| Den norske Helsingforskomité

Kurderne - allierte mot IS og "gode fiender"

Seminar:

Kurderne - allierte mot IS og "gode fiender"

I samarbeid med Amnesty International Norge inviterer Den norske Helsingforskomité til seminaret: Kurderne - allierte mot IS og "gode fiender". På seminaret vil den anerkjente tyrkiske sosiologen, forfatteren og tidligere politiske fangen, İsmail Beşikçi innlede om situasjonen i de kurdiske områdene i Tyrkia og i Midtøsten og om hvordan vi kan fremme en fredelig utvikling i disse områdene.

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Free Saparmamed Nepeskuliev

Turkmenistan:

Free Saparmamed Nepeskuliev

“The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is deeply concerned about the fate of Saparmamed Nepeskuliev, an independent journalist and activist who is still unaccounted for following his arrest near the seaport town of Turkmenbashi (formerly Krasnovodsk) in Turkmenistan on 7 July 2015”, said Ivar Dale, Senior advisor in the Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC). “On the international level, the Turkmen government has made promises to improve the human rights situation in the country. Yet, time and again, we see evidence of the opposite happening. Nepeskuliev’s arrest is yet another grave example of this. He must be released immediately.”

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Protesting intimidation of a lawyer in Kostanay

Kazakhstan:

Protesting intimidation of a lawyer in Kostanay

Together with six other international human rights organisations, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee today sent a letter to the Prosecutor General of Kazakhstan, Askhat Daulbaev. The letter concerns a recent case of intimidation, pressure and obstruction of the work of lawyer Snezhanna Kim in Kostanay, Kazakhstan.

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In memory of Slobodan Franović

Montenegro:

In memory of Slobodan Franović

On 22 July, 2015, Slobodan Franović (68), founder and for many years the President of the Montenegrin Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, passed away.

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Verdict against Leyla and Arif Yunus must be reversed immediately

Azerbaijan:

Verdict against Leyla and Arif Yunus must be reversed immediately

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee condemns the harsh sentences against the Azerbaijani human rights defenders Leila and Arif Yunus. If the verdicts are not nullified immediately, then it is time to impose targeted sanctions against Azerbaijan´s main human rights perpetrators.

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Rapporter fra en krig

Ukraina:

Rapporter fra en krig

Seniorrådgiver i Den norske Helsingforskomité Aage Borchgrevink var i mai i år på en omfattende reportasjereise i Øst-Ukraina. Skildringene hans fra reisen ble publisert i Dagbladet og Klassekampen. Nedenfor finner du lenker til artiklene i fulltekst, og til Dagbladets nettutgave. For å lese artiklene på nett trenger du Dagbladet+ abonnement.

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Belarus must not extradite Tajik activist to ill-treatment

Tajikistan:

Belarus must not extradite Tajik activist to ill-treatment

Recently, Tajik opposition activist Shabnam Khudoydodova was detained in Belarus shortly after crossing the border from Russia, where she had been residing the last years. She traveled to Belarus with the intent to apply for refugee status at the UNHCR office in Minsk and now risks extradition to Tajikistan, in breach of Belarus' international commitments.

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EPDE strongly protests against house searches of EPDE member organization GOLOS

Russian Federation:

EPDE strongly protests against house searches of EPDE member organization GOLOS

The European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE), of which NHC is a founding member, has issued a statement today strongly condemning the ongoing intimidation of independent citizens’ election observer organisation GOLOS in the Russian Federation through house searches, confiscation of private property, undue tax charges and legal persecution in the framework of a manipulated NGO legislation.

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Norge har et særlig ansvar for å følge opp asylsøkere returnert til tortur og fengsling

Usbekistan:

Norge har et særlig ansvar for å følge opp asylsøkere returnert til tortur og fengsling

I et brev til Utenriksminister Børge Brende ber Helsingforskomiteen norske myndigheter gjøre rede for hva den har gjort for seks usbekiske asylsøkere, som etter endelig avslag på sin asylsøknad ble returnert til hjemlandet. Det ble senere kjent at alle seks var blitt dømt til lange fengselsstraffer og høyst sannsynlig torturert. UNE har senere stanset tvangsreturer til Usbekistan.

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Strengthening the role of universities in peacebuilding in the Western Balkans

New report:

Strengthening the role of universities in peacebuilding in the Western Balkans

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee publishes a new report today, focusing on how universities can play a positive role in peacebuilding processes in the Western Balkans.

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Improved monitoring report adopted by the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly

Azerbaijan:

Improved monitoring report adopted by the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly

Last night, on 23 June, the Summer 2015 session of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) adopted the new monitoring report on Azerbaijan, The functioning of democratic institutions in Azerbaijan, Resolution 2062 (2015). From a relatively weak draft presented by the co-rapporteurs from Spain and Poland, the report was significantly improved by the adoption of several important amendments during the session. Most significantly, the report now includes a demand for the release of political prisoners in Azerbaijan, mentioning several of them by name.

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Demonstrations in Yerevan

Armenia:

Demonstrations in Yerevan

Thousands of demonstrators gathered yesterday in Armenias capital Yerevan to protest against state regulators decision to raise electricity prices by 16 %. This morning the Armenian police forcefully dispersed the demonstrations, leaving 18 persons injured.

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Updated list of political prisoners in the Russian Federation

Russian Federation:

Updated list of political prisoners in the Russian Federation

A new list of political prisoners in Russia has just been published by Memorial Human Rights Centre. The list now comprises 50 names, as compared to the 46 which were included in the list published in October last year. 10 people have been released, but 14 have been arrested. None of the political prisoners were acquitted, amnestied or pardoned during this time.

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NHC supports letter asking Tusk to postpone visit to Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan:

NHC supports letter asking Tusk to postpone visit to Azerbaijan

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee supports a letter sent to the President of the European Council Mr. Donal Tusk, sent from the Sports for Rights campaign and supported by members of the European Parliament, urging Mr. Tusk to postpone his planned visit to Azerbaijan this week, and to call for the immediate and unconditional release of the country´s jailed journalists and human reights defenders.

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Freedom for political prisoners in Azerbaijan!

Azerbaijan:

Freedom for political prisoners in Azerbaijan!

Today is the official opening of the European Games in Baku. To mark the opening ceremony, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, together with other organisations in the Human Rights House Oslo, is demanding the unconditional release of the country´s jailed journalists, human rights defenders and activists.

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Election result strengthens democracy

Turkey:

Election result strengthens democracy

The outcome of the 7 June 2015 Parliamentary Elections in Turkey sends a strong signal that the people of the country do not favour strengthening the power of President Recep Tayyip Erdogen’s office at the expense of accountability and checks and balances, said Gunnar M. Ekeløve-Slydal, Deputy Secretary General of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee.

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Armenia must have thorough discussion on constitutional amendments

Armenia:

Armenia must have thorough discussion on constitutional amendments

The NHC supports a letter sent yesterday to the Council of Europe and the OSCE urging them not to support proposed constitutional amendments that would strengthen the incumbent president's position in Armenia.

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Brutal attack against human rights defenders in Grozny

North Caucasus:

Brutal attack against human rights defenders in Grozny

The office of the Joint Mobile Group in Grozny, Chechnya, was earlier today on 3 June attacked by a group of masked men.

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Lukket norgespremiere: 'A heart that never dies'

Hviterussland:

Lukket norgespremiere: 'A heart that never dies'

Human Rights House Foundation, Den norske Helsingforskomitè og Norsk PEN inviterer til lukket norgespremiere på Erling Borgens dokumentar om menneskerettighetsforkjemperen Ales Bialiatski:
Hviterussland: Europas siste diktatur

Regi: Erling Borgen
Produsert for DR2/NRK av Borgen & Heinemann. (2015)

Tid: Onsdag 10. juni kl 17.00-18.30
Sted: Cinemateket, Tancred

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Human rights protection for LGBTI in Azerbaijan, Russia and Armenia almost non-existent

International day against homophobia and transphobia:

Human rights protection for LGBTI in Azerbaijan, Russia and Armenia almost non-existent

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, Armenia and Ukraine, according to the annual review published by ILGA Europe on occasion of the International day against homophobia and transphobia (IDAHOT) 17 May.

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UN Human Rights Council must ensure resolution on human rights violations and monitoring mechanism for Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan:

UN Human Rights Council must ensure resolution on human rights violations and monitoring mechanism for Uzbekistan

NHC and 9 other human rights organisations send an open letter to the Permanent Representatives of member and observer states of the UN Human Rights Council, urging them to address the human rights situation in Uzbekistan 10 years after the Andijan massacre.

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Benektelsens jubileum

Usbekistan:

Benektelsens jubileum

Onsdag 13. mai er det ti år siden massakren i Andijan. Usbekiske myndigheter hevder overfor FN at «temaet er avsluttet». Totalitære regimer bestemmer mye, men ikke dette. Saken er ikke avsluttet før ofrenes familier sier at den er det.

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Bli med bak fasaden!

Seminar:

Bli med bak fasaden!

Baku, Aserbajdsjan er vertskap for de første Europeiske Olympiske Leker - European Games. Aserbajdsjan har 80 politiske fanger, ingen demokratiske valg og er styrt av én mektig familie. Norge deltar.

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NHC Annual Report 2014

Annual Meeting:

NHC Annual Report 2014

The NHC annual meeting, on 29 April 2015, adopted our 2014 Annual Report. The report is an account of a wide range of our activities last year. With the worrisome developments in the area of our geographical focus, this has been a truly busy year for the Norwegian Helsinki Committee. Naturally the events in Ukraine have been high on our agenda in 2014. The imprisonment of so many of our friends in Azerbaijan demanded much of our attention. In the Annual Report you can read about our engagement in Ukraine, where the NHC has observed both the parliamentary and presidential elections, in addition to carrying out facts finding missions to Ukraine. We have met with Ukrainian officials, activists, journalists, volunteers and internally displaced, recording gripping accounts of people deeply affected by this infinitely tragic year. You can also read about all our other fields of activities in 2014.

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EPDE: Psychiatry instrumentalised to silence election observers

Russian Federation:

EPDE: Psychiatry instrumentalised to silence election observers

The European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE), of which NHC is a foundig member, has issued a statement today strongly protesting severe harrassment and intimidation of election observers from the Russian election observer organisation GOLOS.

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Unlevel playing field, result as expected

Kazakhstan:

Unlevel playing field, result as expected

On 26 April 2015 presidential elections were held in Kazakhstan. Incumbent Nursultan Nazarbayev, in office since 1991, expectedly won the race with an official 97.7 % of the vote, in an election characterized by lack of genuine choice.

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Important resolution urges states to end discrimination against gender minorities

Council of Europe:

Important resolution urges states to end discrimination against gender minorities

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC) commends the resolution Discrimination against transgender people in Europe, adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on 22 April 2015. The resolution urges member states to abolish sterilization and other medical requirements such as a mental health diagnosis as a basis for gender recognition. They should adopt legislation that protects gender minorities in all parts of society.

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Norge må gi Europas politiske fanger reell støtte

Årsmøte:

Norge må gi Europas politiske fanger reell støtte

Den norske Helsingforskomité gjennomførte 29. april sitt årsmøte med våre styre- og rådsmedlemmer på Litteraturhuset i Oslo. Møtet ble ledet av rådspresident i Den norske Helsingforskomité Kristin Clemet. Generalsekretær Bjørn Engesland la fram året 2014s svært omfattende aktiviteter. Årsmøtet ber i en uttalelse den norske regjeringen om å gi reell støtte til det stadig økende antallet politiske fanger i OSSE-området.

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Azerbaijan must release human rights defenders, journalists and activists

Azerbaijan:

Azerbaijan must release human rights defenders, journalists and activists

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is among numerous NGOs who demand the release of imprisoned human rights defenders, journalists and activists all considered political prisoners in Azerbaijan. The call comes after the human rights defender Rasul Jafarov and human rights lawyer Intigam Aliyev were sentenced to 6,5 and 7,5 years respectively in Baku. The charges against them were trumped up and politically motivated, their trials deeply flawed.

