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.
Bill discriminating LGBT persons in the Kyrgyz Republic should be withdrawn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,
– The fact that this bill has passed its first reading in the parliament, confirms our concerns that the situation in Kyrgyzstan
has taken a wrong turn, says Bjørn Engesland, Secretary General in the Norwegian Helsinki Committee. – Kyrgyzstan has been
considered as the democratic island in Central Asia, but this law, as well as other proposed laws, is a clear sign that the
Kyrgyz Parliament does not take sufficient notice of the country’s international human rights obligations.
Like in other countries where such propaganda legislation has been adopted or proposed, its advocates claim to be protecting
the moral of minors and traditional family values. Much of the law is identical to the more widely known Russian law on “propaganda
of non-traditional sexual relations towards minors”, but the bill in Kyrgyzstan also allows for one years imprisonment in
addition to administrative measures such as fines. This bill will not only sanction dissemination of information about LGBT
issues, but also activists and organizations that work on protection of LGBT rights.
In the report “They Say I deserved it, Police Violence Against Gay and Bisexual Men in Kyrgyzstan” published earlier this
year, Human Rights Watch conclude that gay and bisexual men in Kyrgyzstan are subject to a range of abuses by police, including
physical, sexual, and psychological violence, as well as extortion and arbitrary detention. – The difficult situation for
LGBT persons in the Kyrgyz Republic is well documented, and introducing legislation that specifically portrays LGBT persons
as a danger to children may easily justify hate crimes as well as marginalization of these groups in society, warns Engesland.
The bill still needs to pass a second and third reading and be signed by the president before it would become law. NHC strongly
encourage the members of the Kyrgyz parliament to vote against the bill, and make sure that LGBT persons obtain necessary
protection against discrimination.
–If not, President Almazbek Atambayev should veto the bill, Engesland concluded. – This is an important opportunity to show
commitment to the democratic principles on which the law makers were elected, by implementing the fundamental human rights
the Kyrgyz Republic is obliged to protect.
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!
Helsingforskomiteen gir Andrej Sakharovs Frihetspris 2014 til politiske fanger i Aserbajdsjan. De utviser mot og stor innsats
i å fremme verdighet, demokratiske verdier og menneskerettigheter. Aserbajdsjan er et europeisk land som utvikler seg stadig
mer i retning av et diktatur. Prisen tildeles dem alle. Det er et trist faktum at det er alt for mange av dem til at vi kan
nevne hver og én.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee 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.
Gårsdagens fullsatte debattmøte på Litteraturhuset i regi av Norsk PEN og Den norske Helsingforskomité viste et sterk engasjement
rundt tildelingen av Ibsenprisen 2014 til Peter Handke. Innleggene og paneldebatten kan ses i sin helhet under.
A decision by the Moscow City Court published on 8 September 2014 concludes that the Association Golos, an election watchdog,
and its former executive director Lilia Shibanova, have not violated the law on “foreign agents”. Golos had refused to register
as a “foreign agent”, which is required by the law for organizations that receive foreign funding and engage in loosely defined
political activities. – This is an important decision and indeed good news for Golos, said Bjørn Engesland, Secretary General
of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee. Lower courts found Golos in breach of the law because of receiving our Sakharov Freedom
Award in 2012. The Moscow City Court, however, said that since Golos did not receive the 10 000 US Dollar prize money, it
was not obliged to register. The ruling is a serious defeat for the Ministry of Justice.
Gisseldramaet i Beslan, Nord-Ossetia 1.-3. september 2004 i barneskole nummer 1 kostet minst 385 menneskeliv, ifølge russiske
myndigheter. Blant de drepte var 334 gisler, og 186 av dem var barn. – Dessverre er Beslan symptomatisk for russiske myndigheters
holdning til menneskeliv, sier Bjørn Engesland, generalsekretær.
On occasion of the UN International Day of the Disappeared, which is on August 30, 2014, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee
together with the Prove They Are Alive! campaign launch a video clip and press release to put the spotlight on the issue of
enforced disappearances in Turkmenistan.
