Med eit stadig meir korrupt FIFA og autoritære leiarar som soler seg i glansen av internasjonale fotballstjerner, mens slavearbeidarar
byggar stadion og vanlege folk ikkje har råd til billett – er det lov å glede seg til fotball-VM i Russland?
Lene Wetteland i Helsingforskomiteen har rapport direkte frå dei dramatiske hendingane i Armenia på sosiale medier, NRK, VG
og russisk media dei siste dagane. "Eg reiv av meg observatørskiltet og tok til å grine midt blant dei feirande armenarane",
fortel ho i denne kommentaren.
Putin fortsetter som president, men valget kan bety begynnelsen på slutten for dagens maktelite. I skyggen venter en ny, uredd
generasjon på å komme fram i lyset. Russlands nye ansikt vil prege framtiden.
Close to 30 of the disappeared have died in prisons in Turkmenistan since 2002. The documented number of forced disapperances
has now grown to 113. The “Prove They Are Alive!” campaign calls for action.
– Kazakh authorities should provide immediate medical assistance to a detained businessman who has alleged that he was beaten
and ill-treated, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee and Human Rights Watch said today.
Romanifolket/taterne har status som nasjonal minoritet i Norge. Hva betyr det? Hva sier menneskerettighetene om minoriteter?
Hva er den norske politikken på området? Hvordan drive politisk påvirkningsarbeid?
– De som varsler om korrupsjon blir angrepet og til og med drept, mens de som står bak den økonomiske kriminaliteten fortsetter
sin internasjonale forretningsvirksomhet. Dette må Norge bidra til å stoppe.
I dag er det 11 år siden en av Russlands fremste journalister ble drept utenfor sitt hjem i Moskva. Anna Politkovskaja er
fremdeles en inspirasjon for andre journalister og en trussel for dem som har noe å skjule.
- Det er viktig å ha eit kritisk blikk utanfrå på det demokratiet me tar for gitt her heime, seier Bjørn Engesland i Helsingforskomiteen.
Han har invitert 26 internasjonale observatørar til Stortingsvalget.
NOAS, NHC and FRI wish to invite you to an open seminar in memory of Anna Politkovskaya, the investigative journalist of Novaya
Gazeta, who would have been 59 years old on 30 August had she not been brutally murdered for her work in 2006. Her brave work
to expose human rights abuse in Chechnya and North Caucasus has inspired many journalists in Russia, and the Norwegian Helsinki
Committee commemorates her legacy every year with a relevant seminar.
“Harassment and obstruction by state agents of the professional work of independent defence lawyers working on high-profile
cases in Armenia should immediately come to an end", said Lene Wetteland, senior advisor at the Norwegian Helsinki Committee.
“Together with other members of the Civic Solidarity Platform (CSP) we call on Armenian authorities to put an end to a worrying
pattern of abuse and ensure that all lawyers can carry out their work without hindrance.”
The creation of a permanent international criminal court (ICC), which seeks to punish individuals most responsible for the
gravest international crimes, such as genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes has been a significant development
for the protection of human rights and an important achievement for the international community. July 17 marks the adoption
of the Rome Statute – the founding treaty of the ICC – and is therefore commemorated as an International Justice Day worldwide.
On this occasion, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee and a group of Georgian human rights organisations issued a letter to the
ICC regarding its ongoing investigations in Georgia. The letter recommends strengthened ICC presence and outreach in the country.
The July 9 decision of the government of Kyrgyzstan to deny Vitaliy Ponomarev, Central Asia Programme Director for Human Rights
Center Memorial, entry to the country was wrong and raises deep concern as to its motivation, members of the Civic Solidarity
Platform said in a statement.
Today the exhibition Drawing for Freedom, depicting political prisoners in Azerbaijan, opens at the Heinrich Böll Foundation
in Berlin. The art project ”Drawing for Freedom” is a cooperation between the Norwegian Helsinki Committee and the Academy
of Fine Art of the Oslo National Academy of the Arts.The thematic focus of the project is political prisoners in Azerbaijan.
On 22 July, at 18:00, the Heinrich Böll Foundation jointly with NHC, organises a panel discussion on the situation in Azerbaijan
in the same place, titled 'Azerbaijan: shrinking or lost spaces for opposition?'. There will also be a tour of the exhibition.
Together with Civil Rights Defenders, Sweden, and Freedom Now, USA, NHC has written a letter to the UN Secretary-General António
Guterres ahead of his visit to Tajikistan, reminding him of the grave human rights situation and the negative development
in the country. Since 2014, the Tajik government has undertaken a widespread crackdown to dismantle and discredit the country’s
peaceful political opposition.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee joins protests in reaction to credible reports of the arrest, torture, and conviction following
unfair trials, and imprisonment under inhumane conditions of 18 men in Turkmenistan. The sentences, from 12 to 25 years, were
handed down in a closed, two-hour trial, and set out in a summary of the verdict that lacks any information about the specific
acts the men are accused of committing or the evidence against them.
In a letter to the Prime Minsiter of Georgia, NHC has joined several human rights organisations to express our concern about
the abduction of Afgan Mukhtarli, an exiled Azerbaijani journalist, on 29 May in Tbilisi. He went missing after leaving his
colleagues in the evening, before resurfacing the following day in Baku in the custody of Azerbaijan’s state border agency.
Mukhtarli reports that he was forced into a car near his home, tied up and beaten. His abductors put a bag over his head and
10,000 euros were stuffed into his pockets while crossing the Azerbaijani border. We question the role of Georgia in letting
this abduction take place.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee urges Ukrainian authorities to support and protect Kyiv Pride Week, which will be organized
June 9 to 18, 2017. An important part of the program will be the KyivPride March on 18 June, a manifestation in support of
fundamental human rights and freedom from violence for Lesbian, Gay, Bi- Trans- and Intersex persons (LGBTI) in Ukraine.
The Council of Europe’s legitimacy is at stake over Azerbaijan’s persistent non-compliance with the European Court judgment.
On 22 May, three years had passed since the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) delivered its judgment on the case of political
prisoner Ilgar Mammadov, concluding that the Azerbaijani authorities had detained him to punish him for his criticism of the
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is a partner of the Oslo Freedom Forum (OFF) which is now underway in Oslo. OFF is a thriving
global community of people who share the common vision of making the world a more peaceful, prosperous, and free place. The
ninth annual forum will unite dissidents, activists, artists, journalists, and changemakers in Oslo on May 22-24, 2017.