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Rasul Jafarov sentenced to 6,5 years in prison

Azerbaijan:

Rasul Jafarov sentenced to 6,5 years in prison

Young, prominent and dedicated human rights defender Rasul Jafarov, was convicted to six and a half years in prison in a Baku, Azerbaijan court today. -It is hardly news anymore that human rights defenders are handed long prison sentences in Azerbaijan, where punishing the dissent on bogus charges has become commonplace for the government in past years, Secretary General Bjørn Engesland says.

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Use visit of Kyrgyzstan’s president to secure human rights commitments

EU:

Use visit of Kyrgyzstan’s president to secure human rights commitments

The EU leaders should prominently address human rights issues with Kyrgyzstan’s President Almazbek Atambayev, who is in Brussels for meetings on 26-27 March, and insist that he use his powers to ensure compliance with the country’s international human rights obligations.

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Support the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey

Turkey:

Support the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey

On 24 March, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC) sent a letter to the President and the Government of Turkey, calling for support to the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (HRFT).

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Support for EuroPride Riga 2015

Latvia:

Support for EuroPride Riga 2015

18 March the Norwegian Helsinki Committee sent a letter to the Latvian Prime Minister Mrs. Laimdota Straujuma, expressing our concern that the Latvian organisation Association Antiglobālisti attempt to use legal loopholes to prevent EuroPride from taking place in Riga in 2015. The loophole is of an administrative nature.

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Norge bør etablere en global Magnitskij-mekanisme

Policy Paper 1/2015:

Norge bør etablere en global Magnitskij-mekanisme

Den norske Helsingforskomité presenterer i dag et Policy Paper som argumenterer for at Norge bør etablere en global Magnitskij-mekanisme.

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The right to public protest

New report:

The right to public protest

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee today publishes a new report on the right to public protest in Kazakhstan, an essential part of the country’s obligation to ensure Freedom of Assembly and Association.

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Hedres for kritisk journalistikk under Ukraina-krisen

Fritt ords pressepris for Øst-Europa:

Hedres for kritisk journalistikk under Ukraina-krisen

Stiftelsen Fritt Ords og ZEIT-Stiftungs pressepriser til Russland og Øst-Europa for 2015 går til seks modige journalister og medier fra Russland, Ukraina og Georgia som ikke lar seg skremme av sensur og represalier. To av årets prisvinnere er nominert av Den norske Helsingforskomité.

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NHC condemns murder of Tajik opposition leader

Tajikistan:

NHC condemns murder of Tajik opposition leader

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee was shocked and saddened to learn of the assassination of Tajik opposition leader Umarali Kuvatov, who was shot at close range by an unknown person outside his home in Istanbul, Turkey, on the evening of 5 March. Kuvatov was in the presence of his wife and children when he was killed by a gunshot to the head.

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Opposition parties ousted from parliament

Tajikistan:

Opposition parties ousted from parliament

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee visited Tajikistan last week to gain an impression of the climate in which the 1 March parliamentary elections were carried out. With 54 out of 63 seats in parliament, the ruling party has cemented the parliament's role as merely a rubber stamp body for the president. The authorities have targeted especially the Islamic Revival Party during the last year. The state-owned propaganda machinery has attacked and discredited the party and its members, linking it to extremism and terrorism among other things. Furthermore several of the party's candidates have been disqualified on questionable grounds and its campaigning material has been blocked.

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On the murder of Boris Nemtsov

Russian Federation:

On the murder of Boris Nemtsov

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is saddened and shocked by the news of the murder of Russia’s prominent opposition politician Boris Nemtsov, shot dead the in the heart of Moscow in the late evening of 27 February.
– The murder of Boris Nemtsov must be independently and transparently investigated and the people responsible be brought to justice, whether they pulled the trigger or ordered the killing, says Bjørn Engesland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee. – We express our condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Boris Nemtsov.

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Court upholds newspaper’s closure over Ukraine coverage

Kazakhstan:

Court upholds newspaper’s closure over Ukraine coverage

Statement issued by International Partnership for Human Rights, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee and Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law, 27 February 2015.

The Almaty City Court yesterday upheld the closure of the outspoken ADAM bol magazine over an article about the conflict in Ukraine. We condemn this decision as another serious blow to freedom of expression and media pluralism in Kazakhstan.

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Free Evgeny Vitishko!

Russia:

Free Evgeny Vitishko!

Together with 46 other international organisations, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee has signed a letter sent yesterday to the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation Yury Ya. Chaika, where we appeal to take all necessary measures to free environmental defender Evgeny G. Vitishko (born July 3, 1973) immediately and unconditionally; to initiate legal proceedings regarding the wrongful conviction of Evgeny Vitishko; hold those responsible for his conviction legally accountable; and clarify the withdrawal by the Office of Prosecutor General of the request to vacate the decision of the Tuapse city court of Krasnodar Krai from December 12, 2013 to revoke the suspended sentence and transfer Evgeny Vitishko to a penal settlement colony. We also ask you to investigate the facts of the violation of water and forest laws in Bzhid township (Tuapse District, Krasnodar Krai).

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Targeted sanctions part of the solution

HRHW film festival:

Targeted sanctions part of the solution

- Western democracies should impose targeted sanctions against the Azerbaijani elite. Statements of concerns from European leaders are only benefitting the Aliyev regime said Vugar Gojayev, human rights defender in exile and NHC project coordinator in the discussion after the screening of Amazing Azerbaijan at the Human Rights Human Wrongs film festival on Saturday.

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The ceasefire a step in the right direction, the road to peace remains long

Ukraine:

The ceasefire a step in the right direction, the road to peace remains long

The ceasefire agreement, which entered into force as of Sunday 15 February, is good news for the civilian population in the Donbass region”, said Bjørn Engesland, Secretary General. – However, it is already marred by violations and important questions remain unresolved. There are also serious flaws with the agreement. – The loser after nearly a year of hostilities is the civilian population in Eastern Ukraine who have seen their houses, economy, infrastructure and key public institutions shot to pieces. The human rights situation was far from perfect before the armed conflict, but there is no doubt that it has become much worse in the rebel-controlled areas.

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Freedom of religion restricted in Azerbaijan

New report:

Freedom of religion restricted in Azerbaijan

The government of Azerbaijan claims it supports religious tolerance but in reality seriously restricts freedom of religion or belief. It uses a tolerance facade and denials of reality to camouflage serious human rights violations.

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Russian Federation must address impunity in North Caucasus – another lawyer severely attacked

Russian Federation:

Russian Federation must address impunity in North Caucasus – another lawyer severely attacked

The Memorial lawyer Murad Magomedov was attacked yesterday, February 4, and beaten by five men outside the Dagestan Supreme Court building in Makhachkala, Dagestan. He sustained severe head injuries and is in critical condition in hospital, unable to explain the details of what happened to him. Murad Magomadov had been defending villagers of the Vremennyi village in Dagestan who were lost everything during a so-called counter terrorism operation autumn 2014.

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Tiggerforbud er ingen løsning

Seminar:

Tiggerforbud er ingen løsning

Det var det tydelige svaret fra rumenske romaktivister som tirsdag 27. januar var deltakere på seminaret "Behov for en ny norsk rompolitikk" i regi av Den norske Helsingforskomité.

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Human Rights Human Wrongs 2015

Filmfestival:

Human Rights Human Wrongs 2015

I år som tidligere år er Den norske Helsingforskomité samarbeidspartner når dokumentarfilmfestivalen Human Rights Human Wrongs arrangeres på Filmens hus fra 11-15. februar.

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Turkey needs a principled approach to freedom of religion

New report:

Turkey needs a principled approach to freedom of religion

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC) Freedom of Belief Initiative outlines in this report, covering the period from July 2013 to June 2014, that Turkey needs to take comprehensive steps in order to bring legislation and practice in line with international human rights law.

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Terror må møtes med respekt for rettigheter

Frankrike:

Terror må møtes med respekt for rettigheter

Angrepet 7. januar 2015 mot redaksjonen til det satiriske magasinet Charlie Hebdo, som resulterte i 12 drepte og like mange sårede, reiser på nytt debatter om effektiv beskyttelse mot terrorhandlinger og hvordan vi kan verne ytringsfriheten når kontroversielle ytringer blir møtt med vold og drap. – Angrepet på de ansatte i Charlie Hebdo var et angrep på ytringsfriheten. Det var karikaturtegninger, satire og religions- og samfunnskritikk som var magasinets varemerke. Alt tyder på at angrepet var en hevn for karikaturer med satirisk brodd mot islam, sier Bjørn Engesland, generalsekretær i Den norske Helsingforskomité.

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Letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel

Azerbaijan:

Letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel

Together with nine other members of the NGO coalition "Sports for Rights", the Norwegian Helsinki Committee has sent a letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel, urging her to make human rights a central subject in the meeting she will have with President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev today.

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The ceasefire a step in the right direction, the road to peace remains long

Ukraine:

The ceasefire a step in the right direction, the road to peace remains long

The ceasefire agreement, which entered into force as of Sunday 15 February, is good news for the civilian population in the Donbass region”, said Bjørn Engesland, Secretary General. – However, it is already marred by violations and important questions remain unresolved. There are also serious flaws with the agreement. – The loser after nearly a year of hostilities is the civilian population in Eastern Ukraine who have seen their houses, economy, infrastructure and key public institutions shot to pieces. The human rights situation was far from perfect before the armed conflict, but there is no doubt that it has become much worse in the rebel-controlled areas.

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New NHC report urges the implementation of commitments on freedom of religion or belief

Central Asia:

New NHC report urges the implementation of commitments on freedom of religion or belief

Freedom of religion or belief is under threat together with other fundamental rights in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, according to a fresh NHC and Forum 18 report launched in Russian and English today.

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Basel declaration

Civic Solidarity Platform:

Basel declaration

The Basel declaration contains recommendations from the members of the Civic Solidarity Platform, in which the NHC is a member, to the participants of the OSCE ministerial council meeting held in Basel, 4-5 December 2014.

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A call to the Council of Europe to suspend Azerbaijan’s membership

Repression in Azerbaijan must stop:

A call to the Council of Europe to suspend Azerbaijan’s membership

On Friday 5 December, another prominent civil society figure was arrested in Azerbaijan as a Baku court authorized investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova's pre-trial detention for two months on bogus charges of "inciting suicide". This shows that there is no end to the assault on independent voices by the government of this oil rich country and provides further proof of its disregard for founding values of the Council of Europe and its obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights. Norwegian Helsinki Committee and the Civil Solidarity Platform calls for the supsension of Azerbaijan for the Council of Europe in a statement Saturday 6 December.

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Drop draft legislation restricting NGO access to funding

Tajikistan:

Drop draft legislation restricting NGO access to funding

NHC joins a number of civil society organisations from the OSCE region in protesting the recent initiative of Tajikistan’s government to regulate and restrict access of NGOs to financial assistance from foreign and international sources.

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Russiske NGOer står sammen mot agentlov

Russland:

Russiske NGOer står sammen mot agentlov

To år etter at den såkalte «loven om utenlandske agenter» trådte i kraft, er Den norske Helsingforskomité en av organisasjonene som har levert et åpent brev til Russlands president Vladimir Putin. I brevet, som ble overlevert av Amnesty International Moskva, krever vi at loven blir opphevet. Det er hele 148 organisasjoner fra 32 land som har skrevet under på dette kravet.