The brutal attack on the journalist Ilgar Nasibov, in Nakhchivan, Azerbaijan, is an outrage, and Azerbaijan’s authorities
should ensure a prompt, effective and impartial investigation, Front Line Defenders, Human Rights House Foundation, Norwegian
Helsinki Committee, Rafto Foundation for Human Rights, People in Need, Human Rights Watch, Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights,
International Media Support, ARTICLE 19 and Reporters without borders said today.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is concerned after learning that the State Committee for National Security (GKNB) of Kyrgyzstan
has sued an independent journalist based in Osh, Shokhrukh Saipov, following an article he published with the Ferghana News
Agency in May 2014.
The NHC presents our sixth policy paper of 2014. The so-called Foreign Agents Law has already hit hundreds of non-governmental
organizations unwilling to register, and its chilling effect is no longer a prediction but a reality. The paper argues that
the Foreign Agents Law has dire consequences for Russian civil society, violates human rights and should be repealed.
Azerbaijan's independent civil society has for a long time been engaged in a major effort to go through the lists of possible
political prisoners in the country, to identify those that meet the criteria adopted by the Council of Europe's Parliamentary
Assembly. The list, containing as many as 98 names, was compiled under the leadership of Leyla Yunus and Rasul Jafarov. Both
Leylas and Rasuls own names have been added to the list the last few weeks.
Update 12 August: The lawyer Intigam Aliyev was arrested Friday 8 August, and was the fourth human rights activist who in
a short time have been detained in Azerbaijan. This means that in the two last weeks, four of the most prominent human rights
defenders in Azerbaijan have been sent to prison, all under investigation for serious crimes and risking many years behind
bars if convicted. The four have all been outspoken critics of the regime of President Ilham Aliyev, and by the move Azerbaijan
once again shows a blatant contempt towards the European Convention on Human Rights. Despite this, Azerbaijan currently holds
the Chairmanship of the Council of Europe Council of Ministers.
On 2 August 2014 the prominent human rights defender Rasul Jafarov was arrested in Baku. Together with the Civic Solidarity
Platform, a coalition of 60 human rights NGOs of the OSCE region, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee calls upon the authorities
of Azerbaijan to release the human rights defender Rasul Jafarov and stop putting pressure on the civil society of the country.
Read the statement in full below.
2. juli 2014. Amnesty Norge har med støtte fra Den norske Helsingforskomité og en rekke andre organisasjoner i Norge sendt
et brev til statssekretær Bård Glad Pedersen der vi ber om at også de økonomiske, sosiale og kulturelle rettighetene vektlegges
gjennom Stortingsmeldingen om menneskerettigheter i utenrikspolitikken.
On 17 June 2014, the Human Rights Committee of the Kyrgyz Parliament Zhogorku Kenesh approved a draft law that, if passed,
will make the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transsexual (LGBT) people and activists more difficult.
As the world marks the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee has received the
tragic news of the death of Abdurasul Khudoynazarov, a 58-year old human rights activist from Uzbekistan.
Together with the other members and partners of the Human Rights House Network, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee has sent
a letter to the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, where we urge the Ukrainian authorities to refer situation on the internationally
recognised territory of Ukraine to the International Criminal Court (ICC) until the state becomes a member of the ICC by acceding
to the Rome Statute.
In the letter we also call upon the Ukrainian government to support the work of human rights NGOs, journalists, bloggers and
other media, and aknowledge the important and legitimate role of human rights defenders in the promotion of human rights,
democracy and the rule of law as an essential component of ensuring their protection. In this important periode for the country,
we also urge the Ukrainan government to ensure that the reform process in the country, as well as all dialogue about the future
of the country, is inclusive and transparent, giving space to civil society. Read the letter below.