The United Nations high commissioner for human rights called on President Shavkat Mirziyoyev of Uzbekistan on May 10 and 11,
2017, to turn his government’s pledges for reform into concrete human rights improvements and fulfill its obligations under
human rights law, eight human rights groups said today. The rights groups endorsed the high commissioner’s recommendations,
calling on Mirziyoyev to end ongoing abuses and deliver on Uzbekistan’s human rights commitments in full.
Today the Norwegian Helsinki Committee congratulates political prisoner Max Bokayev on his 44th birthday and appeals to the
authorities of Kazakhstan to free him and fellow political prisoner Talgat Ayan. The two remain in prison after an Atyrau
court last year sentenced them to five years imprisonment in retaliation for their peaceful activism. Текст на русском ниже
NHC has issued a statement protesting the conviction of Dr Serdar Küni, from Turkey, addressed to the Gaziantepe Regional
High Court. The statement is supported by 28 other organisations from various countries. Küni's prosecution is part of a wave
of arrests, dismissals and other legal actions taken against human rights defenders, medical professionals, lawyers, journalists,
and academics since July 2015 in Southeast Turkey, and throughout Turkey after the failed military coup in July 2016. The
statement underlines the principal importance of the case. Dr. Küni is a medical doctor, and is therefore under a professional
duty to provide medical assistance to any person in need of such assistance. He is also a human rights defender.
Joint Statement: As World Press Freedom Day is celebrated across the globe on May 3, we, the undersigned organizations, cannot
forget the untenable price journalists pay for government criticism in Azerbaijan. The case of Mehman Huseynov is emblematic.
Nyheten om systematiske arrestasjoner, tortur og drap på antatt homofile menn i Tsjetsjenia kom første april, og rystet en
hel verden. Den norske Helsingforskomité, Foreningen FRI og Amnesty International Norge ber i dagens VG russiske myndigheter
om umiddelbart å iverksette tiltak for å stoppe overgrepene og trusler mot journalistene som har fortalt mennenes historier.
I morges demonstrerte vi utenfor den russiske ambassaden og ba om full etterforskning av forholdene.
The Annual Assembly of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee has released the 2016 Annual report. The report illustrated the wide
range of activities NHC of last year, and underlined the importance of continued engagement for fundamental human rights in
an unstable world. Human rights in Turkey, Russia, Central Asia and the South Caucasus remain in the center of our attention,
where we through cooperation with local civil society are an efficient advocate for fundamental human rights defense at home
and abroad. In 2016, we became a member of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and also the assumed the responsibility
of hosting the secretariat for the International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief (IPPFoRB).
Årsmøtet 2017 i Den norske Helsingforskomité har vedtatt en uttalelse som krever at Russland etterforsker og strafforfølger
de ansvarlige for grove overgrep i Tsjetsjenia. Avisen Novaja Gazeta har publisert grufulle avsløringer om at over hundre
homofile i den russiske delrepublikken Tsjetsjenia skal ha blitt innbrakt, plassert i irregulære fengsler og utsatt for grov
tortur, og minst tre personer skal være drept. I etterkant har det kommet alvorlige trusler mot avisen og dens støttespillere.
Nyheten om systematiske arrestasjoner, tortur og drap på antatt homofile menn i Tsjetsjenia kom første april, og rystet en
hel verden. Den norske Helsingforskomité, Foreningen FRI og Amnesty International Norge ber i dagens VG russiske myndigheter
om umiddelbart å iverksette tiltak for å stoppe overgrepene og trusler mot journalistene som har fortalt mennenes historier.
I morges demonstrerte vi utenfor den russiske ambassaden og ba om full etterforskning av forholdene.
“The trial proceedings against Dr. Küni ignored the most basic of international fair trial standards, and failed to take
into account the arbitrary nature of the charges against him”. Deputy Secretary General Gunnar Ekeløve-Slydal is currently
on mission to Turkey. He is part of an international trial monitoring group, monitoring the trial against Dr. Serdar Küni,
a medical doctor who provided medical treatment during clashes in Cizre in 2015 and 2016.
Måten folkeavstemningen i Tyrkia for omfattende endringer av grunnloven ble gjennomført på bidro til ytterligere å splitte
landet og økte kritikken om at President Recep Tayyip Erdogan er i ferd med å utvikle et autoritært styre. Erdogan etablerer,
som i Putins Russland, illiberalt demokrati som gir valgvinneren rett til å overkjøre de som ikke deler hans syn. Assisterende
generalsekretær Gunnar M. Ekeløve-Slydal deltar i en internasjonal delegasjon som observerer rettssaken mot legen og menneskerettighetsforkjemperen
Serdar Küni, som finner sted 24. april i Sirnak, en by i Øst-Tyrkia nær grensen til Irak.
Ahead of the spring session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Amnesty International, Article
19, Human Rights Watch, Human Rights Center “Memorial” and the Norwegian Helsinki Committee have written to the members of
the Assembly to urge them to participate in the Plenary debate on the report of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights
on “Human Rights in the North Caucasus” and to support the adoption of the very important resolution and recommendations raised
by the report.
-Russland får stadig større innflytelse og innlemmer Vest-Balkan i sin interessesfære. Samtidig er EUs engasjement på Vest-Balkan
blitt mindre de siste ti årene mens Russland stadig får større innflytelse og innlemmer regionen i sin interessesfære. EUs
troverdighet er svekket, og Russlands rolle bidrar til å hindre landene fra å knytte seg tettere til både NATO og EU. NHCs
Enver Djuliman har analysert hvordan Russland øker sin innflytelse på Vest-Balkan, og peker på hvilke grep EU kan ta for å
gjenerobre sin rolle i regionen.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee and the Civic Assistance Committee in Moscow have today sent a letter to the presidents of
FIFA and UEFA, urging them to initiate investigation into allegations of the use of North Korean slave labour during the construction
of the football stadium Zenit Arena in St. Petersburg. While there are still numerous violations of human rights with respect
to workers and migrants in Russia, it is vital that well-known and respected international bodies such as FIFA, do not become
complicit in such practices, and act upon the human rights commitments underlined in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Sustainability
Strategy and FIFA 2.0: The Vision for the Future.
Det er positivt at Norge og Kina gjenoppretter normale politiske relasjoner, sier Helsingforskomiteen i et brev til statsminister
Erna Solberg. Brevet er sendt i et samarbeid med Den norske advokatforeningens menneskerettighetsutvalg, Amnesty International
i Norge, Norsk PEN og Den norske Tibetkomité. Men de gjenopprettede relasjonene kan ikke bygge på at Norge unnlater å ta opp
de omfattende bruddene på menneskerettighetene i landet. Den moderne menneskerettighetstanken bygger på at disse rettighetene
er grunnverdiene for det internasjonale samfunnet og skal beskyttes og fremmes gjennom at landene holder hverandre ansvarlige.
