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.
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
13 May 2015 will mark the tenth anniversary of the massacre at Andijan, during which state security forces shot and killed
hundreds of mostly unarmed protesters. In teh decade since, the Uzbek government has steadfastly refused to allow an independent
investigation into the killings. It has lso relentlessly persecuted those it suspects of having witnessed or participated
in the events.
The government of Uzbekistan claims to the UN that the case is closed. Authoritarian regimes decide much, but not this. The
cased is not closed until the victims' families say it is.
Uzbekistan has failed to respond to no less than 13 requests for country visits submitted by Special Procedures of the Human
Rights Council since 2002. In the letter, NHC and the other signatories remind the Council of their mandate to "address situations
of violations of human rights, including gross and systematic violations and make recommendations thereon". It should no longer
remain silent in the face of Uzbek government repression and defiance of its international obligations.
With more than a year passed since the world was shaken by the images of protester dying in the streets of Kiev, the new Government
struggles to convince the public of its’ commitment and ability to conduct a transparent and unbiased investigation into the
deaths of over one hundred protesters. Dozens of suspects have long since fled Ukraine. The shadow of impunity darkens as
the government also fails to effectively deal with reports of numerous violations of international law during the ongoing
conflict in the Eastern Ukraine. What really happened at the Euromaidan? How do the formal investigations proceed and how
important are the contributions from local civil society and the international community? How can we ensure accountability
for crimes from Euromaidan to Mariupol?
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.
Ti år er gått siden en ellers tilforlatelig vårdag i 2005. Den som har vært i Ferghanadalen på denne tiden av året vet hvilken
fin tid det er – gradestokken har bare så vidt bikket 30, markedene fylles opp av frukt og grønt fra jordene og selv de minste
småbyene summer med aktivitet allerede før soloppgang.
På nettopp en slik dag omringet usbekiske politistyrker og militære flere tusen demonstranter i Andijan, helt øst i Sentral-Asias
mest folkerike land – og åpnet ild. Flere hundre menn, kvinner og barn omkom. Vitneskildringer fra overlevende som berget
seg over grensa til nabolandet Kirgisistan rystet journalister og hjelpearbeidere. Over hele regionen har denne 13. mai blitt
stående som selve symbolet på hvor galt det kan gå når én mann gradvis tar kontroll over tretti millioner mennesker og føler
seg berettiget til å ta livet av dem som ikke gjør og tenker som han vil.
Protestene fra de tusener som samlet seg i sentrum av Andijan denne dagen handlet om maktmisbruk, fattigdom, arbeidsløshet
og undertrykkelse. Den utløsende faktor var riktignok uro rundt byens fengsel, hvor væpnede menn natten før hadde befridd
en gruppe lokale forretningsmenn som satt i påvente av dom i en korrupsjonssak. Myndighetene har senere tegnet et bilde av
hendelsene som knyttet til religiøse ekstremister, «Akramia» – snarere en oppdiktet gruppe enn en reell trussel i et relativt
sekulært samfunn hvor islam spiller en rolle som kan minne om den kristendommen innehar i Norge. For usbekiske sikkerhetstjenester
er religiøs ekstremisme et påskudd for å fjerne opposisjonelle, noe de har benyttet til det fulle i årene etter Andijan.
Frustrasjonen som kom til uttrykk fra vanlige folk på Baburplassen denne dagen hadde imidlertid ingenting med religion å gjøre.
Den hadde bygget seg opp gjennom år med vanstyre under president Islam Karimov. Hundrevis ble til tusener etter hvert som
flere våget seg ut.
«Karimov kommer for å lytte til oss», var ryktet som nettopp hadde begynt å spre seg i folkemengden da det første skuddet
falt, uten forvarsel. Én etter en falt om. Etter hvert som panikken spredde seg, begynte myndighetsstyrkene å skyte vilkårlig,
også mot kvinner og barn. Døde mennesker lå overalt i byens gater. En overlevende ga senere en billedlig beskrivelse til organisasjonen
Human Rights Watch – «kulene falt som regn».
