prisons for political reasons. Currently, they are among the most loyal defenders of the ‘Kremlin prisoners’ on the
international arena and consistently promote the issue of extending sanctions against the Russian Federation in the EU and the United States.
In view of this, it is very surprising to us to read statements, unsupported by evidence, about the alleged links of the Open Dialog Foundation with the Russian special services. It seems
that the publications, which appear in certain government media, are retaliation for the active position of the organisation and its participation in mass public protests in Poland. In
our opinion, it was the reason for which the shameful scheme of labelling dissidents as‘agents of the Kremlin’ was used.
In addition, currently, individual top Polish officials are calling for unreasonable additional tax audits of the Open Dialog Foundation and even for cancelling its registration as a non-
profit organisation. Similar pressure for participating in massive public protests is being exerted on a number of other public organisations in Poland.
We all remember what social changes took place after a long-lasting campaign of discrediting civic organisations in the Russian Federation alone. Therefore, we consider the
appearance of such publications a red flag for Poland, which has long been an example of democratic transformation of a country in the post-Soviet space, and especially for Ukraine.

Photo: Radio Liberty

Holding a meeting on human rights is not a terrorist conspiracy

July 10, 2017

10 July 2017

 

    On 5 July 2017, ten participants in a human rights training meeting were detained at Büyükada, one of the Princes’ Islands near İstanbul, Turkey. The group consisted of eight representatives of Turkish civil society organisations working on human rights and two foreign consultants on digital security and information management. By the afternoon of July 6, the lawyers of the detained persons learned that their clients are being investigated for membership of an armed organization, a terrorist offense, and will stay in investigative detention initially for seven days.
The undersigned organisations, national and international human rights NGOs from the OSCE region, members of the Civic Solidarity Platform, strongly reject this operation by the Turkish authorities. We appeal for the immediate and unconditional release of the detained persons, participants in a peaceful meeting to advance human rights. Human rights work should not be criminalized. Civil society work for human rights is an important contribution to a healthy society. Holding a meeting on human rights is not a terrorist conspiracy.
The Turkish citizens arrested are Özlem Dalkıran (Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly), lawyer Nalan Erkem (Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly), İlknur Üstün (Women’s Coalition), İdil Eser (Amnesty International Turkey director), Veli Acu (Human Rights Agenda Association), lawyer Günal Kurşun (Human Rights Agenda Association), Şeymus Özbekli (Rights Initiative), and Nejat Taştan (Equal Rights Watch Association). The two consultants are Ali Gharawi, from Sweden, and Peter Steudtner, from Germany.
In the past years, human rights defenders have on several occasions been targeted by governmental repression. This latest attack on human rights defenders comes amidst a wave of repression after the failed coup attempt of 15 July 2016 which has affected a much wider group of persons than those who may have been directly involved in the coup attempt, including journalists, lawyers and politicians. Only last month, Taner Kiliç, the president of Amnesty International Turkey, was arrested together with 22 other lawyers.

Article 19 (international, London)
Association of Ukrainian Human Rights Monitors on Law Enforcement
Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House
Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russia)
Center for Participation and Development (Georgia)
DRA – German-Russian Exchange (Germany)
Fair Trials (international, London)

Golos Svobody (Kyrgyzstan)
Helsinki Citizens Assembly Vanadzor (Armenia)
Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)
Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan
Human Rights House Foundation (international, Oslo)
Human Rights Information Center (Ukraine)
Human Rights Matter (Germany)
IDP Women Association “Consent” (Georgia)
International Partnership for Human Rights (international, Brussels)
International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (international, Copenhagen)
Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (Azerbaijan)
Kadyr Kasiyet (“Dignity”) (Kazakhstan)
Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law
Kharkiv regional foundation Public Alternative (Ukraine)
Legal Policy Research Center (Kazakhstan)
Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights (Germany)
Moscow Helsinki Group
Netherlands Helsinki Committee
Norwegian Helsinki Committee
Office of Civil Freedoms (Tajikistan)
Promo-LEX (Moldova)
Protection of rights without borders (Armenia)
Public Verdict (Russia)
Regional Center for Strategic Studies (Azerbaijan)
Solidarus (Germany)
SOVA Center for Information and Analysis (Russia)
Swiss Helsinki Committee
Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (Germany)
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) (international, Geneva)
[country names added if name of country not included in the name of the organization; for
international organisations, the city where their secretariat is located, is added]

The Civic Solidarity Platform is a decentralized advocacy network of independent civic groups
committed to improving the human rights situation in Europe, Eurasia and the US,
www.civicsolidarity.org.
Contact for this statement: Harry Hummel, Netherlands Helsinki Committee, hhummel@nhc.nl,
+31703926700

On the situation with the nomination at the “Eurovision” from Russia Yulia Samoylova

May 15, 2017

Ukraine has the right to demand the implementation of the law in relation to the Russian singer Yulii Samoylovoy, but the fact that Russia still decided to send its representative to this year held in Kiev “Eurovision” is a kind of a gesture of reconciliation. Such an opinion was expressed by the Russian human rights activist, head of the Moscow Helsinki Group Lyudmila Alekseeva.

“On the one hand, I am glad that our leaders still decide to send a Russian representative at” Eurovision “. Neighborly. This is a good step, which shows the desire of reconciliation. But on the other hand, I understand the Ukrainians: Crimea captured now want to make peace, but the Crimea is not returned. It is clear to me, “- Alexeyev said, commenting on the Ukrainian edition of” Explorer “the situation surrounding the nomination of the representative of Russia in the international music competition” Eurovision “.

Russian human rights activist has also recognized that “there are Ukrainian laws, and they must comply with.” However, she admitted that the Russian singer could have visited the Crimea, “whether he is Ukrainian.”

In this context, Alexeyev told that visited the peninsula, as it was her little homeland to the annexation of the Crimea. Due to old age she can not go there now, but “I fully admit that if I were younger, I would have to go on a his small home, no matter who it belongs to,” – she said.

“I would not want us to even about it [on participation in” Eurovision “Yulii Samoylovoy] quarreled. When fighting bosses, we should not pay attention to it. I belong to the Ukrainians as well as before. What a difference to us? Let them find out the relationship, and we have to treat each other with respect, as it should be neighbors, as it is necessary for people who have a common history, “- Alexeyev said.

At the same time, she added: “I feel very sorry for Russia because of this history of the Crimea.”

Recall that in Russia ended with the internal competitive selection of artists for the contest “Eurovision” -2017, the winner of which was a girl with a disability Julia Samoilova. In the summer of 2015 the singer participated in the festival “World of Sports, and good”, which was held in the Crimea. Thus, according to Ukrainian law, Samoilova violated the procedure for crossing the Ukrainian border. The singer is also listed as a “purgatory” center “Peacemaker”.

March 13 Advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Anton Gerashchenko said that the law enforcement agencies , there are two ways to resolve the situation on the Russian representative at “Eurovision” Yulii Samoylovoy, which violated the legislation of Ukraine. According to him, the first option – not to let Samoilov to Ukraine for violating the rules visit the occupied territory of Crimea. The second – to give Samoilova permission to enter the country, but at the same time and bring her to justice for violation of the state border.

Sourse, 14/05/2017

Such meetings are beneficial for all participants

June 10, 2015

Azerbaijani human rights activist and director of the Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan (HRCA), Eldar Zeynalov summed up ended in Kiev workshop on exchange of experiences and best practices “Improving skills in the field of human rights advocacy (promotion and protection of human rights).”

“Such meetings are mutually beneficial,” – suggested Eldar Zeynalov.

According to the head of the OCA, the seminar was attended by five representatives of Azerbaijan. “Except for me, their participation in the seminar later unveiled a lawyer Fariz Namazly. The names of the other three parties, I do not know if I can make public.

Organizers asked not to mention the names of the participants without agreement with them. I can only say that the two human rights defenders, and three lawyers participated from Azerbaijan. “

Recall that the seminar held in the capital of Ukraine on 4-5 June, organized by the Netherlands Helsinki Committee and the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland) for the human rights of a number of countries of the former Soviet Union, including Azerbaijan.

For two days, the participants discussed the planning and advocacy strategy (promotion and protection of human rights), including working with international organizations such as the UN, Council of Europe, the European Union and the OSCE, as well as exchanged between human rights defenders from different countries with innovative approaches to this area.

According to the expert, such events often performed earlier. It was the general training, and explain the ways of European standards, and so on.

“This workshop was more specific. Standards as they were, and have remained so, just change the working conditions. They exchanged views on how to operate in such conditions, how to achieve positive changes in human rights issues.

We never work in isolation. We have partners in the West, that we support or do not support. Which have their own vision of the situation in the country and is not always correct and complete. And the result is that some campaigns in our defense, wrong calculation, not the tone chosen, the methods used do not become “blank shot”, as he was selected.

And for “Westerners” to us useful to meet. It is mutually useful meeting. The workshop in addition to representatives of Azerbaijan, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, was also attended by representatives of immigrant organizations in France.

But in fact, they work in the Russian direction. I became more optimistic look at things and know what are the conditions for human rights defenders in Belarus, Russia.

In the same Russian clamped and dissidents, and human rights activists. They are looking for other outlets. Nobody is going to give, “- said E. Zeynalov.

Note that at the time of the seminar, after a brief lull, resumed again fighting in eastern Ukraine between the forces of the anti-terrorist operation and separatists.

According to E. Zeynalov, “in the city met the guys in camouflage, the number of police officers was greater than that observed a couple of years ago.”

“However, such as in Russia, where visitors to the carp, check documents, did not exist.

It is not felt that Kiev – the capital of the belligerent State. In the city center, where the Maidan, traces the events of last year. The same House of Trade Unions has not been refurbished. Many graffiti that were made then.

In a couple of places monuments installed. Sometimes came a beautiful girl who collected donations for the wounded. Only in this war, and manifested. No aggressive slogans on the wall, sometimes there are signs saying: “Ukraine – one country, one nation.” No militarist propaganda personally I have not seen “- he said.

Sourse, 09/06/2015

Результаты поиска:

Joint appeal on the inappropriate use of extremist charges, mass detention and use of torture against peaceful demonstrators, activists and government’s critics in Kazakhstan.

December 17, 2018

Despite the ratification of the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Kazakhstan, the human rights situation in the country has sharply deteriorated.

Fundamental rights, such as freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, are disrespected under the guise of fighting “extremism”. Since 13 March 2018, the day that marks the authorities’ ban of the peaceful opposition movement ‘Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan’ (DCK), more than 450 persons, participating in peaceful rallies or showing different form of support for DCK (e.g. posting and commenting social media contents, walking with blue balloons, etc.) have fallen victim of political persecution.

We call for a stepping up of efforts to ensure political pluralism in the country and condemn the repression of peaceful activists and supporters of opposition movement DCK and call for their unconditional release. Kazakhstan has to ensure its citizens free access to social media networks and independent media outlets, thus ceasing the blocking or restriction of such platforms. We stress the importance of the independence of lawyers and the protection of their rights to freely practice their profession and defend their clients without fear of reprisals.

We find this particularly worrying that on 10 May 2018, during the visit of European Parliament’s Delegation to Kazakhstan, police resorted to excessive use of force against peaceful protesters and detained more than 150 people, while others were placed under administrative arrests. On that day peaceful rallies against the use of torture and politically motivated imprisonment were held in cities across the country.

Among them, more than 30 people have been prosecuted in connection with their support of DCK’s ideas, including: activists Ablovas Dzhumayev, Almat Zhumagulov and poet Kenzhebek Abishev, social media user Aset Abishev and blogger Muratbek Tungishbayev. At least six persons have reported the use of torture and a lack of medical care in the place of detention. The practice of forced confession in exchange for release, and psychological pressure exerted on political prisoners and their relatives are undermining the trust in the Kazakhstani justice system, as exemplified by the cases of Aset Nurzhaubay and Muratbek Tungishbayev.

We were informed that political prisoners are losing hope for justice and taking desperate steps. For example, on 26 November 2018, Almat Zhumagulov and Kenzhebek Abishev threatened suicide in protest against the accusatory bias in court decisions and the fabricated nature of the case. On 27 November 2018, Zhumagulov cut his arm during the court session.At the same time Iskander Yerimbetov, the brother of human rights activist and lawyer Bota Jardemalie, was arrested, tortured and convicted in October 2018 to 7 years’ imprisonment in retaliation for his sister’s professional activities. Due to the outcome of his case, lawyers in Kazakhstan fear to defend victims of political persecution and torture.The number of political prisoners in Kazakhstan is increasing. More than 20 political prisoners are being held in detention. Human rights defenders are also under attack. Restrictions imposed on NGOs and criminal prosecution of human rights activists, such as Elena Semenova, severely shrink the space for civil society.

We call on Kazakhstani authorities to implement the communications from the UN Human Rights Committee, UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, and call without further delay to release the political prisoners Mukhtar Dzhakishev, Maks Bokayev and Iskander Yerimbetov; compliance with the UN requirements is an important condition for further cooperation between the EU and Kazakhstan

We expect the urgent intervention of the EEAS, encourage the initiation of further EU official monitoring missions and call on the EEAS to support such missions in order to observe the human rights situation and attend court trials against people prosecuted for political reasons. At the same time, we strongly recommend that the European Commission and the EU Member States pursue a policy of conditionality in the case of Kazakhstan. If the latter state wants to be a recipient of EU funding and attract investments, it first must ensure the cessation of cruel practices against detainees in prisons, an end to impunity for the offenders, freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, and the right to a defence and a free trial.

 

Signatures

 

Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)

Defending Democracy

Federazione Italiana Diritti Umani (FIDU)

Human Rights Information Center (Ukraine)

Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS)

Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG)

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research (KhISR)

Open Dialogue Foundation (ODF)

The Arrested Lawyers Initiative

Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF)

Polish authorities reduce the space for the activities of NGOs including human rights organizations in the country

May 2, 2018
Since the end of 2015, we have seen disturbing trends in the actions of the Polish government and the parliamentary majority formed by the populist-nationalist party, Law and Justice (PiS), which harm the activities of human rights defenders and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Poland.
Unconstitutional legislative initiatives have jeopardized both democracy and the rule of law in Poland, particularly the principle of effective separation of powers. Following an acute conflict, the ruling majority in the Parliament de facto subordinated the Constitutional Court to itself, making this state body fully dependent on political decisions.
Numerous leading Polish NGOs including human rights organizations have expressed disagreement with these actions. In July 2017, NGOs took active part in mass peaceful protests aimed at protecting the Constitution, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary in Poland.
The significant mobilization of society led to President Andrzej Duda vetoing two of the three controversial laws aimed at undermining the independence of the judiciary. in July 2017. The independence of the Supreme Court and the National Council of the Judiciary was temporarily preserved. However, the law on the system of ordinary courts came into force, widening the control of the Minister of Justice, who is also the General Prosecutor of Poland, over the courts. And so, as early as in December 2017, despite the next wave of public protests, the Parliament adopted slightly changed, unconstitutional laws that virtually eliminate the independence of the Supreme Court and the National Council of Justice.
In response to the participation of NGOs in peaceful protests, the authorities created numerous restrictions on the third sector. Many civil initiatives critical to the authorities were targeted for attack.
In July 2017, NGOs that criticized state bodies were subjected to escalated and unprecedented pressure. To date, this concerns, in particular, NGOs and initiatives such as: Citizens Solidary in Action [Obywatele Solidarnie w Akcji], Citizens of the Republic of Poland [Obywatele RP], the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog], the Committee for the Defence of Democracy [Komitet Obrony Demokracji], Action Democracy [Akcja Demokracja], the All-Poland Women’s Strike [Ogólnopolski Strajk Kobiet], the Centre for Women’s Rights [Centrum Praw Kobiet], the BABA Lubuskie Association for the Protection of Women’s Rights [BABA Lubuskie Stowarzyszenie na Rzecz Kobiet]. Some of these NGOs faced unjustified inspections, searches and lawsuits, and their representatives were subjected to numerous interrogations and even secret surveillance. Foreigners associated with these organizations are concerned about their future in Poland due to the possibility of losing their right to stay in the country.
For example, the Polish police conducted searches and seized documents and equipment from the offices of several women’s organizations (the offices of the Centre for Women’s Rights and the BABA Association). This happened the day after protest actions in defense of women’s rights in Poland was held in October 2017. Another example: Poland’s then-Minister of Foreign Affairs (MFA) filed a motion with the court to appoint what is known as a ‘compulsory administration’ to replace the existing members of the Management Board of the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog]. The dispute, which is being continued by the current Polish MFA Jacek Czaputowicz will eventually be resolved by a court ruling. Similar means were intended to be used against Citizens of the Republic of Poland [Obywatele RP] by the then-Minister of Interior, Mariusz Błaszczak.
Incidents of prosecution of LGBT organizations have been recorded. A particularly alarming signal is the cessation of a number of investigations into physical attacks against LGBT activists and the offices of their organizations. Alongside women’s rights organizations, they have been practically cut off from almost all available state-funding. The Polish state clearly favours initiatives focused on nationalist and religious values instead.
Members of the Polish government led by the then-Prime Minister Beata Szydło (in particular, the former Minister of the Interior, Mariusz Błaszczak, his deputy Jarosław Zieliński, the Minister–Coordinator of the Special Services of Poland Mariusz Kamiński, former Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski and the Minister of National Defence Antoni Macierewicz) publicly discussed actions to be taken against specific NGOs.
In addition, the aforementioned NGOs, as well as the Office of the Polish Ombudsman, have become victims of information attacks and denigrating media campaigns. These smear campaigns are based on manipulations, half-truths and outright falsehoods. These slanders are spread by state and pro-government Polish media having close ties to the ruling party.
NGOs have been accused of ‘manipulating public opinion’ and ‘artificially provoking protests’ ‘for money from abroad’. Their representatives are portrayed as ‘traitors to the motherland’, or ‘puppets’ in the hands of foreign states and other foreign actors (for example, George Soros, Russia, Germany or ‘Brussels elites’).
The denigrating campaigns aim to intimidate human rights defenders and undermine the trust of Polish society in the work of civil society. Another dangerous consequence of these campaigns may be the creation of negative attitudes towards any international or foreign structures in society. Recently, the actor and activist for the protection of the secular state Krzysztof Pieczyński fell victim to media harassment, and was subsequently beaten in the street by unknown persons in Warsaw.
Attacks on NGOs and human rights defenders are being carried out with the support of extreme right and nationalist organizations. The attacks are openly xenophobic in nature. In particular, they are being directed against the large community of Ukrainians in Poland. Some victims are being denied the right to Polish citizenship. These actions are related to the participation of Ukrainian citizens living in Poland in protests, as well as the work of the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog] and other Polish organizations which provided humanitarian assistance to Ukraine in the period of Euromaidan. 

Reluctant response of the law enforcement bodies to the nationalist and xenophobic incidents leads to growing number of assaults on foreigners in Poland.
Members of the right-wing parties of the Sejm and Members of the European Parliament from Poland are also carrying out hostile actions against specific NGOs and civil society in general. For example, six members of parliament have made public statements about the need to restrict or even stop the activities of the Open Dialog Foundation (Fundacja Otwarty Dialog). The organization was accused of representing an ‘external’ leftist ‘threat to the Polish State’, ‘violating Ukrainian–Polish relations’ and, in general, ‘provoking an uprising’ in Poland. No facts exist which would confirm that the organization has been carrying out such activities and, thus, no such evidence has been presented.
At the moment, according to the reports prepared by the Citizens of the Republic of Poland movement [Obywatele RP] (based on the gathered information), approximately 800 court proceedings are being conducted either directly against participants in the social protests and activists in social movements or in relation to their activities. In the report on oppression produced by the Citizens of the Republic of Poland,, as of the end of January 2018, 472 court trials had been initiated against protesters under the Code of Petty Offences; while a month earlier, there had been only 367 such trials. Twenty-eight criminal cases had been initiated under the Criminal Code (a month earlier there had been only 14 criminal cases), and nine persons were facing criminal charges.
Serious problems are also being caused by the new law on gatherings, which is highly controversial and widely perceived as unconstitutional, and which promotes the so-called cyclical gatherings, such as the Smolensk tragedy monthly commemoration (monthly demonstrations led by the leader of the ruling party, Jarosław Kaczyński, carried out with privileges unavailable to any other forms of street demonstration). For this reason, the Mazovian Voivode [governor] has regularly imposed a ban on pro-democracy protest actions organized on the same day by the Citizens Solidary in Action [Obywatele Solidarnie w Akcji]. Still, all of his previous decisions have been rejected by the District Court in Warsaw.
Serious concern over these attacks on the supremacy of civil rights and freedoms in Poland have been repeatedly expressed by members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (Resolution 2188 (2017), written declaration 641), pointing out in the statement on the resolution of 26 January 2018 that their demands have thus far been ignored by the Polish authorities.
The space for a dialogue between civil society and the authorities continues to shrink. Representatives of non-governmental organizations (particularly those affiliated with Citizens of the Republic of Poland movement [Obywatele RP] are commonly deprived of the opportunity to attend meetings and hearing of the Parliament’s Commissions. Several questionable legislative initiatives which address the most important aspects of public life are being considered without  any public consultation. In particular, these include changes in the legislation on the police, the introduction of anti-terrorism legislation, and amendments to the law on the Institute of National Remembrance (this last has already been adopted).
The authorities have changed some of the procedures for allocating public funds to NGOs. On 26 September 2017, the Senate passed a law regarding the National Institute of Freedom – Centre for the Development of Civil Society. The law was presented as being part of the government’s actions to strengthen civil society. However, the law was sharply criticized by the associations of NGOs and the Commissioner for Human Rights.
The law centralizes the government funds for public organizations within the framework of the established Centre. Since it is aimed at promoting activities which are in line with Christian and patriotic values, funding may become inaccessible for organizations whose work does not correlate with such values. Such an approach by the authorities violates the Constitution, which protects diversity of beliefs and views. The law was signed by the President on 12 October 2017 jeopardizing the independence of civil society in Poland.
Also, NGOs have recorded incidents of public funding having been either provided or terminated for political or ideological reasons.
In connection with the recent disturbing events, the International Civic Solidarity Platform hereby calls for the restoration of the participation of public and human rights organizations in democratic processes in Poland, a return to the European standards of interaction between civil society and government structures, and a guarantee of the independence of civil society initiatives in Poland.
Signed by the following organisations:​
1. The Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
2. Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)
3. Humanrights.ch
4. Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights (Germany/Switzerland)
5. International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law (Kazakhstan)
6. Citizens’ Watch, St. Petersburg (Russia)
7. Moscow Helsinki Group (Russia)
8. Public Verdict (Russia)
9. Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
10. Public Association “Dignity”
11. Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly – Vanadzor
12. Helsinki Committee of Armenia (Armenia)
13. KRF Public Alternative (Ukraine)
14. DRA – German-Russian Exchange (Germany)
15. “OMCT – World Organisation Against Torture”
16. Human Rights Monitoring Institute (Lithuania)
17. Legal Transformation Center (Belarus)
18. International Partnership for Human Rights (Belgium)
19. Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (Bulgaria)
20. Helsinki Association for Human Rights NGO Armenia (Armenia)
21. Human Rights Matter e.V. (Germany)
22. The Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House (Belarus)
23. WILPF Germany (Germany)
24. Association UMDPL (Ukraine)
25. Norwegian Helsinki Committee
26. The Kosova Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims (KRCT) from Kosovo
27. ZARA – Zivilcourage und Anti-Rassismus-Arbeit (Austria)
28. Women of the Don (Russia)
29. Crude Accountability
30. Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
31. Citizens Watch (Russia)
32. Regional Center for Strategic Studies ( Georgia/Azerbaijan)
33. Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russia)
34. UNITED
35. Netherlands Helsinki Committee

Source:
http://www.civicsolidarity.org/article/1545/polish-authorities-reduce-space-activities-ngos-including-human-rights-organizations

The Appeal about lack of proper medical care for Oleh Sentsov and other Ukrainian political prisoners from the LetMyPeopleGo list

November 29, 2017

To the Vice-Chancellor, the Federal Minister for Foreign

Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany,

Mr. Sigmar Gabriel

As of today, about 60 Ukrainian citizens have been detained on political grounds in the territory of the Russian Federation and the occupied Crimea. Most of them have been subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment to force false confessions about the actions they did not commit.

Oleh Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko, Valentyn Vygovsky, Mykola Karpiuk, Stanislav Klykh, Yevhen Panov, Andrii Zakhtey, Andrii Kolomiyets, Serhii Lytvynov, Oleksandr Kostenko and other illegally detained people publicly stated this. Yurii Yatsenko and Gennady Afanasyev, who were released, shared details about the unlawful practices that were applied to people under the control of the Russian Federation.

Stanislav Klykh’s appeal to the European Court of Human Rights is a clear illustration of illegal treatment by the state authorities of the Russian Federation:

“[…] In order to force me to testify, I was subjected to illegal methods of inquiry and investigation, expressed in causing me beatings and injuries, including using handcuffs and electric current, prolonged kneeling, resulting in numerous scars on my wrists, knees […] I was kept in the prison yard for several days without any water or food. As a result of the application of these methods, I was brought to a state of dystrophy, I could not hold a spoon, a pen in my hands, since the hands were dislocated as a result of being handcuffed to the bars”.

The situation is complicated by the unsatisfactory conditions of detention, which further contribute to a sharp deterioration in the health, development and exacerbation of chronic and other diseases.

 

The lawyer of the Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov, who was recognized as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, recently announced a sharp deterioration in the health of the illegally imprisoned. According to him, due to prolonged overcooling, the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis exacerbated and problems with the heart began.

 

We draw attention to the fact that human life and health are the highest values of every civilized state. The right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is guaranteed by Art. 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, Article 11, 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966, as well as Article 11 of the European Social Charter of 1996.

 

This year, the representative of the Russian Federation was elected as a President of the 70th World Health Assembly, the Charter of which was signed by the Russian Federation in 1946. Thus, she acknowledged that “the possession of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is one of the fundamental rights of everyone, regardless of race, religion, political beliefs, economic or social status”.

 

In addition, according to Art. 26 of the Federal Law of 21.11.2011 No 323-FZ “On the basis of public health protection in the Russian Federation” persons, who are in custody, serving a sentence in the form of restriction of liberty, arrest, deprivation of liberty or administrative arrest, are entitled to receive medical assistance, in particular, in necessary cases in medical institutions of the state health system and the municipal health care system in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation.

In pursuance of this Law the Government of the Russian Federation adopted the Resolution dated 28.12.2012 No 1466, which approved the Rules for the provision of medical care in medical institutions of the state and municipal health care system for persons held in custody or serving a sentence in the form of deprivation of liberty. The Rules provide for the possibility of inviting the medical specialists of the said medical institutions for consultation if it is impossible to provide medical assistance in the institutions of the criminal and executive system.

We note that all citizens of Ukraine, who are held for political reasons in the territory of the Russian Federation and the occupied Crimea, need proper medical care. Among them, Dmytro Shtyblikov, who after detention lost 30 kg and was brought to a dystopia, Stanislav Klykh, who lost his mental health after the torture that he suffered, Oleksandr Kostenko, who, due to the lack of an operation, runs the risk of losing the arm broken by the FSB’s staff, Oleksandr Rolchenko< who was in a hospital with a diagnosis of underweight, Volodymyr Dudka, who has been practicing self-medication with a stomach ulcer for ten months, Arsen Dzepparov, who is not provided with medical assistance despite cold kidneys, loss of hearing in his left ear and a sharp deterioration in vision, 19-year-old Pavlo Hryb who due to his disability is constantly taking drugs, so the lack of medicines and proper medical treatment in prison led to the appearance of ulcers on his body.

These are just a few examples of violation of the international obligations by the Russian Federation as for the right of Ukrainian political prisoners to the highest attainable standards of physical and mental health. From the moment of their illegal detention, independent physicians do not have access to them, and therefore, they cannot assess their health and provide proper medical care.

We address you with a request to raise before the Government of the Russian Federation the issue of the need to organize the access of physicians from the International Committee of the Red Cross and other reputable international health organizations to provide qualified medical assistance to Oleh Sentsov and all Ukrainian political prisoners from the LetMyPeopleGo list.

Center for Civil Liberties coordinating the #LetMyPeopleGo campaign

NGO “Association of Relatives of Political Prisoners of the Kremlin”

Media Initiative for Human Rights

Crimea Human Rights Group

Open Dialog Foundation

Association UMDPL

NGO “CrimeaSOS”

Luhansk Regional Human Rights Center “Alternative”

NGO “Social Action Center”

NGO “Peaceful Coast”

Human Rights Information Center

Expert Center for Human Rights

Charitable Foundation “East-SOS”

Euromaidan Press

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research

AIHO Foundation of Regional Initiatives

NGO “Human Rights Initiative”

NGO “Regional Center for Human Rights”/Sevastopol Human Rights Protection Group

KRF “Hromadska Alternatyva”

Centre for Civil Liberties’s statement on the pressure on civil society organisations in Poland

August 7, 2017

6 August, 2017, Kyiv

We have been cooperating with the Open Dialog Foundation (Poland) for many years. In the early days of mass protests in Ukraine, they were one of the first to render assistance to the
newly created initiative ‘EuroMaidan SOS’. The equipment that they provided was used by our civil society observers who were recording the process of fabricated trials against
peaceful protesters in Kyiv.
Following the occupation of Crimea by Russia and the commencement of the hybrid war in the Donbas, the Open Dialog Foundation supported our ‘LetMyPeopleGo’ campaign to
protect Ukrainian citizens, held in detention in Russian prisons for political reasons. Currently, they are among the most loyal defenders of the ‘Kremlin prisoners’ on the
international arena and consistently promote the issue of extending sanctions against the Russian Federation in the EU and the United States.
In view of this, it is very surprising to us to read statements, unsupported by evidence, about the alleged links of the Open Dialog Foundation with the Russian special services. It seems
that the publications, which appear in certain government media, are retaliation for the active position of the organisation and its participation in mass public protests in Poland. In
our opinion, it was the reason for which the shameful scheme of labelling dissidents as‘agents of the Kremlin’ was used.
In addition, currently, individual top Polish officials are calling for unreasonable additional tax audits of the Open Dialog Foundation and even for cancelling its registration as a non-
profit organisation. Similar pressure for participating in massive public protests is being exerted on a number of other public organisations in Poland.
We all remember what social changes took place after a long-lasting campaign of discrediting civic organisations in the Russian Federation alone. Therefore, we consider the
appearance of such publications a red flag for Poland, which has long been an example of democratic transformation of a country in the post-Soviet space, and especially for Ukraine.