En god dialog mellom statene er forutsetning for at dette skal fungere.
This last weekend, 25. – 26. March, peaceful protest actions took place across Russia, Belarus and in Kyrgyzstan, which were
met with heavy police forces, mass arrests and violence from the authorities. Although they did not seem to have been coordinated
in any way, the protests have in common that they were supported by citizens fed up with corruption and oppression. Governments
of the three countries seem to know only one way of reacting: Interdiction, violence and detentions. Still, citizens for the
first time in a very long time, defied fears and participated. The participation across Russia, not limited to big cities,
had not been seen for years.
We strongly condemn the continuing wave of detentions and harassment of peaceful protesters, journalists, human rights defenders,
civil society activists, anarchists and opposition party members in Belarus. More than 250 people have been detained since
3 March, and several detentions have been carried out with excessive use of force. On the eve of planned demonstrations in
Minsk and several other places in Belarus on 25 March, we urge President Lukashenka to abide human rights principles. Photo by Andrey Liankevich.
On March 16, Azerbaijan's authoritarian President Ilham Aliyev displayed another self-serving magnanimity and pretended to
be merciful. He signed a decree, pardoning 423 prisoners, among them 4 activists that human rights groups have labeled as
political prisoners. This is happy news for all of those pardoned and their families, but there is very little else to celebrate.
The decree left many political prisoners firmly behind bars, in prisons populated by prominent dissenters and activists.
Den norske Helsingforskomité har sammen med NOAS, Jussbuss og Antirasistisk senter sendt brev til Kommunal- og forvaltningskomiteen
på Stortinget med støtte til et forslag om at statsborgerskap bare bør kunne tilbakekalles ved dom. En viktig grunn til at
vi har fått en debatt om å endre dagens praksis, hvor det er UDI/UNE som tar beslutningen, er at det er blitt kjent gjennom
media at velintegrerte personer med sterk tilknytning til Norge over mange år blir fratatt sitt statsborgerskap fordi UDI/UNE
mener at de har gitt feil informasjon. Organisasjonene støtter lovfesting av kravet til forholdsmessighet i vurderingen av
tilbakekall. Kravet bør konkretiseres ved at det innføres en foreldelsesfrist. For å sikre en rettssikker prosess, er det
domstolene som bør vurdere forholdsmessigheten.
On occasion of the International Women’s Day the Norwegian Helsinki Committee issued a statement calling on the government
of Uzbekistan to immediately and unconditionally free five woman political prisoners. These women languish in prison in for
no other reason than their legitimate and peaceful activities, and the charges against them are trumped-up and must be dropped,
the NHC said.
The Association for Human Rights in Central Asia (AHRCA), Civil Rights Defenders (CRD), Freedom House, International Partnership
for Human Rights (IPHR), the Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC), Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the Uzbek–German Forum
for Human Rights (UGF) are extremely relieved to learn that Uzbek journalist Muhammad Bekjanov, the winner of RSF’s Press
Freedom Prize in 2013, was released today after 18 years in prison.
NHC has signed on to an Open Letter to the European Union College of Commissioners regarding the situation in Poland. The
letter urges the College to pursue the enforcement action against the government of Poland under the Article 7 of the EU treaty,
as the government of Poland continues to undermine the rule of law. NHC supports the letter in the framework of our membership
in the International Federation for Human Rights, FIDH.
- Den norske Helsingforskomité støtter forslaget om å endre statsborgerloven § 26 slik at tilbakekallelser av statsborgerskap
bare kan skje ved dom*. Regjeringen bør avvente saksbehandling av tilbakekallelser til regelverket er endret. Dette sa Helsingforskomiteens
assisterende generalsekretær Gunnar Ekeløve-Slydal i sitt innlegg på åpen høring i Stortingets kommunal- og forvaltningskomité
9. februar 2017.
Today, the Turkmenistan Civic Solidarity Group issues a statement regarding Sunday's Presidential "Elections" in Turkmenistan.
In it, the organisations urge all interested parties, including the OSCE and other international organizations, to take a
principled stance and to not recognize the presidential “elections” in Turkmenistan as free, transparent, fair, competitive,
and in accordance with international standards.
Utenrikskomiteens reise til Russland er i dag utsatt på ubestemt tid etter at Russiske myndigheter har nektet å utstede visum
til Venstres leder Trine Skei Grande og stortingsrepresentant for SV Bård Vegar Solhjell. – Utenrikskomiteen har tatt en riktig
beslutning ved å avlyse reisen også for de av komitémedlemmene som fikk visum til reisen i morgen, sier Helsingforskomiteens
generalsekretær Bjørn Engesland, som selv er erklært persona non grata i Russland. Norske politikere bør ikke la seg presse
av Putins regime.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is seriously concerned for the future of Hungarian NGOs working for the protection and promotion
of democracy and human rights, for marginalized groups and transparency. Legislation which has recently been proposed by the
Hungarian Government will, possibly unconstitutionally, target and paralyze non-government organisations that receive grants
from foreign funds.
The undersigned organisations, including the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, strongly condemn the abduction and torture of Azerbaijani
journalist Mehman Huseynov and call on Azerbaijan’s authorities to immediately investigate the case and to hold those responsible
accountable. Moreover, Huseynov’s conviction should be overturned and the travel ban against him lifted.
Human Rights Center (HRIDC), Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC) and International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) call
on the Georgian authorities to take concrete steps towards accountability for crimes committed during 2008 war, including,
renew investigative activities, ensure access of victims of the August 2008 war to their national case file and renew communication
with the victims in order to respect their rights to effectively participate in national proceedings.
Politikerne i Romania leker politikk, mens mennesker dør på sykehus, uten medisiner, uten leger og uten assistenter. Helsingforskomiteens
Csilla Czimbalmos har publisert vurdering i Agenda Magasin. Foto: Daniel Vrabioiu
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC) commends the United States Congress on passing the Global Magnitsky Act, the group
said in a statement. The new sanctions law, proposed in 2015 by Senator Ben Cardin, is named for Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian
tax lawyer for Hermitage Capital Management. He died at the hands of Russian authorities on 16 November 2009 after exposing
a $230 million tax refund fraud scheme.
The final report of the limited election observation mission to the Republic of Georgia is ready.The mission was organised
jointly with the European Platform of Democratic Elections (EPDE), the International Partnership of Human Rights (IPHR), the
International Elections Study Center (IESC) and the Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC).
– Tajikistan’s security services have taken new actions against relatives of at least three political activists abroad who
engage in peaceful criticism of the government, Human Rights Watch and the Norwegian Helsinki Committee said today.