- Dette er en gledens dag. At vår gode venn og kollega Ales Bialiatski endelig er løslatt fra fengsel gjør oss enormt glade,
sier Bjørn Engesland i en kommentar til dagens nyhet fra Minsk. - Vi har vært bekymret for Ales' situasjon i fengselet, og
tatt opp hans sak med både norske myndigheter og i internasjonale fora ved gjentatte anledninger. Vi er lettet over at Ales
nå endelig kan gjenforenes med sin kone og barn i Minsk, fortsetter Engesland.
The NHC presents our fifth policy paper of 2014. The policy paper shows how a Russian sponsored initiative at the UN Human
Rights Council has been targeting core tenets of international human rights. The proponents of the initiative have camouflaged
it as laying out new ways of promoting human rights. Traditional values of humankind are a tool to strengthen and underpin
human rights at the local level, they claim. In reality, the initiative threatens to destroy consensus among the states of
the world on how they should honor their human rights obligations.
Under to åpne seminarer under Europride 2014 inviterer LLH, Amnesty og Helsingforskomiteen 22. Juni ti av Øst-Europas mest
fremtredende lhbt-aktivister til å fortelle om livet under antihomolovene – og om hvordan lhbt-personer blir trukket inn i
en ny kald krig mellom Øst og Vest.
Over the last months, Armenian human rights activists have been increasingly subject to pressure and intimidation, and in
many cases media is used actively to spread intolerance towards activists and the vulnerable groups they protect, in particular
topics of LGBTI and gender. The NHC has responded to this development by joining local partners in an alternative report to
the UPR on Armenia and an open statement addressing these issues.
In our report to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee recommends that the government
of Kyrgyzstan investigates and brings to justice perpetrators of violence against civilians among government forces during
the June 2010 events in the south of the country, and in the period following the violence. The Human Rights Council will
review the situation for human rights in Kyrgyzstan at their 21st session set to January 2015. Read NHC report in full below.
European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE), a network of NGOs observing elections in Europe, has been united to observe
the crucial Presidential elections in Ukraine that took place 25 may. 200 trained civil society observers monitored the elections
in 10 regions of Ukraine in cooperation with local observers from Opora and Committee of Voters Ukraine. Norwegian Helsinki
Committee, a co-founder of EPDE, joined the mission and assisted in the coordination of the effort. Today, the mission statement
was published at a press conference in Kiev.
The President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Sir Suma Chakrabati, visited Kazakhstan during the
week of 9 June. During his visit to Almaty, the President and several of his colleagues from the EBRD met with the Norwegian
Helsinki Committee’s Regional Representative in Central Asia, Ivar Dale, to discuss recent developments in the sphere of human
A vision of a Europe with out political prisoners gathered activists and policy makers on 2 June in Berlin for a conference
organised by European Stability Initiative (ESI). Senior European policy makers, parliamentarians, and human rights activists
gathered to discuss what different institutions – the Council of Europe, the European Union and international human rights
organisations – must do to realise the vision of a Europe without political prisoners in the near future. NHC was a supporter
of the conference and secretary General Bjørn Engesland a speaker.
In an open letter to Armenia's President Serzh Sargsyan sent today, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee highlights recommendations
from the recent report on civic activism in Armenia and offers to discuss them in a meeting with the President in Yerevan
later in June. The report examines developments within the Armenian civil society since the disputed presidential elections
in 2008, and points to several issues that need to be addressed in order to counter the lack of trust in the Armenian society
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee condemns the verdict against the renowned independent election observer Anar Mammadli, who
in a Baku court yesterday was sentenced to five and-a-half years in prison for tax evasion, illegal business activities, and
using their office to falsify election results.
