| Den norske Helsingforskomité

Enforced Disappearances in Turkmen Prisons Must Be Stopped

International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances:

Enforced Disappearances in Turkmen Prisons Must Be Stopped

On this International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, the Prove They Are Alive! campaign reaffirms its solidarity with all victims of disappearances in Turkmenistan’s prisons and their families, urges the Turkmen authorities to immediately end this gross violation of human rights, and calls on the international community to make the ending of enforced disappearances in Turkmenistan’s prisons a key condition for development of cooperation with the Turkmen government and firmly demand that Turkmenistan implement international legal norms and its obligations in the framework of these organisations.

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NHC becomes member of the FIDH

Oslo, Johannesburg::

NHC becomes member of the FIDH

At the 39th Congress of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), taking place in Johannesburg, South Africa 24-26 August 2016, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC) was accepted as new member. – We are proud to become part of one of the most important families of human rights organizations in the world, said Bjørn Engesland, NHC Secretary General.

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Brutal attack on Serbian LGBTI activist must be investigated

Serbia:

Brutal attack on Serbian LGBTI activist must be investigated

On Sunday 21 August LGBTI activist Boban Stojanović was brutally beaten by unknown assailants who shouted homophobic slogans in downtown Belgrade. – We urge Serbian authorities and law enforcement to ensure that the attack is properly investigated and that the perpetrators are brought to justice, says Mina Skouen, Norwegian Helsinki Committee’s (NHC) Advisor on LGBTI issues and the Western Balkans.

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Internasjonal høring om Magnitskij-saken

Høring i Oslo:

Internasjonal høring om Magnitskij-saken

En menneskerettighetssak med storpolitiske implikasjoner.

Når: 26. september 08:30-16:00
Hvor: Litteraturhuset, Oslo. Wergelandsalen.
Påmelding: nielsen@nhc.no
Seminaret er gratis.

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Mikael Danielyan dies

Armenia:

Mikael Danielyan dies

We are saddened to learn about the death of Armenian human rights defender Mikael ("Mika") Danielyan this morning.

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Å tegne er å se - seminar om kunst og aktivisme

Seminar:

Å tegne er å se - seminar om kunst og aktivisme

Sammen med Kunsthøgskolen i Oslo og Akershus Kunstsenter arrangerer Den norske Helsingforskomité seminaret "Å tegne er å se - seminar om kunst og aktivisme" på Litteraturhuset i Oslo mandag 19. september klokken 13-15:30. Seminaret tar utgangspunkt i utstillingen ”Drawing for Freedom” som vises på Akershus Kunstsenter i perioden 17.september- 16.oktober. I denne utstillingen stiller studenter fra Kunsthøyskolen i Oslo (KHiO) ut arbeider knyttet til temaet politiske fanger i Aserbajdsjan.

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Renewed Human Rights Crackdown Ahead of Referendum

Azerbaijan:

Renewed Human Rights Crackdown Ahead of Referendum

Less than six weeks ahead of a constitutional referendum, the Azerbaijani authorities have unleashed a new wave of repression to silence critical voices. NHC, as a Sport for Rights coalition member, condemns this renewed crackdown, and and joins the call on the Azerbaijani authorities to take immediate steps to improve the human rights situation in the country, starting with the release of political prisoners.

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Statement on the inclusion of LGBTI issues in the new cycle of EEA and Norway Grants

LGBTI/EEA-grants:

Statement on the inclusion of LGBTI issues in the new cycle of EEA and Norway Grants

During Oslo Pride 2016, activists from various European countries came together to talk about EEA and Norway Grants. At a meeting with State Secretary Elsbeth Tronstad we strongly recommended a more explicit inclusion of LGBTI issues in the priorities of the grant mechanism. We also encouraged Norwegian authorities to pay close attention to the challenges faced by LGBTI persons in Ukraine, the Western Balkans, Moldova and Turkey.

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Chancellor Merkel must raise issue of human rights defender Azimzhan Askarov during Kyrgyzstan visit

Kyrgyzstan:

Chancellor Merkel must raise issue of human rights defender Azimzhan Askarov during Kyrgyzstan visit

NHC and other organisations sent a letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel requesting her to raise the issue of long-term imprisoned human rights defender Azimzhan Askarov during her visit to Kyrgyzstan 13-14 July.

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Spørsmål og svar: Magnitskij-saken

Magnitskij:

Spørsmål og svar: Magnitskij-saken

Magnitskij-saken har fått fornyet oppmerksomhet som en følge av konflikten om filmenThe Magnitsy Act: Behind the scenesav den russiske regissøren Andrei Nekrasov. Filmen ble vist for første gang i Norge 25. juni 2016 på en åpen visning arrangert av Piraya Film. Filmens hovedbudskap ble imidlertid kjent allerede 27. april, da den var planlagt vist i Europaparlamentet. Denne visningen og flere TV-visninger er blitt avlyst, men Nekrasov har presentert filmens budskap i medieintervjuer og på sosiale medier.

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PrideHouse: "Proudly presenting 'Perverts and Sodomites'"

LGBTI:

PrideHouse: "Proudly presenting 'Perverts and Sodomites'"

Are you wondering how it is to be an LGBTIQ activist when society looks upon you like a pervert and sodomite? How people continue fighting for human rights of LGBTIQ persons when it seems like every step forward is followed by two steps back? Or were you among the many people worldwide that spoke up against Russia's so-called anti-homosexual propaganda laws before the Olympic Games in Sochi 2014, and want to know how you can be an ally for LGBTIQ once again?

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Political prisoner Ilgar Mammadov celebrates his 46th birthday in jail.

Happy birthday Ilgar:

Political prisoner Ilgar Mammadov celebrates his 46th birthday in jail.

Today, the opposition leader Ilgar Mammadov spends his 46th birthday in one of the vile prisons in Azerbaijan, prisons which have a history of housing dissidents. In May 2014, the European Court of Human Rights concluded, in a strongly worded judgment, that the actual purpose of Mammadov’s detention “was to silence or punish Mammadov for criticizing the government.” Citing that ruling, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has called repeatedly for Mammadov’s release. Yet the government, which controls the courts, the parliament and the media, remains deaf to the calls.

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Magnitskij-sakens storpolitiske floke

Debattinnlegg Aftenposten:

Magnitskij-sakens storpolitiske floke

I en kommentar i Aftenposten 8. juni slår Kjetil Lismoen fast at kortfilmfestivalen er feig som ikke viser filmen «The Magnitsky Act». De har gitt etter for press fra «flere av de impliserte i den såkalte Magnitsky-saken». Filmen «inngår i en storpolitisk floke der selv Helsingforskomitéen har gått ut mot [den] før den er blitt vist i Norge.»

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Invitation to Side Event on Death Penalty in Belarus

6th World Congress Against Death Penalty:

Invitation to Side Event on Death Penalty in Belarus

In the framework of the program of the 6th World Congress Against the Death Penalty, the Human Rights Center Viasna, (Belarus), FIDH and Norwegian Helsinki Committee organizes a side event on the death penalty in Belarus.