In another farcical day in a Baku court today, 21-year old activist Bayram Mammadov was sentenced to 10 years in jail. He
was arrested simply for spraying graffiti, but was later tortured into confessing to serious drug crimes. Bogus drug possession
charges to silence critical voices is not new in Azerbaijan, where the authorities widely plant drugs on their opponents to
lock them up.
The government of Azerbaijan is carrying out a multi-pronged attack on freedom of expression, including introducing harsh
penalties for critical speech online, imprisoning young activists for nothing more than graffiti, blocking access to websites
of independent media, and harassing and violating the rights of journalists and activists. The undersigned organisations call
upon the Azerbaijani authorities to reverse this alarming trend and respect basic human rights and freedoms, as well as for
international partners to ensure Azerbaijan honours its treaty commitments as a state party to the European Convention on
Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
-Authorities in Kazakhstan must ensure civil society organizations the freedom to fully carry out their activities in accordance
with domestic law and international human rights standards, said Bjørn Engesland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Helsinki
Committee. – In a recent development local authorities have aimed to thwart civic education events organized by the not-for-profit
organization Youth Information Service of Kazakhstan (YISK).
NHC congratulates the laureates of the Fritt Ord/ZEIT-Stiftungs «Free Media Awards» which were awarded in a ceremony in Tbilisi
last week. Imprisoned journalist Seymur Hazi from Azerbaijan and the Ukrainian TV program Nashi Groshi were both nominated
by NHC. The third laureate is the prominent Russian journalist Elena Milashina.
Jury member Martin Paulsen highlighted three virtues in his speech at the ceremony: "When it comes to your work, and the reasons
why we chose you for this honour, I would like to emphasise the importance of three concepts: COURAGE, SOLIDARITY and COMPETENCE."
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee condemns the five-year sentence given yesterday to peaceful activists Max Bokayev and Talgat
Ayan in retaliation for their peaceful protest against proposed amendments to the country’s land-law in April and May. The
harsh prison sentence is in violation of the Constitution of Kazakhstan and the country’s international human rights obligations,
and must therefore be quashed, the NHC said.
Uzbek authorities should ensure a thorough, impartial, and transparent investigation into the alleged torture of two brothers
by the Uzbek National Security Service (SNB), and the death in custody of one of them, Human Rights Watch, the International
Partnership for Human Rights, Freedom House, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, and the Association for Human Rights in Central
Asia said today.
Imprisoned opposition leader Ilgar Mammadov's appeal to the Supreme Court was rejected on Friday 18 November, disappointing
anyone who had hoped for his release. The judgement is a mockery of the previous decision by the European Court of Human
Rights, demanding an immedeate release of Ilgar Mammadov.
Regjeringen ønsker ikke at Norge skal knytte seg til individklageordningene i FN for barnets rettigheter, for rettighetene
til personer med nedsatt funksjonsevne og for økonomiske, sosiale og kulturelle rettigheter. Helsingforskomitéen og Amnesty
beklager dette og mener dette bryter med en hovedlinje i norsk menneskerettighetspolitikk. Under finner du hele høringsinnspillet
fra Den norske Helsingforskomité og Amnesty som blir presentert for Stortingets utenriks- og forsvarskomité på morgendagens
høring for «Meld. St. 39: Individklageordningene til FNs konvensjoner om økonomiske, sosiale og kulturelle rettigheter, barnets
rettigheter og rettighetene til mennesker med nedsatt funksjonsevne (2015-2016)».
Den norske Helsingforskomité reagerer sterkt på at Fritt Ord og Kunst i offentlige rom (KORO) på konferansen Public Calling
på Nationaltheatret 1. og 2. november lar Torstein Grude fra Piraya Film, produsenten for Andrei Nekrasovs Film The Magnitsky
Act: Behind the Scenes, uimotsagt få komme med uriktige påstander om Helsingforskomitéen. Han fremsetter svært kontroversielle,
og etter Helsingforskomitéens mening, feilaktige påstander om den kjente russiske varsleren Sergei Magnitskij, som døde i
et russisk fengsel som følge av manglende legehjelp og tortur i november 2009.
8 of November is the Intersex Day of Solidarity and Remembrance. It is a day to acknowledge the suffering and injustice caused
to intersex people in the past, and call for adequate redress, reparation, and access to justice. It is also a day to challenge
the faulty categorization of human beings as being strictly “male” or “female” to inspire respect, inclusion and human rights
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee sent a letter to Norway’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations today to express a deep
concern for a scheduled 8 November vote in the General Assembly Third Committee which may revoke the mandate of the UN Independent
Expert to monitor violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI). The letter was also
sent to other Permanent Missions to the UN.
Human rights and the rule of law in Hungary have been under sustained attack since Prime Minister Viktor Orbán took power
in 2010, reveals FIDH in a new report released today. FIDH urges the government to halt this assault and calls for a strong
and prompt reaction by the European Union, up to the activation of Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU), which
could lead to the suspension of Hungary’s rights under the Treaties. NHC is a Norwegian member of the international network
of human rights organisation FIDH.
The NHC is proud to announce that we today are launching our first podcast. The podcast series "Human Rights in Focus" will
shed light on some of the most pressing human rights challenges we are facing in Europe today. In this first episode we are
discussing the situation for human rights in Azerbaijan with prominent human rights activist Leyla Yunus. She is joined by
NHCs senior adviser and Azerbaijan expert Berit Lindeman.
Today the Norwegian Helsinki Committee sent an open letter to U.S. Department of State Under Secretary Thomas Shannon, asking
him to raise human rights issues during his upcoming visit to Central Asia. On October 24-29, Mr. Thomas Shannon will visit
Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, and should seize the opportunity to speak out about human rights in the region, the
NHC says in the letter.
NHCs Enver Djuliman is currently in Odessa, Ukraine, where Russian and Ukrainian youth are together for dialogues for reconciliation
between Russian and Ukrainian youth. Symbolically, the participants planted trees of peace.
Human rights defenders and former political prisoners Leyla and Arif Yunus from Azerbaijan have visited Norwegian Helsinki
Committee to join the “finissage” of the exhibition at Akershus Art Centre exhibiting art depicting the situation of political
prisoners in Azerbaijan. –Human rights are violated more than ever in our home country, Leyla Yunus said. –The numbers of
political prisoners keep increasing, and every year around ten prisoners die from torture and ill-treatment in the brutal
Today, on 10 October 2016, the 14th World Day Against the Death Penalty, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee is joining an international
campaign raising awareness about the application of the death penalty for terrorism-related offences and to reduce its use.
NHC urges the abolishment of all forms of death penalty.