NHC is currently in Ukraine observing the election together with our network European Platform for Democratic Elections. In
most of the country it is reported that voters turn out in unpresedented high numbers and that lines are forming in many polling
stations. In a large majority of the country, the polling takes place in a calm atmosphere and elections seem to go well by
14:00. In two regions, Donetsk and Lugansk, the polling has been cancelled for security reasons or the fact that some areas
are under de facto control of armed pro-Russian rebels
- Gruveulykken i Soma 13. mai, som har tatt over 300 menneskeliv, må etterforskes. Det må være en genuin og åpen etterforskning
som får tillit i befolkningen. Gruveeierne og de som hadde ansvar for gruvedriften kan ikke gå fri for sitt ansvar, sa Gunnar
M. Ekeløve-Slydal, assisterende generalsekretær på en markering for ofrene for ulykken foran Stortinget 20. mai 2014 arrangert
av den norske Occupy Gezi Plattformen. Photo: Emrah Gurel.
Helsingforskomiteens Berit Lindeman og Lene Wetteland vil observere søndagens presidentvalg i Ukraina. Våre observatører vil
samarbeide tett med nettverket European Platform for Democatic Elections og lokale organisasjoner som tilsammen sender ut
4000 observatører til stemmelokaler søndag. Til tross for uroligheter, opprør og russiske separatister kan det bli det mest demokratiske valget i landet på lenge. Valgadministrasjonene
virker i hovedsak godt forberedte, og ingen av kandidatene har hatt åpenbare og urettmessige fordeler under valgkampen, i
motsetning til under de fleste tidligere valg.
17th of May is not only a celebration of the Norwegian national day; it is also the International Day against Homophobia (IDAHO).
While blue-copies of the Russian legislation banning so-called propaganda of non-traditional relations is on the rise all
over Eastern Europe, while LGBTI persons are beaten and killed, public events are banned, peaceful activists are arrested
and homo- and transphobia flourish; IDAHO is a reminder that the international community bears responsibility for securing
the human rights of sexual and gender minorities all over.
Det norske Stortinget vedtok 13. mai 2014 et eget kapittel om menneskerettigheter i Norges grunnlov. – Dette er et langt skritt
i riktig retning, sier Bjørn Engesland, generalsekretær. Vi setter særlig pris på at kapitlet starter med å forplikte statens
myndigheter til å «respektere og sikre menneskerettighetene slik de er nedfelt i denne grunnlov og i for Norge bindende traktater
om menneskerettigheter» (§ 92). Styrkingen av barnets rettigheter er også meget positivt (§ 104).
Don’t forget about the political prisoners in Russia, it can prevent them from being killed! This was the message from Nadezhda
Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina, the two Pussy Riot/Zona Prava members that participated at the packed Norwegian Helsinki
Committee seminar Safeguarding international institutions against authoritarian abuse on 13 May.
The crisis in Ukraine develops by the day, and the need for sound and objective information is huge. The Norwegian Helsinki
Committee recommends the regular updates provided by the Civic Solidarity Platform, a network of human rights organizations
who cooperate to gather information with a special attention to the human rights situation. The Norwegian Helsinki Committee
is a founding member of the Platform and among the NGOs to assist in the efforts in Ukraine. The information provided in the
updates is always based on findings by human rights experts on the ground, and our local members of the Platform are key providers
NHC annual meeting, on 29 April 2014, has adopted our 2013 Annual Report. The report is an account of our wide range of activities
during last year, a truly busy and exciting year for the Norwegian Helsinki Committee. Among many other issues you can read
about our observation of the parliamentary elections in Norway in September, of campaigns in Russia as well as several of
the projects and activities the NHC has been engaged in the recent year.
Den norske Helsingforskomité gjennomførte i går årsmøte for våre styre- og rådsmedlemmer på Litteraturhuset i Oslo. I årets
uttalelse ber årsmøtet den norske regjeringen om å støtte demokratisering og reformer i Ukraina samt bidra til økt press mot
Russlands undergraving av landets myndigheter. Årsmøtet ble ledet av styreleder i Den norske Helsingforskomité Ragnhild Astrup
Norwegian Helsinki Committee condemns the detention of prominent Azerbaijani human rights defender Leyla Yunus and raises
the alarm she may be facing arrest and criminal charges. Late last night we learned that Leyla Yunus and her husband, historian
Arif Yunus were detained at the airport as they were leaving for a conference abroad. They were refused exit from the country,
their luggage and home were searched. Leyla Yunus has been interrogated through the night at the general prosecutors’ office
in Baku; Arif has been taken to a hospital for medical treatment.