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Et nederlag for etterretteligheten

Tilsvar til Dagsavisens artikkel:

Et nederlag for etterretteligheten

Kulturredaktør Mode Steinkjer omtaler våre synspunkter i Magnitskij-saken på usaklig vis i en artikkel 9. juni om at Kortfilmfestivalen har valgt ikke å vise filmen «The Magnitsky Act» («Et nederlag for ytringsfriheten»). Han er ikke den første som tillegger oss synspunkter vi ikke har.

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Grunnløs anmeldelse av Helsingforskomiteen

Dokumentarfilmen "The Magnitski Act":

Grunnløs anmeldelse av Helsingforskomiteen

Piraya Film politianmelder tre ansatte i Helsingforskomiteen for blant annet «heleri, krenkelse av forretningshemmelighet og uberettiget befatning med tilgangsdata». Anmeldelsen knyttes til at komiteen har fått tilgang til en versjon av den ennå ikke publiserte filmen «The Magnitsky Act». Filmen er regissert av Andrei Nekrasov og produsert av Piraya Film.

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Fighting for accountability and democratic change in Ukraine

New Report and Seminar:

Fighting for accountability and democratic change in Ukraine

Even though the military conflict in Ukraine is not making big headlines, it is still ongoing. Soldiers and civilians continue to die and the Minsk agreement is broken constantly. With over 10 000 deaths, and close to 2 million of IDPs, and many alleged crimes unaccounted for, the issue of accountability is high on the Ukrainian and international agenda - including on the panel debate organised by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee on 9 June where also the new report "Where did the shells come from: Investigation of cross-border attacks in Eastern Ukraine" was presented for the first time.

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International partners should publicly and unanimously condemn continued crackdown

Tajikistan:

International partners should publicly and unanimously condemn continued crackdown

– Tajikistan’s Supreme Court sentenced leaders of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT) on June 2, 2016 to lengthy prison terms on charges of attempting to overthrow the government, Human Rights Watch, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, and the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia said today. The sentences, including two life terms, followed an unfair trial initiated in retaliation for their peaceful political opposition and reflect the government’s pervasive manipulation of the justice system and egregious violations of the right to freedom of expression.

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Job Vacancy Announcement

Kazakhstan:

Job Vacancy Announcement

Do you want to join a small team in NHCs active office in Kazakhstan? NHC has a vacancy for an Administrative Officer at our Central Asia Office in Almaty. Deadline for applications is 24 June 2016.

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Open letter on acid attack on justice-seeking mother

Turkmenistan:

Open letter on acid attack on justice-seeking mother

Nine human rights organizations have sent a joint open letter to Turkmenistan’s Prosecutor General regarding an appalling attack on Umida Jumabaeva, a justice-seeking mother. She was physically assaulted and had acid thrown at her by unknown perpetrators on 22 May 2016, leaving her with severe burns to her face and body. The context of the attack suggests that she may have been targeted in retribution for petitions she filed regarding her son, a military conscript. The signatories call for a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation into the attack, with due attention being given to this possible motive for the attack.

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Seminar: Can accountability for war crimes be achieved? 9 June at 16:00-18:00

Ukraine:

Seminar: Can accountability for war crimes be achieved? 9 June at 16:00-18:00

How can the International Criminal Court (ICC) and Norway promote justice and democracy in Ukraine? The seminar will provide first-hand information on the political situation and the status of reforms in Ukraine, as well as the latest accounts from the conflict-zone. The Norwegian Helsinki Committee invites you to join a discussion between politicians and human rights activists from Norway and Ukraine on ways of achieving accountability and democratic reforms.

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Kjernen i Magnitskij-saken

Dokumentarfilmen "The Magnitski Act":

Kjernen i Magnitskij-saken

I en artikkel 25. mai skriver Dagbladet at «den amerikanske milliardæren» William Browder vil stanse en film av den anerkjente filmregissøren Andrei Nekrasov om Magnitskij-saken. Dagbladets artikkel etterlater et inntrykk av at vi kanskje alle har tatt feil av saken. Men det er ikke tilfelle. Sergej Magnitskij var en russisk varsler som ble torturert og drept i regi av russiske tjenestemenn. Han hadde varslet om at de samme tjenestemennene hadde orkestrert en omfattende skattesvindel av den russiske staten ved å stjele og bruke Browders investeringsselskaper.

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End Enforced Disappearances

Turkmenistan:

End Enforced Disappearances

On the occasion of the International Week of the Disappeared, the human rights campaign “Prove They Are Alive!” calls upon the government of Turkmenistan to shed light on the fate of dozens who have been imprisoned for more than a decade, and to immediately halt the practice of enforced disappearances. The government of Turkmenistan should inform the relatives of the disappeared of their fate and whereabouts and allow them access to their loved ones without further delay.

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Serious restrictions of civic election observation in Armenia

Armenia:

Serious restrictions of civic election observation in Armenia

The Draft Electoral Code of the Republic of Armenia was adopted by the National Assembly of Armenia in its third reading on 25 May 2016. - This is very disappointing, taking into consideration all the domestic and international organisations which have criticized the proposed amendments, said Lene Wetteland, senior adviser for Armenia in the Norwegian Helsinki Committee.

"In its current form it will significantly limit the effective monitoring of elections and referenda in Armenia, only 6 months after the referendum on constitutional amendments received substantial criticism and illustrated the need for such monitoring. We support the call for immediate amendments to the Draft Electoral Law published by Armenian organisations yesterday," Wetteland concluded.

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Authorities should protect KyivPride2016

LGBTI/Ukraine:

Authorities should protect KyivPride2016

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC) urges Ukrainian authorities to support and protect the Fifth Annual International LGBT Forum KyivPride on 6 to 13 June 2016.

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Updated list of political prisoners in the Russian Federation

Russia:

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 86 names. 9 people have been released since October 2015, but 45 have been added to the list. Only four of those released were freed before serving the full term of their sentence in prison. The most famous of the released political prisoners is the Russian environmental activist Evgeniy Vitishko, who was imprisoned due to his protests surrounding the Olympic constructions in Sochi, and the Ukrainian pilot Nadia Savchenko.

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Khadija Ismayilova Freed!

Azerbaijan:

Khadija Ismayilova Freed!

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee welcomes the Supreme Court’s decision in Azerbaijan to release Azerbaijan’s leading investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova. It’s indeed happy news to those who know Ismayilova and her important work as a courageous journalist and civil society leader tirelessly exposing corruption in Azerbaijan, including activities involving the members of the president Aliyev’s family. Her reporting had caused her arrest in December 2014.

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NHC congratulates Lev Shlosberg with the first Boris Nemtsov Prize

Russia:

NHC congratulates Lev Shlosberg with the first Boris Nemtsov Prize

The Boris Nemtsov Foundation presents an annual award to a person who is particularly committed to fighting for the freedom of expression and helping those who are persecuted on political, racial or religious grounds in Russia. The first prize is given to the opposition politician Lev Shlosberg for his fight for democratic values in the Russian Federation.

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Khadija Ismayilova fyller 40 år: Vi feier for å feire!

Aksjon:

Khadija Ismayilova fyller 40 år: Vi feier for å feire!

Fredag 27. mai fyller journalisten og menneskerettighetsaktivisten Khadija Ismayilova 40 år. Hun feirer den i fengsel. Vi skal markere den på Egertorget i Oslo fra 11.30 til 12.30.