(Berlin, Brussels, Oslo and Tbilisi, 9 October 2016) The joint international election observation mission of the Norwegian
Helsinki Committee (NHC), European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE), International Elections Study Center (IESC) and
International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR) and was established in Georgia on 12 September. On Election Day, the Mission
deployed 36 international observers who visited more than 200 polling stations across the country. This preliminary statement
summarizes our findings.
(Brussels, Oslo and Tbilisi, 9 October 2016) During the Georgian Parliamentary Elections on 8 October 2016 a violent incident
occurred in Western Georgia. A group of unidentified men broke into polling station 79 in the village of Jikhashkari in the
Zugdidi district, disrupted the counting procedure and physically attacked international election observers, who represented
the joint mission of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC), International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR) and European
Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE).
Authorities in Kazakhstan must drop all charges against civil society activists Max Bokayev and Talgat Ayan, and immediately
free them, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee said in a statement today. The trial against Max Bokayev and Talgat Ayan is scheduled
to start on October 12 in the city of Atyrau. The two peaceful activists risk five to ten years imprisonment if found guilty
on charges that appear trumped-up in retaliation for their role in organizing peaceful protests earlier this year, the NHC
Yesterday the Norwegian Helsinki Committee arranged our annual Anna Politkovskaya-seminar, to honour our dear friend and colleague
who was brutally murdered just outside her apartment in Moscow ten years ago today.
A delegation from the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, in cooperation with the European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE)
and International Partnership for Human Rights, is in Georgia to observe the upcoming Parliamentary Elections 8 October 2016.
Together with our partners in the Civic Solidarity Platform (CSP), the Norwegian Helsinki Committee is seriously concerned
about threats received by leading Kyrgyz human rights defenders Tolekan Ismailova and Aziza Abdurasulova in relation to their
participation in the 2016 OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM) and call for immediate and effective measures
to ensure their safety.
Amid reports of fraud and pressure against voters, Baku's Central Election Commission has preliminary announced an overwheling
victory for the amendments, which include an extension of the presidential term from five to seven years. The alarming consequences
of the constitutional amendments after yesterday´s referendum will increase the power of the President, dramatically weaken
democratic institutions and will further isolate and repress dissent in Azerbaijan. NHC has made a statement highly critical
of the amendments and calls for sanctions against the regime.
- The Azeri government have done their best to silence bloggers, journalists and human rights defenders. But they have been
unsuccesful. Several of the former political activists, like Khadija Ismayilova, Anar Mammadli and Intigam Aliyev are now
released from prison, and continue to work for a democratic Aserbaijan. This gives me hope that we can change the situation
in the country, said human rights defender Rasul Jafarov at the seminar "To Draw is to See" at the house of Literature monday
19. September. The seminar was a joint event between the Oslo National Academy of the Arts (KHIO), Akershus Art Centre, and
Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC), and was organised in conjunction with the exhibition "The Big Draw - Drawing for Freedom"
which is displayed at Akershus Art Centre in the period 17. September- 16th of October.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee supports a campaign calling US President Barack Obama to pardon Edward Snowden. He is a US
whistleblower now living in Moscow because of fear of unfair prosecution in the US for revealing in June 2013 illegal surveillance
programs by the US government and its allies.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC) asks that Zaporozhie Regional and City- Authorities protect the Equality Festival scheduled
for 24 September. The organizers have been met with homophobic and transphobic threats from right wing extremists as well
as protests from the City authorities, and the Jewish Community Center "Max Grant" that should have been the festival venue
cancelled their contract due to fear of repercussions.
“The low turnout at 47.8% in the Duma elections on 18 September may be seen as an expression by Russians of discontent with
the Government and the ruling United Russia party. There may also be widespread lack of trust in the electoral process among
many Russians”, said Bjørn Engesland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC). – “Even if these elections
represented progress in transparency and the Central Election Commission (CEC) played a professional role in reacting to some
of the reported irregularities, a range of serious problems remain.”
The citizen observers initiative Human Rights Defenders for Free Elections (Human Rights Center "Viasna" and Belarusian Helsinki
Committee) criticize the lack of equal access to state media for all candidates, lack of impartiality of election commissions,
facts of abuse of administrative resources in favor of the pro-government candidates, numerous facts of forcing voters to
participate in early voting, non-transparency of some election day procedures.
In a statement published today, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC) and the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights
Defenders, condemn the recent sentencing of Mr. Zhalaudi Geriev, a journalist of the Russian independent news portal Caucasian
Knot on September 5, 2016 and demand his unconditional release. We are deeply concerned about a string of attacks against
the freedom of expression in the region, which for years has been marred by violence and threaths agains journalists.
The report, “Beaten, burnt and betrayed: Armenians awaiting accountability for police violence”, is published by International
Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR) and the Civic Solidarity Platform. It is based on conclusions from a fact finding mission
to Yerevan in July and was launched at a press conference in Yerevan today. The report is now also available in Armenian.
You can download the report in English and Armenian below.
On this International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, the Prove They Are Alive! campaign reaffirms its solidarity
with all victims of disappearances in Turkmenistan’s prisons and their families, urges the Turkmen authorities to immediately
end this gross violation of human rights, and calls on the international community to make the ending of enforced disappearances
in Turkmenistan’s prisons a key condition for development of cooperation with the Turkmen government and firmly demand that
Turkmenistan implement international legal norms and its obligations in the framework of these organisations.
At the 39th Congress of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), taking place in Johannesburg, South Africa 24-26
August 2016, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC) was accepted as new member. – We are proud to become part of one of the
most important families of human rights organizations in the world, said Bjørn Engesland, NHC Secretary General.
On Sunday 21 August LGBTI activist Boban Stojanović was brutally beaten by unknown assailants who shouted homophobic slogans
in downtown Belgrade. – We urge Serbian authorities and law enforcement to ensure that the attack is properly investigated
and that the perpetrators are brought to justice, says Mina Skouen, Norwegian Helsinki Committee’s (NHC) Advisor on LGBTI
issues and the Western Balkans.
Sammen med Kunsthøgskolen i Oslo og Akershus Kunstsenter arrangerer Den norske Helsingforskomité seminaret "Å tegne er å se
- seminar om kunst og aktivisme" på Litteraturhuset i Oslo mandag 19. september klokken 13-15:30. Seminaret tar utgangspunkt
i utstillingen ”Drawing for Freedom” som vises på Akershus Kunstsenter i perioden 17.september- 16.oktober. I denne utstillingen
stiller studenter fra Kunsthøyskolen i Oslo (KHiO) ut arbeider knyttet til temaet politiske fanger i Aserbajdsjan.