Nøyaktig hvor mange som ble drept vet vi ikke. Det vet bare usbekiske myndigheter. Et regime som er sykelig opptatt av kontroll
fører statistikk også på dem de legger i massegraver. Panikkslagne vitner til massakren beskrev i dagene etter et blodbad
med hundrevis av døde. På egne reiser i Usbekistan har jeg sett frykten i øynene på medpassasjerer bare man hvisker et forsiktig
spørsmål om 13. mai 2005.
For Usbekistan markerte Andijanmassakren en forverring i menneskerettighetssituasjonen fra svært ille til blant de verste
i verden. Landet var undertrykkende også før 2005, det var nettopp grunnen til demonstrasjonene. Men i tiden etter gjorde
myndighetene alt de kunne for å skjule det de hadde gjort, og for å benekte massakren overfor omverdenen. Overlevende vitner
som ennå ikke hadde flyktet over grensene ble funnet, og fjernet. Utenlandske journalister ble kastet ut, samtlige vestlige
nyhetsbyrå og internasjonale organisasjoner ble stengt. Ti år senere er Usbekistan bortimot umulig å arbeide i for menneskerettighetsorganisasjoner
og uavhengige journalister.
Sentral-Asia har hatt sine tragedier i senere år. I juni 2010 omkom rundt 400 mennesker i sammenstøt mellom etniske kirgisere
og usbekere i Sør-Kirgisistan. I desember 2011 skjøt og drepte kasakhstanske sikkerhetsstyrker minst 12 mennesker i Zhanaozen
etter en langvarig streik blant oljearbeidere. Hendelsene i Andijan i 2005 er imidlertid det groveste eksemplet i senere tid
på rent massemord utført av myndighetene, med overlegg. Glem det, sier Karimov. Husk det, sier vi.
Det kan være vanskelig å se relevansen av å terpe på en ti år gammel massakre i Sentral-Asia mens tragedier utspiller seg
på langt større skala her og nå, for eksempel i Syria. Det er også hvordan usbekiske myndigheter håper at verdenssamfunnet
etter hvert vil forholde seg til Andijan. Utallige oppfordringer om å tillate en uavhengig undersøkelse av hva som faktisk
skjedde denne dagen har blitt avvist. Under en menneskerettighetshøring i FN for et par år siden hamret den usbekiske delegasjonslederen
fingeren i bordet og hevdet at «Andijan er et avsluttet tema». Sier vi oss enige i det, har vi samtidig skrevet regelboka
for fremtidige diktatorer. Prisen å betale for massedrap på sin egen befolkning er ti år med skjeve blikk i FN-kantina, så
er allting glemt. Så enkelt skal det ikke være.
I tiden som har gått siden Andijanmassakren har Usbekistan nektet rekordmange av FNs spesialrapportører tilgang til landet.
Usbekiske myndigheter har dermed selv bekreftet at de har mye å skjule når det gjelder ytringsfrihet, forsamlingsfrihet, religionsfrihet
og den systematiske bruken av tortur. Benektelsen av Andijanmassakren er bare en av regimets løgner, men i Sentral-Asia ruver
den fortsatt som den største av dem alle.
Onsdag arrangerer usbekiske flyktninger minnesmarkeringer for Andijan over hele Europa. Ser du dem, stopp opp og ta en prat.
Norge som stat kan også gjøre mer. De kan fremme en spesialrapportør i FN som vil sikre at mer informasjon om regimets ugjerninger
Ivar Dale, seniorrådgiver, Den norske Helsingforskomité
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Den norske Helsingforskomité, i samarbeid med Nobels Fredssenter, inviterer til seminaret Myter og fakta om krigen i Øst-Ukraina.
Seminaret finn stad på Nobels Fredssenter på Rådhusplassen torsdag 7. mai klokka 18:00.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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,
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.
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
- 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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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"
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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
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
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
-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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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".
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
– 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.
– 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.
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.