Photo: Radio Liberty

Holding a meeting on human rights is not a terrorist conspiracy

July 10, 2017

10 July 2017

 

    On 5 July 2017, ten participants in a human rights training meeting were detained at Büyükada, one of the Princes’ Islands near İstanbul, Turkey. The group consisted of eight representatives of Turkish civil society organisations working on human rights and two foreign consultants on digital security and information management. By the afternoon of July 6, the lawyers of the detained persons learned that their clients are being investigated for membership of an armed organization, a terrorist offense, and will stay in investigative detention initially for seven days.
The undersigned organisations, national and international human rights NGOs from the OSCE region, members of the Civic Solidarity Platform, strongly reject this operation by the Turkish authorities. We appeal for the immediate and unconditional release of the detained persons, participants in a peaceful meeting to advance human rights. Human rights work should not be criminalized. Civil society work for human rights is an important contribution to a healthy society. Holding a meeting on human rights is not a terrorist conspiracy.
The Turkish citizens arrested are Özlem Dalkıran (Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly), lawyer Nalan Erkem (Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly), İlknur Üstün (Women’s Coalition), İdil Eser (Amnesty International Turkey director), Veli Acu (Human Rights Agenda Association), lawyer Günal Kurşun (Human Rights Agenda Association), Şeymus Özbekli (Rights Initiative), and Nejat Taştan (Equal Rights Watch Association). The two consultants are Ali Gharawi, from Sweden, and Peter Steudtner, from Germany.
In the past years, human rights defenders have on several occasions been targeted by governmental repression. This latest attack on human rights defenders comes amidst a wave of repression after the failed coup attempt of 15 July 2016 which has affected a much wider group of persons than those who may have been directly involved in the coup attempt, including journalists, lawyers and politicians. Only last month, Taner Kiliç, the president of Amnesty International Turkey, was arrested together with 22 other lawyers.

Article 19 (international, London)
Association of Ukrainian Human Rights Monitors on Law Enforcement
Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House
Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russia)
Center for Participation and Development (Georgia)
DRA – German-Russian Exchange (Germany)
Fair Trials (international, London)

Golos Svobody (Kyrgyzstan)
Helsinki Citizens Assembly Vanadzor (Armenia)
Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)
Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan
Human Rights House Foundation (international, Oslo)
Human Rights Information Center (Ukraine)
Human Rights Matter (Germany)
IDP Women Association “Consent” (Georgia)
International Partnership for Human Rights (international, Brussels)
International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (international, Copenhagen)
Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (Azerbaijan)
Kadyr Kasiyet (“Dignity”) (Kazakhstan)
Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law
Kharkiv regional foundation Public Alternative (Ukraine)
Legal Policy Research Center (Kazakhstan)
Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights (Germany)
Moscow Helsinki Group
Netherlands Helsinki Committee
Norwegian Helsinki Committee
Office of Civil Freedoms (Tajikistan)
Promo-LEX (Moldova)
Protection of rights without borders (Armenia)
Public Verdict (Russia)
Regional Center for Strategic Studies (Azerbaijan)
Solidarus (Germany)
SOVA Center for Information and Analysis (Russia)
Swiss Helsinki Committee
Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (Germany)
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) (international, Geneva)
[country names added if name of country not included in the name of the organization; for
international organisations, the city where their secretariat is located, is added]

The Civic Solidarity Platform is a decentralized advocacy network of independent civic groups
committed to improving the human rights situation in Europe, Eurasia and the US,
www.civicsolidarity.org.
Contact for this statement: Harry Hummel, Netherlands Helsinki Committee, hhummel@nhc.nl,
+31703926700

On the situation with the nomination at the “Eurovision” from Russia Yulia Samoylova

May 15, 2017

Ukraine has the right to demand the implementation of the law in relation to the Russian singer Yulii Samoylovoy, but the fact that Russia still decided to send its representative to this year held in Kiev “Eurovision” is a kind of a gesture of reconciliation. Such an opinion was expressed by the Russian human rights activist, head of the Moscow Helsinki Group Lyudmila Alekseeva.

“On the one hand, I am glad that our leaders still decide to send a Russian representative at” Eurovision “. Neighborly. This is a good step, which shows the desire of reconciliation. But on the other hand, I understand the Ukrainians: Crimea captured now want to make peace, but the Crimea is not returned. It is clear to me, “- Alexeyev said, commenting on the Ukrainian edition of” Explorer “the situation surrounding the nomination of the representative of Russia in the international music competition” Eurovision “.

Russian human rights activist has also recognized that “there are Ukrainian laws, and they must comply with.” However, she admitted that the Russian singer could have visited the Crimea, “whether he is Ukrainian.”

In this context, Alexeyev told that visited the peninsula, as it was her little homeland to the annexation of the Crimea. Due to old age she can not go there now, but “I fully admit that if I were younger, I would have to go on a his small home, no matter who it belongs to,” – she said.

“I would not want us to even about it [on participation in” Eurovision “Yulii Samoylovoy] quarreled. When fighting bosses, we should not pay attention to it. I belong to the Ukrainians as well as before. What a difference to us? Let them find out the relationship, and we have to treat each other with respect, as it should be neighbors, as it is necessary for people who have a common history, “- Alexeyev said.

At the same time, she added: “I feel very sorry for Russia because of this history of the Crimea.”

Recall that in Russia ended with the internal competitive selection of artists for the contest “Eurovision” -2017, the winner of which was a girl with a disability Julia Samoilova. In the summer of 2015 the singer participated in the festival “World of Sports, and good”, which was held in the Crimea. Thus, according to Ukrainian law, Samoilova violated the procedure for crossing the Ukrainian border. The singer is also listed as a “purgatory” center “Peacemaker”.

March 13 Advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Anton Gerashchenko said that the law enforcement agencies , there are two ways to resolve the situation on the Russian representative at “Eurovision” Yulii Samoylovoy, which violated the legislation of Ukraine. According to him, the first option – not to let Samoilov to Ukraine for violating the rules visit the occupied territory of Crimea. The second – to give Samoilova permission to enter the country, but at the same time and bring her to justice for violation of the state border.

Sourse, 14/05/2017

Such meetings are beneficial for all participants

June 10, 2015

Azerbaijani human rights activist and director of the Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan (HRCA), Eldar Zeynalov summed up ended in Kiev workshop on exchange of experiences and best practices “Improving skills in the field of human rights advocacy (promotion and protection of human rights).”

“Such meetings are mutually beneficial,” – suggested Eldar Zeynalov.

According to the head of the OCA, the seminar was attended by five representatives of Azerbaijan. “Except for me, their participation in the seminar later unveiled a lawyer Fariz Namazly. The names of the other three parties, I do not know if I can make public.

Organizers asked not to mention the names of the participants without agreement with them. I can only say that the two human rights defenders, and three lawyers participated from Azerbaijan. “

Recall that the seminar held in the capital of Ukraine on 4-5 June, organized by the Netherlands Helsinki Committee and the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland) for the human rights of a number of countries of the former Soviet Union, including Azerbaijan.

For two days, the participants discussed the planning and advocacy strategy (promotion and protection of human rights), including working with international organizations such as the UN, Council of Europe, the European Union and the OSCE, as well as exchanged between human rights defenders from different countries with innovative approaches to this area.

According to the expert, such events often performed earlier. It was the general training, and explain the ways of European standards, and so on.

“This workshop was more specific. Standards as they were, and have remained so, just change the working conditions. They exchanged views on how to operate in such conditions, how to achieve positive changes in human rights issues.

We never work in isolation. We have partners in the West, that we support or do not support. Which have their own vision of the situation in the country and is not always correct and complete. And the result is that some campaigns in our defense, wrong calculation, not the tone chosen, the methods used do not become “blank shot”, as he was selected.

And for “Westerners” to us useful to meet. It is mutually useful meeting. The workshop in addition to representatives of Azerbaijan, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, was also attended by representatives of immigrant organizations in France.

But in fact, they work in the Russian direction. I became more optimistic look at things and know what are the conditions for human rights defenders in Belarus, Russia.

In the same Russian clamped and dissidents, and human rights activists. They are looking for other outlets. Nobody is going to give, “- said E. Zeynalov.

Note that at the time of the seminar, after a brief lull, resumed again fighting in eastern Ukraine between the forces of the anti-terrorist operation and separatists.

According to E. Zeynalov, “in the city met the guys in camouflage, the number of police officers was greater than that observed a couple of years ago.”

“However, such as in Russia, where visitors to the carp, check documents, did not exist.

It is not felt that Kiev – the capital of the belligerent State. In the city center, where the Maidan, traces the events of last year. The same House of Trade Unions has not been refurbished. Many graffiti that were made then.

In a couple of places monuments installed. Sometimes came a beautiful girl who collected donations for the wounded. Only in this war, and manifested. No aggressive slogans on the wall, sometimes there are signs saying: “Ukraine – one country, one nation.” No militarist propaganda personally I have not seen “- he said.

Sourse, 09/06/2015

Результаты поиска:

Joint appeal on the inappropriate use of extremist charges, mass detention and use of torture against peaceful demonstrators, activists and government’s critics in Kazakhstan.

December 17, 2018

Despite the ratification of the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Kazakhstan, the human rights situation in the country has sharply deteriorated.

Fundamental rights, such as freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, are disrespected under the guise of fighting “extremism”. Since 13 March 2018, the day that marks the authorities’ ban of the peaceful opposition movement ‘Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan’ (DCK), more than 450 persons, participating in peaceful rallies or showing different form of support for DCK (e.g. posting and commenting social media contents, walking with blue balloons, etc.) have fallen victim of political persecution.

We call for a stepping up of efforts to ensure political pluralism in the country and condemn the repression of peaceful activists and supporters of opposition movement DCK and call for their unconditional release. Kazakhstan has to ensure its citizens free access to social media networks and independent media outlets, thus ceasing the blocking or restriction of such platforms. We stress the importance of the independence of lawyers and the protection of their rights to freely practice their profession and defend their clients without fear of reprisals.

We find this particularly worrying that on 10 May 2018, during the visit of European Parliament’s Delegation to Kazakhstan, police resorted to excessive use of force against peaceful protesters and detained more than 150 people, while others were placed under administrative arrests. On that day peaceful rallies against the use of torture and politically motivated imprisonment were held in cities across the country.

Among them, more than 30 people have been prosecuted in connection with their support of DCK’s ideas, including: activists Ablovas Dzhumayev, Almat Zhumagulov and poet Kenzhebek Abishev, social media user Aset Abishev and blogger Muratbek Tungishbayev. At least six persons have reported the use of torture and a lack of medical care in the place of detention. The practice of forced confession in exchange for release, and psychological pressure exerted on political prisoners and their relatives are undermining the trust in the Kazakhstani justice system, as exemplified by the cases of Aset Nurzhaubay and Muratbek Tungishbayev.

We were informed that political prisoners are losing hope for justice and taking desperate steps. For example, on 26 November 2018, Almat Zhumagulov and Kenzhebek Abishev threatened suicide in protest against the accusatory bias in court decisions and the fabricated nature of the case. On 27 November 2018, Zhumagulov cut his arm during the court session.At the same time Iskander Yerimbetov, the brother of human rights activist and lawyer Bota Jardemalie, was arrested, tortured and convicted in October 2018 to 7 years’ imprisonment in retaliation for his sister’s professional activities. Due to the outcome of his case, lawyers in Kazakhstan fear to defend victims of political persecution and torture.The number of political prisoners in Kazakhstan is increasing. More than 20 political prisoners are being held in detention. Human rights defenders are also under attack. Restrictions imposed on NGOs and criminal prosecution of human rights activists, such as Elena Semenova, severely shrink the space for civil society.

We call on Kazakhstani authorities to implement the communications from the UN Human Rights Committee, UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, and call without further delay to release the political prisoners Mukhtar Dzhakishev, Maks Bokayev and Iskander Yerimbetov; compliance with the UN requirements is an important condition for further cooperation between the EU and Kazakhstan

We expect the urgent intervention of the EEAS, encourage the initiation of further EU official monitoring missions and call on the EEAS to support such missions in order to observe the human rights situation and attend court trials against people prosecuted for political reasons. At the same time, we strongly recommend that the European Commission and the EU Member States pursue a policy of conditionality in the case of Kazakhstan. If the latter state wants to be a recipient of EU funding and attract investments, it first must ensure the cessation of cruel practices against detainees in prisons, an end to impunity for the offenders, freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, and the right to a defence and a free trial.

 

Signatures

 

Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)

Defending Democracy

Federazione Italiana Diritti Umani (FIDU)

Human Rights Information Center (Ukraine)

Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS)

Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG)

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research (KhISR)

Open Dialogue Foundation (ODF)

The Arrested Lawyers Initiative

Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF)

Polish authorities reduce the space for the activities of NGOs including human rights organizations in the country

May 2, 2018
Since the end of 2015, we have seen disturbing trends in the actions of the Polish government and the parliamentary majority formed by the populist-nationalist party, Law and Justice (PiS), which harm the activities of human rights defenders and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Poland.
Unconstitutional legislative initiatives have jeopardized both democracy and the rule of law in Poland, particularly the principle of effective separation of powers. Following an acute conflict, the ruling majority in the Parliament de facto subordinated the Constitutional Court to itself, making this state body fully dependent on political decisions.
Numerous leading Polish NGOs including human rights organizations have expressed disagreement with these actions. In July 2017, NGOs took active part in mass peaceful protests aimed at protecting the Constitution, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary in Poland.
The significant mobilization of society led to President Andrzej Duda vetoing two of the three controversial laws aimed at undermining the independence of the judiciary. in July 2017. The independence of the Supreme Court and the National Council of the Judiciary was temporarily preserved. However, the law on the system of ordinary courts came into force, widening the control of the Minister of Justice, who is also the General Prosecutor of Poland, over the courts. And so, as early as in December 2017, despite the next wave of public protests, the Parliament adopted slightly changed, unconstitutional laws that virtually eliminate the independence of the Supreme Court and the National Council of Justice.
In response to the participation of NGOs in peaceful protests, the authorities created numerous restrictions on the third sector. Many civil initiatives critical to the authorities were targeted for attack.
In July 2017, NGOs that criticized state bodies were subjected to escalated and unprecedented pressure. To date, this concerns, in particular, NGOs and initiatives such as: Citizens Solidary in Action [Obywatele Solidarnie w Akcji], Citizens of the Republic of Poland [Obywatele RP], the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog], the Committee for the Defence of Democracy [Komitet Obrony Demokracji], Action Democracy [Akcja Demokracja], the All-Poland Women’s Strike [Ogólnopolski Strajk Kobiet], the Centre for Women’s Rights [Centrum Praw Kobiet], the BABA Lubuskie Association for the Protection of Women’s Rights [BABA Lubuskie Stowarzyszenie na Rzecz Kobiet]. Some of these NGOs faced unjustified inspections, searches and lawsuits, and their representatives were subjected to numerous interrogations and even secret surveillance. Foreigners associated with these organizations are concerned about their future in Poland due to the possibility of losing their right to stay in the country.
For example, the Polish police conducted searches and seized documents and equipment from the offices of several women’s organizations (the offices of the Centre for Women’s Rights and the BABA Association). This happened the day after protest actions in defense of women’s rights in Poland was held in October 2017. Another example: Poland’s then-Minister of Foreign Affairs (MFA) filed a motion with the court to appoint what is known as a ‘compulsory administration’ to replace the existing members of the Management Board of the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog]. The dispute, which is being continued by the current Polish MFA Jacek Czaputowicz will eventually be resolved by a court ruling. Similar means were intended to be used against Citizens of the Republic of Poland [Obywatele RP] by the then-Minister of Interior, Mariusz Błaszczak.
Incidents of prosecution of LGBT organizations have been recorded. A particularly alarming signal is the cessation of a number of investigations into physical attacks against LGBT activists and the offices of their organizations. Alongside women’s rights organizations, they have been practically cut off from almost all available state-funding. The Polish state clearly favours initiatives focused on nationalist and religious values instead.
Members of the Polish government led by the then-Prime Minister Beata Szydło (in particular, the former Minister of the Interior, Mariusz Błaszczak, his deputy Jarosław Zieliński, the Minister–Coordinator of the Special Services of Poland Mariusz Kamiński, former Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski and the Minister of National Defence Antoni Macierewicz) publicly discussed actions to be taken against specific NGOs.
In addition, the aforementioned NGOs, as well as the Office of the Polish Ombudsman, have become victims of information attacks and denigrating media campaigns. These smear campaigns are based on manipulations, half-truths and outright falsehoods. These slanders are spread by state and pro-government Polish media having close ties to the ruling party.
NGOs have been accused of ‘manipulating public opinion’ and ‘artificially provoking protests’ ‘for money from abroad’. Their representatives are portrayed as ‘traitors to the motherland’, or ‘puppets’ in the hands of foreign states and other foreign actors (for example, George Soros, Russia, Germany or ‘Brussels elites’).
The denigrating campaigns aim to intimidate human rights defenders and undermine the trust of Polish society in the work of civil society. Another dangerous consequence of these campaigns may be the creation of negative attitudes towards any international or foreign structures in society. Recently, the actor and activist for the protection of the secular state Krzysztof Pieczyński fell victim to media harassment, and was subsequently beaten in the street by unknown persons in Warsaw.
Attacks on NGOs and human rights defenders are being carried out with the support of extreme right and nationalist organizations. The attacks are openly xenophobic in nature. In particular, they are being directed against the large community of Ukrainians in Poland. Some victims are being denied the right to Polish citizenship. These actions are related to the participation of Ukrainian citizens living in Poland in protests, as well as the work of the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog] and other Polish organizations which provided humanitarian assistance to Ukraine in the period of Euromaidan. 

Reluctant response of the law enforcement bodies to the nationalist and xenophobic incidents leads to growing number of assaults on foreigners in Poland.
Members of the right-wing parties of the Sejm and Members of the European Parliament from Poland are also carrying out hostile actions against specific NGOs and civil society in general. For example, six members of parliament have made public statements about the need to restrict or even stop the activities of the Open Dialog Foundation (Fundacja Otwarty Dialog). The organization was accused of representing an ‘external’ leftist ‘threat to the Polish State’, ‘violating Ukrainian–Polish relations’ and, in general, ‘provoking an uprising’ in Poland. No facts exist which would confirm that the organization has been carrying out such activities and, thus, no such evidence has been presented.
At the moment, according to the reports prepared by the Citizens of the Republic of Poland movement [Obywatele RP] (based on the gathered information), approximately 800 court proceedings are being conducted either directly against participants in the social protests and activists in social movements or in relation to their activities. In the report on oppression produced by the Citizens of the Republic of Poland,, as of the end of January 2018, 472 court trials had been initiated against protesters under the Code of Petty Offences; while a month earlier, there had been only 367 such trials. Twenty-eight criminal cases had been initiated under the Criminal Code (a month earlier there had been only 14 criminal cases), and nine persons were facing criminal charges.
Serious problems are also being caused by the new law on gatherings, which is highly controversial and widely perceived as unconstitutional, and which promotes the so-called cyclical gatherings, such as the Smolensk tragedy monthly commemoration (monthly demonstrations led by the leader of the ruling party, Jarosław Kaczyński, carried out with privileges unavailable to any other forms of street demonstration). For this reason, the Mazovian Voivode [governor] has regularly imposed a ban on pro-democracy protest actions organized on the same day by the Citizens Solidary in Action [Obywatele Solidarnie w Akcji]. Still, all of his previous decisions have been rejected by the District Court in Warsaw.
Serious concern over these attacks on the supremacy of civil rights and freedoms in Poland have been repeatedly expressed by members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (Resolution 2188 (2017), written declaration 641), pointing out in the statement on the resolution of 26 January 2018 that their demands have thus far been ignored by the Polish authorities.
The space for a dialogue between civil society and the authorities continues to shrink. Representatives of non-governmental organizations (particularly those affiliated with Citizens of the Republic of Poland movement [Obywatele RP] are commonly deprived of the opportunity to attend meetings and hearing of the Parliament’s Commissions. Several questionable legislative initiatives which address the most important aspects of public life are being considered without  any public consultation. In particular, these include changes in the legislation on the police, the introduction of anti-terrorism legislation, and amendments to the law on the Institute of National Remembrance (this last has already been adopted).
The authorities have changed some of the procedures for allocating public funds to NGOs. On 26 September 2017, the Senate passed a law regarding the National Institute of Freedom – Centre for the Development of Civil Society. The law was presented as being part of the government’s actions to strengthen civil society. However, the law was sharply criticized by the associations of NGOs and the Commissioner for Human Rights.
The law centralizes the government funds for public organizations within the framework of the established Centre. Since it is aimed at promoting activities which are in line with Christian and patriotic values, funding may become inaccessible for organizations whose work does not correlate with such values. Such an approach by the authorities violates the Constitution, which protects diversity of beliefs and views. The law was signed by the President on 12 October 2017 jeopardizing the independence of civil society in Poland.
Also, NGOs have recorded incidents of public funding having been either provided or terminated for political or ideological reasons.
In connection with the recent disturbing events, the International Civic Solidarity Platform hereby calls for the restoration of the participation of public and human rights organizations in democratic processes in Poland, a return to the European standards of interaction between civil society and government structures, and a guarantee of the independence of civil society initiatives in Poland.
Signed by the following organisations:​
1. The Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
2. Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)
3. Humanrights.ch
4. Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights (Germany/Switzerland)
5. International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law (Kazakhstan)
6. Citizens’ Watch, St. Petersburg (Russia)
7. Moscow Helsinki Group (Russia)
8. Public Verdict (Russia)
9. Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
10. Public Association “Dignity”
11. Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly – Vanadzor
12. Helsinki Committee of Armenia (Armenia)
13. KRF Public Alternative (Ukraine)
14. DRA – German-Russian Exchange (Germany)
15. “OMCT – World Organisation Against Torture”
16. Human Rights Monitoring Institute (Lithuania)
17. Legal Transformation Center (Belarus)
18. International Partnership for Human Rights (Belgium)
19. Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (Bulgaria)
20. Helsinki Association for Human Rights NGO Armenia (Armenia)
21. Human Rights Matter e.V. (Germany)
22. The Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House (Belarus)
23. WILPF Germany (Germany)
24. Association UMDPL (Ukraine)
25. Norwegian Helsinki Committee
26. The Kosova Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims (KRCT) from Kosovo
27. ZARA – Zivilcourage und Anti-Rassismus-Arbeit (Austria)
28. Women of the Don (Russia)
29. Crude Accountability
30. Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
31. Citizens Watch (Russia)
32. Regional Center for Strategic Studies ( Georgia/Azerbaijan)
33. Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russia)
34. UNITED
35. Netherlands Helsinki Committee

Source:
http://www.civicsolidarity.org/article/1545/polish-authorities-reduce-space-activities-ngos-including-human-rights-organizations

The Appeal about lack of proper medical care for Oleh Sentsov and other Ukrainian political prisoners from the LetMyPeopleGo list

November 29, 2017

To the Vice-Chancellor, the Federal Minister for Foreign

Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany,

Mr. Sigmar Gabriel

As of today, about 60 Ukrainian citizens have been detained on political grounds in the territory of the Russian Federation and the occupied Crimea. Most of them have been subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment to force false confessions about the actions they did not commit.

Oleh Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko, Valentyn Vygovsky, Mykola Karpiuk, Stanislav Klykh, Yevhen Panov, Andrii Zakhtey, Andrii Kolomiyets, Serhii Lytvynov, Oleksandr Kostenko and other illegally detained people publicly stated this. Yurii Yatsenko and Gennady Afanasyev, who were released, shared details about the unlawful practices that were applied to people under the control of the Russian Federation.

Stanislav Klykh’s appeal to the European Court of Human Rights is a clear illustration of illegal treatment by the state authorities of the Russian Federation:

“[…] In order to force me to testify, I was subjected to illegal methods of inquiry and investigation, expressed in causing me beatings and injuries, including using handcuffs and electric current, prolonged kneeling, resulting in numerous scars on my wrists, knees […] I was kept in the prison yard for several days without any water or food. As a result of the application of these methods, I was brought to a state of dystrophy, I could not hold a spoon, a pen in my hands, since the hands were dislocated as a result of being handcuffed to the bars”.

The situation is complicated by the unsatisfactory conditions of detention, which further contribute to a sharp deterioration in the health, development and exacerbation of chronic and other diseases.

 

The lawyer of the Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov, who was recognized as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, recently announced a sharp deterioration in the health of the illegally imprisoned. According to him, due to prolonged overcooling, the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis exacerbated and problems with the heart began.

 

We draw attention to the fact that human life and health are the highest values of every civilized state. The right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is guaranteed by Art. 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, Article 11, 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966, as well as Article 11 of the European Social Charter of 1996.

 

This year, the representative of the Russian Federation was elected as a President of the 70th World Health Assembly, the Charter of which was signed by the Russian Federation in 1946. Thus, she acknowledged that “the possession of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is one of the fundamental rights of everyone, regardless of race, religion, political beliefs, economic or social status”.

 

In addition, according to Art. 26 of the Federal Law of 21.11.2011 No 323-FZ “On the basis of public health protection in the Russian Federation” persons, who are in custody, serving a sentence in the form of restriction of liberty, arrest, deprivation of liberty or administrative arrest, are entitled to receive medical assistance, in particular, in necessary cases in medical institutions of the state health system and the municipal health care system in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation.

In pursuance of this Law the Government of the Russian Federation adopted the Resolution dated 28.12.2012 No 1466, which approved the Rules for the provision of medical care in medical institutions of the state and municipal health care system for persons held in custody or serving a sentence in the form of deprivation of liberty. The Rules provide for the possibility of inviting the medical specialists of the said medical institutions for consultation if it is impossible to provide medical assistance in the institutions of the criminal and executive system.

We note that all citizens of Ukraine, who are held for political reasons in the territory of the Russian Federation and the occupied Crimea, need proper medical care. Among them, Dmytro Shtyblikov, who after detention lost 30 kg and was brought to a dystopia, Stanislav Klykh, who lost his mental health after the torture that he suffered, Oleksandr Kostenko, who, due to the lack of an operation, runs the risk of losing the arm broken by the FSB’s staff, Oleksandr Rolchenko< who was in a hospital with a diagnosis of underweight, Volodymyr Dudka, who has been practicing self-medication with a stomach ulcer for ten months, Arsen Dzepparov, who is not provided with medical assistance despite cold kidneys, loss of hearing in his left ear and a sharp deterioration in vision, 19-year-old Pavlo Hryb who due to his disability is constantly taking drugs, so the lack of medicines and proper medical treatment in prison led to the appearance of ulcers on his body.

These are just a few examples of violation of the international obligations by the Russian Federation as for the right of Ukrainian political prisoners to the highest attainable standards of physical and mental health. From the moment of their illegal detention, independent physicians do not have access to them, and therefore, they cannot assess their health and provide proper medical care.

We address you with a request to raise before the Government of the Russian Federation the issue of the need to organize the access of physicians from the International Committee of the Red Cross and other reputable international health organizations to provide qualified medical assistance to Oleh Sentsov and all Ukrainian political prisoners from the LetMyPeopleGo list.

Center for Civil Liberties coordinating the #LetMyPeopleGo campaign

NGO “Association of Relatives of Political Prisoners of the Kremlin”

Media Initiative for Human Rights

Crimea Human Rights Group

Open Dialog Foundation

Association UMDPL

NGO “CrimeaSOS”

Luhansk Regional Human Rights Center “Alternative”

NGO “Social Action Center”

NGO “Peaceful Coast”

Human Rights Information Center

Expert Center for Human Rights

Charitable Foundation “East-SOS”

Euromaidan Press

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research

AIHO Foundation of Regional Initiatives

NGO “Human Rights Initiative”

NGO “Regional Center for Human Rights”/Sevastopol Human Rights Protection Group

KRF “Hromadska Alternatyva”

Centre for Civil Liberties’s statement on the pressure on civil society organisations in Poland

August 7, 2017

6 August, 2017, Kyiv

We have been cooperating with the Open Dialog Foundation (Poland) for many years. In the early days of mass protests in Ukraine, they were one of the first to render assistance to the
newly created initiative ‘EuroMaidan SOS’. The equipment that they provided was used by our civil society observers who were recording the process of fabricated trials against
peaceful protesters in Kyiv.
Following the occupation of Crimea by Russia and the commencement of the hybrid war in the Donbas, the Open Dialog Foundation supported our ‘LetMyPeopleGo’ campaign to
protect Ukrainian citizens, held in detention in Russian prisons for political reasons. Currently, they are among the most loyal defenders of the ‘Kremlin prisoners’ on the
international arena and consistently promote the issue of extending sanctions against the Russian Federation in the EU and the United States.
In view of this, it is very surprising to us to read statements, unsupported by evidence, about the alleged links of the Open Dialog Foundation with the Russian special services. It seems
that the publications, which appear in certain government media, are retaliation for the active position of the organisation and its participation in mass public protests in Poland. In
our opinion, it was the reason for which the shameful scheme of labelling dissidents as‘agents of the Kremlin’ was used.
In addition, currently, individual top Polish officials are calling for unreasonable additional tax audits of the Open Dialog Foundation and even for cancelling its registration as a non-
profit organisation. Similar pressure for participating in massive public protests is being exerted on a number of other public organisations in Poland.
We all remember what social changes took place after a long-lasting campaign of discrediting civic organisations in the Russian Federation alone. Therefore, we consider the
appearance of such publications a red flag for Poland, which has long been an example of democratic transformation of a country in the post-Soviet space, and especially for Ukraine.