Less than six weeks ahead of a constitutional referendum, the Azerbaijani authorities have unleashed a new wave of repression
to silence critical voices. NHC, as a Sport for Rights coalition member, condemns this renewed crackdown, and and joins the
call on the Azerbaijani authorities to take immediate steps to improve the human rights situation in the country, starting
with the release of political prisoners.
During Oslo Pride 2016, activists from various European countries came together to talk about EEA and Norway Grants. At a
meeting with State Secretary Elsbeth Tronstad we strongly recommended a more explicit inclusion of LGBTI issues in the priorities
of the grant mechanism. We also encouraged Norwegian authorities to pay close attention to the challenges faced by LGBTI persons
in Ukraine, the Western Balkans, Moldova and Turkey.
NHC and other organisations sent a letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel requesting her to raise the issue of long-term imprisoned
human rights defender Azimzhan Askarov during her visit to Kyrgyzstan 13-14 July.
Magnitskij-saken har fått fornyet oppmerksomhet som en følge av konflikten om filmen The Magnitsy Act: Behind the scenes av
den russiske regissøren Andrei Nekrasov. Filmen ble vist for første gang i Norge 25. juni 2016 på en åpen visning arrangert
av Piraya Film. Filmens hovedbudskap ble imidlertid kjent allerede 27. april, da den var planlagt vist i Europaparlamentet.
Denne visningen og flere TV-visninger er blitt avlyst, men Nekrasov har presentert filmens budskap i medieintervjuer og på
Are you wondering how it is to be an LGBTIQ activist when society looks upon you like a pervert and sodomite? How people continue
fighting for human rights of LGBTIQ persons when it seems like every step forward is followed by two steps back? Or were you
among the many people worldwide that spoke up against Russia's so-called anti-homosexual propaganda laws before the Olympic
Games in Sochi 2014, and want to know how you can be an ally for LGBTIQ once again?
Today, the opposition leader Ilgar Mammadov spends his 46th birthday in one of the vile prisons in Azerbaijan, prisons which
have a history of housing dissidents. In May 2014, the European Court of Human Rights concluded, in a strongly worded judgment,
that the actual purpose of Mammadov’s detention “was to silence or punish Mammadov for criticizing the government.” Citing
that ruling, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has called repeatedly for Mammadov’s release. Yet the government,
which controls the courts, the parliament and the media, remains deaf to the calls.
In the framework of the program of the 6th World Congress Against the Death Penalty, the Human Rights Center Viasna, (Belarus),
FIDH and Norwegian Helsinki Committee organizes a side event on the death penalty in Belarus.
Kulturredaktør Mode Steinkjer omtaler våre synspunkter i Magnitskij-saken på usaklig vis i en artikkel 9. juni om at Kortfilmfestivalen
har valgt ikke å vise filmen «The Magnitsky Act» («Et nederlag for ytringsfriheten»). Han er ikke den første som tillegger
oss synspunkter vi ikke har.
Piraya Film politianmelder tre ansatte i Helsingforskomiteen for blant annet «heleri, krenkelse av forretningshemmelighet
og uberettiget befatning med tilgangsdata». Anmeldelsen knyttes til at komiteen har fått tilgang til en versjon av den ennå
ikke publiserte filmen «The Magnitsky Act». Filmen er regissert av Andrei Nekrasov og produsert av Piraya Film.
Even though the military conflict in Ukraine is not making big headlines, it is still ongoing. Soldiers and civilians continue
to die and the Minsk agreement is broken constantly. With over 10 000 deaths, and close to 2 million of IDPs, and many alleged
crimes unaccounted for, the issue of accountability is high on the Ukrainian and international agenda - including on the panel
debate organised by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee on 9 June where also the new report "Where did the shells come from:
Investigation of cross-border attacks in Eastern Ukraine" was presented for the first time.
– Tajikistan’s Supreme Court sentenced leaders of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT) on June 2, 2016 to lengthy
prison terms on charges of attempting to overthrow the government, Human Rights Watch, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, and
the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia said today. The sentences, including two life terms, followed an unfair trial
initiated in retaliation for their peaceful political opposition and reflect the government’s pervasive manipulation of the
justice system and egregious violations of the right to freedom of expression.
Nine human rights organizations have sent a joint open letter to Turkmenistan’s Prosecutor General regarding an appalling
attack on Umida Jumabaeva, a justice-seeking mother. She was physically assaulted and had acid thrown at her by unknown perpetrators
on 22 May 2016, leaving her with severe burns to her face and body. The context of the attack suggests that she may have been
targeted in retribution for petitions she filed regarding her son, a military conscript. The signatories call for a prompt,
thorough and impartial investigation into the attack, with due attention being given to this possible motive for the attack.
How can the International Criminal Court (ICC) and Norway promote justice and democracy in Ukraine? The seminar will provide
first-hand information on the political situation and the status of reforms in Ukraine, as well as the latest accounts from
the conflict-zone. The Norwegian Helsinki Committee invites you to join a discussion between politicians and human rights
activists from Norway and Ukraine on ways of achieving accountability and democratic reforms.
I en artikkel 25. mai skriver Dagbladet at «den amerikanske milliardæren» William Browder vil stanse en film av den anerkjente
filmregissøren Andrei Nekrasov om Magnitskij-saken. Dagbladets artikkel etterlater et inntrykk av at vi kanskje alle har tatt
feil av saken. Men det er ikke tilfelle. Sergej Magnitskij var en russisk varsler som ble torturert og drept i regi av russiske
tjenestemenn. Han hadde varslet om at de samme tjenestemennene hadde orkestrert en omfattende skattesvindel av den russiske
staten ved å stjele og bruke Browders investeringsselskaper.
On the occasion of the International Week of the Disappeared, the human rights campaign “Prove They Are Alive!” calls upon
the government of Turkmenistan to shed light on the fate of dozens who have been imprisoned for more than a decade, and to
immediately halt the practice of enforced disappearances. The government of Turkmenistan should inform the relatives of the
disappeared of their fate and whereabouts and allow them access to their loved ones without further delay.
The Draft Electoral Code of the Republic of Armenia was adopted by the National Assembly of Armenia in its third reading on
25 May 2016. - This is very disappointing, taking into consideration all the domestic and international organisations which
have criticized the proposed amendments, said Lene Wetteland, senior adviser for Armenia in the Norwegian Helsinki Committee.
"In its current form it will significantly limit the effective monitoring of elections and referenda in Armenia, only 6 months
after the referendum on constitutional amendments received substantial criticism and illustrated the need for such monitoring.