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Annual roundtable on Freedom of Religion or Belief

Turkey:

Annual roundtable on Freedom of Religion or Belief

Annual roundtable event on the right to freedom of religion or belief was organised by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee Freedom of Belief Initiative in Istanbul. This year’s roundtable discussion focused on the general trends and issues related to religious freedom in Turkey, based on the Monitoring Report on the Right to Freedom of Religion or Belief – July 2013-June 2014. The second part of the discussion centred on the intersection between the right to freedom of religion or belief and the right to education.

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Political prisoners in Azerbaijan honoured

Sakharov Freedom Award 2014:

Political prisoners in Azerbaijan honoured

The Sakharov Freedom Award 2014 ceremony was a tribute to the brave political prisoners in Azerbaijan. Relatives of the laureates received the award in an emotional ceremony at Hotel Bristol on 13 November.

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Europe must impose targeted sanctions against Azerbaijan

Sakharov Freedom Award Seminar 2014:

Europe must impose targeted sanctions against Azerbaijan

Yesterday's Sakharov Freedom Award seminar 2014 at the House of Literature in Oslo discussed what intergovernmental organizations like the Council of Europe, states like Norway, businesses like Statoil, and human rights organizations can do with the ongoing crackdown on civil society in Azerbaijan and the imprisonment of human rights activists, journalists, political activists on political grounds.

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Sakharovs frihetspris 2014 tildeles politiske fanger i Aserbajdsjan

Sakharov frihetspris 2014:

Sakharovs frihetspris 2014 tildeles politiske fanger i Aserbajdsjan

Helsingforskomiteen gir Andrej Sakharovs Frihetspris 2014 til politiske fanger i Aserbajdsjan. De utviser mot og stor innsats i å fremme verdighet, demokratiske verdier og menneskerettigheter. Aserbajdsjan er et europeisk land som utvikler seg stadig mer i retning av et diktatur. Prisen tildeles dem alle. Det er et trist faktum at det er alt for mange av dem til at vi kan nevne hver og én.

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Investigate violence against sexual- and gender minorities (LGBTI) in Macedonia

Macedonia:

Investigate violence against sexual- and gender minorities (LGBTI) in Macedonia

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee(NHC), The Norwegian LGBT Organization (LLH) and Amnesty International Norway expressed concern for the situation for LGBTI persons in Macedonia in a letter sent to Nikola Gruevski, Prime Minister of Macedonia, 6 November 2014.

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Local observers give stamp of approval

Ukraine elections:

Local observers give stamp of approval

Civil society organisation OPORA and Committee of Voters of Ukraine have concluded that the early parliamentary elections in Ukraine did not violate international standards and Ukrainian law in any serious way. Although a large number of violations were registered both during the election campaign and on election day, they did not influence the result of the elections.

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Demonising Dissidents: How INTERPOL is being abused by dictatorships

Side event OFF:

Demonising Dissidents: How INTERPOL is being abused by dictatorships

Together with the London based organisation Fair Trials International, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee organized a breakfast seminar tuesday at the Hotel Bristol as a side event to the Oslo Freedom Forum, discussing how INTERPOL is being abused by dictatorships.

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Parliamentary elections in Ukraine consolidate democracy

Ukraine:

Parliamentary elections in Ukraine consolidate democracy

In Ukraine, the early elections to Verkhavna Rada (Parliament) is underway, and by 15.00 o'clock no serious incidents have been reported. In occupied Crimea and in large parts of Eastern Luhansk and Donetsk, it is not possible to organise elections, and some 4.5 million out of a total of 35 million voters are unable to cast their ballot today. Norwegian Helsinki Committee is in Kyiv to observe the elections.

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International Media Center opens in Kyiv

Early parliamentary elections in Ukraine:

International Media Center opens in Kyiv

The very important early parliamentary elections in Ukraine on 26 October will be monitored by thousands of domestic observers. The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is in Kiev on behalf of the European Platform for Democratic Elections to support domestic observers OPORA and Committee of Voters Ukraine at an international press center in Kyiv.

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Bill discriminating LGBT persons in the Kyrgyz Republic should be withdrawn

Kyrgyzstan:

Bill discriminating LGBT persons in the Kyrgyz Republic should be withdrawn

On 15 October 2014, a bill which proposes criminal and administrative liability for «formation of a positive attitude to non-traditional forms of sexual relations» passed its first reading in the Kyrgyz Parliament. The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is concerned about the consequences that this bill may have for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans persons (LGBT) in the Kyrgyz Republic, if adopted.

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Helsingforskomiteen gratulerer Kailash Satyarthi og Malala Yousafzay med Nobels fredspris 2014.

Nobelprisen 2014:

Helsingforskomiteen gratulerer Kailash Satyarthi og Malala Yousafzay med Nobels fredspris 2014.

Ved å gi Nobels fredspris til Kailash Satyarthi og Malala Yousafzay for deres kamp mot undertrykkelse av barn og ungdom og for alle barns rett til utdannelse har Nobelkomiteen prisverdig satt søkelys på en av vår tids store menneskerettighetsutfordringer: Retten til undervisning og retten til likestilling, sier Bjørn Engesland, generalsekretær i Den norske Helsingforskomité.

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IPHR, NHC write to Barroso ahead of Nazarbayev Brussels-visit

Kazakhstan:

IPHR, NHC write to Barroso ahead of Nazarbayev Brussels-visit

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee and the International Partnership for Human Rights today sent a letter to the President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, regarding this week's visit to Brussels by the President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev.

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Stå opp for et fritt Russland!

Markering 7. oktober:

Stå opp for et fritt Russland!

Tirsdag 7. oktober er en symboltung dag i Russland. Det er åtte år siden den kritiske gravejournalisten Anna Politkovskaya ble drept og det er også bursdagen til president Vladimir Putin. I den forbindelse kommer Amnesty, LLH og Helsingforskomiteen til å holde en solidaritetsmarkering foran Stortinget kl 12-13, og foran den russiske ambassaden 13.30-14. Du er velkommen!

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Congratulations, Anar Mammadli!

Václav Havel Human Rights Prize 2014:

Congratulations, Anar Mammadli!

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is very pleased to learn that the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize 2014 has been awarded to the renowned Azerbaijani independent election observer and human rights defender Anar Mammadli.

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Behov for ny norsk rompolitikk

Seminar:

Behov for ny norsk rompolitikk

Onsdag 27. januar arrangerer Den norske Helsingforskomité seminaret Behov for ny norsk rompolitikk? - Et møte med rumenske romaktivister og norske beslutningstakere.
På seminaret ønsker vi å diskutere hva som er en god norsk politikk som balanserer respekt for grunnleggende menneskerettigheter med tiltak som har en reel og positiv effekt på situasjonen mange roma befinner seg i. Møtet er gratis og åpent for alle.

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NHC attends the annual HDIM-meeting

OSCE meeting in Warzaw:

NHC attends the annual HDIM-meeting

NHC is active at the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting 2014 which is currently taking place in Warsaw.

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Well-deserved Rafto Prize to Agora and Pavel Chikov

Russia:

Well-deserved Rafto Prize to Agora and Pavel Chikov

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee congratulates the Russian human rights organization Agora and its chair Pavel Chikov with the 2014 Rafto Prize.

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Fullsatt debattmøte om Ibsenprisen

Ibsenprisen 2014:

Fullsatt debattmøte om Ibsenprisen

Gårsdagens fullsatte debattmøte på Litteraturhuset i regi av Norsk PEN og Den norske Helsingforskomité viste et sterk engasjement rundt tildelingen av Ibsenprisen 2014 til Peter Handke. Innleggene og paneldebatten kan ses i sin helhet under.

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Golos is not a "foreign agent"

Moscow City Court:

Golos is not a "foreign agent"

A decision by the Moscow City Court published on 8 September 2014 concludes that the Association Golos, an election watchdog, and its former executive director Lilia Shibanova, have not violated the law on “foreign agents”. Golos had refused to register as a “foreign agent”, which is required by the law for organizations that receive foreign funding and engage in loosely defined political activities. – This is an important decision and indeed good news for Golos, said Bjørn Engesland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee. Lower courts found Golos in breach of the law because of receiving our Sakharov Freedom Award in 2012. The Moscow City Court, however, said that since Golos did not receive the 10 000 US Dollar prize money, it was not obliged to register. The ruling is a serious defeat for the Ministry of Justice.

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10 år siden tragedien i Beslan

Russland:

10 år siden tragedien i Beslan

Gisseldramaet i Beslan, Nord-Ossetia 1.-3. september 2004 i barneskole nummer 1 kostet minst 385 menneskeliv, ifølge russiske myndigheter. Blant de drepte var 334 gisler, og 186 av dem var barn. – Dessverre er Beslan symptomatisk for russiske myndigheters holdning til menneskeliv, sier Bjørn Engesland, generalsekretær.

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The anatomy of media propaganda in Russia

Anna Politkovskaya Seminar 2014:

The anatomy of media propaganda in Russia

Welcome to the Anna Politkovskaya Seminar 2014: The anatomy of media propaganda in Russia.

Venue: House of literature, Amalie Skram, Wergelandsveien 29
Time: Wednesday 15 October 2014, 14:00-16:15
Snacks, coffee and tea will be served
Registration: nielsen@nhc.no

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End Enforced Disappearances

Turkmenistan:

End Enforced Disappearances

On occasion of the UN International Day of the Disappeared, which is on August 30, 2014, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee together with the Prove They Are Alive! campaign launch a video clip and press release to put the spotlight on the issue of enforced disappearances in Turkmenistan.

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Azerbaijan must investigate brutal attack on journalist

Azerbaijan:

Azerbaijan must investigate brutal attack on journalist

The brutal attack on the journalist Ilgar Nasibov, in Nakhchivan, Azerbaijan, is an outrage, and Azerbaijan’s authorities should ensure a prompt, effective and impartial investigation, Front Line Defenders, Human Rights House Foundation, Norwegian Helsinki Committee, Rafto Foundation for Human Rights, People in Need, Human Rights Watch, Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, International Media Support, ARTICLE 19 and Reporters without borders said today.

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Security Services sue independent journalist

Kyrgyzstan:

Security Services sue independent journalist

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is concerned after learning that the State Committee for National Security (GKNB) of Kyrgyzstan has sued an independent journalist based in Osh, Shokhrukh Saipov, following an article he published with the Ferghana News Agency in May 2014.

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Russia's Foreign Agent Law

Policy Paper 6/2014:

Russia's Foreign Agent Law

The NHC presents our sixth policy paper of 2014. The so-called Foreign Agents Law has already hit hundreds of non-governmental organizations unwilling to register, and its chilling effect is no longer a prediction but a reality. The paper argues that the Foreign Agents Law has dire consequences for Russian civil society, violates human rights and should be repealed.

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List of political prisoners in Azerbaijan published today.

Azerbaijan:

List of political prisoners in Azerbaijan published today.

Azerbaijan's independent civil society has for a long time been engaged in a major effort to go through the lists of possible political prisoners in the country, to identify those that meet the criteria adopted by the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly. The list, containing as many as 98 names, was compiled under the leadership of Leyla Yunus and Rasul Jafarov. Both Leylas and Rasuls own names have been added to the list the last few weeks.

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Severe crackdown on human rights defenders in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan:

Severe crackdown on human rights defenders in Azerbaijan

Update 12 August: The lawyer Intigam Aliyev was arrested Friday 8 August, and was the fourth human rights activist who in a short time have been detained in Azerbaijan. This means that in the two last weeks, four of the most prominent human rights defenders in Azerbaijan have been sent to prison, all under investigation for serious crimes and risking many years behind bars if convicted. The four have all been outspoken critics of the regime of President Ilham Aliyev, and by the move Azerbaijan once again shows a blatant contempt towards the European Convention on Human Rights. Despite this, Azerbaijan currently holds the Chairmanship of the Council of Europe Council of Ministers.