Photo: Radio Liberty

Holding a meeting on human rights is not a terrorist conspiracy

July 10, 2017

10 July 2017

 

    On 5 July 2017, ten participants in a human rights training meeting were detained at Büyükada, one of the Princes’ Islands near İstanbul, Turkey. The group consisted of eight representatives of Turkish civil society organisations working on human rights and two foreign consultants on digital security and information management. By the afternoon of July 6, the lawyers of the detained persons learned that their clients are being investigated for membership of an armed organization, a terrorist offense, and will stay in investigative detention initially for seven days.
The undersigned organisations, national and international human rights NGOs from the OSCE region, members of the Civic Solidarity Platform, strongly reject this operation by the Turkish authorities. We appeal for the immediate and unconditional release of the detained persons, participants in a peaceful meeting to advance human rights. Human rights work should not be criminalized. Civil society work for human rights is an important contribution to a healthy society. Holding a meeting on human rights is not a terrorist conspiracy.
The Turkish citizens arrested are Özlem Dalkıran (Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly), lawyer Nalan Erkem (Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly), İlknur Üstün (Women’s Coalition), İdil Eser (Amnesty International Turkey director), Veli Acu (Human Rights Agenda Association), lawyer Günal Kurşun (Human Rights Agenda Association), Şeymus Özbekli (Rights Initiative), and Nejat Taştan (Equal Rights Watch Association). The two consultants are Ali Gharawi, from Sweden, and Peter Steudtner, from Germany.
In the past years, human rights defenders have on several occasions been targeted by governmental repression. This latest attack on human rights defenders comes amidst a wave of repression after the failed coup attempt of 15 July 2016 which has affected a much wider group of persons than those who may have been directly involved in the coup attempt, including journalists, lawyers and politicians. Only last month, Taner Kiliç, the president of Amnesty International Turkey, was arrested together with 22 other lawyers.

Article 19 (international, London)
Association of Ukrainian Human Rights Monitors on Law Enforcement
Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House
Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russia)
Center for Participation and Development (Georgia)
DRA – German-Russian Exchange (Germany)
Fair Trials (international, London)

Golos Svobody (Kyrgyzstan)
Helsinki Citizens Assembly Vanadzor (Armenia)
Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)
Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan
Human Rights House Foundation (international, Oslo)
Human Rights Information Center (Ukraine)
Human Rights Matter (Germany)
IDP Women Association “Consent” (Georgia)
International Partnership for Human Rights (international, Brussels)
International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (international, Copenhagen)
Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (Azerbaijan)
Kadyr Kasiyet (“Dignity”) (Kazakhstan)
Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law
Kharkiv regional foundation Public Alternative (Ukraine)
Legal Policy Research Center (Kazakhstan)
Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights (Germany)
Moscow Helsinki Group
Netherlands Helsinki Committee
Norwegian Helsinki Committee
Office of Civil Freedoms (Tajikistan)
Promo-LEX (Moldova)
Protection of rights without borders (Armenia)
Public Verdict (Russia)
Regional Center for Strategic Studies (Azerbaijan)
Solidarus (Germany)
SOVA Center for Information and Analysis (Russia)
Swiss Helsinki Committee
Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (Germany)
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) (international, Geneva)
[country names added if name of country not included in the name of the organization; for
international organisations, the city where their secretariat is located, is added]

The Civic Solidarity Platform is a decentralized advocacy network of independent civic groups
committed to improving the human rights situation in Europe, Eurasia and the US,
www.civicsolidarity.org.
Contact for this statement: Harry Hummel, Netherlands Helsinki Committee, hhummel@nhc.nl,
+31703926700

On the situation with the nomination at the “Eurovision” from Russia Yulia Samoylova

May 15, 2017

Ukraine has the right to demand the implementation of the law in relation to the Russian singer Yulii Samoylovoy, but the fact that Russia still decided to send its representative to this year held in Kiev “Eurovision” is a kind of a gesture of reconciliation. Such an opinion was expressed by the Russian human rights activist, head of the Moscow Helsinki Group Lyudmila Alekseeva.

“On the one hand, I am glad that our leaders still decide to send a Russian representative at” Eurovision “. Neighborly. This is a good step, which shows the desire of reconciliation. But on the other hand, I understand the Ukrainians: Crimea captured now want to make peace, but the Crimea is not returned. It is clear to me, “- Alexeyev said, commenting on the Ukrainian edition of” Explorer “the situation surrounding the nomination of the representative of Russia in the international music competition” Eurovision “.

Russian human rights activist has also recognized that “there are Ukrainian laws, and they must comply with.” However, she admitted that the Russian singer could have visited the Crimea, “whether he is Ukrainian.”

In this context, Alexeyev told that visited the peninsula, as it was her little homeland to the annexation of the Crimea. Due to old age she can not go there now, but “I fully admit that if I were younger, I would have to go on a his small home, no matter who it belongs to,” – she said.

“I would not want us to even about it [on participation in” Eurovision “Yulii Samoylovoy] quarreled. When fighting bosses, we should not pay attention to it. I belong to the Ukrainians as well as before. What a difference to us? Let them find out the relationship, and we have to treat each other with respect, as it should be neighbors, as it is necessary for people who have a common history, “- Alexeyev said.

At the same time, she added: “I feel very sorry for Russia because of this history of the Crimea.”

Recall that in Russia ended with the internal competitive selection of artists for the contest “Eurovision” -2017, the winner of which was a girl with a disability Julia Samoilova. In the summer of 2015 the singer participated in the festival “World of Sports, and good”, which was held in the Crimea. Thus, according to Ukrainian law, Samoilova violated the procedure for crossing the Ukrainian border. The singer is also listed as a “purgatory” center “Peacemaker”.

March 13 Advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Anton Gerashchenko said that the law enforcement agencies , there are two ways to resolve the situation on the Russian representative at “Eurovision” Yulii Samoylovoy, which violated the legislation of Ukraine. According to him, the first option – not to let Samoilov to Ukraine for violating the rules visit the occupied territory of Crimea. The second – to give Samoilova permission to enter the country, but at the same time and bring her to justice for violation of the state border.

Sourse, 14/05/2017

Such meetings are beneficial for all participants

June 10, 2015

Azerbaijani human rights activist and director of the Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan (HRCA), Eldar Zeynalov summed up ended in Kiev workshop on exchange of experiences and best practices “Improving skills in the field of human rights advocacy (promotion and protection of human rights).”

“Such meetings are mutually beneficial,” – suggested Eldar Zeynalov.

According to the head of the OCA, the seminar was attended by five representatives of Azerbaijan. “Except for me, their participation in the seminar later unveiled a lawyer Fariz Namazly. The names of the other three parties, I do not know if I can make public.

Organizers asked not to mention the names of the participants without agreement with them. I can only say that the two human rights defenders, and three lawyers participated from Azerbaijan. “

Recall that the seminar held in the capital of Ukraine on 4-5 June, organized by the Netherlands Helsinki Committee and the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland) for the human rights of a number of countries of the former Soviet Union, including Azerbaijan.

For two days, the participants discussed the planning and advocacy strategy (promotion and protection of human rights), including working with international organizations such as the UN, Council of Europe, the European Union and the OSCE, as well as exchanged between human rights defenders from different countries with innovative approaches to this area.

According to the expert, such events often performed earlier. It was the general training, and explain the ways of European standards, and so on.

“This workshop was more specific. Standards as they were, and have remained so, just change the working conditions. They exchanged views on how to operate in such conditions, how to achieve positive changes in human rights issues.

We never work in isolation. We have partners in the West, that we support or do not support. Which have their own vision of the situation in the country and is not always correct and complete. And the result is that some campaigns in our defense, wrong calculation, not the tone chosen, the methods used do not become “blank shot”, as he was selected.

And for “Westerners” to us useful to meet. It is mutually useful meeting. The workshop in addition to representatives of Azerbaijan, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, was also attended by representatives of immigrant organizations in France.

But in fact, they work in the Russian direction. I became more optimistic look at things and know what are the conditions for human rights defenders in Belarus, Russia.

In the same Russian clamped and dissidents, and human rights activists. They are looking for other outlets. Nobody is going to give, “- said E. Zeynalov.

Note that at the time of the seminar, after a brief lull, resumed again fighting in eastern Ukraine between the forces of the anti-terrorist operation and separatists.

According to E. Zeynalov, “in the city met the guys in camouflage, the number of police officers was greater than that observed a couple of years ago.”

“However, such as in Russia, where visitors to the carp, check documents, did not exist.

It is not felt that Kiev – the capital of the belligerent State. In the city center, where the Maidan, traces the events of last year. The same House of Trade Unions has not been refurbished. Many graffiti that were made then.

In a couple of places monuments installed. Sometimes came a beautiful girl who collected donations for the wounded. Only in this war, and manifested. No aggressive slogans on the wall, sometimes there are signs saying: “Ukraine – one country, one nation.” No militarist propaganda personally I have not seen “- he said.

Sourse, 09/06/2015

Результаты поиска:

Joint appeal on the inappropriate use of extremist charges, mass detention and use of torture against peaceful demonstrators, activists and government’s critics in Kazakhstan.

December 17, 2018

Despite the ratification of the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Kazakhstan, the human rights situation in the country has sharply deteriorated.

Fundamental rights, such as freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, are disrespected under the guise of fighting “extremism”. Since 13 March 2018, the day that marks the authorities’ ban of the peaceful opposition movement ‘Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan’ (DCK), more than 450 persons, participating in peaceful rallies or showing different form of support for DCK (e.g. posting and commenting social media contents, walking with blue balloons, etc.) have fallen victim of political persecution.

We call for a stepping up of efforts to ensure political pluralism in the country and condemn the repression of peaceful activists and supporters of opposition movement DCK and call for their unconditional release. Kazakhstan has to ensure its citizens free access to social media networks and independent media outlets, thus ceasing the blocking or restriction of such platforms. We stress the importance of the independence of lawyers and the protection of their rights to freely practice their profession and defend their clients without fear of reprisals.

We find this particularly worrying that on 10 May 2018, during the visit of European Parliament’s Delegation to Kazakhstan, police resorted to excessive use of force against peaceful protesters and detained more than 150 people, while others were placed under administrative arrests. On that day peaceful rallies against the use of torture and politically motivated imprisonment were held in cities across the country.

Among them, more than 30 people have been prosecuted in connection with their support of DCK’s ideas, including: activists Ablovas Dzhumayev, Almat Zhumagulov and poet Kenzhebek Abishev, social media user Aset Abishev and blogger Muratbek Tungishbayev. At least six persons have reported the use of torture and a lack of medical care in the place of detention. The practice of forced confession in exchange for release, and psychological pressure exerted on political prisoners and their relatives are undermining the trust in the Kazakhstani justice system, as exemplified by the cases of Aset Nurzhaubay and Muratbek Tungishbayev.

We were informed that political prisoners are losing hope for justice and taking desperate steps. For example, on 26 November 2018, Almat Zhumagulov and Kenzhebek Abishev threatened suicide in protest against the accusatory bias in court decisions and the fabricated nature of the case. On 27 November 2018, Zhumagulov cut his arm during the court session.At the same time Iskander Yerimbetov, the brother of human rights activist and lawyer Bota Jardemalie, was arrested, tortured and convicted in October 2018 to 7 years’ imprisonment in retaliation for his sister’s professional activities. Due to the outcome of his case, lawyers in Kazakhstan fear to defend victims of political persecution and torture.The number of political prisoners in Kazakhstan is increasing. More than 20 political prisoners are being held in detention. Human rights defenders are also under attack. Restrictions imposed on NGOs and criminal prosecution of human rights activists, such as Elena Semenova, severely shrink the space for civil society.

We call on Kazakhstani authorities to implement the communications from the UN Human Rights Committee, UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, and call without further delay to release the political prisoners Mukhtar Dzhakishev, Maks Bokayev and Iskander Yerimbetov; compliance with the UN requirements is an important condition for further cooperation between the EU and Kazakhstan

We expect the urgent intervention of the EEAS, encourage the initiation of further EU official monitoring missions and call on the EEAS to support such missions in order to observe the human rights situation and attend court trials against people prosecuted for political reasons. At the same time, we strongly recommend that the European Commission and the EU Member States pursue a policy of conditionality in the case of Kazakhstan. If the latter state wants to be a recipient of EU funding and attract investments, it first must ensure the cessation of cruel practices against detainees in prisons, an end to impunity for the offenders, freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, and the right to a defence and a free trial.

 

Signatures

 

Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)

Defending Democracy

Federazione Italiana Diritti Umani (FIDU)

Human Rights Information Center (Ukraine)

Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS)

Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG)

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research (KhISR)

Open Dialogue Foundation (ODF)

The Arrested Lawyers Initiative

Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF)

Polish authorities reduce the space for the activities of NGOs including human rights organizations in the country

May 2, 2018
Since the end of 2015, we have seen disturbing trends in the actions of the Polish government and the parliamentary majority formed by the populist-nationalist party, Law and Justice (PiS), which harm the activities of human rights defenders and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Poland.
Unconstitutional legislative initiatives have jeopardized both democracy and the rule of law in Poland, particularly the principle of effective separation of powers. Following an acute conflict, the ruling majority in the Parliament de facto subordinated the Constitutional Court to itself, making this state body fully dependent on political decisions.
Numerous leading Polish NGOs including human rights organizations have expressed disagreement with these actions. In July 2017, NGOs took active part in mass peaceful protests aimed at protecting the Constitution, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary in Poland.
The significant mobilization of society led to President Andrzej Duda vetoing two of the three controversial laws aimed at undermining the independence of the judiciary. in July 2017. The independence of the Supreme Court and the National Council of the Judiciary was temporarily preserved. However, the law on the system of ordinary courts came into force, widening the control of the Minister of Justice, who is also the General Prosecutor of Poland, over the courts. And so, as early as in December 2017, despite the next wave of public protests, the Parliament adopted slightly changed, unconstitutional laws that virtually eliminate the independence of the Supreme Court and the National Council of Justice.
In response to the participation of NGOs in peaceful protests, the authorities created numerous restrictions on the third sector. Many civil initiatives critical to the authorities were targeted for attack.
In July 2017, NGOs that criticized state bodies were subjected to escalated and unprecedented pressure. To date, this concerns, in particular, NGOs and initiatives such as: Citizens Solidary in Action [Obywatele Solidarnie w Akcji], Citizens of the Republic of Poland [Obywatele RP], the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog], the Committee for the Defence of Democracy [Komitet Obrony Demokracji], Action Democracy [Akcja Demokracja], the All-Poland Women’s Strike [Ogólnopolski Strajk Kobiet], the Centre for Women’s Rights [Centrum Praw Kobiet], the BABA Lubuskie Association for the Protection of Women’s Rights [BABA Lubuskie Stowarzyszenie na Rzecz Kobiet]. Some of these NGOs faced unjustified inspections, searches and lawsuits, and their representatives were subjected to numerous interrogations and even secret surveillance. Foreigners associated with these organizations are concerned about their future in Poland due to the possibility of losing their right to stay in the country.
For example, the Polish police conducted searches and seized documents and equipment from the offices of several women’s organizations (the offices of the Centre for Women’s Rights and the BABA Association). This happened the day after protest actions in defense of women’s rights in Poland was held in October 2017. Another example: Poland’s then-Minister of Foreign Affairs (MFA) filed a motion with the court to appoint what is known as a ‘compulsory administration’ to replace the existing members of the Management Board of the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog]. The dispute, which is being continued by the current Polish MFA Jacek Czaputowicz will eventually be resolved by a court ruling. Similar means were intended to be used against Citizens of the Republic of Poland [Obywatele RP] by the then-Minister of Interior, Mariusz Błaszczak.
Incidents of prosecution of LGBT organizations have been recorded. A particularly alarming signal is the cessation of a number of investigations into physical attacks against LGBT activists and the offices of their organizations. Alongside women’s rights organizations, they have been practically cut off from almost all available state-funding. The Polish state clearly favours initiatives focused on nationalist and religious values instead.
Members of the Polish government led by the then-Prime Minister Beata Szydło (in particular, the former Minister of the Interior, Mariusz Błaszczak, his deputy Jarosław Zieliński, the Minister–Coordinator of the Special Services of Poland Mariusz Kamiński, former Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski and the Minister of National Defence Antoni Macierewicz) publicly discussed actions to be taken against specific NGOs.
In addition, the aforementioned NGOs, as well as the Office of the Polish Ombudsman, have become victims of information attacks and denigrating media campaigns. These smear campaigns are based on manipulations, half-truths and outright falsehoods. These slanders are spread by state and pro-government Polish media having close ties to the ruling party.
NGOs have been accused of ‘manipulating public opinion’ and ‘artificially provoking protests’ ‘for money from abroad’. Their representatives are portrayed as ‘traitors to the motherland’, or ‘puppets’ in the hands of foreign states and other foreign actors (for example, George Soros, Russia, Germany or ‘Brussels elites’).
The denigrating campaigns aim to intimidate human rights defenders and undermine the trust of Polish society in the work of civil society. Another dangerous consequence of these campaigns may be the creation of negative attitudes towards any international or foreign structures in society. Recently, the actor and activist for the protection of the secular state Krzysztof Pieczyński fell victim to media harassment, and was subsequently beaten in the street by unknown persons in Warsaw.
Attacks on NGOs and human rights defenders are being carried out with the support of extreme right and nationalist organizations. The attacks are openly xenophobic in nature. In particular, they are being directed against the large community of Ukrainians in Poland. Some victims are being denied the right to Polish citizenship. These actions are related to the participation of Ukrainian citizens living in Poland in protests, as well as the work of the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog] and other Polish organizations which provided humanitarian assistance to Ukraine in the period of Euromaidan. 

Reluctant response of the law enforcement bodies to the nationalist and xenophobic incidents leads to growing number of assaults on foreigners in Poland.
Members of the right-wing parties of the Sejm and Members of the European Parliament from Poland are also carrying out hostile actions against specific NGOs and civil society in general. For example, six members of parliament have made public statements about the need to restrict or even stop the activities of the Open Dialog Foundation (Fundacja Otwarty Dialog). The organization was accused of representing an ‘external’ leftist ‘threat to the Polish State’, ‘violating Ukrainian–Polish relations’ and, in general, ‘provoking an uprising’ in Poland. No facts exist which would confirm that the organization has been carrying out such activities and, thus, no such evidence has been presented.
At the moment, according to the reports prepared by the Citizens of the Republic of Poland movement [Obywatele RP] (based on the gathered information), approximately 800 court proceedings are being conducted either directly against participants in the social protests and activists in social movements or in relation to their activities. In the report on oppression produced by the Citizens of the Republic of Poland,, as of the end of January 2018, 472 court trials had been initiated against protesters under the Code of Petty Offences; while a month earlier, there had been only 367 such trials. Twenty-eight criminal cases had been initiated under the Criminal Code (a month earlier there had been only 14 criminal cases), and nine persons were facing criminal charges.
Serious problems are also being caused by the new law on gatherings, which is highly controversial and widely perceived as unconstitutional, and which promotes the so-called cyclical gatherings, such as the Smolensk tragedy monthly commemoration (monthly demonstrations led by the leader of the ruling party, Jarosław Kaczyński, carried out with privileges unavailable to any other forms of street demonstration). For this reason, the Mazovian Voivode [governor] has regularly imposed a ban on pro-democracy protest actions organized on the same day by the Citizens Solidary in Action [Obywatele Solidarnie w Akcji]. Still, all of his previous decisions have been rejected by the District Court in Warsaw.
Serious concern over these attacks on the supremacy of civil rights and freedoms in Poland have been repeatedly expressed by members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (Resolution 2188 (2017), written declaration 641), pointing out in the statement on the resolution of 26 January 2018 that their demands have thus far been ignored by the Polish authorities.
The space for a dialogue between civil society and the authorities continues to shrink. Representatives of non-governmental organizations (particularly those affiliated with Citizens of the Republic of Poland movement [Obywatele RP] are commonly deprived of the opportunity to attend meetings and hearing of the Parliament’s Commissions. Several questionable legislative initiatives which address the most important aspects of public life are being considered without  any public consultation. In particular, these include changes in the legislation on the police, the introduction of anti-terrorism legislation, and amendments to the law on the Institute of National Remembrance (this last has already been adopted).
The authorities have changed some of the procedures for allocating public funds to NGOs. On 26 September 2017, the Senate passed a law regarding the National Institute of Freedom – Centre for the Development of Civil Society. The law was presented as being part of the government’s actions to strengthen civil society. However, the law was sharply criticized by the associations of NGOs and the Commissioner for Human Rights.
The law centralizes the government funds for public organizations within the framework of the established Centre. Since it is aimed at promoting activities which are in line with Christian and patriotic values, funding may become inaccessible for organizations whose work does not correlate with such values. Such an approach by the authorities violates the Constitution, which protects diversity of beliefs and views. The law was signed by the President on 12 October 2017 jeopardizing the independence of civil society in Poland.
Also, NGOs have recorded incidents of public funding having been either provided or terminated for political or ideological reasons.
In connection with the recent disturbing events, the International Civic Solidarity Platform hereby calls for the restoration of the participation of public and human rights organizations in democratic processes in Poland, a return to the European standards of interaction between civil society and government structures, and a guarantee of the independence of civil society initiatives in Poland.
Signed by the following organisations:​
1. The Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
2. Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)
3. Humanrights.ch
4. Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights (Germany/Switzerland)
5. International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law (Kazakhstan)
6. Citizens’ Watch, St. Petersburg (Russia)
7. Moscow Helsinki Group (Russia)
8. Public Verdict (Russia)
9. Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
10. Public Association “Dignity”
11. Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly – Vanadzor
12. Helsinki Committee of Armenia (Armenia)
13. KRF Public Alternative (Ukraine)
14. DRA – German-Russian Exchange (Germany)
15. “OMCT – World Organisation Against Torture”
16. Human Rights Monitoring Institute (Lithuania)
17. Legal Transformation Center (Belarus)
18. International Partnership for Human Rights (Belgium)
19. Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (Bulgaria)
20. Helsinki Association for Human Rights NGO Armenia (Armenia)
21. Human Rights Matter e.V. (Germany)
22. The Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House (Belarus)
23. WILPF Germany (Germany)
24. Association UMDPL (Ukraine)
25. Norwegian Helsinki Committee
26. The Kosova Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims (KRCT) from Kosovo
27. ZARA – Zivilcourage und Anti-Rassismus-Arbeit (Austria)
28. Women of the Don (Russia)
29. Crude Accountability
30. Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
31. Citizens Watch (Russia)
32. Regional Center for Strategic Studies ( Georgia/Azerbaijan)
33. Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russia)
34. UNITED
35. Netherlands Helsinki Committee

Source:
http://www.civicsolidarity.org/article/1545/polish-authorities-reduce-space-activities-ngos-including-human-rights-organizations

The Appeal about lack of proper medical care for Oleh Sentsov and other Ukrainian political prisoners from the LetMyPeopleGo list

November 29, 2017

To the Vice-Chancellor, the Federal Minister for Foreign

Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany,

Mr. Sigmar Gabriel

As of today, about 60 Ukrainian citizens have been detained on political grounds in the territory of the Russian Federation and the occupied Crimea. Most of them have been subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment to force false confessions about the actions they did not commit.

Oleh Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko, Valentyn Vygovsky, Mykola Karpiuk, Stanislav Klykh, Yevhen Panov, Andrii Zakhtey, Andrii Kolomiyets, Serhii Lytvynov, Oleksandr Kostenko and other illegally detained people publicly stated this. Yurii Yatsenko and Gennady Afanasyev, who were released, shared details about the unlawful practices that were applied to people under the control of the Russian Federation.

Stanislav Klykh’s appeal to the European Court of Human Rights is a clear illustration of illegal treatment by the state authorities of the Russian Federation:

“[…] In order to force me to testify, I was subjected to illegal methods of inquiry and investigation, expressed in causing me beatings and injuries, including using handcuffs and electric current, prolonged kneeling, resulting in numerous scars on my wrists, knees […] I was kept in the prison yard for several days without any water or food. As a result of the application of these methods, I was brought to a state of dystrophy, I could not hold a spoon, a pen in my hands, since the hands were dislocated as a result of being handcuffed to the bars”.

The situation is complicated by the unsatisfactory conditions of detention, which further contribute to a sharp deterioration in the health, development and exacerbation of chronic and other diseases.

 

The lawyer of the Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov, who was recognized as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, recently announced a sharp deterioration in the health of the illegally imprisoned. According to him, due to prolonged overcooling, the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis exacerbated and problems with the heart began.

 

We draw attention to the fact that human life and health are the highest values of every civilized state. The right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is guaranteed by Art. 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, Article 11, 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966, as well as Article 11 of the European Social Charter of 1996.

 

This year, the representative of the Russian Federation was elected as a President of the 70th World Health Assembly, the Charter of which was signed by the Russian Federation in 1946. Thus, she acknowledged that “the possession of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is one of the fundamental rights of everyone, regardless of race, religion, political beliefs, economic or social status”.

 

In addition, according to Art. 26 of the Federal Law of 21.11.2011 No 323-FZ “On the basis of public health protection in the Russian Federation” persons, who are in custody, serving a sentence in the form of restriction of liberty, arrest, deprivation of liberty or administrative arrest, are entitled to receive medical assistance, in particular, in necessary cases in medical institutions of the state health system and the municipal health care system in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation.

In pursuance of this Law the Government of the Russian Federation adopted the Resolution dated 28.12.2012 No 1466, which approved the Rules for the provision of medical care in medical institutions of the state and municipal health care system for persons held in custody or serving a sentence in the form of deprivation of liberty. The Rules provide for the possibility of inviting the medical specialists of the said medical institutions for consultation if it is impossible to provide medical assistance in the institutions of the criminal and executive system.

We note that all citizens of Ukraine, who are held for political reasons in the territory of the Russian Federation and the occupied Crimea, need proper medical care. Among them, Dmytro Shtyblikov, who after detention lost 30 kg and was brought to a dystopia, Stanislav Klykh, who lost his mental health after the torture that he suffered, Oleksandr Kostenko, who, due to the lack of an operation, runs the risk of losing the arm broken by the FSB’s staff, Oleksandr Rolchenko< who was in a hospital with a diagnosis of underweight, Volodymyr Dudka, who has been practicing self-medication with a stomach ulcer for ten months, Arsen Dzepparov, who is not provided with medical assistance despite cold kidneys, loss of hearing in his left ear and a sharp deterioration in vision, 19-year-old Pavlo Hryb who due to his disability is constantly taking drugs, so the lack of medicines and proper medical treatment in prison led to the appearance of ulcers on his body.

These are just a few examples of violation of the international obligations by the Russian Federation as for the right of Ukrainian political prisoners to the highest attainable standards of physical and mental health. From the moment of their illegal detention, independent physicians do not have access to them, and therefore, they cannot assess their health and provide proper medical care.

We address you with a request to raise before the Government of the Russian Federation the issue of the need to organize the access of physicians from the International Committee of the Red Cross and other reputable international health organizations to provide qualified medical assistance to Oleh Sentsov and all Ukrainian political prisoners from the LetMyPeopleGo list.

Center for Civil Liberties coordinating the #LetMyPeopleGo campaign

NGO “Association of Relatives of Political Prisoners of the Kremlin”

Media Initiative for Human Rights

Crimea Human Rights Group

Open Dialog Foundation

Association UMDPL

NGO “CrimeaSOS”

Luhansk Regional Human Rights Center “Alternative”

NGO “Social Action Center”

NGO “Peaceful Coast”

Human Rights Information Center

Expert Center for Human Rights

Charitable Foundation “East-SOS”

Euromaidan Press

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research

AIHO Foundation of Regional Initiatives

NGO “Human Rights Initiative”

NGO “Regional Center for Human Rights”/Sevastopol Human Rights Protection Group

KRF “Hromadska Alternatyva”

Centre for Civil Liberties’s statement on the pressure on civil society organisations in Poland

August 7, 2017

6 August, 2017, Kyiv

We have been cooperating with the Open Dialog Foundation (Poland) for many years. In the early days of mass protests in Ukraine, they were one of the first to render assistance to the
newly created initiative ‘EuroMaidan SOS’. The equipment that they provided was used by our civil society observers who were recording the process of fabricated trials against
peaceful protesters in Kyiv.
Following the occupation of Crimea by Russia and the commencement of the hybrid war in the Donbas, the Open Dialog Foundation supported our ‘LetMyPeopleGo’ campaign to
protect Ukrainian citizens, held in detention in Russian prisons for political reasons. Currently, they are among the most loyal defenders of the ‘Kremlin prisoners’ on the
international arena and consistently promote the issue of extending sanctions against the Russian Federation in the EU and the United States.
In view of this, it is very surprising to us to read statements, unsupported by evidence, about the alleged links of the Open Dialog Foundation with the Russian special services. It seems
that the publications, which appear in certain government media, are retaliation for the active position of the organisation and its participation in mass public protests in Poland. In
our opinion, it was the reason for which the shameful scheme of labelling dissidents as‘agents of the Kremlin’ was used.
In addition, currently, individual top Polish officials are calling for unreasonable additional tax audits of the Open Dialog Foundation and even for cancelling its registration as a non-
profit organisation. Similar pressure for participating in massive public protests is being exerted on a number of other public organisations in Poland.
We all remember what social changes took place after a long-lasting campaign of discrediting civic organisations in the Russian Federation alone. Therefore, we consider the
appearance of such publications a red flag for Poland, which has long been an example of democratic transformation of a country in the post-Soviet space, and especially for Ukraine.