We support the call for immediate amendments to the Draft Electoral Law published by Armenian organisations yesterday," Wetteland
A new list of political prisoners in Russia has just been published by Memorial Human Rights Centre. The list now comprises
86 names. 9 people have been released since October 2015, but 45 have been added to the list. Only four of those released
were freed before serving the full term of their sentence in prison. The most famous of the released political prisoners is
the Russian environmental activist Evgeniy Vitishko, who was imprisoned due to his protests surrounding the Olympic constructions
in Sochi, and the Ukrainian pilot Nadia Savchenko.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee welcomes the Supreme Court’s decision in Azerbaijan to release Azerbaijan’s leading investigative
journalist Khadija Ismayilova. It’s indeed happy news to those who know Ismayilova and her important work as a courageous
journalist and civil society leader tirelessly exposing corruption in Azerbaijan, including activities involving the members
of the president Aliyev’s family. Her reporting had caused her arrest in December 2014.
The Boris Nemtsov Foundation presents an annual award to a person who is particularly committed to fighting for the freedom
of expression and helping those who are persecuted on political, racial or religious grounds in Russia. The first prize is
given to the opposition politician Lev Shlosberg for his fight for democratic values in the Russian Federation.
Upon invitation, NHC has made a submission to the European Commission Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations. The submission
points out that the situation of civil and political rights in Turkey has deteriorated in 2015-2016. Some of the actions and
statements of senior politicians – including President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan – led to an erosion of the rule of law. In particular,
the media and the judiciary were under pressure by the executive power. The submission also points to challenges related to
refugees, freedom of religion and belief and LGBTI. It raises concerns that the end of the Kurdish peace process will lead
to further detoriation of respect for human rights.
Den norske Helsingforskomité inviterer til boklansering og seminar. Utgangspunktet for boken «Forsoning – skilt langs veien»,
er en erkjennelse av at verdens samfunn er i stadig konflikt. Samtidig foregår det også hele tiden forsoningsprosesser. Enkeltpersoner
og grupper forsoner seg med sine fiender, med en ny virkelighet, med seg selv og kanskje også med egen skyld. Sted: «Nedjma», Litteraturhuset,Wergelandsveien 29, 0167 Oslo Tid: 6. juni 2016, kl. 08:45-13:30
Authorities in Kazakhstan must immediately release all peaceful activists arrested ahead of planned protests on May 21, the
Norwegian Helsinki Committee, Adil Soz, International Legal Initiative and Association for Human Rights in Central Asia said
in a statement today.
Lesbian, gay, bi, trans- and intersex persons (LGBTI) still suffer from human rights violations and lack protection in countries
all over Europe. Worst of all is the situation in Azerbaijan, followed by Russia and Armenia, Turkey, Monaco, Ukraine and
Belarus, according to ILGA Europe's Annual report launched on occasion of the International day against homophobia, transphobia
and biphobia 17 May.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC) urges Ukrainian authorities to support and protect the 14 May Equality Festival in
Kiev. – Right wing extremists have threatened to attack the festival. We are concerned about the safety of the organizers
and the participants. Police should provide effective protection, said Gunnar Ekelove-Slydal, Deputy Secretary General of
the NHC. “The aim of the festival is to draw attention to the challenges and diversity of Ukraine’s most vulnerable groups,
among them sexual and gender minorities. Ukrainian authorities have an obligation to protect the human rights of everyone;
not the least of those who are most vulnerable.”
Global Magnitsky Sanctions – Effective tool to address gross violations of human rights against human rights defenders and
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC), a long term partner of the Oslo Freedom Forum (OFF), has the pleasure of inviting
you to a side event on Global Magnitsky Sanctions at the OFF 2016. The event is arranged in co-operation with the Justice
for Sergei Magnitsky Campaign, with the participation of its leader, Bill Browder.
Stop Harassment, Ensure Fair Trial: The prosecution of an independent journalist on charges of “disseminating false information”
will commence before a court in Almaty, capital of Kazakhstan, on May 5, 2016, Human Rights Watch and the Norwegian Helsinki
Committee said today. Authorities detained Guzyal Baidalinova, 47, a journalist and the owner of Nakanune.kz, an independent
online news site, on December 23, 2015 as a suspect in the case, and have held her in pre-trial detention since her formal
arrest three days later, despite multiple requests for bail.
Respect Independence of Legal Profession: Oslo, May 3, 2016: Tajik authorities should immediately and unconditionally release
four human rights lawyers and two sons of another prominent lawyer who are imprisoned or detained on politically motivated
charges, Human Rights Watch and the Norwegian Helsinki Committee said today. Tajik authorities should stop harassing and targeting
Årsmøtet for Den norske Helsingforskomité vedtok den 27. april 2016 er uttalelse som uttrykker stor bekymring for økt uro
i Nagorno-Karabakh og rapporter som er fremkommet om overgrep mot sivile. Det et åpenbart behov for en upartisk og internasjonal
etterforskning i Nagorno-Karabakh, ettersom de nasjonale justismyndighetene erfaringsmessig enten ikke vil eller ikke evner
å etterforske mulige krigsforbrytelser. Årsmøtet ber om at norske myndigheter tar initiativ til et internasjonalt samarbeid
for å arbeide for at Armenia og Aserbajdsjan inviterer ICC til å etterforske mulige krigsforbrytelser som kan være begått
rundt konfliktlinjen i Nagorno-Karabakh og andre relaterte tiltak for å bekjempe straffrihet i regionen.
The annual meeting of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee has released the 2015 Annual report. The report illustrated the wide
range of activities NHC had the year of 2015. NHC was engaged the refugee crisis in Norway, when the influx of asylum seekers
tripled and the Government introduced new restricitive measures. Human rights in Turkey, Russia, Central Asia and the South
Caucasus remain in the center of our attention, where we through cooperation with local civil society are an efficient advocate
for fundamental human rights defense at home and abroad.
Er Russland virkelig så toppstyrt av President Putin og hans krins at både opposisjon og sivilsamfunn ligg med broten rygg
fram mot valet til hausten? I denne paneldebatten får me nye perspektiv frå opposisjon, akademia og organisasjonslivet i Russland
– på ei problemstilling som slett ikkje er så svart/kvit som du kanskje trudde.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is deeply concerned about the situation at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former
Yugoslavia (‘ICTY’), created by acquittals in 2012-2013 and a deep split among its judges. The concerns have been conveyed
in a letter to President of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (‘MICT’), former ICTY President, current
ICTY judge and a key player of the institution. According to the letter, the acquittals represent changes in the direction
at a very late stage of the ICTY’s life. They “disorient victims, their families, and the wider struggle against impunity
... there remains a strong, unanswered case for [Theodor Meron] to take responsibility for the unfortunate situation at ICTY”.