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NHC makes a submission on human rights in Turkey to the European Commission

Turkey:

NHC makes a submission on human rights in Turkey to the European Commission

Upon invitation, NHC has made a submission to the European Commission Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations. The subission points out that the situation of civil and political rights in Turkey has deteriorated in 2015-2016. Some of the actions and statements of senior politicians – including President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan – led to an erosion of the rule of law. In particular, the media and the judiciary were under pressure by the executive power, but the subission also points out challenges related to refugees, freedom of religion and belief and LGBTI. NHC is also concerned that the Kurdish peace process has halted.

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Den vanskelige forsoningen,  6. juni 2016, kl. 08:45-13:30

Seminar:

Den vanskelige forsoningen, 6. juni 2016, kl. 08:45-13:30

Den norske Helsingforskomité inviterer til boklansering og seminar. Utgangspunktet for boken «Forsoning – skilt langs veien», er en erkjennelse av at verdens samfunn er i stadig konflikt. Samtidig foregår det også hele tiden forsoningsprosesser. Enkeltpersoner og grupper forsoner seg med sine fiender, med en ny virkelighet, med seg selv og kanskje også med egen skyld.
Sted: «Nedjma», Litteraturhuset,Wergelandsveien 29, 0167 Oslo
Tid: 6. juni 2016, kl. 08:45-13:30

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Free activists and allow peaceful protests to take place

Kazakhstan:

Free activists and allow peaceful protests to take place

Authorities in Kazakhstan must immediately release all peaceful activists arrested ahead of planned protests on May 21, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, Adil Soz, International Legal Initiative and Association for Human Rights in Central Asia said in a statement today.

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LGBTI still suffer from widespread human rights violations in Europe

IDAHOT 2016:

LGBTI still suffer from widespread human rights violations in Europe

Lesbian, gay, bi, trans- and intersex persons (LGBTI) still suffer from human rights violations and lack protection in countries all over Europe. Worst of all is the situation in Azerbaijan, followed by Russia and Armenia, Turkey, Monaco, Ukraine and Belarus, according to ILGA Europe's Annual report launched on occasion of the International day against homophobia, transphobia and biphobia 17 May.

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Authorities should protect Equality Festival

Ukraine:

Authorities should protect Equality Festival

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC) urges Ukrainian authorities to support and protect the 14 May Equality Festival in Kiev. – Right wing extremists have threatened to attack the festival. We are concerned about the safety of the organizers and the participants. Police should provide effective protection, said Gunnar Ekelove-Slydal, Deputy Secretary General of the NHC. “The aim of the festival is to draw attention to the challenges and diversity of Ukraine’s most vulnerable groups, among them sexual and gender minorities. Ukrainian authorities have an obligation to protect the human rights of everyone; not the least of those who are most vulnerable.”

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Breakfast Side Event on Global Magnitsky Sanctions, Oslo Freedom Forum 25 May, 08:00-09:15

Seminar:

Breakfast Side Event on Global Magnitsky Sanctions, Oslo Freedom Forum 25 May, 08:00-09:15

Global Magnitsky Sanctions ­– Effective tool to address gross violations of human rights against human rights defenders and whistle-blowers?

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC), a long term partner of the Oslo Freedom Forum (OFF), has the pleasure of inviting you to a side event on Global Magnitsky Sanctions at the OFF 2016. The event is arranged in co-operation with the Justice for Sergei Magnitsky Campaign, with the participation of its leader, Bill Browder.

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Grant Journalist Bail

Kazakhstan:

Grant Journalist Bail

Stop Harassment, Ensure Fair Trial: The prosecution of an independent journalist on charges of “disseminating false information” will commence before a court in Almaty, capital of Kazakhstan, on May 5, 2016, Human Rights Watch and the Norwegian Helsinki Committee said today. Authorities detained Guzyal Baidalinova, 47, a journalist and the owner of Nakanune.kz, an independent online news site, on December 23, 2015 as a suspect in the case, and have held her in pre-trial detention since her formal arrest three days later, despite multiple requests for bail.

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Tajikistan: Free Human Rights Lawyers

Tajikistan:

Tajikistan: Free Human Rights Lawyers

Respect Independence of Legal Profession: Oslo, May 3, 2016: Tajik authorities should immediately and unconditionally release four human rights lawyers and two sons of another prominent lawyer who are imprisoned or detained on politically motivated charges, Human Rights Watch and the Norwegian Helsinki Committee said today. Tajik authorities should stop harassing and targeting independent lawyers.

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Norge må bidra til internasjonal etterforskning av mulige overgrep i Nagorno-Karabakh

Årsmøteuttalelse:

Norge må bidra til internasjonal etterforskning av mulige overgrep i Nagorno-Karabakh

Årsmøtet for Den norske Helsingforskomité vedtok den 27. april 2016 er uttalelse som uttrykker stor bekymring for økt uro i Nagorno-Karabakh og rapporter som er fremkommet om overgrep mot sivile. Det et åpenbart behov for en upartisk og internasjonal etterforskning i Nagorno-Karabakh, ettersom de nasjonale justismyndighetene erfaringsmessig enten ikke vil eller ikke evner å etterforske mulige krigsforbrytelser. Årsmøtet ber om at norske myndigheter tar initiativ til et internasjonalt samarbeid for å arbeide for at Armenia og Aserbajdsjan inviterer ICC til å etterforske mulige krigsforbrytelser som kan være begått rundt konfliktlinjen i Nagorno-Karabakh og andre relaterte tiltak for å bekjempe straffrihet i regionen.

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NHC Annual Report 2015

Annual meeting 2015:

NHC Annual Report 2015

The annual meeting of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee has released the 2015 Annual report. The report illustrated the wide range of activities NHC had the year of 2015. NHC was engaged the refugee crisis in Norway, when the influx of asylum seekers tripled and the Government introduced new restricitive measures. Human rights in Turkey, Russia, Central Asia and the South Caucasus remain in the center of our attention, where we through cooperation with local civil society are an efficient advocate for fundamental human rights defense at home and abroad.

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Svart/kvitt eller fargepalett? Nye perspektiv på valg og opposisjon i Russland

Paneldebatt:

Svart/kvitt eller fargepalett? Nye perspektiv på valg og opposisjon i Russland

Er Russland virkelig så toppstyrt av President Putin og hans krins at både opposisjon og sivilsamfunn ligg med broten rygg fram mot valet til hausten? I denne paneldebatten får me nye perspektiv frå opposisjon, akademia og organisasjonslivet i Russland – på ei problemstilling som slett ikkje er så svart/kvit som du kanskje trudde.

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Credibility of ICTY must be restored

International Justice:

Credibility of ICTY must be restored

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is deeply concerned about the situation at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (‘ICTY’), created by acquittals in 2012-2013 and a deep split among its judges. The concerns have been conveyed in a letter to President of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (‘MICT’), former ICTY President, current ICTY judge and a key player of the institution. According to the letter, the acquittals represent changes in the direction at a very late stage of the ICTY’s life. They “disorient victims, their families, and the wider struggle against impunity ... there remains a strong, unanswered case for [Theodor Meron] to take responsibility for the unfortunate situation at ICTY”.