– 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
-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.
One year after the bombing of the DIY pub and violent counter demonstrators attacked a Diversity March in Yerevan, Armenia
still suffers from widespread intolerance and discrimination of minorities. The legislation does not include hate crime with
intent towards gender and sexual minorities, and the government fails to protect the rights of these citizens. Media is more
often used as a tool to build up under prejudice and intolerance, and homophobic statements are frequently used by stakeholders
to gain popularity.
Today, 13 May 2013, eight years have passed since the horrific massacre of civilians by government forces in the Uzbek town
of Andijan. In spite of repeated calls from the international community, Uzbekistan still refuses to carry out an independent
Tomorrow, May 14, the 2013 Oslo Freedom Forum (OFF) will begin in Norway. Norwegian Helsinki Committee is one of five Norwegian
partner organisations. Speakers include Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng, recently escaped blogger Ali Abdulemam, Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa,
Syrian war correspondent Jenan Moussa, Zimbabwean artist Owen Maseko, Tibetan prime minister Lobsang Sangay, Belarusian theater
director Natalia Kaliada, Magnitsky Act originator Bill Browder, Malaysian lawyer and democracy advocate Ambiga Sreenevasan,
Bangladeshi child marriage abolitionist Arzina Begum, Serbian nonviolent resistance leader Srdja Popovic, and Cameroonian
musician and former political prisoner Lapiro de Mbanga.
19. desember 2010 beordret Hviterusslands president den mest omfattende massearrestasjonen i Hviterusslands moderne historie.
Over 30 ledende opposisjonelle, journalister og aktivister ble dømt til lange fengselsstraffer. Den norske Helsingforskomité
har gleden av å invitere deg til et seminar hvor Anatoly Lebedko og Andrei Kim forteller om sine opplevelser og for å diskutere
Endemic corruption, arbitrariness and denial of justice are key words that illustrate the justice system of Turkmenistan today.
Few citizens dare to address the system for help, knowing that virtually any case is decided through money and good connections.
Now, three brave persons that independently of each other have been through the system and back with their complaints to no
avail, hope that international resonance to their case can create a positive precedence for others.
With today's opening of the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Stockholm and Helsinki, the Don’t Play with the Dictator!
campaign has written a letter to the President of the International Ice Hockey Federation René Fasel, where we urge him and
the representatives of the national IIHF member organisations to support the victims of human rights violations by removing
the 2014 IIHF World Championship from Belarus at the next meeting of the IIHF General Congress in Stockholm in May 2013. The
NHC is a member of the Don't Play with the Dictator! campaign. Read the letter below.
In a statement published 29 April, NHC and the International Partnership Group on Azerbaijan urges the member states of the
United Nations to hold Azerbaijan accountable during its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on 30 April 2013 for its failure
to protect basic human rights. The International Partnership Group on Azerbaijan, in which NHC is a partner, urge the UN to
take Azerbaijan to task for failing to implement the commitments it made after its first review in 2009. Read the full statement
Den norske Helsingforskomité har gjennomført årsmøte for våre styre- og rådsmedlemmer. I årets uttalelse ber årsmøtet den
norske regjeringen om kraftfullt å ta til motmæle mot de pågående angrepene mot russisk sivilsamfunn, særlig med bakgrunn
i dommen mot vår 2012 Sakharovs Frihetsprisvinner Golos. Årsmøtet ble leder av visepresident i vårt råd, Stortingsrepresentant
Anne Marit Bjørnflaten.
NHC annual meeting, on 25 April 2013, has adopted our 2012 Annual Report. The report is an account of our wast activities
during last year, one of the most active in our history. Among many other issues you can read about the Norwegian Helsinki
Committe 35 years' anniversary, celebrated last year with a jubilee seminar with partners and friends as well as the Sakharov
Freedom Award 2012 ceremony, presenteing the award to the Russian Association Golos on 23 October last year.