Photo: Radio Liberty

Holding a meeting on human rights is not a terrorist conspiracy

July 10, 2017

10 July 2017

 

    On 5 July 2017, ten participants in a human rights training meeting were detained at Büyükada, one of the Princes’ Islands near İstanbul, Turkey. The group consisted of eight representatives of Turkish civil society organisations working on human rights and two foreign consultants on digital security and information management. By the afternoon of July 6, the lawyers of the detained persons learned that their clients are being investigated for membership of an armed organization, a terrorist offense, and will stay in investigative detention initially for seven days.
The undersigned organisations, national and international human rights NGOs from the OSCE region, members of the Civic Solidarity Platform, strongly reject this operation by the Turkish authorities. We appeal for the immediate and unconditional release of the detained persons, participants in a peaceful meeting to advance human rights. Human rights work should not be criminalized. Civil society work for human rights is an important contribution to a healthy society. Holding a meeting on human rights is not a terrorist conspiracy.
The Turkish citizens arrested are Özlem Dalkıran (Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly), lawyer Nalan Erkem (Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly), İlknur Üstün (Women’s Coalition), İdil Eser (Amnesty International Turkey director), Veli Acu (Human Rights Agenda Association), lawyer Günal Kurşun (Human Rights Agenda Association), Şeymus Özbekli (Rights Initiative), and Nejat Taştan (Equal Rights Watch Association). The two consultants are Ali Gharawi, from Sweden, and Peter Steudtner, from Germany.
In the past years, human rights defenders have on several occasions been targeted by governmental repression. This latest attack on human rights defenders comes amidst a wave of repression after the failed coup attempt of 15 July 2016 which has affected a much wider group of persons than those who may have been directly involved in the coup attempt, including journalists, lawyers and politicians. Only last month, Taner Kiliç, the president of Amnesty International Turkey, was arrested together with 22 other lawyers.

Article 19 (international, London)
Association of Ukrainian Human Rights Monitors on Law Enforcement
Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House
Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russia)
Center for Participation and Development (Georgia)
DRA – German-Russian Exchange (Germany)
Fair Trials (international, London)

Golos Svobody (Kyrgyzstan)
Helsinki Citizens Assembly Vanadzor (Armenia)
Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)
Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan
Human Rights House Foundation (international, Oslo)
Human Rights Information Center (Ukraine)
Human Rights Matter (Germany)
IDP Women Association “Consent” (Georgia)
International Partnership for Human Rights (international, Brussels)
International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (international, Copenhagen)
Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (Azerbaijan)
Kadyr Kasiyet (“Dignity”) (Kazakhstan)
Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law
Kharkiv regional foundation Public Alternative (Ukraine)
Legal Policy Research Center (Kazakhstan)
Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights (Germany)
Moscow Helsinki Group
Netherlands Helsinki Committee
Norwegian Helsinki Committee
Office of Civil Freedoms (Tajikistan)
Promo-LEX (Moldova)
Protection of rights without borders (Armenia)
Public Verdict (Russia)
Regional Center for Strategic Studies (Azerbaijan)
Solidarus (Germany)
SOVA Center for Information and Analysis (Russia)
Swiss Helsinki Committee
Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (Germany)
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) (international, Geneva)
[country names added if name of country not included in the name of the organization; for
international organisations, the city where their secretariat is located, is added]

The Civic Solidarity Platform is a decentralized advocacy network of independent civic groups
committed to improving the human rights situation in Europe, Eurasia and the US,
www.civicsolidarity.org.
Contact for this statement: Harry Hummel, Netherlands Helsinki Committee, hhummel@nhc.nl,
+31703926700

On the situation with the nomination at the “Eurovision” from Russia Yulia Samoylova

May 15, 2017

Ukraine has the right to demand the implementation of the law in relation to the Russian singer Yulii Samoylovoy, but the fact that Russia still decided to send its representative to this year held in Kiev “Eurovision” is a kind of a gesture of reconciliation. Such an opinion was expressed by the Russian human rights activist, head of the Moscow Helsinki Group Lyudmila Alekseeva.

“On the one hand, I am glad that our leaders still decide to send a Russian representative at” Eurovision “. Neighborly. This is a good step, which shows the desire of reconciliation. But on the other hand, I understand the Ukrainians: Crimea captured now want to make peace, but the Crimea is not returned. It is clear to me, “- Alexeyev said, commenting on the Ukrainian edition of” Explorer “the situation surrounding the nomination of the representative of Russia in the international music competition” Eurovision “.

Russian human rights activist has also recognized that “there are Ukrainian laws, and they must comply with.” However, she admitted that the Russian singer could have visited the Crimea, “whether he is Ukrainian.”

In this context, Alexeyev told that visited the peninsula, as it was her little homeland to the annexation of the Crimea. Due to old age she can not go there now, but “I fully admit that if I were younger, I would have to go on a his small home, no matter who it belongs to,” – she said.

“I would not want us to even about it [on participation in” Eurovision “Yulii Samoylovoy] quarreled. When fighting bosses, we should not pay attention to it. I belong to the Ukrainians as well as before. What a difference to us? Let them find out the relationship, and we have to treat each other with respect, as it should be neighbors, as it is necessary for people who have a common history, “- Alexeyev said.

At the same time, she added: “I feel very sorry for Russia because of this history of the Crimea.”

Recall that in Russia ended with the internal competitive selection of artists for the contest “Eurovision” -2017, the winner of which was a girl with a disability Julia Samoilova. In the summer of 2015 the singer participated in the festival “World of Sports, and good”, which was held in the Crimea. Thus, according to Ukrainian law, Samoilova violated the procedure for crossing the Ukrainian border. The singer is also listed as a “purgatory” center “Peacemaker”.

March 13 Advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Anton Gerashchenko said that the law enforcement agencies , there are two ways to resolve the situation on the Russian representative at “Eurovision” Yulii Samoylovoy, which violated the legislation of Ukraine. According to him, the first option – not to let Samoilov to Ukraine for violating the rules visit the occupied territory of Crimea. The second – to give Samoilova permission to enter the country, but at the same time and bring her to justice for violation of the state border.

Sourse, 14/05/2017

Such meetings are beneficial for all participants

June 10, 2015

Azerbaijani human rights activist and director of the Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan (HRCA), Eldar Zeynalov summed up ended in Kiev workshop on exchange of experiences and best practices “Improving skills in the field of human rights advocacy (promotion and protection of human rights).”

“Such meetings are mutually beneficial,” – suggested Eldar Zeynalov.

According to the head of the OCA, the seminar was attended by five representatives of Azerbaijan. “Except for me, their participation in the seminar later unveiled a lawyer Fariz Namazly. The names of the other three parties, I do not know if I can make public.

Organizers asked not to mention the names of the participants without agreement with them. I can only say that the two human rights defenders, and three lawyers participated from Azerbaijan. “

Recall that the seminar held in the capital of Ukraine on 4-5 June, organized by the Netherlands Helsinki Committee and the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland) for the human rights of a number of countries of the former Soviet Union, including Azerbaijan.

For two days, the participants discussed the planning and advocacy strategy (promotion and protection of human rights), including working with international organizations such as the UN, Council of Europe, the European Union and the OSCE, as well as exchanged between human rights defenders from different countries with innovative approaches to this area.

According to the expert, such events often performed earlier. It was the general training, and explain the ways of European standards, and so on.

“This workshop was more specific. Standards as they were, and have remained so, just change the working conditions. They exchanged views on how to operate in such conditions, how to achieve positive changes in human rights issues.

We never work in isolation. We have partners in the West, that we support or do not support. Which have their own vision of the situation in the country and is not always correct and complete. And the result is that some campaigns in our defense, wrong calculation, not the tone chosen, the methods used do not become “blank shot”, as he was selected.

And for “Westerners” to us useful to meet. It is mutually useful meeting. The workshop in addition to representatives of Azerbaijan, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, was also attended by representatives of immigrant organizations in France.

But in fact, they work in the Russian direction. I became more optimistic look at things and know what are the conditions for human rights defenders in Belarus, Russia.

In the same Russian clamped and dissidents, and human rights activists. They are looking for other outlets. Nobody is going to give, “- said E. Zeynalov.

Note that at the time of the seminar, after a brief lull, resumed again fighting in eastern Ukraine between the forces of the anti-terrorist operation and separatists.

According to E. Zeynalov, “in the city met the guys in camouflage, the number of police officers was greater than that observed a couple of years ago.”

“However, such as in Russia, where visitors to the carp, check documents, did not exist.

It is not felt that Kiev – the capital of the belligerent State. In the city center, where the Maidan, traces the events of last year. The same House of Trade Unions has not been refurbished. Many graffiti that were made then.

In a couple of places monuments installed. Sometimes came a beautiful girl who collected donations for the wounded. Only in this war, and manifested. No aggressive slogans on the wall, sometimes there are signs saying: “Ukraine – one country, one nation.” No militarist propaganda personally I have not seen “- he said.

Sourse, 09/06/2015

Результаты поиска:

Joint appeal on the inappropriate use of extremist charges, mass detention and use of torture against peaceful demonstrators, activists and government’s critics in Kazakhstan.

December 17, 2018

Despite the ratification of the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Kazakhstan, the human rights situation in the country has sharply deteriorated.

Fundamental rights, such as freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, are disrespected under the guise of fighting “extremism”. Since 13 March 2018, the day that marks the authorities’ ban of the peaceful opposition movement ‘Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan’ (DCK), more than 450 persons, participating in peaceful rallies or showing different form of support for DCK (e.g. posting and commenting social media contents, walking with blue balloons, etc.) have fallen victim of political persecution.

We call for a stepping up of efforts to ensure political pluralism in the country and condemn the repression of peaceful activists and supporters of opposition movement DCK and call for their unconditional release. Kazakhstan has to ensure its citizens free access to social media networks and independent media outlets, thus ceasing the blocking or restriction of such platforms. We stress the importance of the independence of lawyers and the protection of their rights to freely practice their profession and defend their clients without fear of reprisals.

We find this particularly worrying that on 10 May 2018, during the visit of European Parliament’s Delegation to Kazakhstan, police resorted to excessive use of force against peaceful protesters and detained more than 150 people, while others were placed under administrative arrests. On that day peaceful rallies against the use of torture and politically motivated imprisonment were held in cities across the country.

Among them, more than 30 people have been prosecuted in connection with their support of DCK’s ideas, including: activists Ablovas Dzhumayev, Almat Zhumagulov and poet Kenzhebek Abishev, social media user Aset Abishev and blogger Muratbek Tungishbayev. At least six persons have reported the use of torture and a lack of medical care in the place of detention. The practice of forced confession in exchange for release, and psychological pressure exerted on political prisoners and their relatives are undermining the trust in the Kazakhstani justice system, as exemplified by the cases of Aset Nurzhaubay and Muratbek Tungishbayev.

We were informed that political prisoners are losing hope for justice and taking desperate steps. For example, on 26 November 2018, Almat Zhumagulov and Kenzhebek Abishev threatened suicide in protest against the accusatory bias in court decisions and the fabricated nature of the case. On 27 November 2018, Zhumagulov cut his arm during the court session.At the same time Iskander Yerimbetov, the brother of human rights activist and lawyer Bota Jardemalie, was arrested, tortured and convicted in October 2018 to 7 years’ imprisonment in retaliation for his sister’s professional activities. Due to the outcome of his case, lawyers in Kazakhstan fear to defend victims of political persecution and torture.The number of political prisoners in Kazakhstan is increasing. More than 20 political prisoners are being held in detention. Human rights defenders are also under attack. Restrictions imposed on NGOs and criminal prosecution of human rights activists, such as Elena Semenova, severely shrink the space for civil society.

We call on Kazakhstani authorities to implement the communications from the UN Human Rights Committee, UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, and call without further delay to release the political prisoners Mukhtar Dzhakishev, Maks Bokayev and Iskander Yerimbetov; compliance with the UN requirements is an important condition for further cooperation between the EU and Kazakhstan

We expect the urgent intervention of the EEAS, encourage the initiation of further EU official monitoring missions and call on the EEAS to support such missions in order to observe the human rights situation and attend court trials against people prosecuted for political reasons. At the same time, we strongly recommend that the European Commission and the EU Member States pursue a policy of conditionality in the case of Kazakhstan. If the latter state wants to be a recipient of EU funding and attract investments, it first must ensure the cessation of cruel practices against detainees in prisons, an end to impunity for the offenders, freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, and the right to a defence and a free trial.

 

Signatures

 

Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)

Defending Democracy

Federazione Italiana Diritti Umani (FIDU)

Human Rights Information Center (Ukraine)

Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS)

Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG)

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research (KhISR)

Open Dialogue Foundation (ODF)

The Arrested Lawyers Initiative

Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF)

Polish authorities reduce the space for the activities of NGOs including human rights organizations in the country

May 2, 2018
Since the end of 2015, we have seen disturbing trends in the actions of the Polish government and the parliamentary majority formed by the populist-nationalist party, Law and Justice (PiS), which harm the activities of human rights defenders and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Poland.
Unconstitutional legislative initiatives have jeopardized both democracy and the rule of law in Poland, particularly the principle of effective separation of powers. Following an acute conflict, the ruling majority in the Parliament de facto subordinated the Constitutional Court to itself, making this state body fully dependent on political decisions.
Numerous leading Polish NGOs including human rights organizations have expressed disagreement with these actions. In July 2017, NGOs took active part in mass peaceful protests aimed at protecting the Constitution, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary in Poland.
The significant mobilization of society led to President Andrzej Duda vetoing two of the three controversial laws aimed at undermining the independence of the judiciary. in July 2017. The independence of the Supreme Court and the National Council of the Judiciary was temporarily preserved. However, the law on the system of ordinary courts came into force, widening the control of the Minister of Justice, who is also the General Prosecutor of Poland, over the courts. And so, as early as in December 2017, despite the next wave of public protests, the Parliament adopted slightly changed, unconstitutional laws that virtually eliminate the independence of the Supreme Court and the National Council of Justice.
In response to the participation of NGOs in peaceful protests, the authorities created numerous restrictions on the third sector. Many civil initiatives critical to the authorities were targeted for attack.
In July 2017, NGOs that criticized state bodies were subjected to escalated and unprecedented pressure. To date, this concerns, in particular, NGOs and initiatives such as: Citizens Solidary in Action [Obywatele Solidarnie w Akcji], Citizens of the Republic of Poland [Obywatele RP], the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog], the Committee for the Defence of Democracy [Komitet Obrony Demokracji], Action Democracy [Akcja Demokracja], the All-Poland Women’s Strike [Ogólnopolski Strajk Kobiet], the Centre for Women’s Rights [Centrum Praw Kobiet], the BABA Lubuskie Association for the Protection of Women’s Rights [BABA Lubuskie Stowarzyszenie na Rzecz Kobiet]. Some of these NGOs faced unjustified inspections, searches and lawsuits, and their representatives were subjected to numerous interrogations and even secret surveillance. Foreigners associated with these organizations are concerned about their future in Poland due to the possibility of losing their right to stay in the country.
For example, the Polish police conducted searches and seized documents and equipment from the offices of several women’s organizations (the offices of the Centre for Women’s Rights and the BABA Association). This happened the day after protest actions in defense of women’s rights in Poland was held in October 2017. Another example: Poland’s then-Minister of Foreign Affairs (MFA) filed a motion with the court to appoint what is known as a ‘compulsory administration’ to replace the existing members of the Management Board of the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog]. The dispute, which is being continued by the current Polish MFA Jacek Czaputowicz will eventually be resolved by a court ruling. Similar means were intended to be used against Citizens of the Republic of Poland [Obywatele RP] by the then-Minister of Interior, Mariusz Błaszczak.
Incidents of prosecution of LGBT organizations have been recorded. A particularly alarming signal is the cessation of a number of investigations into physical attacks against LGBT activists and the offices of their organizations. Alongside women’s rights organizations, they have been practically cut off from almost all available state-funding. The Polish state clearly favours initiatives focused on nationalist and religious values instead.
Members of the Polish government led by the then-Prime Minister Beata Szydło (in particular, the former Minister of the Interior, Mariusz Błaszczak, his deputy Jarosław Zieliński, the Minister–Coordinator of the Special Services of Poland Mariusz Kamiński, former Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski and the Minister of National Defence Antoni Macierewicz) publicly discussed actions to be taken against specific NGOs.
In addition, the aforementioned NGOs, as well as the Office of the Polish Ombudsman, have become victims of information attacks and denigrating media campaigns. These smear campaigns are based on manipulations, half-truths and outright falsehoods. These slanders are spread by state and pro-government Polish media having close ties to the ruling party.
NGOs have been accused of ‘manipulating public opinion’ and ‘artificially provoking protests’ ‘for money from abroad’. Their representatives are portrayed as ‘traitors to the motherland’, or ‘puppets’ in the hands of foreign states and other foreign actors (for example, George Soros, Russia, Germany or ‘Brussels elites’).
The denigrating campaigns aim to intimidate human rights defenders and undermine the trust of Polish society in the work of civil society. Another dangerous consequence of these campaigns may be the creation of negative attitudes towards any international or foreign structures in society. Recently, the actor and activist for the protection of the secular state Krzysztof Pieczyński fell victim to media harassment, and was subsequently beaten in the street by unknown persons in Warsaw.
Attacks on NGOs and human rights defenders are being carried out with the support of extreme right and nationalist organizations. The attacks are openly xenophobic in nature. In particular, they are being directed against the large community of Ukrainians in Poland. Some victims are being denied the right to Polish citizenship. These actions are related to the participation of Ukrainian citizens living in Poland in protests, as well as the work of the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog] and other Polish organizations which provided humanitarian assistance to Ukraine in the period of Euromaidan. 

Reluctant response of the law enforcement bodies to the nationalist and xenophobic incidents leads to growing number of assaults on foreigners in Poland.
Members of the right-wing parties of the Sejm and Members of the European Parliament from Poland are also carrying out hostile actions against specific NGOs and civil society in general. For example, six members of parliament have made public statements about the need to restrict or even stop the activities of the Open Dialog Foundation (Fundacja Otwarty Dialog). The organization was accused of representing an ‘external’ leftist ‘threat to the Polish State’, ‘violating Ukrainian–Polish relations’ and, in general, ‘provoking an uprising’ in Poland. No facts exist which would confirm that the organization has been carrying out such activities and, thus, no such evidence has been presented.
At the moment, according to the reports prepared by the Citizens of the Republic of Poland movement [Obywatele RP] (based on the gathered information), approximately 800 court proceedings are being conducted either directly against participants in the social protests and activists in social movements or in relation to their activities. In the report on oppression produced by the Citizens of the Republic of Poland,, as of the end of January 2018, 472 court trials had been initiated against protesters under the Code of Petty Offences; while a month earlier, there had been only 367 such trials. Twenty-eight criminal cases had been initiated under the Criminal Code (a month earlier there had been only 14 criminal cases), and nine persons were facing criminal charges.
Serious problems are also being caused by the new law on gatherings, which is highly controversial and widely perceived as unconstitutional, and which promotes the so-called cyclical gatherings, such as the Smolensk tragedy monthly commemoration (monthly demonstrations led by the leader of the ruling party, Jarosław Kaczyński, carried out with privileges unavailable to any other forms of street demonstration). For this reason, the Mazovian Voivode [governor] has regularly imposed a ban on pro-democracy protest actions organized on the same day by the Citizens Solidary in Action [Obywatele Solidarnie w Akcji]. Still, all of his previous decisions have been rejected by the District Court in Warsaw.
Serious concern over these attacks on the supremacy of civil rights and freedoms in Poland have been repeatedly expressed by members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (Resolution 2188 (2017), written declaration 641), pointing out in the statement on the resolution of 26 January 2018 that their demands have thus far been ignored by the Polish authorities.
The space for a dialogue between civil society and the authorities continues to shrink. Representatives of non-governmental organizations (particularly those affiliated with Citizens of the Republic of Poland movement [Obywatele RP] are commonly deprived of the opportunity to attend meetings and hearing of the Parliament’s Commissions. Several questionable legislative initiatives which address the most important aspects of public life are being considered without  any public consultation. In particular, these include changes in the legislation on the police, the introduction of anti-terrorism legislation, and amendments to the law on the Institute of National Remembrance (this last has already been adopted).
The authorities have changed some of the procedures for allocating public funds to NGOs. On 26 September 2017, the Senate passed a law regarding the National Institute of Freedom – Centre for the Development of Civil Society. The law was presented as being part of the government’s actions to strengthen civil society. However, the law was sharply criticized by the associations of NGOs and the Commissioner for Human Rights.
The law centralizes the government funds for public organizations within the framework of the established Centre. Since it is aimed at promoting activities which are in line with Christian and patriotic values, funding may become inaccessible for organizations whose work does not correlate with such values. Such an approach by the authorities violates the Constitution, which protects diversity of beliefs and views. The law was signed by the President on 12 October 2017 jeopardizing the independence of civil society in Poland.
Also, NGOs have recorded incidents of public funding having been either provided or terminated for political or ideological reasons.
In connection with the recent disturbing events, the International Civic Solidarity Platform hereby calls for the restoration of the participation of public and human rights organizations in democratic processes in Poland, a return to the European standards of interaction between civil society and government structures, and a guarantee of the independence of civil society initiatives in Poland.
Signed by the following organisations:​
1. The Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
2. Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)
3. Humanrights.ch
4. Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights (Germany/Switzerland)
5. International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law (Kazakhstan)
6. Citizens’ Watch, St. Petersburg (Russia)
7. Moscow Helsinki Group (Russia)
8. Public Verdict (Russia)
9. Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
10. Public Association “Dignity”
11. Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly – Vanadzor
12. Helsinki Committee of Armenia (Armenia)
13. KRF Public Alternative (Ukraine)
14. DRA – German-Russian Exchange (Germany)
15. “OMCT – World Organisation Against Torture”
16. Human Rights Monitoring Institute (Lithuania)
17. Legal Transformation Center (Belarus)
18. International Partnership for Human Rights (Belgium)
19. Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (Bulgaria)
20. Helsinki Association for Human Rights NGO Armenia (Armenia)
21. Human Rights Matter e.V. (Germany)
22. The Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House (Belarus)
23. WILPF Germany (Germany)
24. Association UMDPL (Ukraine)
25. Norwegian Helsinki Committee
26. The Kosova Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims (KRCT) from Kosovo
27. ZARA – Zivilcourage und Anti-Rassismus-Arbeit (Austria)
28. Women of the Don (Russia)
29. Crude Accountability
30. Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
31. Citizens Watch (Russia)
32. Regional Center for Strategic Studies ( Georgia/Azerbaijan)
33. Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russia)
34. UNITED
35. Netherlands Helsinki Committee

Source:
http://www.civicsolidarity.org/article/1545/polish-authorities-reduce-space-activities-ngos-including-human-rights-organizations

The Appeal about lack of proper medical care for Oleh Sentsov and other Ukrainian political prisoners from the LetMyPeopleGo list

November 29, 2017

To the Vice-Chancellor, the Federal Minister for Foreign

Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany,

Mr. Sigmar Gabriel

As of today, about 60 Ukrainian citizens have been detained on political grounds in the territory of the Russian Federation and the occupied Crimea. Most of them have been subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment to force false confessions about the actions they did not commit.

Oleh Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko, Valentyn Vygovsky, Mykola Karpiuk, Stanislav Klykh, Yevhen Panov, Andrii Zakhtey, Andrii Kolomiyets, Serhii Lytvynov, Oleksandr Kostenko and other illegally detained people publicly stated this. Yurii Yatsenko and Gennady Afanasyev, who were released, shared details about the unlawful practices that were applied to people under the control of the Russian Federation.

Stanislav Klykh’s appeal to the European Court of Human Rights is a clear illustration of illegal treatment by the state authorities of the Russian Federation:

“[…] In order to force me to testify, I was subjected to illegal methods of inquiry and investigation, expressed in causing me beatings and injuries, including using handcuffs and electric current, prolonged kneeling, resulting in numerous scars on my wrists, knees […] I was kept in the prison yard for several days without any water or food. As a result of the application of these methods, I was brought to a state of dystrophy, I could not hold a spoon, a pen in my hands, since the hands were dislocated as a result of being handcuffed to the bars”.

The situation is complicated by the unsatisfactory conditions of detention, which further contribute to a sharp deterioration in the health, development and exacerbation of chronic and other diseases.

 

The lawyer of the Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov, who was recognized as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, recently announced a sharp deterioration in the health of the illegally imprisoned. According to him, due to prolonged overcooling, the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis exacerbated and problems with the heart began.

 

We draw attention to the fact that human life and health are the highest values of every civilized state. The right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is guaranteed by Art. 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, Article 11, 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966, as well as Article 11 of the European Social Charter of 1996.

 

This year, the representative of the Russian Federation was elected as a President of the 70th World Health Assembly, the Charter of which was signed by the Russian Federation in 1946. Thus, she acknowledged that “the possession of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is one of the fundamental rights of everyone, regardless of race, religion, political beliefs, economic or social status”.

 

In addition, according to Art. 26 of the Federal Law of 21.11.2011 No 323-FZ “On the basis of public health protection in the Russian Federation” persons, who are in custody, serving a sentence in the form of restriction of liberty, arrest, deprivation of liberty or administrative arrest, are entitled to receive medical assistance, in particular, in necessary cases in medical institutions of the state health system and the municipal health care system in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation.

In pursuance of this Law the Government of the Russian Federation adopted the Resolution dated 28.12.2012 No 1466, which approved the Rules for the provision of medical care in medical institutions of the state and municipal health care system for persons held in custody or serving a sentence in the form of deprivation of liberty. The Rules provide for the possibility of inviting the medical specialists of the said medical institutions for consultation if it is impossible to provide medical assistance in the institutions of the criminal and executive system.

We note that all citizens of Ukraine, who are held for political reasons in the territory of the Russian Federation and the occupied Crimea, need proper medical care. Among them, Dmytro Shtyblikov, who after detention lost 30 kg and was brought to a dystopia, Stanislav Klykh, who lost his mental health after the torture that he suffered, Oleksandr Kostenko, who, due to the lack of an operation, runs the risk of losing the arm broken by the FSB’s staff, Oleksandr Rolchenko< who was in a hospital with a diagnosis of underweight, Volodymyr Dudka, who has been practicing self-medication with a stomach ulcer for ten months, Arsen Dzepparov, who is not provided with medical assistance despite cold kidneys, loss of hearing in his left ear and a sharp deterioration in vision, 19-year-old Pavlo Hryb who due to his disability is constantly taking drugs, so the lack of medicines and proper medical treatment in prison led to the appearance of ulcers on his body.

These are just a few examples of violation of the international obligations by the Russian Federation as for the right of Ukrainian political prisoners to the highest attainable standards of physical and mental health. From the moment of their illegal detention, independent physicians do not have access to them, and therefore, they cannot assess their health and provide proper medical care.

We address you with a request to raise before the Government of the Russian Federation the issue of the need to organize the access of physicians from the International Committee of the Red Cross and other reputable international health organizations to provide qualified medical assistance to Oleh Sentsov and all Ukrainian political prisoners from the LetMyPeopleGo list.

Center for Civil Liberties coordinating the #LetMyPeopleGo campaign

NGO “Association of Relatives of Political Prisoners of the Kremlin”

Media Initiative for Human Rights

Crimea Human Rights Group

Open Dialog Foundation

Association UMDPL

NGO “CrimeaSOS”

Luhansk Regional Human Rights Center “Alternative”

NGO “Social Action Center”

NGO “Peaceful Coast”

Human Rights Information Center

Expert Center for Human Rights

Charitable Foundation “East-SOS”

Euromaidan Press

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research

AIHO Foundation of Regional Initiatives

NGO “Human Rights Initiative”

NGO “Regional Center for Human Rights”/Sevastopol Human Rights Protection Group

KRF “Hromadska Alternatyva”

Centre for Civil Liberties’s statement on the pressure on civil society organisations in Poland

August 7, 2017

6 August, 2017, Kyiv

We have been cooperating with the Open Dialog Foundation (Poland) for many years. In the early days of mass protests in Ukraine, they were one of the first to render assistance to the
newly created initiative ‘EuroMaidan SOS’. The equipment that they provided was used by our civil society observers who were recording the process of fabricated trials against
peaceful protesters in Kyiv.
Following the occupation of Crimea by Russia and the commencement of the hybrid war in the Donbas, the Open Dialog Foundation supported our ‘LetMyPeopleGo’ campaign to
protect Ukrainian citizens, held in detention in Russian prisons for political reasons. Currently, they are among the most loyal defenders of the ‘Kremlin prisoners’ on the
international arena and consistently promote the issue of extending sanctions against the Russian Federation in the EU and the United States.
In view of this, it is very surprising to us to read statements, unsupported by evidence, about the alleged links of the Open Dialog Foundation with the Russian special services. It seems
that the publications, which appear in certain government media, are retaliation for the active position of the organisation and its participation in mass public protests in Poland. In
our opinion, it was the reason for which the shameful scheme of labelling dissidents as‘agents of the Kremlin’ was used.
In addition, currently, individual top Polish officials are calling for unreasonable additional tax audits of the Open Dialog Foundation and even for cancelling its registration as a non-
profit organisation. Similar pressure for participating in massive public protests is being exerted on a number of other public organisations in Poland.
We all remember what social changes took place after a long-lasting campaign of discrediting civic organisations in the Russian Federation alone. Therefore, we consider the
appearance of such publications a red flag for Poland, which has long been an example of democratic transformation of a country in the post-Soviet space, and especially for Ukraine.