28. april 2014 skal Norge for andre gang høres i FNs menneskerettighetsråd om gjennomføringen av menneskerettighetene i Norge.
Sist gang i 2009 fikk Norge flere kritiske merknader, og denne gangen er det Utenriksminister Børge Brende som eksamineres
om menneskerettighetene i Norge. I samarbeid med FN-sambandet har vi liveoverføring fra Geneve og panel med kommentarer i
FN-sambandets lokaler i Storgata 33. klokken 8:30. Photo: Jean-Marc Ferré, UN.
The NHC presents our fourth policy paper of 2014. The policy paper discusses the failure to investigate the crimes of the
Russian-Georgian war of August 2008, and highlights the importance of a continued involvement in the Georgia war crimes situation
by the International Criminal Court.
Det må regjeringen svare for i FN i mai 2014. I likhet med alle andre stater i verden vil Norge bli gjenstand for en Universell
Periodisk Undersøkelse (UPR) i FNs Menneskerettighetsråd. Det er fire år siden Norges den første gangen. Selve undersøkelsen
tar en halv dag hvor alle verdens stater kan stille spørsmål eller kritisere Norge. – Forberedelsene er allerede godt i gang,
og etter mai 2014 vil arbeidet med å følge opp anbefalingene om bedret praksis starte. Frivillige organisasjoner har en viktig
rolle å spille hele veien, sier Ole B Lilleås i Den norske Helsingforskomité.
I en anmeldelse som Den norske Helsingforekomité leverer idag til Siri Frigaard, lederen av Det nasjonale statsadvokatembetet
for bekjempelse av organisert og annen alvorlig kriminalitet, navngis russiske tjenestemenn mistenkt for tortur og drap av
advokaten og varsleren Sergei Magnitsky: Oleg Silchenko, Dmitry Markov og Oleg Kuznetsov. Silchenko var ansvarlig tjenestemann
ved det russiske innenriksdepartementet for arrestasjonen og varetektsfengslingen av Magnitsky. De to siste var overordnete
tjenestemenn ved Matrosskaya Tishina varetektsfengsel der Magnitsky døde som følge av mishandling med gummikøller.
Utenriksdepartementet har igangsatt et arbeid med en Stortingsmelding om norsk menneskerettighetspolitikk og invitert til
innspill og forslag fra sivilsamfunnet. Den norske Helsingforskomité setter pris på at en slik melding skal lages og har nå
gitt våre innspill til Utenriksdepartementet.
Sammen men Amnesty International Norge har Den norske Helsingforskomité skrevet et brev til Statsminister og partileder i
Høyre Erna Solberg der vi argumenterer for at Høyre bør støtte et forslag om å vedta et nytt kapittel i den norske Grunnloven
som inneholder både sivile, politiske, økonomiske, sosiale og kulturelle menneskerettigheter. Les hele brevet under.
The NHC presents our third policy paper of 2014. The policy paper discusses religious minorities' rights in Turkey, and urges
the Turkish government to recognize the Alevi cem houses as places of worship. The Alevi are Turkey's largest religious minority,
and the cemevi are their houses of worship.
On 9 April, the Parliament of Kazakhstan has the second hearing on a reform package of four laws related to criminal proceedings
in Kazakhstan. – The reform is long awaited since there are several problematic issues with the current legislation, but unfortunately
the suggested amendments, if implemented, will result in a more restrictive legislation package rather than an improvement,
the Norwegian Helsinki Committee and the International Legal Initiative in Kazakhstan warn.