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Rasul Jafarov arrested in Baku

Azerbaijan:

Rasul Jafarov arrested in Baku

On 2 August 2014 the prominent human rights defender Rasul Jafarov was arrested in Baku. Together with the Civic Solidarity Platform, a coalition of 60 human rights NGOs of the OSCE region, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee calls upon the authorities of Azerbaijan to release the human rights defender Rasul Jafarov and stop putting pressure on the civil society of the country. Read the statement in full below.

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Ukrainian authorities failed to protect freedom of speech and peaceful assembly

Ukraine LGBTI:

Ukrainian authorities failed to protect freedom of speech and peaceful assembly

Saturday 5 July the March of Equality KyivPride2014 should have taken place in Kyiv. Unfortunately the organizers had to cancel the event when the authorities declared that they could not guarantee the safety of its participants. Mayor of Kyiv, Vitaly Klichko, expressed his lack of support for the event, as he did not consider these difficult circumstances as a time for celebrations.

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Protests in Macedonia calls for concern

Makedonia:

Protests in Macedonia calls for concern

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is concerned about repeated episodes of ethnically motivated unrest in Macedonia, and the potential the current situation has for increasing distrust and conflict between ethnic groups. Macedonian authorities muse assume responsibility for finding a long-term solution.

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FREE ACADEMIC RESEARCHER

Tajikistan:

FREE ACADEMIC RESEARCHER

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee and our partner organizations in the Civic Solidarity Platform, a coalition of more than 60 human rights groups across the OSCE region, have issued a statement today calling for the release of the researcher Alexander Sodiqov, who has been held by security services in Tajikistan since 16 June.

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Civic activists should be heard in controversial mining project

Armenia:

Civic activists should be heard in controversial mining project

Teghut, the largest forest in Northern Armenia, is under threat from a large mining project. The Save Teghut Civic Initiative and a range of other civic organizations warn that a planned project of exploitation of copper located in the forest will cause severe damage to the forest’s rare fauna and flora, as well as to inhabitants of nearby villages.

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Repressive anti-LGBT propaganda draft should be rejected

Kyrgyzstan:

Repressive anti-LGBT propaganda draft should be rejected

On 17 June 2014, the Human Rights Committee of the Kyrgyz Parliament Zhogorku Kenesh approved a draft law that, if passed, will make the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transsexual (LGBT) people and activists more difficult.

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Uzbek torture victim dies on UN day against torture

Uzbekistan:

Uzbek torture victim dies on UN day against torture

As the world marks the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee has received the tragic news of the death of Abdurasul Khudoynazarov, a 58-year old human rights activist from Uzbekistan.

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No peace plan without accountability for human rights

Ukraine:

No peace plan without accountability for human rights

Together with the other members and partners of the Human Rights House Network, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee has sent a letter to the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, where we urge the Ukrainian authorities to refer situation on the internationally recognised territory of Ukraine to the International Criminal Court (ICC) until the state becomes a member of the ICC by acceding to the Rome Statute.

In the letter we also call upon the Ukrainian government to support the work of human rights NGOs, journalists, bloggers and other media, and aknowledge the important and legitimate role of human rights defenders in the promotion of human rights, democracy and the rule of law as an essential component of ensuring their protection. In this important periode for the country, we also urge the Ukrainan government to ensure that the reform process in the country, as well as all dialogue about the future of the country, is inclusive and transparent, giving space to civil society.
Read the letter below.

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Ales Bialiatski er løslatt fra fengsel

Hviterussland:

Ales Bialiatski er løslatt fra fengsel

- Dette er en gledens dag. At vår gode venn og kollega Ales Bialiatski endelig er løslatt fra fengsel gjør oss enormt glade, sier Bjørn Engesland i en kommentar til dagens nyhet fra Minsk. - Vi har vært bekymret for Ales' situasjon i fengselet, og tatt opp hans sak med både norske myndigheter og i internasjonale fora ved gjentatte anledninger. Vi er lettet over at Ales nå endelig kan gjenforenes med sin kone og barn i Minsk, fortsetter Engesland.

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Russia’s traditional values initiative result in abuse at domestic level

Policy Paper 5/2014:

Russia’s traditional values initiative result in abuse at domestic level

The NHC presents our fifth policy paper of 2014. The policy paper shows how a Russian sponsored initiative at the UN Human Rights Council has been targeting core tenets of international human rights. The proponents of the initiative have camouflaged it as laying out new ways of promoting human rights. Traditional values of humankind are a tool to strengthen and underpin human rights at the local level, they claim. In reality, the initiative threatens to destroy consensus among the states of the world on how they should honor their human rights obligations.

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Hvordan er livet under de østeuropeiske antihomolovene?

Europride 2014:

Hvordan er livet under de østeuropeiske antihomolovene?

Under to åpne seminarer under Europride 2014 inviterer LLH, Amnesty og Helsingforskomiteen 22. Juni ti av Øst-Europas mest fremtredende lhbt-aktivister til å fortelle om livet under antihomolovene – og om hvordan lhbt-personer blir trukket inn i en ny kald krig mellom Øst og Vest.

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NHC and local partners react to pressure and threats to human rights activists in Armenia

Armenia:

NHC and local partners react to pressure and threats to human rights activists in Armenia

Over the last months, Armenian human rights activists have been increasingly subject to pressure and intimidation, and in many cases media is used actively to spread intolerance towards activists and the vulnerable groups they protect, in particular topics of LGBTI and gender. The NHC has responded to this development by joining local partners in an alternative report to the UPR on Armenia and an open statement addressing these issues.

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NHC submission for UN Universal Periodic Review

Kyrgyzstan:

NHC submission for UN Universal Periodic Review

In our report to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee recommends that the government of Kyrgyzstan investigates and brings to justice perpetrators of violence against civilians among government forces during the June 2010 events in the south of the country, and in the period following the violence. The Human Rights Council will review the situation for human rights in Kyrgyzstan at their 21st session set to January 2015. Read NHC report in full below.

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NHC and EBRD President discuss human rights in Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan:

NHC and EBRD President discuss human rights in Kazakhstan

The President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Sir Suma Chakrabati, visited Kazakhstan during the week of 9 June. During his visit to Almaty, the President and several of his colleagues from the EBRD met with the Norwegian Helsinki Committee’s Regional Representative in Central Asia, Ivar Dale, to discuss recent developments in the sphere of human rights.

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Towards a Europe without political prisoners

NHC joins campaign:

Towards a Europe without political prisoners

A vision of a Europe with out political prisoners gathered activists and policy makers on 2 June in Berlin for a conference organised by European Stability Initiative (ESI). Senior European policy makers, parliamentarians, and human rights activists gathered to discuss what different institutions – the Council of Europe, the European Union and international human rights organisations – must do to realise the vision of a Europe without political prisoners in the near future. NHC was a supporter of the conference and secretary General Bjørn Engesland a speaker.

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NHC invites President Sargsyan to discuss civil society recommendations

Armenia:

NHC invites President Sargsyan to discuss civil society recommendations

In an open letter to Armenia's President Serzh Sargsyan sent today, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee highlights recommendations from the recent report on civic activism in Armenia and offers to discuss them in a meeting with the President in Yerevan later in June. The report examines developments within the Armenian civil society since the disputed presidential elections in 2008, and points to several issues that need to be addressed in order to counter the lack of trust in the Armenian society today.

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Ukraine elections observed with NGO observers from Russia

Mission statement:

Ukraine elections observed with NGO observers from Russia

European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE), a network of NGOs observing elections in Europe, has been united to observe the crucial Presidential elections in Ukraine that took place 25 may. 200 trained civil society observers monitored the elections in 10 regions of Ukraine in cooperation with local observers from Opora and Committee of Voters Ukraine. Norwegian Helsinki Committee, a co-founder of EPDE, joined the mission and assisted in the coordination of the effort. Today, the mission statement was published at a press conference in Kiev.

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Reiulf Steen er død

Minneord:

Reiulf Steen er død

I går ble det kjent at Reiulf Steen er død, 80 år gammel.

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NHC condemns verdict against Anar Mammadli

Azerbaijan:

NHC condemns verdict against Anar Mammadli

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee condemns the verdict against the renowned independent election observer Anar Mammadli, who in a Baku court yesterday was sentenced to five and-a-half years in prison for tax evasion, illegal business activities, and using their office to falsify election results.

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Voters turn out in high numbers, but security concerns in Donbass

Ukraine:

Voters turn out in high numbers, but security concerns in Donbass

NHC is currently in Ukraine observing the election together with our network European Platform for Democratic Elections. In most of the country it is reported that voters turn out in unpresedented high numbers and that lines are forming in many polling stations. In a large majority of the country, the polling takes place in a calm atmosphere and elections seem to go well by 14:00. In two regions, Donetsk and Lugansk, the polling has been cancelled for security reasons or the fact that some areas are under de facto control of armed pro-Russian rebels

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Gruveulykken i Soma må føre til endringer

Turkey:

Gruveulykken i Soma må føre til endringer

- Gruveulykken i Soma 13. mai, som har tatt over 300 menneskeliv, må etterforskes. Det må være en genuin og åpen etterforskning som får tillit i befolkningen. Gruveeierne og de som hadde ansvar for gruvedriften kan ikke gå fri for sitt ansvar, sa Gunnar M. Ekeløve-Slydal, assisterende generalsekretær på en markering for ofrene for ulykken foran Stortinget 20. mai 2014 arrangert av den norske Occupy Gezi Plattformen. Photo: Emrah Gurel.

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Avgjørende at presidentvalget i Ukraina blir demokratisk

NHC valgobservatører i Ukraina:

Avgjørende at presidentvalget i Ukraina blir demokratisk

Helsingforskomiteens Berit Lindeman og Lene Wetteland vil observere søndagens presidentvalg i Ukraina. Våre observatører vil samarbeide tett med nettverket European Platform for Democatic Elections og lokale organisasjoner som tilsammen sender ut 4000 observatører til stemmelokaler søndag.
Til tross for uroligheter, opprør og russiske separatister kan det bli det mest demokratiske valget i landet på lenge. Valgadministrasjonene virker i hovedsak godt forberedte, og ingen av kandidatene har hatt åpenbare og urettmessige fordeler under valgkampen, i motsetning til under de fleste tidligere valg.

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Russia is the worst country for sexual and gender minorities in Europe

International Day against Homophobia:

Russia is the worst country for sexual and gender minorities in Europe

17th of May is not only a celebration of the Norwegian national day; it is also the International Day against Homophobia (IDAHO). While blue-copies of the Russian legislation banning so-called propaganda of non-traditional relations is on the rise all over Eastern Europe, while LGBTI persons are beaten and killed, public events are banned, peaceful activists are arrested and homo- and transphobia flourish; IDAHO is a reminder that the international community bears responsibility for securing the human rights of sexual and gender minorities all over.

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Betydelig styrking av Grunnlovens menneskerettighetsvern

Norge:

Betydelig styrking av Grunnlovens menneskerettighetsvern

Det norske Stortinget vedtok 13. mai 2014 et eget kapittel om menneskerettigheter i Norges grunnlov. – Dette er et langt skritt i riktig retning, sier Bjørn Engesland, generalsekretær. Vi setter særlig pris på at kapitlet starter med å forplikte statens myndigheter til å «respektere og sikre menneskerettighetene slik de er nedfelt i denne grunnlov og i for Norge bindende traktater om menneskerettigheter» (§ 92). Styrkingen av barnets rettigheter er også meget positivt (§ 104).

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Strong presentations at NHC breakfast seminar

Pussy Riot visits NHC event:

Strong presentations at NHC breakfast seminar

Don’t forget about the political prisoners in Russia, it can prevent them from being killed! This was the message from Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, the two Pussy Riot/Zona Prava members that participated at the packed Norwegian Helsinki Committee seminar Safeguarding international institutions against authoritarian abuse on 13 May.