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Drawing for Freedom exhibits at Defenders’s Days

Azerbaijan:

Drawing for Freedom exhibits at Defenders’s Days

Our magnificent collection of art works in the exhibition we have called “Drawing for Freedom” this week exhibits at Defenders’ Days in Stockholm. The artworks, conceived by art students from the Academy of Fine Art of the Oslo National Academy of the Arts, depict current and former political prisoners in Azerbaijan. We are very happy that newly released human rights defenders Anar Mammadli, Rasul Jafarov for the first time could see the works depicting themselves. Main illustration: Rasul Jafarov, Anar Mammadli, freed human rights defenders, and the son of imprisoned human rights lawyer Intigam Aliyev, Necmin Kamil, in front of the exhibition.

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Un-eventful parliamentary elections in Kazakhstan

Un-eventful parliamentary elections in Kazakhstan

On 20 March 2016, parliamentary elections were held in Kazakhstan. The elections, which were the third consecutive parliamentary elections to be held early, left the country with a rubber-stamp parliament looking strikingly similar to the outgoing one. The Norwegian Helsinki Committee has also been following the cases of several independent journalists who have been detained and/or imprisoned during the run-up to the elections.

“Meaningful elections cannot take place when the authorities persecute independent journalists, stifle critical media and impose severe restrictions on fundamental freedoms”, said Marius Fossum, Norwegian Helsinki Committee Regional Representative in Central Asia. “Kazakhstan should halt the persecution of critical voices and allow the independent media to carry out its activities”, he added. 

The elections left the country with a rubber-stamp parliament looking strikingly similar to the outgoing one: According to data as of 21 March, the president's party, Nur Otan, gained 82,15 % of the vote. Apart from the ruling party, only the pro-government parties the Communist People's Party of Kazakhstan and Ak-Zhol were able to overcome the 7-percent threshold with respectively 7,14 and 7,18 of the popular vote.

According to OSCE/ODIHR observers the elections were marred by instances of ballot stuffing, proxy and group voting – and a high number of voters were added to voter lists as late as on election day. The OSCE/ODIHR observation team also noted that the legal framework restricts political and civil rights.

The election campaign was characterized by low-visibility and a generally low level of interest among the electorate. On election day in Almaty, there were few visible signs that national elections were carried out, which was mirrored by the voter-turn out in the former capital, where some 34 % of registered voters cast their vote. The time leading up to the elections saw a shrinking space for independent media, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly and association. In one particularly striking case, the authorities recently prosecuted peaceful activists based on comments made in social media. The Norwegian Helsinki Committee has also been following the cases of several independent journalists who have been detained and/or imprisoned during the run-up to the elections. The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is furthermore gravely concerned about the pressure on independent media, exemplified by last autumn's suspension of the opposition newspaper Adam.

Apart from the parties winning representation, the environmentalist Birlik (Unity) party, the agrarian Ayul (Village) party and the Nationwide Social Democratic Party were also running. Among these parties, only the Nationwide Social Democratic Party can be considered to be an opposition party, although several observers and critics question the party's status as such.

The lack of meaningful voter-choice stems from the authorities track-record of closing down opposition parties. In 2005, the authorities ruled the opposition party Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan illegal, and, in 2013, suspended the Alga! Party, following a trial in which the party's leader, Vladimir Kozlov, was imprisoned. Kozlov, considered a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International, remains in prison to this day. Last year the Communist Party of Kazakhstan became the most recent opposition party to be liquidated by the authorities.

“There is a reason why this round of elections in Kazakhstan was given relatively little attention internationally”, said Ivar Dale, Senior Adviser in the Norwegian Helsinki Committee. “The fact that the results are known in advance is not a sign of stability, it is a sign of an unfair political playing field. Kazakhstan is a young country no more. It is high time that real democracy was given a fair chance. That does not happen by banning the opposition and removing critical voices from newspaper kiosks”, he added.



Ukrainian authorities failed to protect fundamental human rights in Lviv

Ukraina LGBTI:

Ukrainian authorities failed to protect fundamental human rights in Lviv

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee condemns this weekend’s attacks on the “Equality Festival Lviv-2016”. The event, celebrating diversity and human rights, was attacked by homophobic and transphobic groups and eventually cancelled after a bomb threat to the festival venue. Several people were beaten, and the organizers had to leave Lviv. Despite repeated inquiries, there were no proper response from the city administration and the police.

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Is Aliyev’s pardon a political ploy?

Azerbaijan:

Is Aliyev’s pardon a political ploy?

On March 17, Azerbaijan's authoritarian President Ilham Aliyev was merciful. He signed a long-awaited decree of pardon, which was timed to mark the upcoming Novruz holiday. Aliyev pardoned 148 prisoners, among them 13 activists that human rights groups have labeled as political prisoners.

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Attack on human rights defender Kalyapin must be effectively investigated

Russia:

Attack on human rights defender Kalyapin must be effectively investigated

On 16 March, another attack on the human rights organisation Committee for Prevention of Torture (CPT) took place in Chechnya. The head of the organization, Igor Kalyapin, was attacked outside the Grozny City hotel and forced to leave the republic.

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Political prisoners pardoned in Azerbaijan!

Released!:

Political prisoners pardoned in Azerbaijan!

By a presidential decree today 13 political prisoners have been pardoned for release. We are thrilled to inform you that Rasul Jafarov, Tofig Yagublu, Anar Mammadli and Hilal Mammadov is among those to be released! Still - there are more than 70 political prisoners left, and those will not be forgotten: Khadija Ismayilova, Intigam Aliyev, Seymur Hazi, Ilgar Mammadov and many more.

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Threats against the “Equality Festival Lviv-2016”

Ukraine LGBTI:

Threats against the “Equality Festival Lviv-2016”

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee extend our full support for the organizers of Equality Festival Lviv-2016; scheduled for 19 – 20 March at the Museum of ideas in Lviv. We fear that repeated threats of physical violence and hate speech in social media may prevent the festival from taking place. The City Administration has not made any statement of support despite several inquiries from the organizers.

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Attacks on journalists in Ingushetia must be investigated; international community must react

Russia:

Attacks on journalists in Ingushetia must be investigated; international community must react

On 9 March, unknown assailants attacked a minibus with lawyers and human rights activists from the Joint Mobile Group and international journalists on the border between Chechnya and Ingushetia. Among those attacked were a Norwegian and a Swedish journalist.

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Remembering a slain journalist in Azerbaijan

Symbol of Courage:

Remembering a slain journalist in Azerbaijan

Today marks 11 years since the murder of famous journalist Elmar Huseynov, who was a critical voice of the authoritarian Azerbaijan government, writing on injustice, rampant corruption, state repression and many other human rights abuses.

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Statement: Another human rights lawyer at risk of disbarment in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan:

Statement: Another human rights lawyer at risk of disbarment in Azerbaijan

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee and the other undersigned members of the Sport for Rights coalition express serious concern regarding the on-going disciplinary case against Yalchin Imanov, a prominent human rights lawyer in Azerbaijan. Any disciplinary sanctions against the lawyer could severely undermine his independence as member of the legal profession and hinder his important and legitimate professional activity.

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Hvor går Tyrkia?