Our magnificent collection of art works in the exhibition we have called “Drawing for Freedom” this week exhibits at Defenders’
Days in Stockholm. The artworks, conceived by art students from the Academy of Fine Art of the Oslo National Academy of the
Arts, depict current and former political prisoners in Azerbaijan. We are very happy that newly released human rights defenders
Anar Mammadli, Rasul Jafarov for the first time could see the works depicting themselves. Main illustration: Rasul Jafarov,
Anar Mammadli, freed human rights defenders, and the son of imprisoned human rights lawyer Intigam Aliyev, Necmin Kamil, in
front of the exhibition.
On 20 March 2016, parliamentary elections were held in Kazakhstan. The elections, which were the third consecutive parliamentary
elections to be held early, left the country with a rubber-stamp parliament looking strikingly similar to the outgoing one.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee has also been following the cases of several independent journalists who have been detained
and/or imprisoned during the run-up to the elections.
“Meaningful elections cannot take place when the authorities persecute independent journalists, stifle critical media and
impose severe restrictions on fundamental freedoms”, said Marius Fossum, Norwegian Helsinki Committee Regional Representative
in Central Asia. “Kazakhstan should halt the persecution of critical voices and allow the independent media to carry out its
activities”, he added.
The elections left the country with a rubber-stamp parliament looking strikingly similar to the outgoing one: According to
data as of 21 March, the president's party, Nur Otan, gained 82,15 % of the vote. Apart from the ruling party, only the pro-government
parties the Communist People's Party of Kazakhstan and Ak-Zhol were able to overcome the 7-percent threshold with respectively
7,14 and 7,18 of the popular vote.
According to OSCE/ODIHR observers the elections were marred by instances of ballot stuffing, proxy and group voting – and
a high number of voters were added to voter lists as late as on election day. The OSCE/ODIHR observation team also noted that
the legal framework restricts political and civil rights.
The election campaign was characterized by low-visibility and a generally low level of interest among the electorate. On election
day in Almaty, there were few visible signs that national elections were carried out, which was mirrored by the voter-turn
out in the former capital, where some 34 % of registered voters cast their vote. The time leading up to the elections saw
a shrinking space for independent media, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly and association. In one particularly
striking case, the authorities recently prosecuted peaceful activists based on comments made in social media. The Norwegian
Helsinki Committee has also been following the cases of several independent journalists who have been detained and/or imprisoned
during the run-up to the elections. The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is furthermore gravely concerned about the pressure on
independent media, exemplified by last autumn's suspension of the opposition newspaper Adam.
Apart from the parties winning representation, the environmentalist Birlik (Unity) party, the agrarian Ayul (Village) party
and the Nationwide Social Democratic Party were also running. Among these parties, only the Nationwide Social Democratic Party
can be considered to be an opposition party, although several observers and critics question the party's status as such.
The lack of meaningful voter-choice stems from the authorities track-record of closing down opposition parties. In 2005, the
authorities ruled the opposition party Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan illegal, and, in 2013, suspended the Alga! Party, following
a trial in which the party's leader, Vladimir Kozlov, was imprisoned. Kozlov, considered a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty
International, remains in prison to this day. Last year the Communist Party of Kazakhstan became the most recent opposition
party to be liquidated by the authorities.
“There is a reason why this round of elections in Kazakhstan was given relatively little attention internationally”, said
Ivar Dale, Senior Adviser in the Norwegian Helsinki Committee. “The fact that the results are known in advance is not a sign
of stability, it is a sign of an unfair political playing field. Kazakhstan is a young country no more. It is high time that
real democracy was given a fair chance. That does not happen by banning the opposition and removing critical voices from newspaper
kiosks”, he added.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee condemns this weekend’s attacks on the “Equality Festival Lviv-2016”. The event, celebrating
diversity and human rights, was attacked by homophobic and transphobic groups and eventually cancelled after a bomb threat
to the festival venue. Several people were beaten, and the organizers had to leave Lviv. Despite repeated inquiries, there
were no proper response from the city administration and the police.
On March 17, Azerbaijan's authoritarian President Ilham Aliyev was merciful. He signed a long-awaited decree of pardon, which
was timed to mark the upcoming Novruz holiday. Aliyev pardoned 148 prisoners, among them 13 activists that human rights groups
have labeled as political prisoners.
On 16 March, another attack on the human rights organisation Committee for Prevention of Torture (CPT) took place in Chechnya.
The head of the organization, Igor Kalyapin, was attacked outside the Grozny City hotel and forced to leave the republic.
By a presidential decree today 13 political prisoners have been pardoned for release. We are thrilled to inform you that Rasul
Jafarov, Tofig Yagublu, Anar Mammadli and Hilal Mammadov is among those to be released! Still - there are more than 70 political
prisoners left, and those will not be forgotten: Khadija Ismayilova, Intigam Aliyev, Seymur Hazi, Ilgar Mammadov and many
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee extend our full support for the organizers of Equality Festival Lviv-2016; scheduled for
19 – 20 March at the Museum of ideas in Lviv. We fear that repeated threats of physical violence and hate speech in social
media may prevent the festival from taking place. The City Administration has not made any statement of support despite several
inquiries from the organizers.
On 9 March, unknown assailants attacked a minibus with lawyers and human rights activists from the Joint Mobile Group and
international journalists on the border between Chechnya and Ingushetia. Among those attacked were a Norwegian and a Swedish
Today marks 11 years since the murder of famous journalist Elmar Huseynov, who was a critical voice of the authoritarian Azerbaijan
government, writing on injustice, rampant corruption, state repression and many other human rights abuses.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee and the other undersigned members of the Sport for Rights coalition express serious concern
regarding the on-going disciplinary case against Yalchin Imanov, a prominent human rights lawyer in Azerbaijan. Any disciplinary
sanctions against the lawyer could severely undermine his independence as member of the legal profession and hinder his important
and legitimate professional activity.
I dagens Aftenposten har Den norske Helsingforskomité en kronikk sammen med International Law and Policy Insitute (ILPI).
Kronikken er skrevet av Assisterende generalsekretær Gunnar Ekeløve-Slydal og direktør på ILPI Njål Høstmælingen.
Since his arrest on 19 February, the well-known political activist Vardges Gaspari has been subject to torture and ill-treatment
in the Nubarashen prison in Yerevan. He had initiated a hunger strike in order to be moved to a separate cell, but no response
was given to his complaints by the prison administration. Information was only available as Gaspari was transported to a psychiatric
hospital for a forensic examination on 24 February. Update: On 26 February he was released, but investigations into allegations
of ill-treatment remains to be initiated.