Photo: Radio Liberty

Holding a meeting on human rights is not a terrorist conspiracy

July 10, 2017

10 July 2017

 

    On 5 July 2017, ten participants in a human rights training meeting were detained at Büyükada, one of the Princes’ Islands near İstanbul, Turkey. The group consisted of eight representatives of Turkish civil society organisations working on human rights and two foreign consultants on digital security and information management. By the afternoon of July 6, the lawyers of the detained persons learned that their clients are being investigated for membership of an armed organization, a terrorist offense, and will stay in investigative detention initially for seven days.
The undersigned organisations, national and international human rights NGOs from the OSCE region, members of the Civic Solidarity Platform, strongly reject this operation by the Turkish authorities. We appeal for the immediate and unconditional release of the detained persons, participants in a peaceful meeting to advance human rights. Human rights work should not be criminalized. Civil society work for human rights is an important contribution to a healthy society. Holding a meeting on human rights is not a terrorist conspiracy.
The Turkish citizens arrested are Özlem Dalkıran (Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly), lawyer Nalan Erkem (Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly), İlknur Üstün (Women’s Coalition), İdil Eser (Amnesty International Turkey director), Veli Acu (Human Rights Agenda Association), lawyer Günal Kurşun (Human Rights Agenda Association), Şeymus Özbekli (Rights Initiative), and Nejat Taştan (Equal Rights Watch Association). The two consultants are Ali Gharawi, from Sweden, and Peter Steudtner, from Germany.
In the past years, human rights defenders have on several occasions been targeted by governmental repression. This latest attack on human rights defenders comes amidst a wave of repression after the failed coup attempt of 15 July 2016 which has affected a much wider group of persons than those who may have been directly involved in the coup attempt, including journalists, lawyers and politicians. Only last month, Taner Kiliç, the president of Amnesty International Turkey, was arrested together with 22 other lawyers.

Article 19 (international, London)
Association of Ukrainian Human Rights Monitors on Law Enforcement
Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House
Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russia)
Center for Participation and Development (Georgia)
DRA – German-Russian Exchange (Germany)
Fair Trials (international, London)

Golos Svobody (Kyrgyzstan)
Helsinki Citizens Assembly Vanadzor (Armenia)
Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)
Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan
Human Rights House Foundation (international, Oslo)
Human Rights Information Center (Ukraine)
Human Rights Matter (Germany)
IDP Women Association “Consent” (Georgia)
International Partnership for Human Rights (international, Brussels)
International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (international, Copenhagen)
Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (Azerbaijan)
Kadyr Kasiyet (“Dignity”) (Kazakhstan)
Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law
Kharkiv regional foundation Public Alternative (Ukraine)
Legal Policy Research Center (Kazakhstan)
Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights (Germany)
Moscow Helsinki Group
Netherlands Helsinki Committee
Norwegian Helsinki Committee
Office of Civil Freedoms (Tajikistan)
Promo-LEX (Moldova)
Protection of rights without borders (Armenia)
Public Verdict (Russia)
Regional Center for Strategic Studies (Azerbaijan)
Solidarus (Germany)
SOVA Center for Information and Analysis (Russia)
Swiss Helsinki Committee
Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (Germany)
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) (international, Geneva)
[country names added if name of country not included in the name of the organization; for
international organisations, the city where their secretariat is located, is added]

The Civic Solidarity Platform is a decentralized advocacy network of independent civic groups
committed to improving the human rights situation in Europe, Eurasia and the US,
www.civicsolidarity.org.
Contact for this statement: Harry Hummel, Netherlands Helsinki Committee, hhummel@nhc.nl,
+31703926700

On the situation with the nomination at the “Eurovision” from Russia Yulia Samoylova

May 15, 2017

Ukraine has the right to demand the implementation of the law in relation to the Russian singer Yulii Samoylovoy, but the fact that Russia still decided to send its representative to this year held in Kiev “Eurovision” is a kind of a gesture of reconciliation. Such an opinion was expressed by the Russian human rights activist, head of the Moscow Helsinki Group Lyudmila Alekseeva.

“On the one hand, I am glad that our leaders still decide to send a Russian representative at” Eurovision “. Neighborly. This is a good step, which shows the desire of reconciliation. But on the other hand, I understand the Ukrainians: Crimea captured now want to make peace, but the Crimea is not returned. It is clear to me, “- Alexeyev said, commenting on the Ukrainian edition of” Explorer “the situation surrounding the nomination of the representative of Russia in the international music competition” Eurovision “.

Russian human rights activist has also recognized that “there are Ukrainian laws, and they must comply with.” However, she admitted that the Russian singer could have visited the Crimea, “whether he is Ukrainian.”

In this context, Alexeyev told that visited the peninsula, as it was her little homeland to the annexation of the Crimea. Due to old age she can not go there now, but “I fully admit that if I were younger, I would have to go on a his small home, no matter who it belongs to,” – she said.

“I would not want us to even about it [on participation in” Eurovision “Yulii Samoylovoy] quarreled. When fighting bosses, we should not pay attention to it. I belong to the Ukrainians as well as before. What a difference to us? Let them find out the relationship, and we have to treat each other with respect, as it should be neighbors, as it is necessary for people who have a common history, “- Alexeyev said.

At the same time, she added: “I feel very sorry for Russia because of this history of the Crimea.”

Recall that in Russia ended with the internal competitive selection of artists for the contest “Eurovision” -2017, the winner of which was a girl with a disability Julia Samoilova. In the summer of 2015 the singer participated in the festival “World of Sports, and good”, which was held in the Crimea. Thus, according to Ukrainian law, Samoilova violated the procedure for crossing the Ukrainian border. The singer is also listed as a “purgatory” center “Peacemaker”.

March 13 Advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Anton Gerashchenko said that the law enforcement agencies , there are two ways to resolve the situation on the Russian representative at “Eurovision” Yulii Samoylovoy, which violated the legislation of Ukraine. According to him, the first option – not to let Samoilov to Ukraine for violating the rules visit the occupied territory of Crimea. The second – to give Samoilova permission to enter the country, but at the same time and bring her to justice for violation of the state border.

Sourse, 14/05/2017

Such meetings are beneficial for all participants

June 10, 2015

Azerbaijani human rights activist and director of the Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan (HRCA), Eldar Zeynalov summed up ended in Kiev workshop on exchange of experiences and best practices “Improving skills in the field of human rights advocacy (promotion and protection of human rights).”

“Such meetings are mutually beneficial,” – suggested Eldar Zeynalov.

According to the head of the OCA, the seminar was attended by five representatives of Azerbaijan. “Except for me, their participation in the seminar later unveiled a lawyer Fariz Namazly. The names of the other three parties, I do not know if I can make public.

Organizers asked not to mention the names of the participants without agreement with them. I can only say that the two human rights defenders, and three lawyers participated from Azerbaijan. “

Recall that the seminar held in the capital of Ukraine on 4-5 June, organized by the Netherlands Helsinki Committee and the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland) for the human rights of a number of countries of the former Soviet Union, including Azerbaijan.

For two days, the participants discussed the planning and advocacy strategy (promotion and protection of human rights), including working with international organizations such as the UN, Council of Europe, the European Union and the OSCE, as well as exchanged between human rights defenders from different countries with innovative approaches to this area.

According to the expert, such events often performed earlier. It was the general training, and explain the ways of European standards, and so on.

“This workshop was more specific. Standards as they were, and have remained so, just change the working conditions. They exchanged views on how to operate in such conditions, how to achieve positive changes in human rights issues.

We never work in isolation. We have partners in the West, that we support or do not support. Which have their own vision of the situation in the country and is not always correct and complete. And the result is that some campaigns in our defense, wrong calculation, not the tone chosen, the methods used do not become “blank shot”, as he was selected.

And for “Westerners” to us useful to meet. It is mutually useful meeting. The workshop in addition to representatives of Azerbaijan, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, was also attended by representatives of immigrant organizations in France.

But in fact, they work in the Russian direction. I became more optimistic look at things and know what are the conditions for human rights defenders in Belarus, Russia.

In the same Russian clamped and dissidents, and human rights activists. They are looking for other outlets. Nobody is going to give, “- said E. Zeynalov.

Note that at the time of the seminar, after a brief lull, resumed again fighting in eastern Ukraine between the forces of the anti-terrorist operation and separatists.

According to E. Zeynalov, “in the city met the guys in camouflage, the number of police officers was greater than that observed a couple of years ago.”

“However, such as in Russia, where visitors to the carp, check documents, did not exist.

It is not felt that Kiev – the capital of the belligerent State. In the city center, where the Maidan, traces the events of last year. The same House of Trade Unions has not been refurbished. Many graffiti that were made then.

In a couple of places monuments installed. Sometimes came a beautiful girl who collected donations for the wounded. Only in this war, and manifested. No aggressive slogans on the wall, sometimes there are signs saying: “Ukraine – one country, one nation.” No militarist propaganda personally I have not seen “- he said.

Sourse, 09/06/2015

Результаты поиска:

Joint appeal on the inappropriate use of extremist charges, mass detention and use of torture against peaceful demonstrators, activists and government’s critics in Kazakhstan.

December 17, 2018

Despite the ratification of the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Kazakhstan, the human rights situation in the country has sharply deteriorated.

Fundamental rights, such as freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, are disrespected under the guise of fighting “extremism”. Since 13 March 2018, the day that marks the authorities’ ban of the peaceful opposition movement ‘Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan’ (DCK), more than 450 persons, participating in peaceful rallies or showing different form of support for DCK (e.g. posting and commenting social media contents, walking with blue balloons, etc.) have fallen victim of political persecution.

We call for a stepping up of efforts to ensure political pluralism in the country and condemn the repression of peaceful activists and supporters of opposition movement DCK and call for their unconditional release. Kazakhstan has to ensure its citizens free access to social media networks and independent media outlets, thus ceasing the blocking or restriction of such platforms. We stress the importance of the independence of lawyers and the protection of their rights to freely practice their profession and defend their clients without fear of reprisals.

We find this particularly worrying that on 10 May 2018, during the visit of European Parliament’s Delegation to Kazakhstan, police resorted to excessive use of force against peaceful protesters and detained more than 150 people, while others were placed under administrative arrests. On that day peaceful rallies against the use of torture and politically motivated imprisonment were held in cities across the country.

Among them, more than 30 people have been prosecuted in connection with their support of DCK’s ideas, including: activists Ablovas Dzhumayev, Almat Zhumagulov and poet Kenzhebek Abishev, social media user Aset Abishev and blogger Muratbek Tungishbayev. At least six persons have reported the use of torture and a lack of medical care in the place of detention. The practice of forced confession in exchange for release, and psychological pressure exerted on political prisoners and their relatives are undermining the trust in the Kazakhstani justice system, as exemplified by the cases of Aset Nurzhaubay and Muratbek Tungishbayev.

We were informed that political prisoners are losing hope for justice and taking desperate steps. For example, on 26 November 2018, Almat Zhumagulov and Kenzhebek Abishev threatened suicide in protest against the accusatory bias in court decisions and the fabricated nature of the case. On 27 November 2018, Zhumagulov cut his arm during the court session.At the same time Iskander Yerimbetov, the brother of human rights activist and lawyer Bota Jardemalie, was arrested, tortured and convicted in October 2018 to 7 years’ imprisonment in retaliation for his sister’s professional activities. Due to the outcome of his case, lawyers in Kazakhstan fear to defend victims of political persecution and torture.The number of political prisoners in Kazakhstan is increasing. More than 20 political prisoners are being held in detention. Human rights defenders are also under attack. Restrictions imposed on NGOs and criminal prosecution of human rights activists, such as Elena Semenova, severely shrink the space for civil society.

We call on Kazakhstani authorities to implement the communications from the UN Human Rights Committee, UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, and call without further delay to release the political prisoners Mukhtar Dzhakishev, Maks Bokayev and Iskander Yerimbetov; compliance with the UN requirements is an important condition for further cooperation between the EU and Kazakhstan

We expect the urgent intervention of the EEAS, encourage the initiation of further EU official monitoring missions and call on the EEAS to support such missions in order to observe the human rights situation and attend court trials against people prosecuted for political reasons. At the same time, we strongly recommend that the European Commission and the EU Member States pursue a policy of conditionality in the case of Kazakhstan. If the latter state wants to be a recipient of EU funding and attract investments, it first must ensure the cessation of cruel practices against detainees in prisons, an end to impunity for the offenders, freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, and the right to a defence and a free trial.

 

Signatures

 

Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)

Defending Democracy

Federazione Italiana Diritti Umani (FIDU)

Human Rights Information Center (Ukraine)

Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS)

Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG)

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research (KhISR)

Open Dialogue Foundation (ODF)

The Arrested Lawyers Initiative

Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF)

Polish authorities reduce the space for the activities of NGOs including human rights organizations in the country

May 2, 2018
Since the end of 2015, we have seen disturbing trends in the actions of the Polish government and the parliamentary majority formed by the populist-nationalist party, Law and Justice (PiS), which harm the activities of human rights defenders and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Poland.
Unconstitutional legislative initiatives have jeopardized both democracy and the rule of law in Poland, particularly the principle of effective separation of powers. Following an acute conflict, the ruling majority in the Parliament de facto subordinated the Constitutional Court to itself, making this state body fully dependent on political decisions.
Numerous leading Polish NGOs including human rights organizations have expressed disagreement with these actions. In July 2017, NGOs took active part in mass peaceful protests aimed at protecting the Constitution, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary in Poland.
The significant mobilization of society led to President Andrzej Duda vetoing two of the three controversial laws aimed at undermining the independence of the judiciary. in July 2017. The independence of the Supreme Court and the National Council of the Judiciary was temporarily preserved. However, the law on the system of ordinary courts came into force, widening the control of the Minister of Justice, who is also the General Prosecutor of Poland, over the courts. And so, as early as in December 2017, despite the next wave of public protests, the Parliament adopted slightly changed, unconstitutional laws that virtually eliminate the independence of the Supreme Court and the National Council of Justice.
In response to the participation of NGOs in peaceful protests, the authorities created numerous restrictions on the third sector. Many civil initiatives critical to the authorities were targeted for attack.
In July 2017, NGOs that criticized state bodies were subjected to escalated and unprecedented pressure. To date, this concerns, in particular, NGOs and initiatives such as: Citizens Solidary in Action [Obywatele Solidarnie w Akcji], Citizens of the Republic of Poland [Obywatele RP], the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog], the Committee for the Defence of Democracy [Komitet Obrony Demokracji], Action Democracy [Akcja Demokracja], the All-Poland Women’s Strike [Ogólnopolski Strajk Kobiet], the Centre for Women’s Rights [Centrum Praw Kobiet], the BABA Lubuskie Association for the Protection of Women’s Rights [BABA Lubuskie Stowarzyszenie na Rzecz Kobiet]. Some of these NGOs faced unjustified inspections, searches and lawsuits, and their representatives were subjected to numerous interrogations and even secret surveillance. Foreigners associated with these organizations are concerned about their future in Poland due to the possibility of losing their right to stay in the country.
For example, the Polish police conducted searches and seized documents and equipment from the offices of several women’s organizations (the offices of the Centre for Women’s Rights and the BABA Association). This happened the day after protest actions in defense of women’s rights in Poland was held in October 2017. Another example: Poland’s then-Minister of Foreign Affairs (MFA) filed a motion with the court to appoint what is known as a ‘compulsory administration’ to replace the existing members of the Management Board of the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog]. The dispute, which is being continued by the current Polish MFA Jacek Czaputowicz will eventually be resolved by a court ruling. Similar means were intended to be used against Citizens of the Republic of Poland [Obywatele RP] by the then-Minister of Interior, Mariusz Błaszczak.
Incidents of prosecution of LGBT organizations have been recorded. A particularly alarming signal is the cessation of a number of investigations into physical attacks against LGBT activists and the offices of their organizations. Alongside women’s rights organizations, they have been practically cut off from almost all available state-funding. The Polish state clearly favours initiatives focused on nationalist and religious values instead.
Members of the Polish government led by the then-Prime Minister Beata Szydło (in particular, the former Minister of the Interior, Mariusz Błaszczak, his deputy Jarosław Zieliński, the Minister–Coordinator of the Special Services of Poland Mariusz Kamiński, former Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski and the Minister of National Defence Antoni Macierewicz) publicly discussed actions to be taken against specific NGOs.
In addition, the aforementioned NGOs, as well as the Office of the Polish Ombudsman, have become victims of information attacks and denigrating media campaigns. These smear campaigns are based on manipulations, half-truths and outright falsehoods. These slanders are spread by state and pro-government Polish media having close ties to the ruling party.
NGOs have been accused of ‘manipulating public opinion’ and ‘artificially provoking protests’ ‘for money from abroad’. Their representatives are portrayed as ‘traitors to the motherland’, or ‘puppets’ in the hands of foreign states and other foreign actors (for example, George Soros, Russia, Germany or ‘Brussels elites’).
The denigrating campaigns aim to intimidate human rights defenders and undermine the trust of Polish society in the work of civil society. Another dangerous consequence of these campaigns may be the creation of negative attitudes towards any international or foreign structures in society. Recently, the actor and activist for the protection of the secular state Krzysztof Pieczyński fell victim to media harassment, and was subsequently beaten in the street by unknown persons in Warsaw.
Attacks on NGOs and human rights defenders are being carried out with the support of extreme right and nationalist organizations. The attacks are openly xenophobic in nature. In particular, they are being directed against the large community of Ukrainians in Poland. Some victims are being denied the right to Polish citizenship. These actions are related to the participation of Ukrainian citizens living in Poland in protests, as well as the work of the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog] and other Polish organizations which provided humanitarian assistance to Ukraine in the period of Euromaidan. 

Reluctant response of the law enforcement bodies to the nationalist and xenophobic incidents leads to growing number of assaults on foreigners in Poland.
Members of the right-wing parties of the Sejm and Members of the European Parliament from Poland are also carrying out hostile actions against specific NGOs and civil society in general. For example, six members of parliament have made public statements about the need to restrict or even stop the activities of the Open Dialog Foundation (Fundacja Otwarty Dialog). The organization was accused of representing an ‘external’ leftist ‘threat to the Polish State’, ‘violating Ukrainian–Polish relations’ and, in general, ‘provoking an uprising’ in Poland. No facts exist which would confirm that the organization has been carrying out such activities and, thus, no such evidence has been presented.
At the moment, according to the reports prepared by the Citizens of the Republic of Poland movement [Obywatele RP] (based on the gathered information), approximately 800 court proceedings are being conducted either directly against participants in the social protests and activists in social movements or in relation to their activities. In the report on oppression produced by the Citizens of the Republic of Poland,, as of the end of January 2018, 472 court trials had been initiated against protesters under the Code of Petty Offences; while a month earlier, there had been only 367 such trials. Twenty-eight criminal cases had been initiated under the Criminal Code (a month earlier there had been only 14 criminal cases), and nine persons were facing criminal charges.
Serious problems are also being caused by the new law on gatherings, which is highly controversial and widely perceived as unconstitutional, and which promotes the so-called cyclical gatherings, such as the Smolensk tragedy monthly commemoration (monthly demonstrations led by the leader of the ruling party, Jarosław Kaczyński, carried out with privileges unavailable to any other forms of street demonstration). For this reason, the Mazovian Voivode [governor] has regularly imposed a ban on pro-democracy protest actions organized on the same day by the Citizens Solidary in Action [Obywatele Solidarnie w Akcji]. Still, all of his previous decisions have been rejected by the District Court in Warsaw.
Serious concern over these attacks on the supremacy of civil rights and freedoms in Poland have been repeatedly expressed by members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (Resolution 2188 (2017), written declaration 641), pointing out in the statement on the resolution of 26 January 2018 that their demands have thus far been ignored by the Polish authorities.
The space for a dialogue between civil society and the authorities continues to shrink. Representatives of non-governmental organizations (particularly those affiliated with Citizens of the Republic of Poland movement [Obywatele RP] are commonly deprived of the opportunity to attend meetings and hearing of the Parliament’s Commissions. Several questionable legislative initiatives which address the most important aspects of public life are being considered without  any public consultation. In particular, these include changes in the legislation on the police, the introduction of anti-terrorism legislation, and amendments to the law on the Institute of National Remembrance (this last has already been adopted).
The authorities have changed some of the procedures for allocating public funds to NGOs. On 26 September 2017, the Senate passed a law regarding the National Institute of Freedom – Centre for the Development of Civil Society. The law was presented as being part of the government’s actions to strengthen civil society. However, the law was sharply criticized by the associations of NGOs and the Commissioner for Human Rights.
The law centralizes the government funds for public organizations within the framework of the established Centre. Since it is aimed at promoting activities which are in line with Christian and patriotic values, funding may become inaccessible for organizations whose work does not correlate with such values. Such an approach by the authorities violates the Constitution, which protects diversity of beliefs and views. The law was signed by the President on 12 October 2017 jeopardizing the independence of civil society in Poland.
Also, NGOs have recorded incidents of public funding having been either provided or terminated for political or ideological reasons.
In connection with the recent disturbing events, the International Civic Solidarity Platform hereby calls for the restoration of the participation of public and human rights organizations in democratic processes in Poland, a return to the European standards of interaction between civil society and government structures, and a guarantee of the independence of civil society initiatives in Poland.
Signed by the following organisations:​
1. The Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
2. Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)
3. Humanrights.ch
4. Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights (Germany/Switzerland)
5. International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law (Kazakhstan)
6. Citizens’ Watch, St. Petersburg (Russia)
7. Moscow Helsinki Group (Russia)
8. Public Verdict (Russia)
9. Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
10. Public Association “Dignity”
11. Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly – Vanadzor
12. Helsinki Committee of Armenia (Armenia)
13. KRF Public Alternative (Ukraine)
14. DRA – German-Russian Exchange (Germany)
15. “OMCT – World Organisation Against Torture”
16. Human Rights Monitoring Institute (Lithuania)
17. Legal Transformation Center (Belarus)
18. International Partnership for Human Rights (Belgium)
19. Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (Bulgaria)
20. Helsinki Association for Human Rights NGO Armenia (Armenia)
21. Human Rights Matter e.V. (Germany)
22. The Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House (Belarus)
23. WILPF Germany (Germany)
24. Association UMDPL (Ukraine)
25. Norwegian Helsinki Committee
26. The Kosova Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims (KRCT) from Kosovo
27. ZARA – Zivilcourage und Anti-Rassismus-Arbeit (Austria)
28. Women of the Don (Russia)
29. Crude Accountability
30. Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
31. Citizens Watch (Russia)
32. Regional Center for Strategic Studies ( Georgia/Azerbaijan)
33. Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russia)
34. UNITED
35. Netherlands Helsinki Committee

Source:
http://www.civicsolidarity.org/article/1545/polish-authorities-reduce-space-activities-ngos-including-human-rights-organizations

The Appeal about lack of proper medical care for Oleh Sentsov and other Ukrainian political prisoners from the LetMyPeopleGo list

November 29, 2017

To the Vice-Chancellor, the Federal Minister for Foreign

Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany,

Mr. Sigmar Gabriel

As of today, about 60 Ukrainian citizens have been detained on political grounds in the territory of the Russian Federation and the occupied Crimea. Most of them have been subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment to force false confessions about the actions they did not commit.

Oleh Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko, Valentyn Vygovsky, Mykola Karpiuk, Stanislav Klykh, Yevhen Panov, Andrii Zakhtey, Andrii Kolomiyets, Serhii Lytvynov, Oleksandr Kostenko and other illegally detained people publicly stated this. Yurii Yatsenko and Gennady Afanasyev, who were released, shared details about the unlawful practices that were applied to people under the control of the Russian Federation.

Stanislav Klykh’s appeal to the European Court of Human Rights is a clear illustration of illegal treatment by the state authorities of the Russian Federation:

“[…] In order to force me to testify, I was subjected to illegal methods of inquiry and investigation, expressed in causing me beatings and injuries, including using handcuffs and electric current, prolonged kneeling, resulting in numerous scars on my wrists, knees […] I was kept in the prison yard for several days without any water or food. As a result of the application of these methods, I was brought to a state of dystrophy, I could not hold a spoon, a pen in my hands, since the hands were dislocated as a result of being handcuffed to the bars”.

The situation is complicated by the unsatisfactory conditions of detention, which further contribute to a sharp deterioration in the health, development and exacerbation of chronic and other diseases.

 

The lawyer of the Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov, who was recognized as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, recently announced a sharp deterioration in the health of the illegally imprisoned. According to him, due to prolonged overcooling, the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis exacerbated and problems with the heart began.

 

We draw attention to the fact that human life and health are the highest values of every civilized state. The right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is guaranteed by Art. 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, Article 11, 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966, as well as Article 11 of the European Social Charter of 1996.

 

This year, the representative of the Russian Federation was elected as a President of the 70th World Health Assembly, the Charter of which was signed by the Russian Federation in 1946. Thus, she acknowledged that “the possession of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is one of the fundamental rights of everyone, regardless of race, religion, political beliefs, economic or social status”.

 

In addition, according to Art. 26 of the Federal Law of 21.11.2011 No 323-FZ “On the basis of public health protection in the Russian Federation” persons, who are in custody, serving a sentence in the form of restriction of liberty, arrest, deprivation of liberty or administrative arrest, are entitled to receive medical assistance, in particular, in necessary cases in medical institutions of the state health system and the municipal health care system in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation.

In pursuance of this Law the Government of the Russian Federation adopted the Resolution dated 28.12.2012 No 1466, which approved the Rules for the provision of medical care in medical institutions of the state and municipal health care system for persons held in custody or serving a sentence in the form of deprivation of liberty. The Rules provide for the possibility of inviting the medical specialists of the said medical institutions for consultation if it is impossible to provide medical assistance in the institutions of the criminal and executive system.

We note that all citizens of Ukraine, who are held for political reasons in the territory of the Russian Federation and the occupied Crimea, need proper medical care. Among them, Dmytro Shtyblikov, who after detention lost 30 kg and was brought to a dystopia, Stanislav Klykh, who lost his mental health after the torture that he suffered, Oleksandr Kostenko, who, due to the lack of an operation, runs the risk of losing the arm broken by the FSB’s staff, Oleksandr Rolchenko< who was in a hospital with a diagnosis of underweight, Volodymyr Dudka, who has been practicing self-medication with a stomach ulcer for ten months, Arsen Dzepparov, who is not provided with medical assistance despite cold kidneys, loss of hearing in his left ear and a sharp deterioration in vision, 19-year-old Pavlo Hryb who due to his disability is constantly taking drugs, so the lack of medicines and proper medical treatment in prison led to the appearance of ulcers on his body.

These are just a few examples of violation of the international obligations by the Russian Federation as for the right of Ukrainian political prisoners to the highest attainable standards of physical and mental health. From the moment of their illegal detention, independent physicians do not have access to them, and therefore, they cannot assess their health and provide proper medical care.

We address you with a request to raise before the Government of the Russian Federation the issue of the need to organize the access of physicians from the International Committee of the Red Cross and other reputable international health organizations to provide qualified medical assistance to Oleh Sentsov and all Ukrainian political prisoners from the LetMyPeopleGo list.

Center for Civil Liberties coordinating the #LetMyPeopleGo campaign

NGO “Association of Relatives of Political Prisoners of the Kremlin”

Media Initiative for Human Rights

Crimea Human Rights Group

Open Dialog Foundation

Association UMDPL

NGO “CrimeaSOS”

Luhansk Regional Human Rights Center “Alternative”

NGO “Social Action Center”

NGO “Peaceful Coast”

Human Rights Information Center

Expert Center for Human Rights

Charitable Foundation “East-SOS”

Euromaidan Press

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research

AIHO Foundation of Regional Initiatives

NGO “Human Rights Initiative”

NGO “Regional Center for Human Rights”/Sevastopol Human Rights Protection Group

KRF “Hromadska Alternatyva”

Centre for Civil Liberties’s statement on the pressure on civil society organisations in Poland

August 7, 2017

6 August, 2017, Kyiv

We have been cooperating with the Open Dialog Foundation (Poland) for many years. In the early days of mass protests in Ukraine, they were one of the first to render assistance to the
newly created initiative ‘EuroMaidan SOS’. The equipment that they provided was used by our civil society observers who were recording the process of fabricated trials against
peaceful protesters in Kyiv.
Following the occupation of Crimea by Russia and the commencement of the hybrid war in the Donbas, the Open Dialog Foundation supported our ‘LetMyPeopleGo’ campaign to
protect Ukrainian citizens, held in detention in Russian prisons for political reasons. Currently, they are among the most loyal defenders of the ‘Kremlin prisoners’ on the
international arena and consistently promote the issue of extending sanctions against the Russian Federation in the EU and the United States.
In view of this, it is very surprising to us to read statements, unsupported by evidence, about the alleged links of the Open Dialog Foundation with the Russian special services. It seems
that the publications, which appear in certain government media, are retaliation for the active position of the organisation and its participation in mass public protests in Poland. In
our opinion, it was the reason for which the shameful scheme of labelling dissidents as‘agents of the Kremlin’ was used.
In addition, currently, individual top Polish officials are calling for unreasonable additional tax audits of the Open Dialog Foundation and even for cancelling its registration as a non-
profit organisation. Similar pressure for participating in massive public protests is being exerted on a number of other public organisations in Poland.
We all remember what social changes took place after a long-lasting campaign of discrediting civic organisations in the Russian Federation alone. Therefore, we consider the
appearance of such publications a red flag for Poland, which has long been an example of democratic transformation of a country in the post-Soviet space, and especially for Ukraine.