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Watch webcast from breakfast seminar with Pussy Riot 13 May

Livestream from NHC seminar:

Watch webcast from breakfast seminar with Pussy Riot 13 May

Watch our seminar Safeguarding international institutions against authoritarian abuse with members from the Pussy Riot 13th May by clicking on the picture or the link below.

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Updates on the situation in Ukraine

Ukraine:

Updates on the situation in Ukraine

The crisis in Ukraine develops by the day, and the need for sound and objective information is huge. The Norwegian Helsinki Committee recommends the regular updates provided by the Civic Solidarity Platform, a network of human rights organizations who cooperate to gather information with a special attention to the human rights situation. The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is a founding member of the Platform and among the NGOs to assist in the efforts in Ukraine. The information provided in the updates is always based on findings by human rights experts on the ground, and our local members of the Platform are key providers of information.

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NHC Annual Report 2013

NHC annual meeting:

NHC Annual Report 2013

NHC annual meeting, on 29 April 2014, has adopted our 2013 Annual Report. The report is an account of our wide range of activities during last year, a truly busy and exciting year for the Norwegian Helsinki Committee. Among many other issues you can read about our observation of the parliamentary elections in Norway in September, of campaigns in Russia as well as several of the projects and activities the NHC has been engaged in the recent year.

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Norge må støtte demokratisering og reformer i Ukraina

Årsmøteuttalelse DnH årsmøte 2014:

Norge må støtte demokratisering og reformer i Ukraina

Den norske Helsingforskomité gjennomførte i går årsmøte for våre styre- og rådsmedlemmer på Litteraturhuset i Oslo. I årets uttalelse ber årsmøtet den norske regjeringen om å støtte demokratisering og reformer i Ukraina samt bidra til økt press mot Russlands undergraving av landets myndigheter. Årsmøtet ble ledet av styreleder i Den norske Helsingforskomité Ragnhild Astrup Tschudi.

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Leyla Yunus detained!

Azerbaijan:

Leyla Yunus detained!

Norwegian Helsinki Committee condemns the detention of prominent Azerbaijani human rights defender Leyla Yunus and raises the alarm she may be facing arrest and criminal charges. Late last night we learned that Leyla Yunus and her husband, historian Arif Yunus were detained at the airport as they were leaving for a conference abroad. They were refused exit from the country, their luggage and home were searched. Leyla Yunus has been interrogated through the night at the general prosecutors’ office in Baku; Arif has been taken to a hospital for medical treatment.

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Norge under lupen i Menneskerettighetsrådet

FNs menneskerettighetsråd:

Norge under lupen i Menneskerettighetsrådet

28. april 2014 skal Norge for andre gang høres i FNs menneskerettighetsråd om gjennomføringen av menneskerettighetene i Norge. Sist gang i 2009 fikk Norge flere kritiske merknader, og denne gangen er det Utenriksminister Børge Brende som eksamineres om menneskerettighetene i Norge. I samarbeid med FN-sambandet har vi liveoverføring fra Geneve og panel med kommentarer i FN-sambandets lokaler i Storgata 33. klokken 8:30. Photo: Jean-Marc Ferré, UN.

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Georgia: Five Years of Non-Action

Policy Paper 4/2014:

Georgia: Five Years of Non-Action

The NHC presents our fourth policy paper of 2014. The policy paper discusses the failure to investigate the crimes of the Russian-Georgian war of August 2008, and highlights the importance of a continued involvement in the Georgia war crimes situation by the International Criminal Court.

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Anmeldelse av russiske tjenestemenn for tortur og drap av Sergei Magnitsky

Magnitskysaken:

Anmeldelse av russiske tjenestemenn for tortur og drap av Sergei Magnitsky

I en anmeldelse som Den norske Helsingforekomité leverer idag til Siri Frigaard, lederen av Det nasjonale statsadvokatembetet for bekjempelse av organisert og annen alvorlig kriminalitet, navngis russiske tjenestemenn mistenkt for tortur og drap av advokaten og varsleren Sergei Magnitsky: Oleg Silchenko, Dmitry Markov og Oleg Kuznetsov. Silchenko var ansvarlig tjenestemann ved det russiske innenriksdepartementet for arrestasjonen og varetektsfengslingen av Magnitsky. De to siste var overordnete tjenestemenn ved Matrosskaya Tishina varetektsfengsel der Magnitsky døde som følge av mishandling med gummikøller.

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Innspill til Stortingsmelding om menneskerettigheter

Norsk utenrikspolitikk:

Innspill til Stortingsmelding om menneskerettigheter

Utenriksdepartementet har igangsatt et arbeid med en Stortingsmelding om norsk menneskerettighetspolitikk og invitert til innspill og forslag fra sivilsamfunnet. Den norske Helsingforskomité setter pris på at en slik melding skal lages og har nå gitt våre innspill til Utenriksdepartementet.

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Høyre bør støtte forslag om menneskerettighetene i Grunnloven

Norge:

Høyre bør støtte forslag om menneskerettighetene i Grunnloven

Sammen men Amnesty International Norge har Den norske Helsingforskomité skrevet et brev til Statsminister og partileder i Høyre Erna Solberg der vi argumenterer for at Høyre bør støtte et forslag om å vedta et nytt kapittel i den norske Grunnloven som inneholder både sivile, politiske, økonomiske, sosiale og kulturelle menneskerettigheter. Les hele brevet under.

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Freedom of Religion or Belief in Turkey

Policy Paper 3/2014:

Freedom of Religion or Belief in Turkey

The NHC presents our third policy paper of 2014. The policy paper discusses religious minorities' rights in Turkey, and urges the Turkish government to recognize the Alevi cem houses as places of worship. The Alevi are Turkey's largest religious minority, and the cemevi are their houses of worship.

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Parliament of Kazakhstan should reject restrictive reform package on Criminal Code

Kazakhstan:

Parliament of Kazakhstan should reject restrictive reform package on Criminal Code

On 9 April, the Parliament of Kazakhstan has the second hearing on a reform package of four laws related to criminal proceedings in Kazakhstan. – The reform is long awaited since there are several problematic issues with the current legislation, but unfortunately the suggested amendments, if implemented, will result in a more restrictive legislation package rather than an improvement, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee and the International Legal Initiative in Kazakhstan warn.

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Democracy in Hungary neither saved, nor safe

Policy Paper 2/2014:

Democracy in Hungary neither saved, nor safe

Ahead of the upcoming parliamentary election in Hungary, the NHC presents our second policy paper. On 6 April 2014 the population will cast their ballots and chose their representatives in the Parliament. Serious issues remain, however, about the state of Hungarian democracy. There is little fear of fraud during elections, but in the media the governing Fidesz party is more visible than opposition parties and the independence of the judiciary is weakened. You can read and download the policy paper below.

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Kazakhstan’s crackdown on independent media continues

Media closure:

Kazakhstan’s crackdown on independent media continues

On the same day as the Prime Minister and his cabinet unexpectedly stepped down in Astana, yet another independent newspaper was ordered to close in Almaty. The newspaper Assandi Times has been covering cases also critical to the government since 2002, but was closed after a 1 April 2014 court decision following a trial that none of the staff of the newspaper were informed of.

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Ikke spill på lag med diktatoren!

Is-hockey VM i Hviterussland:

Ikke spill på lag med diktatoren!

Fredag 9. mai 2014 starter de første kampene i ishockey-VM i Minsk i Hviterussland. Hviterussland, Europas siste diktatur, har blitt styrt med jernhånd av President Aleksander Lukasjenko de siste tjue år. I den forbindelse har Den norske Helsingforskomité, i samarbeid med Human Rights House Foundation, Norsk PEN og Amnesty International Norge laget en håndbok for journalister som skal dekke Ishockey-VM i Hviterussland, enten planen er å reise til Hviterussland, eller jobben skal gjøres med base i Norge.

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Kyrgyz Parliament should reject repressive LGBT-propaganda draft

Kyrgyzstan:

Kyrgyz Parliament should reject repressive LGBT-propaganda draft

This week, the Kyrgyz Parliament Zhogorku Kenesh started initial discussions on a new draft law on “amendments to some legislative acts of the Kyrgyz Republic”, introduced by two parliamentarians. – The title of the draft law can be a cause for confusion, but the intent is quite clear, says Lene Wetteland, Central Asia advisor in the Norwegian Helsinki Committee. – The draft law follows the Russian example of a ban on propaganda of so-called non-traditional sexual relations, making it prohibited to talk “openly or covertly” about any topic that in one way or another touch upon LGBTI issues in a positive or neutral way.

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The role of universitites in peacebuilding

Bosnia and Herzegovina:

The role of universitites in peacebuilding

A regional conference for universities adopted the Sarajevo Declaration on the Role of Higher Education and Civil Society in Education for Peace on 20 March 2014. The Norwegian Helsinki Committee organized the regional conference “The role of universities in peacebuilding” in Sarajevo on 20 March together with our local partners as part of our project Build Bridges, not Walls.

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Q&A: breaches of international law and human rights issues

Ukraine, Russia crisis:

Q&A: breaches of international law and human rights issues

NHC is proud to present our new publication format, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee's policy paper. Our first policy paper is a Q&A on the Ukraine, Russia crisis, where we want to point to some of the main legal and human rights issues in the current situation. You can read and download the policy paper below.

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European Parliament must raise human rights issues with Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan:

European Parliament must raise human rights issues with Uzbekistan

In connection with the upcoming meeting between Abdulaziz Kamilov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan and the European Parliament, the NHC is one of the signatories on an open letter initiated by the International Human Rights Association adressed to the chairman of the European Parliament Mr. Elmar Brook, where we challenge him to adress the serious and systematic human rights violations that are happening every day in Uzbekistan. Read the letter below.

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Mot til å fortelle sannheten

Fritt ords pressepris:

Mot til å fortelle sannheten

Stiftelsen Fritt Ords og ZEIT-Stiftungs pressepriser for Russland og Øst-Europa i 2014 går til journalister og medier fra Russland, Ukraina, Hviterussland, Aserbajdsjan og Armenia. Tre av årets prisvinnere er nominert av Den norske Helsingforskomité. Vi gratulerer! På bildet er den ukrainske journalisten Mustafa Nayyem, en av årets prisvinnere nominert av Den norske Helsingforskomité.

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Den norske Helsingforskomité anser folkeavstemningen på Krim for illegitim

Ukraina:

Den norske Helsingforskomité anser folkeavstemningen på Krim for illegitim

Søndag 16. mars skal befolkningen på Krim i Ukraina avholde folkeavstemning om sin fremtidige status. – En overveldende rekke fakta tilsier at folkeavstemningen på Krim ikke er legitim, både av formelle, juridiske årsaker, men også når vi legger den faktiske situasjonen på Krim til grunn, sier Bjørn Engesland, generalsekretær i Den norske Helsingforskomité.

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Turkey struggling to protect freedom of religion or belief

Seminar:

Turkey struggling to protect freedom of religion or belief

- Turkey is not a theocratic or confessional state. It is a secular state with significant human rights commitments in the sphere of freedom of religion or belief. However, Turkey is struggling with protecting the right to freedom of religion or belief fully for all, to comply with the principle of state neutrality and to ensure pluralism, Mine Yildrim, Head of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee Freedom of Belief Initiative in Turkey, said at a seminar on religion and state in Turkey arranged by the Norwegian Helsinki arranged on 12 March 2014.

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Russland må respektere folkeretten og inngåtte avtaler

Krisen i Ukraina:

Russland må respektere folkeretten og inngåtte avtaler

Den norske Helsingforskomité følger med forferdelse den dramatiske utviklingen i Ukraina. Det er grunn til å frykte en fullskala militær konflikt på Krimhalvøya, med de konsekvensene det vil ha for liv, sikkerhet og grunnleggende menneskerettigheter der, i Ukraina og i hele regionen.