Kronikk:

Hvor går Tyrkia?

I dagens Aftenposten har Den norske Helsingforskomité en kronikk sammen med International Law and Policy Insitute (ILPI). Kronikken er skrevet av Assisterende generalsekretær Gunnar Ekeløve-Slydal og direktør på ILPI Njål Høstmælingen.

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Armenia must release political activist Vardges Gaspari

Armenia:

Armenia must release political activist Vardges Gaspari

Since his arrest on 19 February, the well-known political activist Vardges Gaspari has been subject to torture and ill-treatment in the Nubarashen prison in Yerevan. He had initiated a hunger strike in order to be moved to a separate cell, but no response was given to his complaints by the prison administration. Information was only available as Gaspari was transported to a psychiatric hospital for a forensic examination on 24 February. Update: On 26 February he was released, but investigations into allegations of ill-treatment remains to be initiated.

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Shabnam Khudoydodova released from detention

Tajikistan:

Shabnam Khudoydodova released from detention

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is relieved to learn that Shabnam Khudoydodova has been freed from detention in Belarus. Ms. Khudoydodova was released in Brest on 22 February, 2016 after eight months in detention pursuant to an extradition request from Tajikistan.

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NHC urges Armenia to investigate attacks on LGBTI activists

Armenia:

NHC urges Armenia to investigate attacks on LGBTI activists

Today the Norwegian Helsinki Committee sent a letter to Republic of Armenia General Prosecutor and Head of Investigative Committee to express our concern about the recent developments that endanger non-discrimination principle and protection of human rights in Armenia.

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Recommendations from the NGO Forum on Human Rights

UN human rights council:

Recommendations from the NGO Forum on Human Rights

The Norwegian NGO Forum on Human Rights has issued a document with recommendations for the 31st Session of the UN Human Rights Council (29 February - 24 March 2016).

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Srdjan Dizdarevic til minne

Minneord:

Srdjan Dizdarevic til minne

Det er med sorg vi tirsdag 16 februar mottok beskjeden om at mangeårig leder i Den bosniske Helsingforskomiteen Srdjan Dizdarevic er død, 64 år gammel.

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Severe Crackdown on Political Opposition

Tajikistan:

Severe Crackdown on Political Opposition

The Tajik government is arresting, imprisoning, and torturing members of the country’s peaceful political opposition, Human Rights Watch and the Norwegian Helsinki Committee said today. The government is also targeting perceived critics abroad, seeking their detention and extradition back to Tajikistan, and has forcibly disappeared critics abroad only to have them reappear in Tajik custody.

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Norway must address NGO liquidation in Russia

Russia:

Norway must address NGO liquidation in Russia

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee and the Rafto Foundation have sent a letter to Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende in connection with the court liquidation of the human rights organization Agora last week.

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Unacceptable liquidation of Agora human rights organisation

Russia:

Unacceptable liquidation of Agora human rights organisation

Agora, a 2014 Rafto Prize laureate and a member of the Russian President’s Human Rights Council became the first nongovernmental organization to be liquidated by a regional Supreme Court on 10 February. – The Norwegian Helsinki Committee condemns this decision, which violates the human rights of an important organization, said Bjørn Engesland, Secretary General. Agora's chair Pavel Chikov met Prime Minister Erna Solberg when he visited Oslo in October 2015. Photo: Prime minister's Office

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Kritisk til Regjeringens forslag til innstramninger

Norge:

Kritisk til Regjeringens forslag til innstramninger

Regjeringen har lagt frem en omfattende pakke med innstramningsforslag i utlendingslovgivningen. 40 større og mindre endringer av lov og forskrift, er presentert som tiltak for å møte flyktningkrisen. Helsingforskomitéen har i en høringsuttalelse kritisert forslagene for å svekke retten til å søke om asyl. Komiteen er også kritisk til en rekke enkeltforslag, blant annet om bare å gi enslige mindreårige asylsøkere «midlertidig beskyttelse», innføre meget strenge regler for familiegjenforening og å gjøre det enklere å henvise til «internflukt».

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Rights Defender’s Work Impeded

Uzbekistan:

Rights Defender’s Work Impeded

Uzbek authorities should immediately stop harassing the human rights defender Uktam Pardaev and lift the unlawful restrictions on his fundamental rights imposed by police, the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia, International Partnership for Human Rights, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, and Human Rights Watch said today. Pardaev is the chairman of the Jizzakh branch of the Independent Human Rights Organization in Uzbekistan.

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Final report documents election fraud

Armenia:

Final report documents election fraud

Final report of joint European Platform for Democratic Elections/Citizen Observer Initiative has been published, presenting all the findings of the more than 1000 civic observers monitoring the Constitutional amendment referendum in Armenia on 6 December 2015.

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Human rights in Turkey

Seminar:

Human rights in Turkey

- Ceasefire in Turkey today, not tomorrow, that is our goal. This was the message from Metin Bakkalci, a leading human rights defender in Turkey, who was the main speaker at the seminar "Human rights in Turkey – moving in the wrong direction?". The Norwegian Helsinki Committee arranged the seminar at the House of litterature on 26 January together with the International Law and Policy Institute (ILPI) and the Norwegian Medical Association.

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Hungary must provide space for civil society

Policy Paper 1/2016:

Hungary must provide space for civil society

The NHC present our first policy paper of 2016, and Hungary is in focus.

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Human Rights Human Wrongs 2016 Kick-Off

Film festival:

Human Rights Human Wrongs 2016 Kick-Off

As a partner of the Human Rights Human Wrongs documentary film festival, we invite you to the kick-off of this years' festival. Join us on Tuesday February 16th at Cinemateket as we kick-start the 2016 edition of the Human Rights Human Wrongs Documentary Film Festival with a series of exciting events.

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Stop Violence and Illegal Criminal Prosecution

Armenia:

Stop Violence and Illegal Criminal Prosecution

In the period since Armenia’s disputed 6 December 2015 Constitutional Referendum, persecution, violence and threats against the regime’s opponents has intensified. The Norwegian Helsinki Committee and the Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Vanadzor strongly condemn the auhtorities' unlawful practices of the authorities. We require that they urgently abide by the legal framework Armenia is bound to as a member of the Council of Europe and as signatory to international human rights conventions.

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NHC svarer UNE i Aftenposten

Norge:

NHC svarer UNE i Aftenposten

I dagens Aftenposten svarer Helsingforskomiteen på UNEs artikkel i Aftenposten 23. desember, der UNE skriver at vi gjør påstander til fakta. Den norske Helsingforskomité mener det er nedslående at UNE ikke vil undersøke saker der Norge kan ha brutt sentrale menneskerettslige forpliktelser.

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Ny norsk praksis hindrer retten til å søke asyl

Asylrett i Norge:

Ny norsk praksis hindrer retten til å søke asyl

Den norske Helsingforskomité har sammen med Amnesty International Norway og NOAS skrevet et brev til UNHCRs representant for Nord-Europa, Pia Prytz Phiri, der vi argumenterer for at lovendringene som ble innført i utlendingsloven i november er i strid med retten til å søke asyl. Dette betyr at Norge bryter sine internasjonale forpliktelser, og kan i sin ytterste konsekvens innebære at asylsøkere med beskyttelsebehov kan bli sendt tilbake til forfølgelse, tortur og i verste fall død. Brevet ble i går også sendt til innvandrings-og integreringsminister Sylvi Listhaug, samt til alle partilederne på Stortinget.