Photo: Radio Liberty

Holding a meeting on human rights is not a terrorist conspiracy

July 10, 2017

10 July 2017

 

    On 5 July 2017, ten participants in a human rights training meeting were detained at Büyükada, one of the Princes’ Islands near İstanbul, Turkey. The group consisted of eight representatives of Turkish civil society organisations working on human rights and two foreign consultants on digital security and information management. By the afternoon of July 6, the lawyers of the detained persons learned that their clients are being investigated for membership of an armed organization, a terrorist offense, and will stay in investigative detention initially for seven days.
The undersigned organisations, national and international human rights NGOs from the OSCE region, members of the Civic Solidarity Platform, strongly reject this operation by the Turkish authorities. We appeal for the immediate and unconditional release of the detained persons, participants in a peaceful meeting to advance human rights. Human rights work should not be criminalized. Civil society work for human rights is an important contribution to a healthy society. Holding a meeting on human rights is not a terrorist conspiracy.
The Turkish citizens arrested are Özlem Dalkıran (Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly), lawyer Nalan Erkem (Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly), İlknur Üstün (Women’s Coalition), İdil Eser (Amnesty International Turkey director), Veli Acu (Human Rights Agenda Association), lawyer Günal Kurşun (Human Rights Agenda Association), Şeymus Özbekli (Rights Initiative), and Nejat Taştan (Equal Rights Watch Association). The two consultants are Ali Gharawi, from Sweden, and Peter Steudtner, from Germany.
In the past years, human rights defenders have on several occasions been targeted by governmental repression. This latest attack on human rights defenders comes amidst a wave of repression after the failed coup attempt of 15 July 2016 which has affected a much wider group of persons than those who may have been directly involved in the coup attempt, including journalists, lawyers and politicians. Only last month, Taner Kiliç, the president of Amnesty International Turkey, was arrested together with 22 other lawyers.

Article 19 (international, London)
Association of Ukrainian Human Rights Monitors on Law Enforcement
Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House
Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russia)
Center for Participation and Development (Georgia)
DRA – German-Russian Exchange (Germany)
Fair Trials (international, London)

Golos Svobody (Kyrgyzstan)
Helsinki Citizens Assembly Vanadzor (Armenia)
Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)
Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan
Human Rights House Foundation (international, Oslo)
Human Rights Information Center (Ukraine)
Human Rights Matter (Germany)
IDP Women Association “Consent” (Georgia)
International Partnership for Human Rights (international, Brussels)
International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (international, Copenhagen)
Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (Azerbaijan)
Kadyr Kasiyet (“Dignity”) (Kazakhstan)
Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law
Kharkiv regional foundation Public Alternative (Ukraine)
Legal Policy Research Center (Kazakhstan)
Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights (Germany)
Moscow Helsinki Group
Netherlands Helsinki Committee
Norwegian Helsinki Committee
Office of Civil Freedoms (Tajikistan)
Promo-LEX (Moldova)
Protection of rights without borders (Armenia)
Public Verdict (Russia)
Regional Center for Strategic Studies (Azerbaijan)
Solidarus (Germany)
SOVA Center for Information and Analysis (Russia)
Swiss Helsinki Committee
Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (Germany)
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) (international, Geneva)
[country names added if name of country not included in the name of the organization; for
international organisations, the city where their secretariat is located, is added]

The Civic Solidarity Platform is a decentralized advocacy network of independent civic groups
committed to improving the human rights situation in Europe, Eurasia and the US,
www.civicsolidarity.org.
Contact for this statement: Harry Hummel, Netherlands Helsinki Committee, hhummel@nhc.nl,
+31703926700

On the situation with the nomination at the “Eurovision” from Russia Yulia Samoylova

May 15, 2017

Ukraine has the right to demand the implementation of the law in relation to the Russian singer Yulii Samoylovoy, but the fact that Russia still decided to send its representative to this year held in Kiev “Eurovision” is a kind of a gesture of reconciliation. Such an opinion was expressed by the Russian human rights activist, head of the Moscow Helsinki Group Lyudmila Alekseeva.

“On the one hand, I am glad that our leaders still decide to send a Russian representative at” Eurovision “. Neighborly. This is a good step, which shows the desire of reconciliation. But on the other hand, I understand the Ukrainians: Crimea captured now want to make peace, but the Crimea is not returned. It is clear to me, “- Alexeyev said, commenting on the Ukrainian edition of” Explorer “the situation surrounding the nomination of the representative of Russia in the international music competition” Eurovision “.

Russian human rights activist has also recognized that “there are Ukrainian laws, and they must comply with.” However, she admitted that the Russian singer could have visited the Crimea, “whether he is Ukrainian.”

In this context, Alexeyev told that visited the peninsula, as it was her little homeland to the annexation of the Crimea. Due to old age she can not go there now, but “I fully admit that if I were younger, I would have to go on a his small home, no matter who it belongs to,” – she said.

“I would not want us to even about it [on participation in” Eurovision “Yulii Samoylovoy] quarreled. When fighting bosses, we should not pay attention to it. I belong to the Ukrainians as well as before. What a difference to us? Let them find out the relationship, and we have to treat each other with respect, as it should be neighbors, as it is necessary for people who have a common history, “- Alexeyev said.

At the same time, she added: “I feel very sorry for Russia because of this history of the Crimea.”

Recall that in Russia ended with the internal competitive selection of artists for the contest “Eurovision” -2017, the winner of which was a girl with a disability Julia Samoilova. In the summer of 2015 the singer participated in the festival “World of Sports, and good”, which was held in the Crimea. Thus, according to Ukrainian law, Samoilova violated the procedure for crossing the Ukrainian border. The singer is also listed as a “purgatory” center “Peacemaker”.

March 13 Advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Anton Gerashchenko said that the law enforcement agencies , there are two ways to resolve the situation on the Russian representative at “Eurovision” Yulii Samoylovoy, which violated the legislation of Ukraine. According to him, the first option – not to let Samoilov to Ukraine for violating the rules visit the occupied territory of Crimea. The second – to give Samoilova permission to enter the country, but at the same time and bring her to justice for violation of the state border.

Sourse, 14/05/2017

Such meetings are beneficial for all participants

June 10, 2015

Azerbaijani human rights activist and director of the Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan (HRCA), Eldar Zeynalov summed up ended in Kiev workshop on exchange of experiences and best practices “Improving skills in the field of human rights advocacy (promotion and protection of human rights).”

“Such meetings are mutually beneficial,” – suggested Eldar Zeynalov.

According to the head of the OCA, the seminar was attended by five representatives of Azerbaijan. “Except for me, their participation in the seminar later unveiled a lawyer Fariz Namazly. The names of the other three parties, I do not know if I can make public.

Organizers asked not to mention the names of the participants without agreement with them. I can only say that the two human rights defenders, and three lawyers participated from Azerbaijan. “

Recall that the seminar held in the capital of Ukraine on 4-5 June, organized by the Netherlands Helsinki Committee and the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland) for the human rights of a number of countries of the former Soviet Union, including Azerbaijan.

For two days, the participants discussed the planning and advocacy strategy (promotion and protection of human rights), including working with international organizations such as the UN, Council of Europe, the European Union and the OSCE, as well as exchanged between human rights defenders from different countries with innovative approaches to this area.

According to the expert, such events often performed earlier. It was the general training, and explain the ways of European standards, and so on.

“This workshop was more specific. Standards as they were, and have remained so, just change the working conditions. They exchanged views on how to operate in such conditions, how to achieve positive changes in human rights issues.

We never work in isolation. We have partners in the West, that we support or do not support. Which have their own vision of the situation in the country and is not always correct and complete. And the result is that some campaigns in our defense, wrong calculation, not the tone chosen, the methods used do not become “blank shot”, as he was selected.

And for “Westerners” to us useful to meet. It is mutually useful meeting. The workshop in addition to representatives of Azerbaijan, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, was also attended by representatives of immigrant organizations in France.

But in fact, they work in the Russian direction. I became more optimistic look at things and know what are the conditions for human rights defenders in Belarus, Russia.

In the same Russian clamped and dissidents, and human rights activists. They are looking for other outlets. Nobody is going to give, “- said E. Zeynalov.

Note that at the time of the seminar, after a brief lull, resumed again fighting in eastern Ukraine between the forces of the anti-terrorist operation and separatists.

According to E. Zeynalov, “in the city met the guys in camouflage, the number of police officers was greater than that observed a couple of years ago.”

“However, such as in Russia, where visitors to the carp, check documents, did not exist.

It is not felt that Kiev – the capital of the belligerent State. In the city center, where the Maidan, traces the events of last year. The same House of Trade Unions has not been refurbished. Many graffiti that were made then.

In a couple of places monuments installed. Sometimes came a beautiful girl who collected donations for the wounded. Only in this war, and manifested. No aggressive slogans on the wall, sometimes there are signs saying: “Ukraine – one country, one nation.” No militarist propaganda personally I have not seen “- he said.

Sourse, 09/06/2015

Результаты поиска:

Joint appeal on the inappropriate use of extremist charges, mass detention and use of torture against peaceful demonstrators, activists and government’s critics in Kazakhstan.

December 17, 2018

Despite the ratification of the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Kazakhstan, the human rights situation in the country has sharply deteriorated.

Fundamental rights, such as freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, are disrespected under the guise of fighting “extremism”. Since 13 March 2018, the day that marks the authorities’ ban of the peaceful opposition movement ‘Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan’ (DCK), more than 450 persons, participating in peaceful rallies or showing different form of support for DCK (e.g. posting and commenting social media contents, walking with blue balloons, etc.) have fallen victim of political persecution.

We call for a stepping up of efforts to ensure political pluralism in the country and condemn the repression of peaceful activists and supporters of opposition movement DCK and call for their unconditional release. Kazakhstan has to ensure its citizens free access to social media networks and independent media outlets, thus ceasing the blocking or restriction of such platforms. We stress the importance of the independence of lawyers and the protection of their rights to freely practice their profession and defend their clients without fear of reprisals.

We find this particularly worrying that on 10 May 2018, during the visit of European Parliament’s Delegation to Kazakhstan, police resorted to excessive use of force against peaceful protesters and detained more than 150 people, while others were placed under administrative arrests. On that day peaceful rallies against the use of torture and politically motivated imprisonment were held in cities across the country.

Among them, more than 30 people have been prosecuted in connection with their support of DCK’s ideas, including: activists Ablovas Dzhumayev, Almat Zhumagulov and poet Kenzhebek Abishev, social media user Aset Abishev and blogger Muratbek Tungishbayev. At least six persons have reported the use of torture and a lack of medical care in the place of detention. The practice of forced confession in exchange for release, and psychological pressure exerted on political prisoners and their relatives are undermining the trust in the Kazakhstani justice system, as exemplified by the cases of Aset Nurzhaubay and Muratbek Tungishbayev.

We were informed that political prisoners are losing hope for justice and taking desperate steps. For example, on 26 November 2018, Almat Zhumagulov and Kenzhebek Abishev threatened suicide in protest against the accusatory bias in court decisions and the fabricated nature of the case. On 27 November 2018, Zhumagulov cut his arm during the court session.At the same time Iskander Yerimbetov, the brother of human rights activist and lawyer Bota Jardemalie, was arrested, tortured and convicted in October 2018 to 7 years’ imprisonment in retaliation for his sister’s professional activities. Due to the outcome of his case, lawyers in Kazakhstan fear to defend victims of political persecution and torture.The number of political prisoners in Kazakhstan is increasing. More than 20 political prisoners are being held in detention. Human rights defenders are also under attack. Restrictions imposed on NGOs and criminal prosecution of human rights activists, such as Elena Semenova, severely shrink the space for civil society.

We call on Kazakhstani authorities to implement the communications from the UN Human Rights Committee, UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, and call without further delay to release the political prisoners Mukhtar Dzhakishev, Maks Bokayev and Iskander Yerimbetov; compliance with the UN requirements is an important condition for further cooperation between the EU and Kazakhstan

We expect the urgent intervention of the EEAS, encourage the initiation of further EU official monitoring missions and call on the EEAS to support such missions in order to observe the human rights situation and attend court trials against people prosecuted for political reasons. At the same time, we strongly recommend that the European Commission and the EU Member States pursue a policy of conditionality in the case of Kazakhstan. If the latter state wants to be a recipient of EU funding and attract investments, it first must ensure the cessation of cruel practices against detainees in prisons, an end to impunity for the offenders, freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, and the right to a defence and a free trial.

 

Signatures

 

Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)

Defending Democracy

Federazione Italiana Diritti Umani (FIDU)

Human Rights Information Center (Ukraine)

Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS)

Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG)

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research (KhISR)

Open Dialogue Foundation (ODF)

The Arrested Lawyers Initiative

Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF)

Polish authorities reduce the space for the activities of NGOs including human rights organizations in the country

May 2, 2018
Since the end of 2015, we have seen disturbing trends in the actions of the Polish government and the parliamentary majority formed by the populist-nationalist party, Law and Justice (PiS), which harm the activities of human rights defenders and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Poland.
Unconstitutional legislative initiatives have jeopardized both democracy and the rule of law in Poland, particularly the principle of effective separation of powers. Following an acute conflict, the ruling majority in the Parliament de facto subordinated the Constitutional Court to itself, making this state body fully dependent on political decisions.
Numerous leading Polish NGOs including human rights organizations have expressed disagreement with these actions. In July 2017, NGOs took active part in mass peaceful protests aimed at protecting the Constitution, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary in Poland.
The significant mobilization of society led to President Andrzej Duda vetoing two of the three controversial laws aimed at undermining the independence of the judiciary. in July 2017. The independence of the Supreme Court and the National Council of the Judiciary was temporarily preserved. However, the law on the system of ordinary courts came into force, widening the control of the Minister of Justice, who is also the General Prosecutor of Poland, over the courts. And so, as early as in December 2017, despite the next wave of public protests, the Parliament adopted slightly changed, unconstitutional laws that virtually eliminate the independence of the Supreme Court and the National Council of Justice.
In response to the participation of NGOs in peaceful protests, the authorities created numerous restrictions on the third sector. Many civil initiatives critical to the authorities were targeted for attack.
In July 2017, NGOs that criticized state bodies were subjected to escalated and unprecedented pressure. To date, this concerns, in particular, NGOs and initiatives such as: Citizens Solidary in Action [Obywatele Solidarnie w Akcji], Citizens of the Republic of Poland [Obywatele RP], the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog], the Committee for the Defence of Democracy [Komitet Obrony Demokracji], Action Democracy [Akcja Demokracja], the All-Poland Women’s Strike [Ogólnopolski Strajk Kobiet], the Centre for Women’s Rights [Centrum Praw Kobiet], the BABA Lubuskie Association for the Protection of Women’s Rights [BABA Lubuskie Stowarzyszenie na Rzecz Kobiet]. Some of these NGOs faced unjustified inspections, searches and lawsuits, and their representatives were subjected to numerous interrogations and even secret surveillance. Foreigners associated with these organizations are concerned about their future in Poland due to the possibility of losing their right to stay in the country.
For example, the Polish police conducted searches and seized documents and equipment from the offices of several women’s organizations (the offices of the Centre for Women’s Rights and the BABA Association). This happened the day after protest actions in defense of women’s rights in Poland was held in October 2017. Another example: Poland’s then-Minister of Foreign Affairs (MFA) filed a motion with the court to appoint what is known as a ‘compulsory administration’ to replace the existing members of the Management Board of the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog]. The dispute, which is being continued by the current Polish MFA Jacek Czaputowicz will eventually be resolved by a court ruling. Similar means were intended to be used against Citizens of the Republic of Poland [Obywatele RP] by the then-Minister of Interior, Mariusz Błaszczak.
Incidents of prosecution of LGBT organizations have been recorded. A particularly alarming signal is the cessation of a number of investigations into physical attacks against LGBT activists and the offices of their organizations. Alongside women’s rights organizations, they have been practically cut off from almost all available state-funding. The Polish state clearly favours initiatives focused on nationalist and religious values instead.
Members of the Polish government led by the then-Prime Minister Beata Szydło (in particular, the former Minister of the Interior, Mariusz Błaszczak, his deputy Jarosław Zieliński, the Minister–Coordinator of the Special Services of Poland Mariusz Kamiński, former Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski and the Minister of National Defence Antoni Macierewicz) publicly discussed actions to be taken against specific NGOs.
In addition, the aforementioned NGOs, as well as the Office of the Polish Ombudsman, have become victims of information attacks and denigrating media campaigns. These smear campaigns are based on manipulations, half-truths and outright falsehoods. These slanders are spread by state and pro-government Polish media having close ties to the ruling party.
NGOs have been accused of ‘manipulating public opinion’ and ‘artificially provoking protests’ ‘for money from abroad’. Their representatives are portrayed as ‘traitors to the motherland’, or ‘puppets’ in the hands of foreign states and other foreign actors (for example, George Soros, Russia, Germany or ‘Brussels elites’).
The denigrating campaigns aim to intimidate human rights defenders and undermine the trust of Polish society in the work of civil society. Another dangerous consequence of these campaigns may be the creation of negative attitudes towards any international or foreign structures in society. Recently, the actor and activist for the protection of the secular state Krzysztof Pieczyński fell victim to media harassment, and was subsequently beaten in the street by unknown persons in Warsaw.
Attacks on NGOs and human rights defenders are being carried out with the support of extreme right and nationalist organizations. The attacks are openly xenophobic in nature. In particular, they are being directed against the large community of Ukrainians in Poland. Some victims are being denied the right to Polish citizenship. These actions are related to the participation of Ukrainian citizens living in Poland in protests, as well as the work of the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog] and other Polish organizations which provided humanitarian assistance to Ukraine in the period of Euromaidan. 

Reluctant response of the law enforcement bodies to the nationalist and xenophobic incidents leads to growing number of assaults on foreigners in Poland.
Members of the right-wing parties of the Sejm and Members of the European Parliament from Poland are also carrying out hostile actions against specific NGOs and civil society in general. For example, six members of parliament have made public statements about the need to restrict or even stop the activities of the Open Dialog Foundation (Fundacja Otwarty Dialog). The organization was accused of representing an ‘external’ leftist ‘threat to the Polish State’, ‘violating Ukrainian–Polish relations’ and, in general, ‘provoking an uprising’ in Poland. No facts exist which would confirm that the organization has been carrying out such activities and, thus, no such evidence has been presented.
At the moment, according to the reports prepared by the Citizens of the Republic of Poland movement [Obywatele RP] (based on the gathered information), approximately 800 court proceedings are being conducted either directly against participants in the social protests and activists in social movements or in relation to their activities. In the report on oppression produced by the Citizens of the Republic of Poland,, as of the end of January 2018, 472 court trials had been initiated against protesters under the Code of Petty Offences; while a month earlier, there had been only 367 such trials. Twenty-eight criminal cases had been initiated under the Criminal Code (a month earlier there had been only 14 criminal cases), and nine persons were facing criminal charges.
Serious problems are also being caused by the new law on gatherings, which is highly controversial and widely perceived as unconstitutional, and which promotes the so-called cyclical gatherings, such as the Smolensk tragedy monthly commemoration (monthly demonstrations led by the leader of the ruling party, Jarosław Kaczyński, carried out with privileges unavailable to any other forms of street demonstration). For this reason, the Mazovian Voivode [governor] has regularly imposed a ban on pro-democracy protest actions organized on the same day by the Citizens Solidary in Action [Obywatele Solidarnie w Akcji]. Still, all of his previous decisions have been rejected by the District Court in Warsaw.
Serious concern over these attacks on the supremacy of civil rights and freedoms in Poland have been repeatedly expressed by members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (Resolution 2188 (2017), written declaration 641), pointing out in the statement on the resolution of 26 January 2018 that their demands have thus far been ignored by the Polish authorities.
The space for a dialogue between civil society and the authorities continues to shrink. Representatives of non-governmental organizations (particularly those affiliated with Citizens of the Republic of Poland movement [Obywatele RP] are commonly deprived of the opportunity to attend meetings and hearing of the Parliament’s Commissions. Several questionable legislative initiatives which address the most important aspects of public life are being considered without  any public consultation. In particular, these include changes in the legislation on the police, the introduction of anti-terrorism legislation, and amendments to the law on the Institute of National Remembrance (this last has already been adopted).
The authorities have changed some of the procedures for allocating public funds to NGOs. On 26 September 2017, the Senate passed a law regarding the National Institute of Freedom – Centre for the Development of Civil Society. The law was presented as being part of the government’s actions to strengthen civil society. However, the law was sharply criticized by the associations of NGOs and the Commissioner for Human Rights.
The law centralizes the government funds for public organizations within the framework of the established Centre. Since it is aimed at promoting activities which are in line with Christian and patriotic values, funding may become inaccessible for organizations whose work does not correlate with such values. Such an approach by the authorities violates the Constitution, which protects diversity of beliefs and views. The law was signed by the President on 12 October 2017 jeopardizing the independence of civil society in Poland.
Also, NGOs have recorded incidents of public funding having been either provided or terminated for political or ideological reasons.
In connection with the recent disturbing events, the International Civic Solidarity Platform hereby calls for the restoration of the participation of public and human rights organizations in democratic processes in Poland, a return to the European standards of interaction between civil society and government structures, and a guarantee of the independence of civil society initiatives in Poland.
Signed by the following organisations:​
1. The Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
2. Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)
3. Humanrights.ch
4. Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights (Germany/Switzerland)
5. International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law (Kazakhstan)
6. Citizens’ Watch, St. Petersburg (Russia)
7. Moscow Helsinki Group (Russia)
8. Public Verdict (Russia)
9. Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
10. Public Association “Dignity”
11. Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly – Vanadzor
12. Helsinki Committee of Armenia (Armenia)
13. KRF Public Alternative (Ukraine)
14. DRA – German-Russian Exchange (Germany)
15. “OMCT – World Organisation Against Torture”
16. Human Rights Monitoring Institute (Lithuania)
17. Legal Transformation Center (Belarus)
18. International Partnership for Human Rights (Belgium)
19. Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (Bulgaria)
20. Helsinki Association for Human Rights NGO Armenia (Armenia)
21. Human Rights Matter e.V. (Germany)
22. The Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House (Belarus)
23. WILPF Germany (Germany)
24. Association UMDPL (Ukraine)
25. Norwegian Helsinki Committee
26. The Kosova Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims (KRCT) from Kosovo
27. ZARA – Zivilcourage und Anti-Rassismus-Arbeit (Austria)
28. Women of the Don (Russia)
29. Crude Accountability
30. Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
31. Citizens Watch (Russia)
32. Regional Center for Strategic Studies ( Georgia/Azerbaijan)
33. Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russia)
34. UNITED
35. Netherlands Helsinki Committee

Source:
http://www.civicsolidarity.org/article/1545/polish-authorities-reduce-space-activities-ngos-including-human-rights-organizations

The Appeal about lack of proper medical care for Oleh Sentsov and other Ukrainian political prisoners from the LetMyPeopleGo list

November 29, 2017

To the Vice-Chancellor, the Federal Minister for Foreign

Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany,

Mr. Sigmar Gabriel

As of today, about 60 Ukrainian citizens have been detained on political grounds in the territory of the Russian Federation and the occupied Crimea. Most of them have been subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment to force false confessions about the actions they did not commit.

Oleh Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko, Valentyn Vygovsky, Mykola Karpiuk, Stanislav Klykh, Yevhen Panov, Andrii Zakhtey, Andrii Kolomiyets, Serhii Lytvynov, Oleksandr Kostenko and other illegally detained people publicly stated this. Yurii Yatsenko and Gennady Afanasyev, who were released, shared details about the unlawful practices that were applied to people under the control of the Russian Federation.

Stanislav Klykh’s appeal to the European Court of Human Rights is a clear illustration of illegal treatment by the state authorities of the Russian Federation:

“[…] In order to force me to testify, I was subjected to illegal methods of inquiry and investigation, expressed in causing me beatings and injuries, including using handcuffs and electric current, prolonged kneeling, resulting in numerous scars on my wrists, knees […] I was kept in the prison yard for several days without any water or food. As a result of the application of these methods, I was brought to a state of dystrophy, I could not hold a spoon, a pen in my hands, since the hands were dislocated as a result of being handcuffed to the bars”.

The situation is complicated by the unsatisfactory conditions of detention, which further contribute to a sharp deterioration in the health, development and exacerbation of chronic and other diseases.

 

The lawyer of the Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov, who was recognized as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, recently announced a sharp deterioration in the health of the illegally imprisoned. According to him, due to prolonged overcooling, the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis exacerbated and problems with the heart began.

 

We draw attention to the fact that human life and health are the highest values of every civilized state. The right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is guaranteed by Art. 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, Article 11, 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966, as well as Article 11 of the European Social Charter of 1996.

 

This year, the representative of the Russian Federation was elected as a President of the 70th World Health Assembly, the Charter of which was signed by the Russian Federation in 1946. Thus, she acknowledged that “the possession of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is one of the fundamental rights of everyone, regardless of race, religion, political beliefs, economic or social status”.

 

In addition, according to Art. 26 of the Federal Law of 21.11.2011 No 323-FZ “On the basis of public health protection in the Russian Federation” persons, who are in custody, serving a sentence in the form of restriction of liberty, arrest, deprivation of liberty or administrative arrest, are entitled to receive medical assistance, in particular, in necessary cases in medical institutions of the state health system and the municipal health care system in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation.

In pursuance of this Law the Government of the Russian Federation adopted the Resolution dated 28.12.2012 No 1466, which approved the Rules for the provision of medical care in medical institutions of the state and municipal health care system for persons held in custody or serving a sentence in the form of deprivation of liberty. The Rules provide for the possibility of inviting the medical specialists of the said medical institutions for consultation if it is impossible to provide medical assistance in the institutions of the criminal and executive system.

We note that all citizens of Ukraine, who are held for political reasons in the territory of the Russian Federation and the occupied Crimea, need proper medical care. Among them, Dmytro Shtyblikov, who after detention lost 30 kg and was brought to a dystopia, Stanislav Klykh, who lost his mental health after the torture that he suffered, Oleksandr Kostenko, who, due to the lack of an operation, runs the risk of losing the arm broken by the FSB’s staff, Oleksandr Rolchenko< who was in a hospital with a diagnosis of underweight, Volodymyr Dudka, who has been practicing self-medication with a stomach ulcer for ten months, Arsen Dzepparov, who is not provided with medical assistance despite cold kidneys, loss of hearing in his left ear and a sharp deterioration in vision, 19-year-old Pavlo Hryb who due to his disability is constantly taking drugs, so the lack of medicines and proper medical treatment in prison led to the appearance of ulcers on his body.

These are just a few examples of violation of the international obligations by the Russian Federation as for the right of Ukrainian political prisoners to the highest attainable standards of physical and mental health. From the moment of their illegal detention, independent physicians do not have access to them, and therefore, they cannot assess their health and provide proper medical care.

We address you with a request to raise before the Government of the Russian Federation the issue of the need to organize the access of physicians from the International Committee of the Red Cross and other reputable international health organizations to provide qualified medical assistance to Oleh Sentsov and all Ukrainian political prisoners from the LetMyPeopleGo list.

Center for Civil Liberties coordinating the #LetMyPeopleGo campaign

NGO “Association of Relatives of Political Prisoners of the Kremlin”

Media Initiative for Human Rights

Crimea Human Rights Group

Open Dialog Foundation

Association UMDPL

NGO “CrimeaSOS”

Luhansk Regional Human Rights Center “Alternative”

NGO “Social Action Center”

NGO “Peaceful Coast”

Human Rights Information Center

Expert Center for Human Rights

Charitable Foundation “East-SOS”

Euromaidan Press

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research

AIHO Foundation of Regional Initiatives

NGO “Human Rights Initiative”

NGO “Regional Center for Human Rights”/Sevastopol Human Rights Protection Group

KRF “Hromadska Alternatyva”

Centre for Civil Liberties’s statement on the pressure on civil society organisations in Poland

August 7, 2017

6 August, 2017, Kyiv

We have been cooperating with the Open Dialog Foundation (Poland) for many years. In the early days of mass protests in Ukraine, they were one of the first to render assistance to the
newly created initiative ‘EuroMaidan SOS’. The equipment that they provided was used by our civil society observers who were recording the process of fabricated trials against
peaceful protesters in Kyiv.
Following the occupation of Crimea by Russia and the commencement of the hybrid war in the Donbas, the Open Dialog Foundation supported our ‘LetMyPeopleGo’ campaign to
protect Ukrainian citizens, held in detention in Russian prisons for political reasons. Currently, they are among the most loyal defenders of the ‘Kremlin prisoners’ on the
international arena and consistently promote the issue of extending sanctions against the Russian Federation in the EU and the United States.
In view of this, it is very surprising to us to read statements, unsupported by evidence, about the alleged links of the Open Dialog Foundation with the Russian special services. It seems
that the publications, which appear in certain government media, are retaliation for the active position of the organisation and its participation in mass public protests in Poland. In
our opinion, it was the reason for which the shameful scheme of labelling dissidents as‘agents of the Kremlin’ was used.
In addition, currently, individual top Polish officials are calling for unreasonable additional tax audits of the Open Dialog Foundation and even for cancelling its registration as a non-
profit organisation. Similar pressure for participating in massive public protests is being exerted on a number of other public organisations in Poland.
We all remember what social changes took place after a long-lasting campaign of discrediting civic organisations in the Russian Federation alone. Therefore, we consider the
appearance of such publications a red flag for Poland, which has long been an example of democratic transformation of a country in the post-Soviet space, and especially for Ukraine.