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Menneskerettighetene inn i grunnloven

Norge:

Menneskerettighetene inn i grunnloven

I dag spiller Den norske Helsingforskomité sine synspunkter på menneskerettighetsutvalgets innstilling til Stortingets kontroll- og konstitusjonskomité. - Stortinget har en historisk sjanse til å styrke menneskerettighetenes stilling i norsk lovgivning. I forrige periode ble det fremmet forslag om et eget kapittel med de sentrale menneskerettighetene i Grunnloven. Nå må det sittende Stortinget kjenne sin besøkelsestid og vedta denne viktige reformen, sier Gunnar M. Ekeløve-Slydal, assisterende generalsekretær i Den norske Helsingforskomité. Les vårt innspill og se møtet live ved å klikke på linken under.

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Judgments are clearly wrong and should be corrected

Bolotnaya trials:

Judgments are clearly wrong and should be corrected

- The judgments by a Moscow court of eight Bolotnaya protesters to prison terms from two and half to four years must be seen in the context of Kremlin efforts to stifle opposition, said Gunnar M. Ekeløve-Slydal, Deputy Secretary General. - The judgments send a chilling message to ordinary Russians that they should refrain from taking part in protests against President Vladimir Putin and his rule. If not they may face serious consequences. The judgments target Russian civic activism and basic freedoms.

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En ny regjering i Ukraina må søke forsoning

Ukraina:

En ny regjering i Ukraina må søke forsoning

Helgens utvikling har vært svært dramatisk. Lørdag tok de opposisjonelle kreftene kontrollen over alle de sentrale statlige institusjonene, men president Janukovitsj og han nærmeste medarbeidere forlot hovedstaden Kiev. Innen i morgen skal Oleksander Turtsjunov, som det ukrainske parlamentet i går utnevnte til interim president, presentere en ny regjering. Vi håper Turtsjunov vil skape et grunnlag for forsoning.

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President Janukovitsj har hovedansvaret for å få konflikten inn på et fredelig spor

Ukraina:

President Janukovitsj har hovedansvaret for å få konflikten inn på et fredelig spor

President Viktor Janukovitsj sitter med nøkkelen og ansvaret for å få slutt på volden og å få til en politisk prosess, sier generalsekretær Bjørn Engesland om den svært dramatiske situasjonen. I tillegg til den omfattende volden i Kiev, har protester og uro også spredt seg til en rekke andre byer.

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Recommendations to the Government of Norway before the UN

NGO forum for human rights:

Recommendations to the Government of Norway before the UN

Norwegian Helsinki Committee, of behalf of the Norwegian NGO Forum for Human Rights, has submitted recommendations to the Government of Norway on human rights in 2014 at United Nations. The recommendations are particularly directed towards Norway's efforts before the UN Human Rights Council, but are relevant also to other UN bodies. Some of the issues will be discussed today when NGO forum for human rights meet with Foreign Minister Børge Brende on Norway's future human rights strategy.

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IOC must demand the release of Evgeny Vitishko

Russia:

IOC must demand the release of Evgeny Vitishko

The NHC is deeply concerned about today’s verdict concerning the environmental activist Evgeny Vitishko, who in a Krasnodar court has been sentenced to three years in penal colony. Photo: Oleg Kozirov

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Planned Prague visit by Uzbek leader "postponed" after NGO criticism

Open letter to Czech President:

Planned Prague visit by Uzbek leader "postponed" after NGO criticism

Together with 27 other human rights organisations, the NHC sent a letter to the Czech President Miloš Zeman, criticizing his decision to invite the President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov to an official state visit to Prague on 20-22 February. Islam Karimov is the leader of one of the most repressive governments in the world, and should not be rewarded with the prestige and recognition associated with an official state visit. Though the Czech President initially responded to the letter by calling the human rights groups uninformed and hypocritical, on 13 February it was known that Karimov had decided to "postpone" his visit, a decision welcomed by international human rights activists and victims of human rights abuse in Uzbekistan. Read the letter below.

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Increasing restrictions on civic activism in Armenia

New NHC report:

Increasing restrictions on civic activism in Armenia

The NHC has monitored developments in Armenia closely since the disputed presidential election in 2008. This fresh report provides an analysis of trends within civic activism since the unrest that resulted in 10 deaths on 1 March 2008 until the recent demonstrations against the Russia-led customs union. – The authorities’ reactions to civic engagement in Armenia over the last weeks is definitely a reason for concern, says Armenia advisor in the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, Lene Wetteland. – Though Armenia has received praise for legal reforms and some positive developments in the EU rapprochement process, these recent actions should serve as a warning that these steps can easily be retracted, Wetteland says.

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PACE adopts landmark decision on the Magnitsky case

Russia:

PACE adopts landmark decision on the Magnitsky case

During the Winter session of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) today, an overwhelming majority voted for the adoption of the report "Refusing impunity for the killers of Sergei Magnitsky"

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European leaders must support protesters' demand for human rights

Ukraine:

European leaders must support protesters' demand for human rights

The Government of Ukraine chose to meet demands for democracy with hastily adopted laws effectively taking away from people fundamental rights and freedoms. The last few days have been dominated by serious violence with clashes between police and protesters in Kiev, the city famous for its peaceful protests. This morning, we got the sad news that two demonstrators have been killed, we fear more as tension is on the rise. – European leaders should engage in what happens in Kiev and intensify efforts to support the protesters’ demand for human rights, Secretary General Bjørn Engesland says. President Yanukovich clearly has demonstrated that Ukraine’s hard earned freedom and democratic development is of no importance to him. To avoid further bloodshed it is time to consider which sanctions could be efficient to force President Yanukovich and the Government of Ukraine to turn back, repeal undemocratic laws and to make sincere efforts to bring parties together for talks.

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Håndbok for journalister

OL i Sotsji:

Håndbok for journalister

På gårsdagens informasjonsmøte for norske journalister som skal reise til OL i Sotsji var oppfordringen klar: Dra ut av OL-byen, lag saker om det virkelige Russland, og møt menneskene som vet hva som virkelig foregår i regionen.

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The Right to Freedom of Religion or Belief in Turkey

New report:

The Right to Freedom of Religion or Belief in Turkey

The new NHC Freedom of Belief Initiative’s report “The Right to Freedom of Religion or Belief in Turkey - Monitoring Report January- June 2013” provides a human rights based systematic review of the right to freedom of religion or belief for all in Turkey. The report was published in Turkish language in September 2013.

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Ukraina har behov for store reformer

Ukraina:

Ukraina har behov for store reformer

- Demonstrasjonene i Ukraina er oppstått fordi ukrainere er inderlig lei av korrupsjon, maktmisbruk og brudd på menneskerettighetene. Landet har behov for store reformer, til dette trengs stor støtte til ukrainsk sivilsamfunn. Den norske Helsingforskomité samarbeider med lokale, ukrainske organisasjoner for å skape en ny framtid i Ukraina.

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NHC protests against arrest of independent election observer Anar Mammadli in Baku

Azerbaijan:

NHC protests against arrest of independent election observer Anar Mammadli in Baku

On 16 December 2013 Anar Mammadli, chairman of the Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Centre, Baku (EMDS) and board member of the network European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE) was arrested and given a three months pre-trial detention at the Nasimin District Court in Baku.

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EU must continue negotiations with Armenia

Armenia:

EU must continue negotiations with Armenia

In September, Armenia’s President Sargsyan decided to sign initial agreements with the Russian-led Customs Union on the eve of when he was expected to sign documents on an Association Agreement and a Deep and Comprehensive Trade Agreement with the EU.

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Tre menneskerettslige utfordringer i Russland

Brev til Bård Glad Pedersen:

Tre menneskerettslige utfordringer i Russland

I anledning statssekretær Bård Glad Pedersens besøk i Russland 14. og 15. desember har Den norske Helsingforskomité spilt inn synspunkter på det vi mener er de mest sentrale menneskerettslige utfordringene i Russland. Les hele brevet til statssekretæren under.

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Skuggen bak gullstatuen

Turkmenistan:

Skuggen bak gullstatuen

Søndag avviklar Turkmenistan det som i mange andre land kallast parlamentsval, i Norge Stortingsval. Det vil seie – det blir kalla parlamentsval i Turkmenistan óg, det er stemmelokale med alt riktig tilbehør over heile landet og det kjem eit resultat etter ei oppteljing av stemmesedlar, men det er ikkje eit val.

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Støttemarkering for Ukraina

Norge:

Støttemarkering for Ukraina

Den norske Helsingforskomité var med å arrangere gårsdagens støttemarkering for Ukraina foran Stortinget.

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Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende met with NHC in Ukraine

NGO meeting in Kiev:

Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende met with NHC in Ukraine

On 5 December Foreign Minister Børge Brende met representatives from OSCE Parallel Civil Society Conference in Kiev in connection with the now ongoing OSCE Ministerial Council.

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Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

Sør-Afrika:

Nelson Mandela 1918-2013

- Med Nelsons Mandelas død har vi mistet frigjøringsaktivisten som ble det store forbildet i arbeidet for fred og forsoning ikke bare på det afrikanske kontinentet, men over hele verden, sier Bjørn Engesland, generalsekretær i Den norske Helsingforskomité.

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Recommendations to OSCE Ministerial Meeting in Kiev

Civic Solidarity Platform:

Recommendations to OSCE Ministerial Meeting in Kiev

Ivar Dale, NHC Central Asia representative, has participated at the OSCE Parallel Civil Society conference in Kiev in connection with the now ongoing OSCE Ministerial Council. During the meeting, the Civic Solidarity Platform developed a policy document containing civil society analysis and recommendations on alarming human dimension issues across the OSCE region and on human dimensions issues in Ukraine, in light of the country’s OSCE Chairmanship. It also includes recommendations for increasing the efficiency of the OSCE human dimension process. -The Platform provides an excellent opportunity for non-governmental organizations to meet and develop common strategies to fight the serious human rights violations that unfortunately remain all over the OSCE region. The Outcome Document should be studied closely by government representatives who wish to contribute to democratic development, Ivar Dale comments.

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NHC condemns violence against peaceful protesters in Kiev

Ukraine:

NHC condemns violence against peaceful protesters in Kiev

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee follows with great concern the dramatic developments in the streets of Kiev where at least 350 000 protesters gathered this weekend demanding the resignation of President Yanukovich.

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Opposition daily throttled financially by lawsuits and dirty tricks

Azerbaijan:

Opposition daily throttled financially by lawsuits and dirty tricks

After a run-up marked by flagrant violations of political pluralism and freedom of information, President Ilham Aliyev’s reelection by an overwhelming majority on 10 October 2013, in a poll that the OSCE considered “seriously flawed”, has been followed by new crackdown on the media. The daily newspaper Azadliq, one of the few remaining opposition news outlets, is now in danger of succumbing to efforts to throttle it financially. NHC joins other human rights defenders in voicing concern at the situation.

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Vi er utenlandske agenter!

Russland:

Vi er utenlandske agenter!

Nei da. Vi er ikke utenlandske agenter på ordentlig. Men vi kaller oss det i dag 21. november, for å gjøre deg oppmerksom på at sivilsamfunnet i Russland er i alvorlig fare.

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No pluralism, no surprises

Tajikistan Presidential Elections:

No pluralism, no surprises

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee was present in Tajikistan this week to tap the atmosphere surrounding the 6 November presidential elections, where the incumbent Emomali Rakhmon as of Thursday morning took 83,9 % of the votes. The landslide win came as no surprise, with the run-up to Election Day following a familiar formula long established in Tajikistan as well as in many of its neighboring states. -Pre-determined election results are no proof of stability. We consider that it merely reflects the lack of political pluralism in Tajikistan, said Ivar Dale, Norwegian Helsinki Committee Regional Representative in Central Asia.