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Listhaug må be UNE om redegjørelse

Norge:

Listhaug må be UNE om redegjørelse

I en kronikk publisert i Aftenposten 17.12 oppfordrer Den norske Helsingforskomité statsråd Sylvi Listhaug til å be om en redegjørelse fra UNE i forbindelse med at to russiske statsborgere som søkte asyl i Norge ble torturert og drept etter retur til hjemlandet i 2012 og 2013.

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Tsjetsjenske asylsøkere torturert og drept etter retur

Norge:

Tsjetsjenske asylsøkere torturert og drept etter retur

I denne ukens Ny Tid avsløres det at to tsjetsjenske asylsøkere, Apti Nazujev og Umar Bilemkhanov, ble torturert og drept i Tsjetsjenia etter å ha fått avslag på sine søknader om politisk asyl i Norge. Den norske Helsingforskomité og russiske Memorial advarte norske myndigheter sterkt mot å sende de to tilbake til Tsjetsjenia eller Russland.

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Appeal to state delegations to support resolution on human rights defenders

The UN:

Appeal to state delegations to support resolution on human rights defenders

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee appealed to Missions to the UN to support resolution on human rights defenders, which comes up for vote in the UN General Assembly on the 17 December. The resolution contains a strong message to the world’s governments that they should support and protect human rights defenders; not attack them. The appeal was backed with signatures of people from across the world.

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Ny lov undergrev respekten for menneskerettar og internasjonale avtaler

Russland:

Ny lov undergrev respekten for menneskerettar og internasjonale avtaler

Den 15.desember underskreiv President Vladimir Putin ei lov som gjev rettsleg heimel for den russiske grunnlovsdomstolen til å avgjera om dei skal gjennomføre eller ikkje gjennomføre vedtak mot Russland, mellom anna frå Den europeiske menneskerettsdomstolen (EMD).

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Viktig med spesialutsending for minoriteter

Norge:

Viktig med spesialutsending for minoriteter

Den norske Helsingforskomité ber i et brev sammen med Oslosenteret for fred og menneskerettigheter og Stefanusalliansen Utenriksminister Børge Brende sørge for at ordningen med en spesialutsending for minoriteter blir opprettholdt.

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Suspension of sentences of Leyla and Arif Yunus is a welcome step, but justice is still elusive

Azerbaijan:

Suspension of sentences of Leyla and Arif Yunus is a welcome step, but justice is still elusive

10 December: We — members of the Civic Solidarity Platform and the Sports For Rights Campaign — were relieved to learn that one of Azerbaijan’s most well-known political prisoners, Leyla Yunus, was released from detention yesterday and that that the Baku City Court of Appeal changed her sentence and that of her husband Arif into suspended sentences of 5 years, on probation.

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Drawing for Freedom project exhibits in Paris’ Hotel de Ville

Political prisoners in Azerbaijan:

Drawing for Freedom project exhibits in Paris’ Hotel de Ville

On Tuesday 8 December, 2015 more than 30 works of art produced by Norwegian artists thematically related to political prisoners in Azerbaijan were displayed at the main town hall (Hôtel de Ville) in Paris, France.

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Leyla Yunus released from prison

Azerbaijan:

Leyla Yunus released from prison

Leyla Yunus has been released from prison today following a request by her lawyers due to her deteriorating health condition.

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Constitutional referendum illegitimate

Armenia:

Constitutional referendum illegitimate

– The poor quality of the 6 December 2015 constitutional referendum was unprecedented in the country. There were blatant violations of the electoral code and verbal and physical attacks on observers and journalists, said Lene Wetteland, senior advisor of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC). "We are critical both of the campaign, the contents of the amendments as well as of the conduct of the vote itself."

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Anniversary of Khadija Ismayilova’s arrest

Azerbaijan:

Anniversary of Khadija Ismayilova’s arrest

The anniversary of journalist Khadija Ismayilova’s arrest one year ago highlights the Azerbaijani regime’s unprecedented repression in 2015.

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Reverse travel ban on HRW researcher

Kyrgyzstan:

Reverse travel ban on HRW researcher

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is deeply disappointed to learn of the decision by Kyrgyzstan to declare Mihra Rittmann, researcher for Human Rights Watch in Central Asia, persona non grata in the country. Rittmann was deported from Kyrgyzstan upon her arrival to Manas International Airport in Bishkek on 2 December, after living and working for several years in the country.

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Release detained human rights defender

Uzbekistan:

Release detained human rights defender

– Uzbek authorities should immediately release from detention and drop their criminal case against Uktam Pardaev, a prominent human rights activist arrested on November 16 in Jizzakh, Uzbekistan, the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia, Human Rights Watch, International Partnership for Human Rights and the Norwegian Helsinki Committee said today.

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Human rights defenders should be supported and protected, not attacked

United Nations:

Human rights defenders should be supported and protected, not attacked

On the 25 November, the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution that recognises the important role of human rights defenders.

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Turkmenistan must respond to the United Nations

Turkmenistan:

Turkmenistan must respond to the United Nations

As a member of the Prove They Are Alive! campaign, the NHC has joined a statement where we express our disappointment and regret at the failure of the government of Turkmenistan to provide a substantive reply to the United Nations Human Rights Committee on its decision on the case of Boris Shikhmuradov within the period established by the Committee.

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New Monitoring Report on the Right to Freedom of Religion or Belief in Turkey

Turkey:

New Monitoring Report on the Right to Freedom of Religion or Belief in Turkey

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC) Freedom of Belief Initiative outlines in this report, covering the period from July 2014 to June 2015, the need for Turkish legislation and practice to be brought into harmony with human rights standards on freedom of religion or belief.

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Light a candle in honor of trans*persons murdered worldwide

Transgender Day of Remembrance:

Light a candle in honor of trans*persons murdered worldwide

20 November is the Transgender Day of Remembrance, dedicated to the memory of trans*persons who have been victims of homicide. It is also a day to remind all of us that it is Our obligation to fight hate crimes, prejudices and hatred towards gender minorities not only today but every day.

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Updated list of political prisoners in Armenia

Armenia:

Updated list of political prisoners in Armenia

A new list of political prisoners in Armenia has just been published. The list now comprises of 12 names. These are political activists who have used the freedom of assembly and freedom of speech to express their discontent with the current government of Armenia.

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Advarer mot hastetiltak

Norge:

Advarer mot hastetiltak

Den norske Helsingforskomité, NOAS og en rekke andre organisasjoner sendte i går et brev til alle partier på Stortinget der det advares mot hastebehandling av innstrammingsforslag som innebærer en dramatisk svekkelse av asylsøkeres rettssikkerhet.

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Presentation of Magnitsky Awards shows strength of movement

London:

Presentation of Magnitsky Awards shows strength of movement

The presentation of the Sergei Magnitsky Human Rights Awards 2015, honouring nine prominent politicians, lawyers, and journalists for their support of the Magnitsky campaign, took place in London on 16 November, six years after the death of the Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky.