Photo: Radio Liberty

Holding a meeting on human rights is not a terrorist conspiracy

July 10, 2017

10 July 2017

 

    On 5 July 2017, ten participants in a human rights training meeting were detained at Büyükada, one of the Princes’ Islands near İstanbul, Turkey. The group consisted of eight representatives of Turkish civil society organisations working on human rights and two foreign consultants on digital security and information management. By the afternoon of July 6, the lawyers of the detained persons learned that their clients are being investigated for membership of an armed organization, a terrorist offense, and will stay in investigative detention initially for seven days.
The undersigned organisations, national and international human rights NGOs from the OSCE region, members of the Civic Solidarity Platform, strongly reject this operation by the Turkish authorities. We appeal for the immediate and unconditional release of the detained persons, participants in a peaceful meeting to advance human rights. Human rights work should not be criminalized. Civil society work for human rights is an important contribution to a healthy society. Holding a meeting on human rights is not a terrorist conspiracy.
The Turkish citizens arrested are Özlem Dalkıran (Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly), lawyer Nalan Erkem (Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly), İlknur Üstün (Women’s Coalition), İdil Eser (Amnesty International Turkey director), Veli Acu (Human Rights Agenda Association), lawyer Günal Kurşun (Human Rights Agenda Association), Şeymus Özbekli (Rights Initiative), and Nejat Taştan (Equal Rights Watch Association). The two consultants are Ali Gharawi, from Sweden, and Peter Steudtner, from Germany.
In the past years, human rights defenders have on several occasions been targeted by governmental repression. This latest attack on human rights defenders comes amidst a wave of repression after the failed coup attempt of 15 July 2016 which has affected a much wider group of persons than those who may have been directly involved in the coup attempt, including journalists, lawyers and politicians. Only last month, Taner Kiliç, the president of Amnesty International Turkey, was arrested together with 22 other lawyers.

Article 19 (international, London)
Association of Ukrainian Human Rights Monitors on Law Enforcement
Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House
Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russia)
Center for Participation and Development (Georgia)
DRA – German-Russian Exchange (Germany)
Fair Trials (international, London)

Golos Svobody (Kyrgyzstan)
Helsinki Citizens Assembly Vanadzor (Armenia)
Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)
Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan
Human Rights House Foundation (international, Oslo)
Human Rights Information Center (Ukraine)
Human Rights Matter (Germany)
IDP Women Association “Consent” (Georgia)
International Partnership for Human Rights (international, Brussels)
International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (international, Copenhagen)
Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (Azerbaijan)
Kadyr Kasiyet (“Dignity”) (Kazakhstan)
Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law
Kharkiv regional foundation Public Alternative (Ukraine)
Legal Policy Research Center (Kazakhstan)
Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights (Germany)
Moscow Helsinki Group
Netherlands Helsinki Committee
Norwegian Helsinki Committee
Office of Civil Freedoms (Tajikistan)
Promo-LEX (Moldova)
Protection of rights without borders (Armenia)
Public Verdict (Russia)
Regional Center for Strategic Studies (Azerbaijan)
Solidarus (Germany)
SOVA Center for Information and Analysis (Russia)
Swiss Helsinki Committee
Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (Germany)
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) (international, Geneva)
[country names added if name of country not included in the name of the organization; for
international organisations, the city where their secretariat is located, is added]

The Civic Solidarity Platform is a decentralized advocacy network of independent civic groups
committed to improving the human rights situation in Europe, Eurasia and the US,
www.civicsolidarity.org.
Contact for this statement: Harry Hummel, Netherlands Helsinki Committee, hhummel@nhc.nl,
+31703926700

On the situation with the nomination at the “Eurovision” from Russia Yulia Samoylova

May 15, 2017

Ukraine has the right to demand the implementation of the law in relation to the Russian singer Yulii Samoylovoy, but the fact that Russia still decided to send its representative to this year held in Kiev “Eurovision” is a kind of a gesture of reconciliation. Such an opinion was expressed by the Russian human rights activist, head of the Moscow Helsinki Group Lyudmila Alekseeva.

“On the one hand, I am glad that our leaders still decide to send a Russian representative at” Eurovision “. Neighborly. This is a good step, which shows the desire of reconciliation. But on the other hand, I understand the Ukrainians: Crimea captured now want to make peace, but the Crimea is not returned. It is clear to me, “- Alexeyev said, commenting on the Ukrainian edition of” Explorer “the situation surrounding the nomination of the representative of Russia in the international music competition” Eurovision “.

Russian human rights activist has also recognized that “there are Ukrainian laws, and they must comply with.” However, she admitted that the Russian singer could have visited the Crimea, “whether he is Ukrainian.”

In this context, Alexeyev told that visited the peninsula, as it was her little homeland to the annexation of the Crimea. Due to old age she can not go there now, but “I fully admit that if I were younger, I would have to go on a his small home, no matter who it belongs to,” – she said.

“I would not want us to even about it [on participation in” Eurovision “Yulii Samoylovoy] quarreled. When fighting bosses, we should not pay attention to it. I belong to the Ukrainians as well as before. What a difference to us? Let them find out the relationship, and we have to treat each other with respect, as it should be neighbors, as it is necessary for people who have a common history, “- Alexeyev said.

At the same time, she added: “I feel very sorry for Russia because of this history of the Crimea.”

Recall that in Russia ended with the internal competitive selection of artists for the contest “Eurovision” -2017, the winner of which was a girl with a disability Julia Samoilova. In the summer of 2015 the singer participated in the festival “World of Sports, and good”, which was held in the Crimea. Thus, according to Ukrainian law, Samoilova violated the procedure for crossing the Ukrainian border. The singer is also listed as a “purgatory” center “Peacemaker”.

March 13 Advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Anton Gerashchenko said that the law enforcement agencies , there are two ways to resolve the situation on the Russian representative at “Eurovision” Yulii Samoylovoy, which violated the legislation of Ukraine. According to him, the first option – not to let Samoilov to Ukraine for violating the rules visit the occupied territory of Crimea. The second – to give Samoilova permission to enter the country, but at the same time and bring her to justice for violation of the state border.

Sourse, 14/05/2017

Such meetings are beneficial for all participants

June 10, 2015

Azerbaijani human rights activist and director of the Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan (HRCA), Eldar Zeynalov summed up ended in Kiev workshop on exchange of experiences and best practices “Improving skills in the field of human rights advocacy (promotion and protection of human rights).”

“Such meetings are mutually beneficial,” – suggested Eldar Zeynalov.

According to the head of the OCA, the seminar was attended by five representatives of Azerbaijan. “Except for me, their participation in the seminar later unveiled a lawyer Fariz Namazly. The names of the other three parties, I do not know if I can make public.

Organizers asked not to mention the names of the participants without agreement with them. I can only say that the two human rights defenders, and three lawyers participated from Azerbaijan. “

Recall that the seminar held in the capital of Ukraine on 4-5 June, organized by the Netherlands Helsinki Committee and the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland) for the human rights of a number of countries of the former Soviet Union, including Azerbaijan.

For two days, the participants discussed the planning and advocacy strategy (promotion and protection of human rights), including working with international organizations such as the UN, Council of Europe, the European Union and the OSCE, as well as exchanged between human rights defenders from different countries with innovative approaches to this area.

According to the expert, such events often performed earlier. It was the general training, and explain the ways of European standards, and so on.

“This workshop was more specific. Standards as they were, and have remained so, just change the working conditions. They exchanged views on how to operate in such conditions, how to achieve positive changes in human rights issues.

We never work in isolation. We have partners in the West, that we support or do not support. Which have their own vision of the situation in the country and is not always correct and complete. And the result is that some campaigns in our defense, wrong calculation, not the tone chosen, the methods used do not become “blank shot”, as he was selected.

And for “Westerners” to us useful to meet. It is mutually useful meeting. The workshop in addition to representatives of Azerbaijan, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, was also attended by representatives of immigrant organizations in France.

But in fact, they work in the Russian direction. I became more optimistic look at things and know what are the conditions for human rights defenders in Belarus, Russia.

In the same Russian clamped and dissidents, and human rights activists. They are looking for other outlets. Nobody is going to give, “- said E. Zeynalov.

Note that at the time of the seminar, after a brief lull, resumed again fighting in eastern Ukraine between the forces of the anti-terrorist operation and separatists.

According to E. Zeynalov, “in the city met the guys in camouflage, the number of police officers was greater than that observed a couple of years ago.”

“However, such as in Russia, where visitors to the carp, check documents, did not exist.

It is not felt that Kiev – the capital of the belligerent State. In the city center, where the Maidan, traces the events of last year. The same House of Trade Unions has not been refurbished. Many graffiti that were made then.

In a couple of places monuments installed. Sometimes came a beautiful girl who collected donations for the wounded. Only in this war, and manifested. No aggressive slogans on the wall, sometimes there are signs saying: “Ukraine – one country, one nation.” No militarist propaganda personally I have not seen “- he said.

Sourse, 09/06/2015

Результаты поиска:

Joint appeal on the inappropriate use of extremist charges, mass detention and use of torture against peaceful demonstrators, activists and government’s critics in Kazakhstan.

December 17, 2018

Despite the ratification of the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Kazakhstan, the human rights situation in the country has sharply deteriorated.

Fundamental rights, such as freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, are disrespected under the guise of fighting “extremism”. Since 13 March 2018, the day that marks the authorities’ ban of the peaceful opposition movement ‘Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan’ (DCK), more than 450 persons, participating in peaceful rallies or showing different form of support for DCK (e.g. posting and commenting social media contents, walking with blue balloons, etc.) have fallen victim of political persecution.

We call for a stepping up of efforts to ensure political pluralism in the country and condemn the repression of peaceful activists and supporters of opposition movement DCK and call for their unconditional release. Kazakhstan has to ensure its citizens free access to social media networks and independent media outlets, thus ceasing the blocking or restriction of such platforms. We stress the importance of the independence of lawyers and the protection of their rights to freely practice their profession and defend their clients without fear of reprisals.

We find this particularly worrying that on 10 May 2018, during the visit of European Parliament’s Delegation to Kazakhstan, police resorted to excessive use of force against peaceful protesters and detained more than 150 people, while others were placed under administrative arrests. On that day peaceful rallies against the use of torture and politically motivated imprisonment were held in cities across the country.

Among them, more than 30 people have been prosecuted in connection with their support of DCK’s ideas, including: activists Ablovas Dzhumayev, Almat Zhumagulov and poet Kenzhebek Abishev, social media user Aset Abishev and blogger Muratbek Tungishbayev. At least six persons have reported the use of torture and a lack of medical care in the place of detention. The practice of forced confession in exchange for release, and psychological pressure exerted on political prisoners and their relatives are undermining the trust in the Kazakhstani justice system, as exemplified by the cases of Aset Nurzhaubay and Muratbek Tungishbayev.

We were informed that political prisoners are losing hope for justice and taking desperate steps. For example, on 26 November 2018, Almat Zhumagulov and Kenzhebek Abishev threatened suicide in protest against the accusatory bias in court decisions and the fabricated nature of the case. On 27 November 2018, Zhumagulov cut his arm during the court session.At the same time Iskander Yerimbetov, the brother of human rights activist and lawyer Bota Jardemalie, was arrested, tortured and convicted in October 2018 to 7 years’ imprisonment in retaliation for his sister’s professional activities. Due to the outcome of his case, lawyers in Kazakhstan fear to defend victims of political persecution and torture.The number of political prisoners in Kazakhstan is increasing. More than 20 political prisoners are being held in detention. Human rights defenders are also under attack. Restrictions imposed on NGOs and criminal prosecution of human rights activists, such as Elena Semenova, severely shrink the space for civil society.

We call on Kazakhstani authorities to implement the communications from the UN Human Rights Committee, UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, and call without further delay to release the political prisoners Mukhtar Dzhakishev, Maks Bokayev and Iskander Yerimbetov; compliance with the UN requirements is an important condition for further cooperation between the EU and Kazakhstan

We expect the urgent intervention of the EEAS, encourage the initiation of further EU official monitoring missions and call on the EEAS to support such missions in order to observe the human rights situation and attend court trials against people prosecuted for political reasons. At the same time, we strongly recommend that the European Commission and the EU Member States pursue a policy of conditionality in the case of Kazakhstan. If the latter state wants to be a recipient of EU funding and attract investments, it first must ensure the cessation of cruel practices against detainees in prisons, an end to impunity for the offenders, freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, and the right to a defence and a free trial.

 

Signatures

 

Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)

Defending Democracy

Federazione Italiana Diritti Umani (FIDU)

Human Rights Information Center (Ukraine)

Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS)

Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG)

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research (KhISR)

Open Dialogue Foundation (ODF)

The Arrested Lawyers Initiative

Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF)

Polish authorities reduce the space for the activities of NGOs including human rights organizations in the country

May 2, 2018
Since the end of 2015, we have seen disturbing trends in the actions of the Polish government and the parliamentary majority formed by the populist-nationalist party, Law and Justice (PiS), which harm the activities of human rights defenders and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Poland.
Unconstitutional legislative initiatives have jeopardized both democracy and the rule of law in Poland, particularly the principle of effective separation of powers. Following an acute conflict, the ruling majority in the Parliament de facto subordinated the Constitutional Court to itself, making this state body fully dependent on political decisions.
Numerous leading Polish NGOs including human rights organizations have expressed disagreement with these actions. In July 2017, NGOs took active part in mass peaceful protests aimed at protecting the Constitution, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary in Poland.
The significant mobilization of society led to President Andrzej Duda vetoing two of the three controversial laws aimed at undermining the independence of the judiciary. in July 2017. The independence of the Supreme Court and the National Council of the Judiciary was temporarily preserved. However, the law on the system of ordinary courts came into force, widening the control of the Minister of Justice, who is also the General Prosecutor of Poland, over the courts. And so, as early as in December 2017, despite the next wave of public protests, the Parliament adopted slightly changed, unconstitutional laws that virtually eliminate the independence of the Supreme Court and the National Council of Justice.
In response to the participation of NGOs in peaceful protests, the authorities created numerous restrictions on the third sector. Many civil initiatives critical to the authorities were targeted for attack.
In July 2017, NGOs that criticized state bodies were subjected to escalated and unprecedented pressure. To date, this concerns, in particular, NGOs and initiatives such as: Citizens Solidary in Action [Obywatele Solidarnie w Akcji], Citizens of the Republic of Poland [Obywatele RP], the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog], the Committee for the Defence of Democracy [Komitet Obrony Demokracji], Action Democracy [Akcja Demokracja], the All-Poland Women’s Strike [Ogólnopolski Strajk Kobiet], the Centre for Women’s Rights [Centrum Praw Kobiet], the BABA Lubuskie Association for the Protection of Women’s Rights [BABA Lubuskie Stowarzyszenie na Rzecz Kobiet]. Some of these NGOs faced unjustified inspections, searches and lawsuits, and their representatives were subjected to numerous interrogations and even secret surveillance. Foreigners associated with these organizations are concerned about their future in Poland due to the possibility of losing their right to stay in the country.
For example, the Polish police conducted searches and seized documents and equipment from the offices of several women’s organizations (the offices of the Centre for Women’s Rights and the BABA Association). This happened the day after protest actions in defense of women’s rights in Poland was held in October 2017. Another example: Poland’s then-Minister of Foreign Affairs (MFA) filed a motion with the court to appoint what is known as a ‘compulsory administration’ to replace the existing members of the Management Board of the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog]. The dispute, which is being continued by the current Polish MFA Jacek Czaputowicz will eventually be resolved by a court ruling. Similar means were intended to be used against Citizens of the Republic of Poland [Obywatele RP] by the then-Minister of Interior, Mariusz Błaszczak.
Incidents of prosecution of LGBT organizations have been recorded. A particularly alarming signal is the cessation of a number of investigations into physical attacks against LGBT activists and the offices of their organizations. Alongside women’s rights organizations, they have been practically cut off from almost all available state-funding. The Polish state clearly favours initiatives focused on nationalist and religious values instead.
Members of the Polish government led by the then-Prime Minister Beata Szydło (in particular, the former Minister of the Interior, Mariusz Błaszczak, his deputy Jarosław Zieliński, the Minister–Coordinator of the Special Services of Poland Mariusz Kamiński, former Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski and the Minister of National Defence Antoni Macierewicz) publicly discussed actions to be taken against specific NGOs.
In addition, the aforementioned NGOs, as well as the Office of the Polish Ombudsman, have become victims of information attacks and denigrating media campaigns. These smear campaigns are based on manipulations, half-truths and outright falsehoods. These slanders are spread by state and pro-government Polish media having close ties to the ruling party.
NGOs have been accused of ‘manipulating public opinion’ and ‘artificially provoking protests’ ‘for money from abroad’. Their representatives are portrayed as ‘traitors to the motherland’, or ‘puppets’ in the hands of foreign states and other foreign actors (for example, George Soros, Russia, Germany or ‘Brussels elites’).
The denigrating campaigns aim to intimidate human rights defenders and undermine the trust of Polish society in the work of civil society. Another dangerous consequence of these campaigns may be the creation of negative attitudes towards any international or foreign structures in society. Recently, the actor and activist for the protection of the secular state Krzysztof Pieczyński fell victim to media harassment, and was subsequently beaten in the street by unknown persons in Warsaw.
Attacks on NGOs and human rights defenders are being carried out with the support of extreme right and nationalist organizations. The attacks are openly xenophobic in nature. In particular, they are being directed against the large community of Ukrainians in Poland. Some victims are being denied the right to Polish citizenship. These actions are related to the participation of Ukrainian citizens living in Poland in protests, as well as the work of the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog] and other Polish organizations which provided humanitarian assistance to Ukraine in the period of Euromaidan. 

Reluctant response of the law enforcement bodies to the nationalist and xenophobic incidents leads to growing number of assaults on foreigners in Poland.
Members of the right-wing parties of the Sejm and Members of the European Parliament from Poland are also carrying out hostile actions against specific NGOs and civil society in general. For example, six members of parliament have made public statements about the need to restrict or even stop the activities of the Open Dialog Foundation (Fundacja Otwarty Dialog). The organization was accused of representing an ‘external’ leftist ‘threat to the Polish State’, ‘violating Ukrainian–Polish relations’ and, in general, ‘provoking an uprising’ in Poland. No facts exist which would confirm that the organization has been carrying out such activities and, thus, no such evidence has been presented.
At the moment, according to the reports prepared by the Citizens of the Republic of Poland movement [Obywatele RP] (based on the gathered information), approximately 800 court proceedings are being conducted either directly against participants in the social protests and activists in social movements or in relation to their activities. In the report on oppression produced by the Citizens of the Republic of Poland,, as of the end of January 2018, 472 court trials had been initiated against protesters under the Code of Petty Offences; while a month earlier, there had been only 367 such trials. Twenty-eight criminal cases had been initiated under the Criminal Code (a month earlier there had been only 14 criminal cases), and nine persons were facing criminal charges.
Serious problems are also being caused by the new law on gatherings, which is highly controversial and widely perceived as unconstitutional, and which promotes the so-called cyclical gatherings, such as the Smolensk tragedy monthly commemoration (monthly demonstrations led by the leader of the ruling party, Jarosław Kaczyński, carried out with privileges unavailable to any other forms of street demonstration). For this reason, the Mazovian Voivode [governor] has regularly imposed a ban on pro-democracy protest actions organized on the same day by the Citizens Solidary in Action [Obywatele Solidarnie w Akcji]. Still, all of his previous decisions have been rejected by the District Court in Warsaw.
Serious concern over these attacks on the supremacy of civil rights and freedoms in Poland have been repeatedly expressed by members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (Resolution 2188 (2017), written declaration 641), pointing out in the statement on the resolution of 26 January 2018 that their demands have thus far been ignored by the Polish authorities.
The space for a dialogue between civil society and the authorities continues to shrink. Representatives of non-governmental organizations (particularly those affiliated with Citizens of the Republic of Poland movement [Obywatele RP] are commonly deprived of the opportunity to attend meetings and hearing of the Parliament’s Commissions. Several questionable legislative initiatives which address the most important aspects of public life are being considered without  any public consultation. In particular, these include changes in the legislation on the police, the introduction of anti-terrorism legislation, and amendments to the law on the Institute of National Remembrance (this last has already been adopted).
The authorities have changed some of the procedures for allocating public funds to NGOs. On 26 September 2017, the Senate passed a law regarding the National Institute of Freedom – Centre for the Development of Civil Society. The law was presented as being part of the government’s actions to strengthen civil society. However, the law was sharply criticized by the associations of NGOs and the Commissioner for Human Rights.
The law centralizes the government funds for public organizations within the framework of the established Centre. Since it is aimed at promoting activities which are in line with Christian and patriotic values, funding may become inaccessible for organizations whose work does not correlate with such values. Such an approach by the authorities violates the Constitution, which protects diversity of beliefs and views. The law was signed by the President on 12 October 2017 jeopardizing the independence of civil society in Poland.
Also, NGOs have recorded incidents of public funding having been either provided or terminated for political or ideological reasons.
In connection with the recent disturbing events, the International Civic Solidarity Platform hereby calls for the restoration of the participation of public and human rights organizations in democratic processes in Poland, a return to the European standards of interaction between civil society and government structures, and a guarantee of the independence of civil society initiatives in Poland.
Signed by the following organisations:​
1. The Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
2. Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)
3. Humanrights.ch
4. Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights (Germany/Switzerland)
5. International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law (Kazakhstan)
6. Citizens’ Watch, St. Petersburg (Russia)
7. Moscow Helsinki Group (Russia)
8. Public Verdict (Russia)
9. Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
10. Public Association “Dignity”
11. Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly – Vanadzor
12. Helsinki Committee of Armenia (Armenia)
13. KRF Public Alternative (Ukraine)
14. DRA – German-Russian Exchange (Germany)
15. “OMCT – World Organisation Against Torture”
16. Human Rights Monitoring Institute (Lithuania)
17. Legal Transformation Center (Belarus)
18. International Partnership for Human Rights (Belgium)
19. Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (Bulgaria)
20. Helsinki Association for Human Rights NGO Armenia (Armenia)
21. Human Rights Matter e.V. (Germany)
22. The Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House (Belarus)
23. WILPF Germany (Germany)
24. Association UMDPL (Ukraine)
25. Norwegian Helsinki Committee
26. The Kosova Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims (KRCT) from Kosovo
27. ZARA – Zivilcourage und Anti-Rassismus-Arbeit (Austria)
28. Women of the Don (Russia)
29. Crude Accountability
30. Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
31. Citizens Watch (Russia)
32. Regional Center for Strategic Studies ( Georgia/Azerbaijan)
33. Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russia)
34. UNITED
35. Netherlands Helsinki Committee

Source:
http://www.civicsolidarity.org/article/1545/polish-authorities-reduce-space-activities-ngos-including-human-rights-organizations

The Appeal about lack of proper medical care for Oleh Sentsov and other Ukrainian political prisoners from the LetMyPeopleGo list

November 29, 2017

To the Vice-Chancellor, the Federal Minister for Foreign

Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany,

Mr. Sigmar Gabriel

As of today, about 60 Ukrainian citizens have been detained on political grounds in the territory of the Russian Federation and the occupied Crimea. Most of them have been subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment to force false confessions about the actions they did not commit.

Oleh Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko, Valentyn Vygovsky, Mykola Karpiuk, Stanislav Klykh, Yevhen Panov, Andrii Zakhtey, Andrii Kolomiyets, Serhii Lytvynov, Oleksandr Kostenko and other illegally detained people publicly stated this. Yurii Yatsenko and Gennady Afanasyev, who were released, shared details about the unlawful practices that were applied to people under the control of the Russian Federation.

Stanislav Klykh’s appeal to the European Court of Human Rights is a clear illustration of illegal treatment by the state authorities of the Russian Federation:

“[…] In order to force me to testify, I was subjected to illegal methods of inquiry and investigation, expressed in causing me beatings and injuries, including using handcuffs and electric current, prolonged kneeling, resulting in numerous scars on my wrists, knees […] I was kept in the prison yard for several days without any water or food. As a result of the application of these methods, I was brought to a state of dystrophy, I could not hold a spoon, a pen in my hands, since the hands were dislocated as a result of being handcuffed to the bars”.

The situation is complicated by the unsatisfactory conditions of detention, which further contribute to a sharp deterioration in the health, development and exacerbation of chronic and other diseases.

 

The lawyer of the Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov, who was recognized as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, recently announced a sharp deterioration in the health of the illegally imprisoned. According to him, due to prolonged overcooling, the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis exacerbated and problems with the heart began.

 

We draw attention to the fact that human life and health are the highest values of every civilized state. The right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is guaranteed by Art. 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, Article 11, 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966, as well as Article 11 of the European Social Charter of 1996.

 

This year, the representative of the Russian Federation was elected as a President of the 70th World Health Assembly, the Charter of which was signed by the Russian Federation in 1946. Thus, she acknowledged that “the possession of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is one of the fundamental rights of everyone, regardless of race, religion, political beliefs, economic or social status”.

 

In addition, according to Art. 26 of the Federal Law of 21.11.2011 No 323-FZ “On the basis of public health protection in the Russian Federation” persons, who are in custody, serving a sentence in the form of restriction of liberty, arrest, deprivation of liberty or administrative arrest, are entitled to receive medical assistance, in particular, in necessary cases in medical institutions of the state health system and the municipal health care system in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation.

In pursuance of this Law the Government of the Russian Federation adopted the Resolution dated 28.12.2012 No 1466, which approved the Rules for the provision of medical care in medical institutions of the state and municipal health care system for persons held in custody or serving a sentence in the form of deprivation of liberty. The Rules provide for the possibility of inviting the medical specialists of the said medical institutions for consultation if it is impossible to provide medical assistance in the institutions of the criminal and executive system.

We note that all citizens of Ukraine, who are held for political reasons in the territory of the Russian Federation and the occupied Crimea, need proper medical care. Among them, Dmytro Shtyblikov, who after detention lost 30 kg and was brought to a dystopia, Stanislav Klykh, who lost his mental health after the torture that he suffered, Oleksandr Kostenko, who, due to the lack of an operation, runs the risk of losing the arm broken by the FSB’s staff, Oleksandr Rolchenko< who was in a hospital with a diagnosis of underweight, Volodymyr Dudka, who has been practicing self-medication with a stomach ulcer for ten months, Arsen Dzepparov, who is not provided with medical assistance despite cold kidneys, loss of hearing in his left ear and a sharp deterioration in vision, 19-year-old Pavlo Hryb who due to his disability is constantly taking drugs, so the lack of medicines and proper medical treatment in prison led to the appearance of ulcers on his body.

These are just a few examples of violation of the international obligations by the Russian Federation as for the right of Ukrainian political prisoners to the highest attainable standards of physical and mental health. From the moment of their illegal detention, independent physicians do not have access to them, and therefore, they cannot assess their health and provide proper medical care.

We address you with a request to raise before the Government of the Russian Federation the issue of the need to organize the access of physicians from the International Committee of the Red Cross and other reputable international health organizations to provide qualified medical assistance to Oleh Sentsov and all Ukrainian political prisoners from the LetMyPeopleGo list.

Center for Civil Liberties coordinating the #LetMyPeopleGo campaign

NGO “Association of Relatives of Political Prisoners of the Kremlin”

Media Initiative for Human Rights

Crimea Human Rights Group

Open Dialog Foundation

Association UMDPL

NGO “CrimeaSOS”

Luhansk Regional Human Rights Center “Alternative”

NGO “Social Action Center”

NGO “Peaceful Coast”

Human Rights Information Center

Expert Center for Human Rights

Charitable Foundation “East-SOS”

Euromaidan Press

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research

AIHO Foundation of Regional Initiatives

NGO “Human Rights Initiative”

NGO “Regional Center for Human Rights”/Sevastopol Human Rights Protection Group

KRF “Hromadska Alternatyva”

Centre for Civil Liberties’s statement on the pressure on civil society organisations in Poland

August 7, 2017

6 August, 2017, Kyiv

We have been cooperating with the Open Dialog Foundation (Poland) for many years. In the early days of mass protests in Ukraine, they were one of the first to render assistance to the
newly created initiative ‘EuroMaidan SOS’. The equipment that they provided was used by our civil society observers who were recording the process of fabricated trials against
peaceful protesters in Kyiv.
Following the occupation of Crimea by Russia and the commencement of the hybrid war in the Donbas, the Open Dialog Foundation supported our ‘LetMyPeopleGo’ campaign to
protect Ukrainian citizens, held in detention in Russian prisons for political reasons. Currently, they are among the most loyal defenders of the ‘Kremlin prisoners’ on the
international arena and consistently promote the issue of extending sanctions against the Russian Federation in the EU and the United States.
In view of this, it is very surprising to us to read statements, unsupported by evidence, about the alleged links of the Open Dialog Foundation with the Russian special services. It seems
that the publications, which appear in certain government media, are retaliation for the active position of the organisation and its participation in mass public protests in Poland. In
our opinion, it was the reason for which the shameful scheme of labelling dissidents as‘agents of the Kremlin’ was used.
In addition, currently, individual top Polish officials are calling for unreasonable additional tax audits of the Open Dialog Foundation and even for cancelling its registration as a non-
profit organisation. Similar pressure for participating in massive public protests is being exerted on a number of other public organisations in Poland.
We all remember what social changes took place after a long-lasting campaign of discrediting civic organisations in the Russian Federation alone. Therefore, we consider the
appearance of such publications a red flag for Poland, which has long been an example of democratic transformation of a country in the post-Soviet space, and especially for Ukraine.