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Why Europe needs a Magnitsky law

London:

Why Europe needs a Magnitsky law

A new book edited by Russian-French journalist Elena Servettaz, arguing for Europe to enact a Magnitsky law similar to the US Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act was launched in the UK on 5 November. -The book presents powerful arguments that Europe should deny visa and freeze assets of those who killed Sergei Magnitsky and other human rights violators, said Bjørn Engesland, Secretary General.

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Defend freedom of expression and media freedom

Letter to PM David Cameron:

Defend freedom of expression and media freedom

Together with a coalition of 70 free speech, media freedom and human rights organisations worldwide, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee has sent a letter to Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom, where we express our concerns that the way the United Kingdom government’s response to the revelations of mass surveillance of digital communications is eroding fundamental human rights in the country. The government’s response has been to condemn, rather than celebrate investigative journalism, which plays a crucial role in a healthy democratic society. Rather than using national security as an argument to hinder journalists in their work, the Governemnet should honour the UK’s international obligations to defend and protect the right to freedom of expression and media freedom, and to end the UK government’s pressure on the Guardian and those who assist them. The letter was initiated by Article 19, United Kingdom. Read the letter below.

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Pressure against election observers in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan:

Pressure against election observers in Azerbaijan

The European Platform for Democratic Elections protests against the intimidation of its member organization, the Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Centre (EMDS) in Baku. We are worried that the investigations led by the Prosecutor general’s office, have political motives, a reaction to the critical statements made by EMDS after the recent Presidential elections in Azerbaijan. - As a member of the European Platform for Democratic Elections, we join the protests and we are very worried to see that another efficient election monitoring NGO is targeted by the authorities, says Secretary General Bjørn Engesland. Last April, Russian partner Golos was convicted for failing to comply with NGO-legislation and failing to register as 'foreign agents'.

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Progress in the presidential election in Georgia

Georgia:

Progress in the presidential election in Georgia

-We can report only minor irregularities here in the Batumi area, and for what we have witnessed, the elections process this time is a big step forward for Georgia compared to what we have seen in previous elections. NHCs Aage Borchgrevink is in Georgia together with colleagues to observe the presidential elections in Akhalkalaki, Akhaltsike and Batumi. Even though we are aware of irregularities, compared to previous years, people are not put under pressure, they are more open and they went to vote in a calm manner, Borchgrevink says.

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Menneskerettighetene må stå sentralt i regjeringens arbeid

Norge:

Menneskerettighetene må stå sentralt i regjeringens arbeid

Den norske Helsingforskomité har skrevet brev til Statsminister Erna Solberg der vi peker på noen menneskerettslige utfordringer som vi ber regjeringen prioritere. - Det er behov for et sterkt politisk fokus på gjennomføringen og overvåkingen av internasjonale menneskerettigheter; både i utenrikspolitikken og i Norge, sier generalsekretær Bjørn Engesland.
Les brevet i sin helhet under.
Foto: Heiko Junge/NTB scanpix/SMK

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NHC urges the EU to make its restrictive measures against Belarus effective

Belarus:

NHC urges the EU to make its restrictive measures against Belarus effective

Together with a group of human rights NGOs from several European countries, the NHC sent a letter yesterday to the ministers of foreign affairs of EU member states urging the EU to extend and expand its targeted economic sanctions against Belarusian companies providing support to the authoritarian regime of Alexander Lukashenka by exporting to and through the EU.
- I am extremely concerned that the political prisoners, who have languished in prison for almost three years under terrible circumstances, slowly are being forgotten by Europe. Effective sanctions are the best tool we have at hand, they should be strengthened, not weakened, until the prisoners are released and Lukashenka truly improves his record of human rights in Belarus, says Bjørn Engesland, Secretary general of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee.

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Surprise EP and PACE statement on the presidential election in Azerbaijan

EPDE:

Surprise EP and PACE statement on the presidential election in Azerbaijan

In a surprising statement after last week's elections in Azerbaijan, delegations from the European Parliament and the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly concluded that they had observed "free, fair and transparent electoral process". They did this despite the widespread and reliable reports of fraud, pressure against voters and other manipulations. - We find it quite astonishing that European parliamentary delegation members, who should defend the voters' right to democratic elections, instead choose to look away from the facts of the presidential elections in Azerbaijan, secretary general Bjørn Engesland says. Together with the European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE) we have made a statement criticizing the delegations.

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Reform package fails to solve key freedom of religion issues

Turkey:

Reform package fails to solve key freedom of religion issues

On 30 September 2013, Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan presented a democratization package to address some of the fundamental issues in the country, including freedom of religion or belief issues. - While the package includes positive elements, it falls short of introducing a principled approach to freedom of religion or belief, said Mine Yildirim, head of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee Freedom of Belief Initiative in Turkey.

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Bolotnaya square trials are political and should be dropped

Russia:

Bolotnaya square trials are political and should be dropped

On 8 October 2013, Mikhail Kosenko, one of the defendants in the so-called Bolotnaya square case was found guilty of taking part in mass disorder (article 212 of the Russian Criminal Code) during the “March of the Millions” on 6 May 2012. The Zamoskvoretsky Regional court also found him guilty of physically assaulting police officers (article 318 of the Criminal Code) . - The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is critical of the trial, which did not comply with fair trial standards, said Gunnar M. Ekeløve-Slydal, Deputy Secretary General. - The conclusions of the court were not backed by solid evidence. Two police witnesses were unable to identify Kosenko as a person who had been involved in any violence. In the photo, Aleksandra Dukhanina, another of the victims from Bolotnaya awaiting trial is arrested. Photo: Rustam Adagamov

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Kazakhstan: Cunning democracy

Kazakhstan:

Kazakhstan: Cunning democracy

The new NHC report Kazakhstan: Cunning democracy, analyzes the current situation for democracy in the country, and summarizes some of our current concerns with regards to freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and freedom of religion or belief. The report is co-written with Freedom House.

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Prove They Are Alive!

Turkmenistan:

Prove They Are Alive!

NHC joins campaign to demand information about disappeared prisoners in Turkmenistan

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Vellykket bursdagsfeiring

Russland:

Vellykket bursdagsfeiring

Amnesty Norge, LLH og Helsingforskomiteen markerte i går Putins fødselsdag med kake og spesielt inviterte gjester på Egertorget

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Election will not be credible unless people are free to criticise the government

Azerbaijan:

Election will not be credible unless people are free to criticise the government

In a joint call issued today on the eve of the Presidential election, 22 human right organisations and press freedom campaigners warn that the failure of the government of Azerbaijan to respect human rights, including freedom of expression, undermines the democratic legitimacy of the government. - Azerbaijan should take immediate action to ensure fundamental rights are protected ahead of the election, including by releasing journalists, political activists and human rights defenders, to ensure the election is free and fair, NHCs Secretary General Bjørn Engesland says.

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Tajikistan authorities should investigate disproportionate use of force in special operation

Tadjikistan:

Tajikistan authorities should investigate disproportionate use of force in special operation

In July 2012, Tajikistani authorities used disproportional force in a special operation in the mountainous Pamir region of Tajikistan, bordering Afghanistan. Officially, the authorities were aiming to arrest criminals linked to militant forces in Afghanistan. Effectively, communications lines were cut off for a long period of time, a large number of civilians suffered in terms of property damage and injuries, and more than 22 people died. One year later, the authorities have failed to provide adequate information on the details around what happened and which legal acts are being taken to punish those involved.

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Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize to Ales Bialiatski

Belarus:

Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize to Ales Bialiatski

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee congratulates the Belarussian human rights defender Ales Bialiatski with the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize. - Ales Bialiatski has devoted his life to the fight for human rights, democracy and freedom for all citizens of Belarus. As our good friend and collegaue we have seen how his work has made a tremendous impact on so many people lives. I can hardly imagine a more well-deserved prize, says Secretary General Bjørn Engesland.

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Ingen fest uten frihet

Russland:

Ingen fest uten frihet

7. oktober tennes OL-ilden i Moskva og Putin fyller 61 år. Men ikke alle er velkomne til å feire begivenhetene. Det vil Amnesty, LLH og Helsingforskomiteen gjøre noe med. Derfor inviterer vi til bursdagsfest på Egertorget mandag 7. oktober kl. 15-16. Det er Putins bursdag, men vi inviterer gjestene.

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NHC criticises participating states at the OSCE Human Dimensions Implementation Meeting

HDIM Warsaw:

NHC criticises participating states at the OSCE Human Dimensions Implementation Meeting

From 26 September to 3 October 2013 the Norwegian Helsinki Committee will participate at this years' OSCE Human Dimensions Implementation Meeting (HDIM) in Warsaw. HDIM is an arena where civil society representatives can present views and directly challenge state represenatives. For many of the participants from non-democratic countries this is a rare opportunity. NHC is, as always, very active during the conference.

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Hands off Sergey Naumov!

Uzbekistan:

Hands off Sergey Naumov!

Members of the Civic Solidarity Platform are deeply concerned about the safety of journalist Sergey Naumov, who was arrested by police in his home town Urgench in Khorazm Province, Uzbekistan on Saturday night, 21 September 2013 and later sentenced to 12 days imprisonment for "hooliganism".

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Freedom of Expression and Assembly for Belgrade Pride 2013

Serbia:

Freedom of Expression and Assembly for Belgrade Pride 2013

- Supporting and protecting the Belgrade Pride Parade and Pride Week 2013 is an opportunity for Serbian authorities to show its commitment for the human rights for all persons, and in particular, the human rights of those belonging to sexual and gender minorities (LGBTI), Bjørn Engesland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee says. The Pride Parade march in the streets of Belgrade is scheduled for September 28.

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Kyrgyzstan should not copy Russian "Foreign Agents Law"

Kyrgyzstan:

Kyrgyzstan should not copy Russian "Foreign Agents Law"

This week, a draft law on non-governmental organizations operating in Kyrgyzstan has caught the attention of local human rights activists, as well as international organizations concerned with the respect for human rights in the region.

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Defend human rights against «traditional value» agenda

UN Human Rights Council:

Defend human rights against «traditional value» agenda

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee and other Civic Solidarity Platform members urge in a letter to Norway’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Espen Barth Eide, Norway to use its influence at the UN Human Rights Council to oppose the “traditional values” agenda. This agenda attempts to undermine the universality of fundamental human rights, and is part of a global trend to qualify human rights protections and restrict the civic space for the expression of dissent.

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Rettferdig valg med forbedringspotensial

Stortingsvalget 2013:

Rettferdig valg med forbedringspotensial

34 observatører fra 11 land i det tidligere Sovjetunionen har gjennomført valgobservasjon av årets Stortingsvalg. Valgobservatørene har blitt tatt svært godt i mot over hele landet, og har observert et valg der velgerne har stor grad av tillit til valgprosessen. Valget har vært gjennomført på en svært profesjonell måte. Allikevel, det er forbedringspotensial også her.

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Continued harassment of investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova

Azerbaijan:

Continued harassment of investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova

In a letter to the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyevin and the Prosecutor General Zakir, Norwegian Helsinki Committee, along with several Human Rights NGOs, express a profound concern regarding the continued harassment and intimidation of investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova and the resulting interference in her work. - We urge the President of Azerbaijan to take immediate steps to ensure a prompt, thorough, effective and transparent investigation into the threats made against the journalist Khadija Ismayilova, as well as ensuring the effectiveness of the current investigation into the violation of Ismayilovas right to privacy, Secretary general Bjørn Engesland says.

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Stortingsvalget sett med diktaturets øyne

Valgobservasjon Stortingsvalget 2013:

Stortingsvalget sett med diktaturets øyne

Internasjonalt valgobservatørkorps setter Stortingsvalget under lupen! Helsingforskomiteen har invitert 33 erfarne observatører fra 11 land som vil observere valget fra Kristiansand i sør til Kirkenes i nord. - Demokratiske valg er ingen selvfølge. Mens Norge er et land hvor velgere flest stoler på at vi har frie og rettferdige valg, spiller valgobservasjon en avgjørende rolle i dokumentasjonen av juks og manipulasjon i svært mange land. Til tross for at norske valg holder en svært høy standard, vet vi av tidligere erfaring at observatørene kan påvise forbedringspunkter også hos oss, sier Generalsekretær Bjørn Engesland.