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Ukraine adopts legislation protecting sexual- and gender minorities in employment

Ukraine:

Ukraine adopts legislation protecting sexual- and gender minorities in employment

On 12 November the Ukrainian Parliament adopted Amendment Nº 3442 to the Labor Code, where protection against discrimination in the labor sector explicitly mentions sexual and gender minorities (LGBTI) among other vulnerable groups*. The amendment is the first Ukrainian Law where LGBTI persons are granted legal protection, and it was the final law that needed to be adopted before Ukraine could achieve a visa liberalization agreement with the European Union.

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Stop Russian-style NGO law

Stop Russian-style NGO law

On 5 November 2015 a controversial draft law pertaining to the activities of the non-governmental sector passed its second reading in the Kazakhstani Senate. Approved by the Senate, a signature by the president of Kazakhstan is the next step.

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Activist freed after 21 years

Uzbekistan:

Activist freed after 21 years

– One of the world’s longest imprisoned peaceful political activists, Murod Juraev, was finally released from a jail in Uzbekistan on November 12, 2015, after 21 unjustified years behind bars, nine human rights groups said today. The nine rights groups, including the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, now calls on UN to hold Tashkent accountable for arbitrary detention.

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Arif Yunus transferred from prison to house arrest

Azerbaijan:

Arif Yunus transferred from prison to house arrest

Arif Yunus was today released from prison and transferred to house arrest because of his deteriorating health.

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Stop intimidation of human rights activists in North Caucasus

Russia:

Stop intimidation of human rights activists in North Caucasus

In Ingushetia on 6 November, armed security servicemen carried out a raid in the offices of the human rights organization MASHR and in the private home of the organization’s head Magomed Mutsolgov. The masked men removed large amounts of documents, office computers and even the children’s iPad.

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Regjeringen må ikke redusere støtten til menneskerettighetsarbeid

Norge:

Regjeringen må ikke redusere støtten til menneskerettighetsarbeid

Helsingforskomitéen har sammen med andre organisasjoner i NGO-Forum for menneskerettigheter sendt brev til statsmininister Erna Solberg med kritikk av Regjeringens forslag om å kutte i støtten til menneskerettighetsarbeid i budsjettet for 2016.

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Ukraine fails to adopt human rights reforms necessary for EU visa liberalization

Ukraine:

Ukraine fails to adopt human rights reforms necessary for EU visa liberalization

On 5th November the Ukrainian Parliament was only able to adopt two of 13 laws demanded by the EU in order to start the visa-liberalization process, rejecting among others the amendments on key-norms of anti-discrimination and anti-corruption measures.

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Whitewashing of flawed elections through international election observation missions

Azerbaijan:

Whitewashing of flawed elections through international election observation missions

As a founding partner of the European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE), the Norwegian Helsinki Committee expresses its concern over international election observation missions delegitimizing the institution of election observation as well as damaging the reputation of those parliaments and international institutions that they represent.

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International community should not give legitimacy to undemocratic elections

Azerbaijan:

International community should not give legitimacy to undemocratic elections

In a joint press release after the parliamentary election in Azerbaijan 1 November, FIDH and Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC) urge the international community to unanimously condemn the lack of civil and political freedoms in Azerbaijan, and voice a strong support to its targeted civil society.

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International presence in Crimea needed

Ukraine:

International presence in Crimea needed

- It is obvious to us that an increased international presence is needed on the Crimean peninsula. The human rights situation, especially with regard to freedom of speech and assembly, has deteriorated rapidly following the Russian takeover. This cannot continue, says secretary general Bjørn Engesland.

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NHC statement concerning the upcoming election in Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan:

NHC statement concerning the upcoming election in Azerbaijan

On November 1, 2015, Azerbaijan will go to the polls to elect a new parliament. FIDH, OMCT and the Norwegian Helsinki Committee wishes to extend our deepest concern regarding the conditions in which the polls are being organised, which cannot meet international standards for free and fair elections.

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Webpage to free political prisoners in Europe launched

No political prisoners:

Webpage to free political prisoners in Europe launched

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee has launched a webpage with information and updates about the situation for the political prisoners in Europe.

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NHC oppfordrer til åpen høring

Nasjonal institusjon for menneskerettigheter:

NHC oppfordrer til åpen høring

Den norske Helsingforskomité har i samarbeid med Amnesty International Norge skrevet et brev til Stortingets presidentskap der vi foreslår at det arrangeres en åpen høring i forbindelse med ansettelsen av en ny direktør ved nasjonal institusjon for menneskerettigheter.

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Democratic process maintained despite waning confidence and interest from voters

Ukraina:

Democratic process maintained despite waning confidence and interest from voters

Two NHC representatives, Mina Skouen and Olga Shamshur Flydal, were on Sunday visiting polling stations in suburban Kiev as a part of a larger group of EPDE (European Platform for Democratic Election) election experts from Poland, Germany and former Soviet Union countries. This time Ukrainians cast votes electing over 168 000 representatives to local governments and mayors.

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Lokalvalg til besvær

Ukraina:

Lokalvalg til besvær

Lokalvalget i Ukraina 25. oktober gir er en mulighet til å reflektere over hvorhen Ukraina er på vei. Mens arbeid med lovreformer styrkes, lever flere problemer i det skjøre demokratiet i beste velgående. Å støtte det ukrainske sivilsamfunnet videre på vei mot rettstat og demokrati bør stå høyt på Norges og Europas prioriteringslisten.

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ICC investigation a possible milestone for accountability in Europe

Georgia:

ICC investigation a possible milestone for accountability in Europe

”The Norwegian Helsinki Committee welcomes the decision by Fatou Bensouda, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, on October 8 to submit a request to the Pre-Trial Chamber of the ICC to open an investigation of core international crimes during the war in Georgia in 2008,” says Secretary General Bjørn Engesland.

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Helsingforserklæringen kan skape endring

Anna Politkovskaja seminar:

Helsingforserklæringen kan skape endring

-President Putins behandling av sivilsamfunnet i Russland gjør at staten mister sin legitimitet. Dette kan føre til omveltninger i Russland, omveltninger som bare president Putin selv vil være ansvarlig for, sa Svetlana Gannusjkina på forrige ukes godt besøkte Anna Politkovskaja seminar på Litteraturhuset i Oslo.

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Re-election cements Lukashenko’s authoritarian rule

Belarus:

Re-election cements Lukashenko’s authoritarian rule

Yesterday’s presidential election in Belarus gave no surprises in the reelection of Alexander Lukashenko to his fifth term as the country’s authoritarian president. With no real competition, control over administrative resources and massive coercion and pressure to participate in early voting, the election process gave the incumbent leader a simple walk-over.

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Elections show positive democratic development

Kyrgyzstan:

Elections show positive democratic development

-The elections in Kyrgyzstan 4 October highlight the country's uniquely democratic position in Central Asia, says Marius Fossum, Norwegian Helsinki Committee Regional Representative in Central Asia, who was present in the capital Bishkek on election day and during the last days of campaigning.