Today, Golos was convicted for failing to comply with NGO-legislation and failing to register as foreign agents.NHC was a
witness during the trial where we refuted claims that Golos has accepted prize money from us. The legislation is itself in
violation of international law, and we condemn the court decision as unlawful. Golos must pay a fine of 300 000 roubles, approx.
9 500 USD. Follow updates on our Facebook-page and on Twitter nhc_no.
On April 25, Golos was convicted for failing to comply with NGO-legislation and failing to register as foreign agents. NHC
was a witness during the trial where we refuted claims that Golos has accepted prize money from us. The legislation is itself
in violation of international law, and we condemn the court decision as unlawful. Golos must pay a fine of 300 000 roubles,
approx. 9 500 USD. On 9 April Golos, a renowned human rights NGO conducting election monitoring in Russia, and Golos director
Lilia Shibanova, was informed by the Ministry of Justice that a case is initiated against them for being in breach of the
2012 "foreign agents law”. – To initiate legal actions against a human rights organizations for not having registered as a
“foreign agent”, is a violation by Russian authorities of international standards, said Gunnar M. Ekeløve-Slydal, Deputy Secretary
General. The 1998 UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders clearly states the rights of human rights defenders to receive
funding from abroad.
In a letter sent yesterday to the Turkish Minister of Interior Muammar Güler, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee expresses our
concern about the death treats against the Turkish lawyer Erdal Doğan, who is a legal counsel for the victims in the Zirve/Malatya
trial concerning the killing of three Christians on 18 April 2007 in Malatya, South Eastern Turkey. The letter is a part of
NHC's new initiative in Turkey, the Freedom of Belief Initiative, a human rights project founded to improve the protection
of the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief in Turkey. The project is headed by our co-ordinator in
Istanbul, Mine Yildirim. A letter has also been sent to Mrs. Margaret Sekaggya, UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of
Human Rights Defenders and Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights.
Sonia Biserko, Chair of the Serbian Helsinki Committee and author of the book “Yugoslavia’s Implosion” published by the Norwegian
Helsinki Committee, visited Brussels on 19-20 March to launch the book and take part in discussions around the topic of “Serbian
nationalism still alive: what impact for EU enlargement?”.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee was relieved to learn of the decision by Ukrainian authorities to respect international human
rights obligations and to reject an extradition request for the former Prime Minister of Tajikistan to his home country.
25 mødre og enker fra Aserbajdsjan og Armenia møttes i Bosnia & Herzegovina fra 27. mars til 2. april for å dele sorgerfaringer
etter store personlige traumer. Møtet kom i stand som en del av prosjektet The pain of human loss: Ceasefire, som er etablert
av organisasjonene Center of Humanitarian Studies i Aserbajdsjan og Civil Society Institute i Armenia. Helsingforskomiteens
Enver Djuliman er rådgiver i prosjektet.
I et brev til Statminister Jens Stoltenberg i dag ber Helsingforskomiteen ham om å ta opp den pågående russiske myndighetskampanjen
mot det sivile samfunn når han møter Statsminister Dimitrij Medvedev i St.Petersburg 5. april. - Stoltenberg bør benytte anledningen
til å kritisere den pågående myndighetskamapanjen mot russiske NGO-er direkte med Statsminister Medvedev. Politikken er klart
i strid med Russlands internasjonale forpliktelser, og rammer menneskerettighetsorganisasjoner særlig sterkt, sier Helsingforskomiteens
generalsekretær Bjørn Engesland i brevet. Ifølge informasjon Helsingforskomiteen har innhentet fra sine russiske partnere
er så langt 121 organisasjoner i 29 russiske regioner blitt oppsøkt av myndighetene. Fem organisasjoner som Helsingforskomiteen
støtter med midler fra Utenriksdepartementet er hittil blitt gjenstand for inspeksjoner. Les hele brevet under.
Together with the Civil Society Institute (CSI) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) the Norwegian Helsinki
Committee have submitted a mid-term assessment (May 2010–December 2012) following recommendations by the United Nations Human
Rights Council at Armenia’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in May 2010.