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Legal nihilism exposed: Magnitsky posthumously found guilty of fraud

Russia:

Legal nihilism exposed: Magnitsky posthumously found guilty of fraud

­– The guilty verdicts of lawyer and world known whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky and the man he represented, William Browder, CEO of Hermitage Management Capital, by a Moscow court on 11 July 2013 represents a new low point in Russia’s efforts to distort facts and cover-up the real wrongdoing in the case, said Gunnar M. Ekeløve-Slydal, Deputy Secretary General. – The Magnitsky case implicates Russian authorities in a series of human rights violations, including illegal arrest, torture, and failure to provide medical treatment. Now they have added new violations to the list; exposing the legal nihilism and lack of rule of law in the country.

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Killing of journalist should be promptly investigated

Russia, Dagestan:

Killing of journalist should be promptly investigated

– The killing of journalist Akhmednabi Akhmednabiev on Tuesday 9 July should be promptly investigated and those responsible should be prosecuted, said Gunnar M. Ekeløve-Slydal, Deputy Secretary General. – The attempted murder on Akhmednabiev in January 2013 was ignored by the Prosecutor’s office, in spite of a Dagestan Supreme Court decision that it should be investigated. This culture of impunity for those attacking and even murdering journalists and human rights defenders in North Caucasus must end. If not, authorities will remain complicit in these killings.

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NHC encourages Jennifer Lopez to donate fee from birthday concert for Turkmenistan President to a worthy charity

Turkmenistan:

NHC encourages Jennifer Lopez to donate fee from birthday concert for Turkmenistan President to a worthy charity

On 29 June, Jennifer Lopez and other artists performed at a birthday concert for President Berdymuhammedov, Turkmenistan's authoritarian ruler.
- Turkmenistan is one of the worst human rights performers in the world, says Secretary General of the Norwegian Helsiniki Committee Bjørn Engesland. Such an appearance in Turkmenistan not only legitimises a corrupt and authoritarian regime, but also reflects badly on any artist's aspirations to draw attention to human rights issues. In an open letter to Ms Lopez, the NHC and several other international NGOs encourage her to donate the fee she received to a charity working to improve the dismal human rights situation in the country.

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Avsløringen av «historiens største overvåkingsprogram» må møtes med sterkere vern av online rett til privatliv

USA:

Avsløringen av «historiens største overvåkingsprogram» må møtes med sterkere vern av online rett til privatliv

– Snowden’s avsløringer i The Guardian og The Washington Post må føre til at det vedtas sterkere internasjonale regler for å hindre overvåkning av personer uten begrunnet rettskjennelse og uten at de er mistenkt for lovbrudd, sier Gunnar M. Ekeløve-Slydal, assisterende generalsekretær. – Helsingforskomiteen har tidligere kritisert at Telia Sonera og Vimpelcom (deleid av Telenor) gir autoritære regimer i post-sovjetiske land som Usbekistan og Hviterussland tilgang til sine systemer. USA og andre demokratiske land må nå sette en standard for å hindre utvikling av et globalt online overvåkingssamfunn. De må ta et oppgjør med en praksis som er i strid med internasjonale menneskerettigheter og egne konstitusjonelle verdier.

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St. Petersburg Pride participants should be protected, not detained by police

Russia:

St. Petersburg Pride participants should be protected, not detained by police

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC) condemns the attack on Saturday 29 June on the St. Petersburg Pride. Participants were attacked by anti-gay protesters and several people were injured. Instead of protecting participants, the police detained a large number of them. NHC urges Russian authorities to dismiss charges against participants that violate freedom of assembly and expression; those who attacked the parade should be prosecuted; and laws prohibiting so-called “homosexual propaganda” or “non-traditional sexual relations” should be abolished.

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NHC urges Parliamentary Assembly to condemn bans on “homosexual propaganda”

Council of Europe:

NHC urges Parliamentary Assembly to condemn bans on “homosexual propaganda”

In a letter to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (Pace) The Norwegian Helsinki Committee, together with 23 other international human rights organisations, strongly urges PACE to condemn so-called “homosexual propaganda” bans as incompatible with the rights to freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and the prohibition of discrimination. The Assembly should vote in favour of today’s resolution and recommendation on tackling discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. Read the letter below

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Kyrgyz activist Tolekan Ismailova deported from Uzbekistan

Travel ban:

Kyrgyz activist Tolekan Ismailova deported from Uzbekistan

Following her detention upon arrival to Tashkent International Airport from Bishkek at 7:20 PM on Monday 24 June, prominent Kyrgyzstani human rights activist Tolekan Ismailova was deported to Almaty, Kazakhstan in the afternoon of 25 June.

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Press Freedom award laureates warn of deteriorating conditions for journalists

Russia:

Press Freedom award laureates warn of deteriorating conditions for journalists

The Siberian newspaper Yakutsk Vecherny, and Yelena Kostyuchenko, journalist of Novaya Gazeta, were among the laureates of this year’s Press Freedom Award, issued by Fritt Ord and Zeit Stiftung. – The prize jury has come to an important and appropriate decision, drawing attention to the deteriorating conditions for freedom of speech and the difficult situation for journalists in today’s Russia, said Secretary General Bjørn Engesland.

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Repressive LGBTI law violates human rights

Russia:

Repressive LGBTI law violates human rights

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee condemns the legislation waved through this week by the Russian State Duma; prohibiting “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations”. The restrictive legislation is part of a wider trend of worsening human rights situation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in Eastern and South-Eastern Europe.

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Markering i solidaritet med demonstranter i Tyrkia

Tyrkia:

Markering i solidaritet med demonstranter i Tyrkia

Den norske Helsingforskomité har sluttet seg til en markering på Youngstorget på onsdag 19. juni kl. 18.00. Markeringen arrangeres av LIM - nettverket, norsk - tyrkiske fredsaktivister og Norges Fredsråd med støtte fra en rekke andre organisasjoner.

Budskapet er: Respekter ytringsfriheten, ta vare på miljøet og stopp politivolden mot demonstrantene. Nefise Özkal Lorentzen fra LIM og John Peder Egenæs fra Amnesty International Norge er blant appellantene. Sufimusikk og fotoutstilling med bilder fra demonstrasjonene i Tyrkia står også på programmet.

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Kopi av Dismal situation for women in Turkmenistan

New NHC report:

Kopi av Dismal situation for women in Turkmenistan

The report "Women: Turkmenistan’s Second-Class Citizens” gives a unique look into the everyday life of women in Turkmenistan.

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Dismal situation for women in Turkmenistan

New NHC report:

Dismal situation for women in Turkmenistan

The report "Women: Turkmenistan’s Second-Class Citizens” gives a unique look into the everyday life of women in Turkmenistan.

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UPR records must reflect recommendations

Human Rights Council:

UPR records must reflect recommendations

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee has joined a call to the President of the UN Human Rights Council to ensure that records of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) reflect all recommendations presented to the state under review. Recently, Russia managed to remove two recommendations from Georgia from the list of recommendations at the end of the report and to get them added as footnote. This is the last blow against the format of the Working Group reports which regularly, under the attack of countries under Review, get modified and weakened. The statement calls on the President to issue a statement which would clearly define how the Working Group report should be made and what it should contain.

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Government should respect freedoms

Turkey:

Government should respect freedoms

The Turkish government should respect freedoms and establish independent investigation into police violence against demonstrators. The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is deeply concerned about recent reports of police abuse against largely peaceful demonstrators in Istanbul, Ankara and many other Turkish cities.

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Stoltenberg må prioritere menneskerettigheter

Barentssamarbeidet 20 år:

Stoltenberg må prioritere menneskerettigheter

Mandag 3. juni kommer den russiske statsministeren Dmitry Medvedev til Kirkenes for å bli med på feiringen av 20-årsjubileeet for Barentsssamarbeidet, som omfatter Finland, Norge, Russland og Sverige. Statsminister Jens Stoltenberg skal etter planen ha et separat møte med sin russiske kollega Dmitry Medvedev den 4. juni. – Gitt den forverringen i Russland vi nå er vitne til når det gjelder myndighetenes behandling av menneskerettighetsorganisasjoner og andre deler av det sivile samfunnet, må Stoltenberg prioritere menneskerettighetsspørsmål i samtalene med Medvedev, sier generalsektretær Bjørn Engesland. Utviklingen i Russland er stikk i strid med Barentserklæringen.

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Small Grants Fund Central Asia 2013 deadline has now passed

Announcement:

Small Grants Fund Central Asia 2013 deadline has now passed

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is pleased to announce the continuation of our small grants fund for Central Asia. All organizations with project proposals related to human rights, democratization or strengthening of civil society may apply. While we are open to all good proposals, we encourage projects in Kazakhstan related to the outlying regions of the country. In Kyrgyzstan, we are particularly interested in projects addressing the basic human rights of vulnerable groups as well as legal initiatives. In Tajikistan, strengthening of the media and the rights of children is important. However, we are open to original and innovative ideas.

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Authorities should stop harassing Nobel Peace Prize nominee Svetlana Gannushkina

Russia:

Authorities should stop harassing Nobel Peace Prize nominee Svetlana Gannushkina

One of Russia’s most respected human rights defenders, Svetlana Gannushkina, is prosecuted for “failure to comply with legal requirements by the Prosecutor” and is to stand trial on 4 June. Gannushkina, the head of the Civic Assistance Committee (CAC), suspended cooperation with the Moscow Prosecutors' office in April 2013 because unreasonable requirements were imposed on her organization. In 2007, Svetlana received the Sakharov Freedom Award from the Norwegian Helsinki Committee. She has been nominated for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize by Erna Solberg, the head of the Conservative Party in Norway.

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Seks ledere for den Kroatiske utbryterrepublikken i Bosnia-Herzegovina dømt

Den internasjonale domstolen for det tidligere Jugoslavia:

Seks ledere for den Kroatiske utbryterrepublikken i Bosnia-Herzegovina dømt

Seks ledere for den Kroatiske utbryterrepublikken i Bosnia-Herzegovina er funnet skyldig i krigsforbrytelser og forbrytelser mot menneskeheten. Dommen ble avsagt i Den internasjonale domstolen for det tidligere Jugoslavia (ICTY) i dag, to årtier etter at bosniske muslimer ble myrdet og deportert fra Bosnia-Herzegovina under den blodige krigen i det tidligere Jugoslavia. – Dommen er svært viktig for å vise ofrene at deres lidelser har blitt sett og erkjent, sier Helsingforskomiteens undervisningsleder Enver Djuliman, selv fra Mostar i Bosnia-Herzegovina.

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Kiev Pride 2013

Ukraine:

Kiev Pride 2013

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is present in Kiev during the Kiev Pride 2013. Ahead of the Pride March, Queer Youth Norway and LLH - Norwegian LGBT Association jointly with the Norwegian Helsinki Committee sent a letter to the Ukrainian Embassador to Norway, Yurii Onischenko, expressing concern over the reports that the Pride might be banned by the Kiev City Administration. Read the letter below.

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Should contribute to European Magnitsky legislation

Norway:

Should contribute to European Magnitsky legislation

-Norwegian authorities should contribute to Europe enacting Magnitsky type legislation, said Gunnar M. Ekeløve-Slydal, Deputy Secretary General. – There is need for new ways of addressing the very serious human rights violations that take place in Russia from the part of European governments and institutions. Magnitsky legislation may prove to be an efficient supplement to regional and international human rights mechanisms. Norway should signal support of the EU enacting Magnitsky type legislation.

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