Photo: Radio Liberty

Holding a meeting on human rights is not a terrorist conspiracy

July 10, 2017

10 July 2017

 

    On 5 July 2017, ten participants in a human rights training meeting were detained at Büyükada, one of the Princes’ Islands near İstanbul, Turkey. The group consisted of eight representatives of Turkish civil society organisations working on human rights and two foreign consultants on digital security and information management. By the afternoon of July 6, the lawyers of the detained persons learned that their clients are being investigated for membership of an armed organization, a terrorist offense, and will stay in investigative detention initially for seven days.
The undersigned organisations, national and international human rights NGOs from the OSCE region, members of the Civic Solidarity Platform, strongly reject this operation by the Turkish authorities. We appeal for the immediate and unconditional release of the detained persons, participants in a peaceful meeting to advance human rights. Human rights work should not be criminalized. Civil society work for human rights is an important contribution to a healthy society. Holding a meeting on human rights is not a terrorist conspiracy.
The Turkish citizens arrested are Özlem Dalkıran (Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly), lawyer Nalan Erkem (Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly), İlknur Üstün (Women’s Coalition), İdil Eser (Amnesty International Turkey director), Veli Acu (Human Rights Agenda Association), lawyer Günal Kurşun (Human Rights Agenda Association), Şeymus Özbekli (Rights Initiative), and Nejat Taştan (Equal Rights Watch Association). The two consultants are Ali Gharawi, from Sweden, and Peter Steudtner, from Germany.
In the past years, human rights defenders have on several occasions been targeted by governmental repression. This latest attack on human rights defenders comes amidst a wave of repression after the failed coup attempt of 15 July 2016 which has affected a much wider group of persons than those who may have been directly involved in the coup attempt, including journalists, lawyers and politicians. Only last month, Taner Kiliç, the president of Amnesty International Turkey, was arrested together with 22 other lawyers.

Article 19 (international, London)
Association of Ukrainian Human Rights Monitors on Law Enforcement
Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House
Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russia)
Center for Participation and Development (Georgia)
DRA – German-Russian Exchange (Germany)
Fair Trials (international, London)

Golos Svobody (Kyrgyzstan)
Helsinki Citizens Assembly Vanadzor (Armenia)
Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)
Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan
Human Rights House Foundation (international, Oslo)
Human Rights Information Center (Ukraine)
Human Rights Matter (Germany)
IDP Women Association “Consent” (Georgia)
International Partnership for Human Rights (international, Brussels)
International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (international, Copenhagen)
Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (Azerbaijan)
Kadyr Kasiyet (“Dignity”) (Kazakhstan)
Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law
Kharkiv regional foundation Public Alternative (Ukraine)
Legal Policy Research Center (Kazakhstan)
Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights (Germany)
Moscow Helsinki Group
Netherlands Helsinki Committee
Norwegian Helsinki Committee
Office of Civil Freedoms (Tajikistan)
Promo-LEX (Moldova)
Protection of rights without borders (Armenia)
Public Verdict (Russia)
Regional Center for Strategic Studies (Azerbaijan)
Solidarus (Germany)
SOVA Center for Information and Analysis (Russia)
Swiss Helsinki Committee
Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (Germany)
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) (international, Geneva)
[country names added if name of country not included in the name of the organization; for
international organisations, the city where their secretariat is located, is added]

The Civic Solidarity Platform is a decentralized advocacy network of independent civic groups
committed to improving the human rights situation in Europe, Eurasia and the US,
www.civicsolidarity.org.
Contact for this statement: Harry Hummel, Netherlands Helsinki Committee, hhummel@nhc.nl,
+31703926700

On the situation with the nomination at the “Eurovision” from Russia Yulia Samoylova

May 15, 2017

Ukraine has the right to demand the implementation of the law in relation to the Russian singer Yulii Samoylovoy, but the fact that Russia still decided to send its representative to this year held in Kiev “Eurovision” is a kind of a gesture of reconciliation. Such an opinion was expressed by the Russian human rights activist, head of the Moscow Helsinki Group Lyudmila Alekseeva.

“On the one hand, I am glad that our leaders still decide to send a Russian representative at” Eurovision “. Neighborly. This is a good step, which shows the desire of reconciliation. But on the other hand, I understand the Ukrainians: Crimea captured now want to make peace, but the Crimea is not returned. It is clear to me, “- Alexeyev said, commenting on the Ukrainian edition of” Explorer “the situation surrounding the nomination of the representative of Russia in the international music competition” Eurovision “.

Russian human rights activist has also recognized that “there are Ukrainian laws, and they must comply with.” However, she admitted that the Russian singer could have visited the Crimea, “whether he is Ukrainian.”

In this context, Alexeyev told that visited the peninsula, as it was her little homeland to the annexation of the Crimea. Due to old age she can not go there now, but “I fully admit that if I were younger, I would have to go on a his small home, no matter who it belongs to,” – she said.

“I would not want us to even about it [on participation in” Eurovision “Yulii Samoylovoy] quarreled. When fighting bosses, we should not pay attention to it. I belong to the Ukrainians as well as before. What a difference to us? Let them find out the relationship, and we have to treat each other with respect, as it should be neighbors, as it is necessary for people who have a common history, “- Alexeyev said.

At the same time, she added: “I feel very sorry for Russia because of this history of the Crimea.”

Recall that in Russia ended with the internal competitive selection of artists for the contest “Eurovision” -2017, the winner of which was a girl with a disability Julia Samoilova. In the summer of 2015 the singer participated in the festival “World of Sports, and good”, which was held in the Crimea. Thus, according to Ukrainian law, Samoilova violated the procedure for crossing the Ukrainian border. The singer is also listed as a “purgatory” center “Peacemaker”.

March 13 Advisor to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Anton Gerashchenko said that the law enforcement agencies , there are two ways to resolve the situation on the Russian representative at “Eurovision” Yulii Samoylovoy, which violated the legislation of Ukraine. According to him, the first option – not to let Samoilov to Ukraine for violating the rules visit the occupied territory of Crimea. The second – to give Samoilova permission to enter the country, but at the same time and bring her to justice for violation of the state border.

Sourse, 14/05/2017

Such meetings are beneficial for all participants

June 10, 2015

Azerbaijani human rights activist and director of the Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan (HRCA), Eldar Zeynalov summed up ended in Kiev workshop on exchange of experiences and best practices “Improving skills in the field of human rights advocacy (promotion and protection of human rights).”

“Such meetings are mutually beneficial,” – suggested Eldar Zeynalov.

According to the head of the OCA, the seminar was attended by five representatives of Azerbaijan. “Except for me, their participation in the seminar later unveiled a lawyer Fariz Namazly. The names of the other three parties, I do not know if I can make public.

Organizers asked not to mention the names of the participants without agreement with them. I can only say that the two human rights defenders, and three lawyers participated from Azerbaijan. “

Recall that the seminar held in the capital of Ukraine on 4-5 June, organized by the Netherlands Helsinki Committee and the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland) for the human rights of a number of countries of the former Soviet Union, including Azerbaijan.

For two days, the participants discussed the planning and advocacy strategy (promotion and protection of human rights), including working with international organizations such as the UN, Council of Europe, the European Union and the OSCE, as well as exchanged between human rights defenders from different countries with innovative approaches to this area.

According to the expert, such events often performed earlier. It was the general training, and explain the ways of European standards, and so on.

“This workshop was more specific. Standards as they were, and have remained so, just change the working conditions. They exchanged views on how to operate in such conditions, how to achieve positive changes in human rights issues.

We never work in isolation. We have partners in the West, that we support or do not support. Which have their own vision of the situation in the country and is not always correct and complete. And the result is that some campaigns in our defense, wrong calculation, not the tone chosen, the methods used do not become “blank shot”, as he was selected.

And for “Westerners” to us useful to meet. It is mutually useful meeting. The workshop in addition to representatives of Azerbaijan, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, was also attended by representatives of immigrant organizations in France.

But in fact, they work in the Russian direction. I became more optimistic look at things and know what are the conditions for human rights defenders in Belarus, Russia.

In the same Russian clamped and dissidents, and human rights activists. They are looking for other outlets. Nobody is going to give, “- said E. Zeynalov.

Note that at the time of the seminar, after a brief lull, resumed again fighting in eastern Ukraine between the forces of the anti-terrorist operation and separatists.

According to E. Zeynalov, “in the city met the guys in camouflage, the number of police officers was greater than that observed a couple of years ago.”

“However, such as in Russia, where visitors to the carp, check documents, did not exist.

It is not felt that Kiev – the capital of the belligerent State. In the city center, where the Maidan, traces the events of last year. The same House of Trade Unions has not been refurbished. Many graffiti that were made then.

In a couple of places monuments installed. Sometimes came a beautiful girl who collected donations for the wounded. Only in this war, and manifested. No aggressive slogans on the wall, sometimes there are signs saying: “Ukraine – one country, one nation.” No militarist propaganda personally I have not seen “- he said.

Sourse, 09/06/2015

Результаты поиска:

Joint appeal on the inappropriate use of extremist charges, mass detention and use of torture against peaceful demonstrators, activists and government’s critics in Kazakhstan.

December 17, 2018

Despite the ratification of the Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and the Republic of Kazakhstan, the human rights situation in the country has sharply deteriorated.

Fundamental rights, such as freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, are disrespected under the guise of fighting “extremism”. Since 13 March 2018, the day that marks the authorities’ ban of the peaceful opposition movement ‘Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan’ (DCK), more than 450 persons, participating in peaceful rallies or showing different form of support for DCK (e.g. posting and commenting social media contents, walking with blue balloons, etc.) have fallen victim of political persecution.

We call for a stepping up of efforts to ensure political pluralism in the country and condemn the repression of peaceful activists and supporters of opposition movement DCK and call for their unconditional release. Kazakhstan has to ensure its citizens free access to social media networks and independent media outlets, thus ceasing the blocking or restriction of such platforms. We stress the importance of the independence of lawyers and the protection of their rights to freely practice their profession and defend their clients without fear of reprisals.

We find this particularly worrying that on 10 May 2018, during the visit of European Parliament’s Delegation to Kazakhstan, police resorted to excessive use of force against peaceful protesters and detained more than 150 people, while others were placed under administrative arrests. On that day peaceful rallies against the use of torture and politically motivated imprisonment were held in cities across the country.

Among them, more than 30 people have been prosecuted in connection with their support of DCK’s ideas, including: activists Ablovas Dzhumayev, Almat Zhumagulov and poet Kenzhebek Abishev, social media user Aset Abishev and blogger Muratbek Tungishbayev. At least six persons have reported the use of torture and a lack of medical care in the place of detention. The practice of forced confession in exchange for release, and psychological pressure exerted on political prisoners and their relatives are undermining the trust in the Kazakhstani justice system, as exemplified by the cases of Aset Nurzhaubay and Muratbek Tungishbayev.

We were informed that political prisoners are losing hope for justice and taking desperate steps. For example, on 26 November 2018, Almat Zhumagulov and Kenzhebek Abishev threatened suicide in protest against the accusatory bias in court decisions and the fabricated nature of the case. On 27 November 2018, Zhumagulov cut his arm during the court session.At the same time Iskander Yerimbetov, the brother of human rights activist and lawyer Bota Jardemalie, was arrested, tortured and convicted in October 2018 to 7 years’ imprisonment in retaliation for his sister’s professional activities. Due to the outcome of his case, lawyers in Kazakhstan fear to defend victims of political persecution and torture.The number of political prisoners in Kazakhstan is increasing. More than 20 political prisoners are being held in detention. Human rights defenders are also under attack. Restrictions imposed on NGOs and criminal prosecution of human rights activists, such as Elena Semenova, severely shrink the space for civil society.

We call on Kazakhstani authorities to implement the communications from the UN Human Rights Committee, UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, and call without further delay to release the political prisoners Mukhtar Dzhakishev, Maks Bokayev and Iskander Yerimbetov; compliance with the UN requirements is an important condition for further cooperation between the EU and Kazakhstan

We expect the urgent intervention of the EEAS, encourage the initiation of further EU official monitoring missions and call on the EEAS to support such missions in order to observe the human rights situation and attend court trials against people prosecuted for political reasons. At the same time, we strongly recommend that the European Commission and the EU Member States pursue a policy of conditionality in the case of Kazakhstan. If the latter state wants to be a recipient of EU funding and attract investments, it first must ensure the cessation of cruel practices against detainees in prisons, an end to impunity for the offenders, freedom of assembly and freedom of expression, and the right to a defence and a free trial.

 

Signatures

 

Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)

Defending Democracy

Federazione Italiana Diritti Umani (FIDU)

Human Rights Information Center (Ukraine)

Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety (IRFS)

Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group (KHPG)

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research (KhISR)

Open Dialogue Foundation (ODF)

The Arrested Lawyers Initiative

Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF)

Polish authorities reduce the space for the activities of NGOs including human rights organizations in the country

May 2, 2018
Since the end of 2015, we have seen disturbing trends in the actions of the Polish government and the parliamentary majority formed by the populist-nationalist party, Law and Justice (PiS), which harm the activities of human rights defenders and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Poland.
Unconstitutional legislative initiatives have jeopardized both democracy and the rule of law in Poland, particularly the principle of effective separation of powers. Following an acute conflict, the ruling majority in the Parliament de facto subordinated the Constitutional Court to itself, making this state body fully dependent on political decisions.
Numerous leading Polish NGOs including human rights organizations have expressed disagreement with these actions. In July 2017, NGOs took active part in mass peaceful protests aimed at protecting the Constitution, the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary in Poland.
The significant mobilization of society led to President Andrzej Duda vetoing two of the three controversial laws aimed at undermining the independence of the judiciary. in July 2017. The independence of the Supreme Court and the National Council of the Judiciary was temporarily preserved. However, the law on the system of ordinary courts came into force, widening the control of the Minister of Justice, who is also the General Prosecutor of Poland, over the courts. And so, as early as in December 2017, despite the next wave of public protests, the Parliament adopted slightly changed, unconstitutional laws that virtually eliminate the independence of the Supreme Court and the National Council of Justice.
In response to the participation of NGOs in peaceful protests, the authorities created numerous restrictions on the third sector. Many civil initiatives critical to the authorities were targeted for attack.
In July 2017, NGOs that criticized state bodies were subjected to escalated and unprecedented pressure. To date, this concerns, in particular, NGOs and initiatives such as: Citizens Solidary in Action [Obywatele Solidarnie w Akcji], Citizens of the Republic of Poland [Obywatele RP], the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog], the Committee for the Defence of Democracy [Komitet Obrony Demokracji], Action Democracy [Akcja Demokracja], the All-Poland Women’s Strike [Ogólnopolski Strajk Kobiet], the Centre for Women’s Rights [Centrum Praw Kobiet], the BABA Lubuskie Association for the Protection of Women’s Rights [BABA Lubuskie Stowarzyszenie na Rzecz Kobiet]. Some of these NGOs faced unjustified inspections, searches and lawsuits, and their representatives were subjected to numerous interrogations and even secret surveillance. Foreigners associated with these organizations are concerned about their future in Poland due to the possibility of losing their right to stay in the country.
For example, the Polish police conducted searches and seized documents and equipment from the offices of several women’s organizations (the offices of the Centre for Women’s Rights and the BABA Association). This happened the day after protest actions in defense of women’s rights in Poland was held in October 2017. Another example: Poland’s then-Minister of Foreign Affairs (MFA) filed a motion with the court to appoint what is known as a ‘compulsory administration’ to replace the existing members of the Management Board of the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog]. The dispute, which is being continued by the current Polish MFA Jacek Czaputowicz will eventually be resolved by a court ruling. Similar means were intended to be used against Citizens of the Republic of Poland [Obywatele RP] by the then-Minister of Interior, Mariusz Błaszczak.
Incidents of prosecution of LGBT organizations have been recorded. A particularly alarming signal is the cessation of a number of investigations into physical attacks against LGBT activists and the offices of their organizations. Alongside women’s rights organizations, they have been practically cut off from almost all available state-funding. The Polish state clearly favours initiatives focused on nationalist and religious values instead.
Members of the Polish government led by the then-Prime Minister Beata Szydło (in particular, the former Minister of the Interior, Mariusz Błaszczak, his deputy Jarosław Zieliński, the Minister–Coordinator of the Special Services of Poland Mariusz Kamiński, former Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski and the Minister of National Defence Antoni Macierewicz) publicly discussed actions to be taken against specific NGOs.
In addition, the aforementioned NGOs, as well as the Office of the Polish Ombudsman, have become victims of information attacks and denigrating media campaigns. These smear campaigns are based on manipulations, half-truths and outright falsehoods. These slanders are spread by state and pro-government Polish media having close ties to the ruling party.
NGOs have been accused of ‘manipulating public opinion’ and ‘artificially provoking protests’ ‘for money from abroad’. Their representatives are portrayed as ‘traitors to the motherland’, or ‘puppets’ in the hands of foreign states and other foreign actors (for example, George Soros, Russia, Germany or ‘Brussels elites’).
The denigrating campaigns aim to intimidate human rights defenders and undermine the trust of Polish society in the work of civil society. Another dangerous consequence of these campaigns may be the creation of negative attitudes towards any international or foreign structures in society. Recently, the actor and activist for the protection of the secular state Krzysztof Pieczyński fell victim to media harassment, and was subsequently beaten in the street by unknown persons in Warsaw.
Attacks on NGOs and human rights defenders are being carried out with the support of extreme right and nationalist organizations. The attacks are openly xenophobic in nature. In particular, they are being directed against the large community of Ukrainians in Poland. Some victims are being denied the right to Polish citizenship. These actions are related to the participation of Ukrainian citizens living in Poland in protests, as well as the work of the Open Dialog Foundation [Fundacja Otwarty Dialog] and other Polish organizations which provided humanitarian assistance to Ukraine in the period of Euromaidan. 

Reluctant response of the law enforcement bodies to the nationalist and xenophobic incidents leads to growing number of assaults on foreigners in Poland.
Members of the right-wing parties of the Sejm and Members of the European Parliament from Poland are also carrying out hostile actions against specific NGOs and civil society in general. For example, six members of parliament have made public statements about the need to restrict or even stop the activities of the Open Dialog Foundation (Fundacja Otwarty Dialog). The organization was accused of representing an ‘external’ leftist ‘threat to the Polish State’, ‘violating Ukrainian–Polish relations’ and, in general, ‘provoking an uprising’ in Poland. No facts exist which would confirm that the organization has been carrying out such activities and, thus, no such evidence has been presented.
At the moment, according to the reports prepared by the Citizens of the Republic of Poland movement [Obywatele RP] (based on the gathered information), approximately 800 court proceedings are being conducted either directly against participants in the social protests and activists in social movements or in relation to their activities. In the report on oppression produced by the Citizens of the Republic of Poland,, as of the end of January 2018, 472 court trials had been initiated against protesters under the Code of Petty Offences; while a month earlier, there had been only 367 such trials. Twenty-eight criminal cases had been initiated under the Criminal Code (a month earlier there had been only 14 criminal cases), and nine persons were facing criminal charges.
Serious problems are also being caused by the new law on gatherings, which is highly controversial and widely perceived as unconstitutional, and which promotes the so-called cyclical gatherings, such as the Smolensk tragedy monthly commemoration (monthly demonstrations led by the leader of the ruling party, Jarosław Kaczyński, carried out with privileges unavailable to any other forms of street demonstration). For this reason, the Mazovian Voivode [governor] has regularly imposed a ban on pro-democracy protest actions organized on the same day by the Citizens Solidary in Action [Obywatele Solidarnie w Akcji]. Still, all of his previous decisions have been rejected by the District Court in Warsaw.
Serious concern over these attacks on the supremacy of civil rights and freedoms in Poland have been repeatedly expressed by members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (Resolution 2188 (2017), written declaration 641), pointing out in the statement on the resolution of 26 January 2018 that their demands have thus far been ignored by the Polish authorities.
The space for a dialogue between civil society and the authorities continues to shrink. Representatives of non-governmental organizations (particularly those affiliated with Citizens of the Republic of Poland movement [Obywatele RP] are commonly deprived of the opportunity to attend meetings and hearing of the Parliament’s Commissions. Several questionable legislative initiatives which address the most important aspects of public life are being considered without  any public consultation. In particular, these include changes in the legislation on the police, the introduction of anti-terrorism legislation, and amendments to the law on the Institute of National Remembrance (this last has already been adopted).
The authorities have changed some of the procedures for allocating public funds to NGOs. On 26 September 2017, the Senate passed a law regarding the National Institute of Freedom – Centre for the Development of Civil Society. The law was presented as being part of the government’s actions to strengthen civil society. However, the law was sharply criticized by the associations of NGOs and the Commissioner for Human Rights.
The law centralizes the government funds for public organizations within the framework of the established Centre. Since it is aimed at promoting activities which are in line with Christian and patriotic values, funding may become inaccessible for organizations whose work does not correlate with such values. Such an approach by the authorities violates the Constitution, which protects diversity of beliefs and views. The law was signed by the President on 12 October 2017 jeopardizing the independence of civil society in Poland.
Also, NGOs have recorded incidents of public funding having been either provided or terminated for political or ideological reasons.
In connection with the recent disturbing events, the International Civic Solidarity Platform hereby calls for the restoration of the participation of public and human rights organizations in democratic processes in Poland, a return to the European standards of interaction between civil society and government structures, and a guarantee of the independence of civil society initiatives in Poland.
Signed by the following organisations:​
1. The Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine)
2. Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)
3. Humanrights.ch
4. Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights (Germany/Switzerland)
5. International Bureau for Human Rights and the Rule of Law (Kazakhstan)
6. Citizens’ Watch, St. Petersburg (Russia)
7. Moscow Helsinki Group (Russia)
8. Public Verdict (Russia)
9. Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
10. Public Association “Dignity”
11. Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly – Vanadzor
12. Helsinki Committee of Armenia (Armenia)
13. KRF Public Alternative (Ukraine)
14. DRA – German-Russian Exchange (Germany)
15. “OMCT – World Organisation Against Torture”
16. Human Rights Monitoring Institute (Lithuania)
17. Legal Transformation Center (Belarus)
18. International Partnership for Human Rights (Belgium)
19. Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (Bulgaria)
20. Helsinki Association for Human Rights NGO Armenia (Armenia)
21. Human Rights Matter e.V. (Germany)
22. The Barys Zvozskau Belarusian Human Rights House (Belarus)
23. WILPF Germany (Germany)
24. Association UMDPL (Ukraine)
25. Norwegian Helsinki Committee
26. The Kosova Rehabilitation Centre for Torture Victims (KRCT) from Kosovo
27. ZARA – Zivilcourage und Anti-Rassismus-Arbeit (Austria)
28. Women of the Don (Russia)
29. Crude Accountability
30. Bir Duino (Kyrgyzstan)
31. Citizens Watch (Russia)
32. Regional Center for Strategic Studies ( Georgia/Azerbaijan)
33. Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights (Russia)
34. UNITED
35. Netherlands Helsinki Committee

Source:
http://www.civicsolidarity.org/article/1545/polish-authorities-reduce-space-activities-ngos-including-human-rights-organizations

The Appeal about lack of proper medical care for Oleh Sentsov and other Ukrainian political prisoners from the LetMyPeopleGo list

November 29, 2017

To the Vice-Chancellor, the Federal Minister for Foreign

Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany,

Mr. Sigmar Gabriel

As of today, about 60 Ukrainian citizens have been detained on political grounds in the territory of the Russian Federation and the occupied Crimea. Most of them have been subjected to torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment to force false confessions about the actions they did not commit.

Oleh Sentsov, Oleksandr Kolchenko, Valentyn Vygovsky, Mykola Karpiuk, Stanislav Klykh, Yevhen Panov, Andrii Zakhtey, Andrii Kolomiyets, Serhii Lytvynov, Oleksandr Kostenko and other illegally detained people publicly stated this. Yurii Yatsenko and Gennady Afanasyev, who were released, shared details about the unlawful practices that were applied to people under the control of the Russian Federation.

Stanislav Klykh’s appeal to the European Court of Human Rights is a clear illustration of illegal treatment by the state authorities of the Russian Federation:

“[…] In order to force me to testify, I was subjected to illegal methods of inquiry and investigation, expressed in causing me beatings and injuries, including using handcuffs and electric current, prolonged kneeling, resulting in numerous scars on my wrists, knees […] I was kept in the prison yard for several days without any water or food. As a result of the application of these methods, I was brought to a state of dystrophy, I could not hold a spoon, a pen in my hands, since the hands were dislocated as a result of being handcuffed to the bars”.

The situation is complicated by the unsatisfactory conditions of detention, which further contribute to a sharp deterioration in the health, development and exacerbation of chronic and other diseases.

 

The lawyer of the Ukrainian film director Oleh Sentsov, who was recognized as a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, recently announced a sharp deterioration in the health of the illegally imprisoned. According to him, due to prolonged overcooling, the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis exacerbated and problems with the heart began.

 

We draw attention to the fact that human life and health are the highest values of every civilized state. The right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is guaranteed by Art. 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, Article 11, 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966, as well as Article 11 of the European Social Charter of 1996.

 

This year, the representative of the Russian Federation was elected as a President of the 70th World Health Assembly, the Charter of which was signed by the Russian Federation in 1946. Thus, she acknowledged that “the possession of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health is one of the fundamental rights of everyone, regardless of race, religion, political beliefs, economic or social status”.

 

In addition, according to Art. 26 of the Federal Law of 21.11.2011 No 323-FZ “On the basis of public health protection in the Russian Federation” persons, who are in custody, serving a sentence in the form of restriction of liberty, arrest, deprivation of liberty or administrative arrest, are entitled to receive medical assistance, in particular, in necessary cases in medical institutions of the state health system and the municipal health care system in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation.

In pursuance of this Law the Government of the Russian Federation adopted the Resolution dated 28.12.2012 No 1466, which approved the Rules for the provision of medical care in medical institutions of the state and municipal health care system for persons held in custody or serving a sentence in the form of deprivation of liberty. The Rules provide for the possibility of inviting the medical specialists of the said medical institutions for consultation if it is impossible to provide medical assistance in the institutions of the criminal and executive system.

We note that all citizens of Ukraine, who are held for political reasons in the territory of the Russian Federation and the occupied Crimea, need proper medical care. Among them, Dmytro Shtyblikov, who after detention lost 30 kg and was brought to a dystopia, Stanislav Klykh, who lost his mental health after the torture that he suffered, Oleksandr Kostenko, who, due to the lack of an operation, runs the risk of losing the arm broken by the FSB’s staff, Oleksandr Rolchenko< who was in a hospital with a diagnosis of underweight, Volodymyr Dudka, who has been practicing self-medication with a stomach ulcer for ten months, Arsen Dzepparov, who is not provided with medical assistance despite cold kidneys, loss of hearing in his left ear and a sharp deterioration in vision, 19-year-old Pavlo Hryb who due to his disability is constantly taking drugs, so the lack of medicines and proper medical treatment in prison led to the appearance of ulcers on his body.

These are just a few examples of violation of the international obligations by the Russian Federation as for the right of Ukrainian political prisoners to the highest attainable standards of physical and mental health. From the moment of their illegal detention, independent physicians do not have access to them, and therefore, they cannot assess their health and provide proper medical care.

We address you with a request to raise before the Government of the Russian Federation the issue of the need to organize the access of physicians from the International Committee of the Red Cross and other reputable international health organizations to provide qualified medical assistance to Oleh Sentsov and all Ukrainian political prisoners from the LetMyPeopleGo list.

Center for Civil Liberties coordinating the #LetMyPeopleGo campaign

NGO “Association of Relatives of Political Prisoners of the Kremlin”

Media Initiative for Human Rights

Crimea Human Rights Group

Open Dialog Foundation

Association UMDPL

NGO “CrimeaSOS”

Luhansk Regional Human Rights Center “Alternative”

NGO “Social Action Center”

NGO “Peaceful Coast”

Human Rights Information Center

Expert Center for Human Rights

Charitable Foundation “East-SOS”

Euromaidan Press

Kharkiv Institute for Social Research

AIHO Foundation of Regional Initiatives

NGO “Human Rights Initiative”

NGO “Regional Center for Human Rights”/Sevastopol Human Rights Protection Group

KRF “Hromadska Alternatyva”

Centre for Civil Liberties’s statement on the pressure on civil society organisations in Poland

August 7, 2017

6 August, 2017, Kyiv

We have been cooperating with the Open Dialog Foundation (Poland) for many years. In the early days of mass protests in Ukraine, they were one of the first to render assistance to the
newly created initiative ‘EuroMaidan SOS’. The equipment that they provided was used by our civil society observers who were recording the process of fabricated trials against
peaceful protesters in Kyiv.
Following the occupation of Crimea by Russia and the commencement of the hybrid war in the Donbas, the Open Dialog Foundation supported our ‘LetMyPeopleGo’ campaign to
protect Ukrainian citizens, held in detention in Russian prisons for political reasons. Currently, they are among the most loyal defenders of the ‘Kremlin prisoners’ on the
international arena and consistently promote the issue of extending sanctions against the Russian Federation in the EU and the United States.
In view of this, it is very surprising to us to read statements, unsupported by evidence, about the alleged links of the Open Dialog Foundation with the Russian special services. It seem