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Helsingforskomiteen gratulerer «Kvartetten for nasjonal dialog» med Nobels fredspris 2015

Nobels fredspris:

Helsingforskomiteen gratulerer «Kvartetten for nasjonal dialog» med Nobels fredspris 2015

Tildelingen av Nobels fredspris til «Kvartetten for nasjonal dialog» i Tunisia er en pris som vil bidra til å støtte den pågående demokratiseringsprosessen i Tunisia, og vil være en inspirasjon for det sivile samfunn verden over.

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Authorities should re-start the peace process

Turkey:

Authorities should re-start the peace process

“The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is concerned over the escalation of fighting between Turkish security forces and the Kurdish Labour Party (PKK) as well as the ongoing polarization of society which could jeopardize years of efforts to find a peaceful solution to the Kurdish issue,” said Gunnar M. Ekelove-Slydal, Deputy Secretary General of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee.

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PACE must cancel its monitoring mission to Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan:

PACE must cancel its monitoring mission to Azerbaijan

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) is planning to monitor the 1 November parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan. The Norwegian Helsinki Committee strongly opposes such a decision.

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Art for the release of political prisoners in Azerbaijan

Drawing for freedom:

Art for the release of political prisoners in Azerbaijan

In September, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC) and the National Art Academy of Fine Arts Oslo (KHIO) jointly kicked off an art project with focus on the political prisoners in Azerbaijan. More than 80 political prisoners are now behind bars in the country, many of which were arrested while Azerbaijan was chairing the Council of Europe.

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NHC attends the annual HDIM-meeting

HDIM:

NHC attends the annual HDIM-meeting

NHC is active at the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting 2015 which is currently taking place in Warsaw.

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Opposition Activists Detained

Tajikistan:

Opposition Activists Detained

Tajik authorities detained at least 13 activists of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT) on September 16, 2015, Human Rights Watch, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, and the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia said today. Authorities should immediately release or, if there is credible evidence that they have committed a legitimate offence, promptly charge them and ensure due process for all the detainees, including timely access to independent counsel and contact with family members. Photo: 2013 HRW

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Russisk regionval avgjort på forhånd

Russland:

Russisk regionval avgjort på forhånd

Klar dom frå russiske valobservatørar i GOLOS: Resultata frå det russiske regionsvalet søndag 13. september er avgjort i forkant, og valdagen tener kun som legitimering.

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Seminar i Anna Politkovskaja sitt minne

Seminar:

Seminar i Anna Politkovskaja sitt minne

Onsdag 7. oktober arrangerer Den norske Helsingforskomité det åpne seminaret "40 år for fred, tryggleik og menneskerettar: Helsingforserklæringa framleis høyaktuell", på Litteraturhuset i Oslo. Seminaret er vårt årlege Anna Politkovskaja seminar, og finn i år stad på dagen ni år etter at ho blei drepen utanfor sin eigen leiligheit i Moskva.

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Norway and other democratic countries should establish global Magnitsky mechanisms

Policy Paper 2/2015:

Norway and other democratic countries should establish global Magnitsky mechanisms

A new policy paper from the Norwegian Helsinki Committee presented today argues that Norway and other democratic countries should establish mechanisms to freeze the assets of persons who commit gross violations of human rights with impunity and prohibit their entry into the country – the victims of these violations being human rights defenders or whistle-blowers.

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Ludmilla Alexeeva of Moscow Helsinki Group receives Havel Award

Václav Havel Human Rights Prize 2015:

Ludmilla Alexeeva of Moscow Helsinki Group receives Havel Award

During the opening of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly autumn session today, prominent Russian human rights defender Ludmilla Alexeeva was awarded the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize. The award honours outstanding civil society action in defence of human rights, and it includes a €60 000 prize. - NHC warmly congratulates Ludmilla, she is one of the founders of the Russian human rights movement. To award the prize to her this year in particular, while we are celebrating the 40 year anniversary of the Helsinki Declaration, carries a lot of symbolic weight, Secretary general Bjørn Engesland says at the news of the prize.

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Ludmilla Alexeeva of Moscow Helsinki Group receives Havel Award

Václav Havel Human Rights Prize 2015:

Ludmilla Alexeeva of Moscow Helsinki Group receives Havel Award

During the opening of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly autumn session today, prominent Russian human rights defender Ludmilla Alexeeva was awarded the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize. The award honours outstanding civil society action in defence of human rights, and it includes a €60 000 prize. - NHC warmly congratulates Ludmilla, she is one of the founders of the Russian human rights movement. To award the prize to her this year in particular, while we are celebrating the 40 year anniversary of the Helsinki Declaration, carries a lot of symbolic weight, Secretary general Bjørn Engesland says at the news of the prize.

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Bør akseptere klageadgang for funksjonshemmedes menneskerettigheter

Norge:

Bør akseptere klageadgang for funksjonshemmedes menneskerettigheter

Den norske Helsingforskomité støtter en uttalelse om at Norge bør ratifisere den valgfrie protokollen til FNs konvensjon om rettighetene til personer med nedsatt funksjonsevne.

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Reverse Political Party Closure

Tajikistan:

Reverse Political Party Closure

The Tajik government should reverse its decision to order the closure of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT) and allow the party to operate freely, Human Rights Watch, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, and the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia said today. Tajik authorities should also halt their ongoing campaign of harassment against the party and its members and allow independent political parties to operate freely in Tajikistan.

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Important acceptance of ICC jurisdiction

Ukraine:

Important acceptance of ICC jurisdiction

- The Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC) welcomes the Ukrainian government’s decision to accept International Criminal Court (ICC) jurisdiction over international crimes committed on its territory since February 2014, i.e. since the start of the armed conflict in the Eastern Ukraine and the occupation of Crimea by Russia, says Secretary General Bjørn Engesland. – We consider this a milestone in the fight against impunity in former Soviet countries.

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No extradition to Tajikistan

Belarus and Moldova:

No extradition to Tajikistan

In two joint letters to the governments of Belarus and Moldova, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee and the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia urge them to uphold their international obligations and secure two peaceful Tajik opposition activists from extradition to Tajikistan and possible torture and other ill-treatment. Moldova and Belarus are bound by international refugee law as well as the UN Convention against Torture. They cannot lawfully return Mr. Sobir Valiev and Ms. Shabnam Khudoydodova to Tajikistan where torture remains widespread.

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Talk where you can´t talk

Norway:

Talk where you can´t talk

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is arranging the open seminar "Talk where you can´t talk" at Cinemateket, Lillebil 15 September 17:00-19:00. The seminar is a part of the Oslo Fusion International Film Festival, and is organized in cooperation with LLH, the Norwegian LGBT organisation. Read more about the program below.

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NHC condemns the sentencing of investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova

Azerbaijan:

NHC condemns the sentencing of investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova

The Norwegian Helsinki Committee strongly condemns the sentencing of Azerbaijani journalist Khadija Ismayilova to a staggering 7,5 years in jail today. - We are shocked and saddened at yet another cruel decision to imprison one of the nations' finest citizens. We call on this verdict to be nulled, and that Khadija is released from jail immediately. Failing the release of Khadija Ismayilova, Leyla and Arif Yunus, Rasul Jafarov, Intigam Aliyev and so many other poltical prisoners, we continue to repeat that it is time to impose targeted sanctions against Azerbaijan´s main human rights perpetrators, says Secretary General Bjørn Engesland.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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