On the same day as the Prime Minister and his cabinet unexpectedly stepped down in Astana, yet another independent newspaper
was ordered to close in Almaty. The newspaper Assandi Times has been covering cases also critical to the government since
2002, but was closed after a 1 April 2014 court decision following a trial that none of the staff of the newspaper were informed
Ahead of the upcoming parliamentary election in Hungary, the NHC presents our second policy paper. On 6 April 2014 the population
will cast their ballots and chose their representatives in the Parliament. Serious issues remain, however, about the state
of Hungarian democracy. There is little fear of fraud during elections, but in the media the governing Fidesz party is more
visible than opposition parties and the independence of the judiciary is weakened. You can read and download the policy paper
Fredag 9. mai 2014 starter de første kampene i ishockey-VM i Minsk i Hviterussland. Hviterussland, Europas siste diktatur,
har blitt styrt med jernhånd av President Aleksander Lukasjenko de siste tjue år. I den forbindelse har Den norske Helsingforskomité,
i samarbeid med Human Rights House Foundation, Norsk PEN og Amnesty International Norge laget en håndbok for journalister
som skal dekke Ishockey-VM i Hviterussland, enten planen er å reise til Hviterussland, eller jobben skal gjøres med base i
This week, the Kyrgyz Parliament Zhogorku Kenesh started initial discussions on a new draft law on “amendments to some legislative
acts of the Kyrgyz Republic”, introduced by two parliamentarians. – The title of the draft law can be a cause for confusion,
but the intent is quite clear, says Lene Wetteland, Central Asia advisor in the Norwegian Helsinki Committee. – The draft
law follows the Russian example of a ban on propaganda of so-called non-traditional sexual relations, making it prohibited
to talk “openly or covertly” about any topic that in one way or another touch upon LGBTI issues in a positive or neutral way.
A regional conference for universities adopted the Sarajevo Declaration on the Role of Higher Education and Civil Society
in Education for Peace on 20 March 2014. The Norwegian Helsinki Committee organized the regional conference “The role of universities
in peacebuilding” in Sarajevo on 20 March together with our local partners as part of our project Build Bridges, not Walls.
NHC is proud to present our new publication format, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee's policy paper. Our first policy paper
is a Q&A on the Ukraine, Russia crisis, where we want to point to some of the main legal and human rights issues in the current
situation. You can read and download the policy paper below.
In connection with the upcoming meeting between Abdulaziz Kamilov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Uzbekistan
and the European Parliament, the NHC is one of the signatories on an open letter initiated by the International Human Rights
Association adressed to the chairman of the European Parliament Mr. Elmar Brook, where we challenge him to adress the serious
and systematic human rights violations that are happening every day in Uzbekistan. Read the letter below.
Stiftelsen Fritt Ords og ZEIT-Stiftungs pressepriser for Russland og Øst-Europa i 2014 går til journalister og medier fra
Russland, Ukraina, Hviterussland, Aserbajdsjan og Armenia. Tre av årets prisvinnere er nominert av Den norske Helsingforskomité.
Vi gratulerer! På bildet er den ukrainske journalisten Mustafa Nayyem, en av årets prisvinnere nominert av Den norske Helsingforskomité.
Søndag 16. mars skal befolkningen på Krim i Ukraina avholde folkeavstemning om sin fremtidige status. – En overveldende rekke
fakta tilsier at folkeavstemningen på Krim ikke er legitim, både av formelle, juridiske årsaker, men også når vi legger den
faktiske situasjonen på Krim til grunn, sier Bjørn Engesland, generalsekretær i Den norske Helsingforskomité.
- Turkey is not a theocratic or confessional state. It is a secular state with significant human rights commitments in the
sphere of freedom of religion or belief. However, Turkey is struggling with protecting the right to freedom of religion or
belief fully for all, to comply with the principle of state neutrality and to ensure pluralism, Mine Yildrim, Head of the
Norwegian Helsinki Committee Freedom of Belief Initiative in Turkey, said at a seminar on religion and state in Turkey arranged
by the Norwegian Helsinki arranged on 12 March 2014.
Den norske Helsingforskomité følger med forferdelse den dramatiske utviklingen i Ukraina. Det er grunn til å frykte en fullskala
militær konflikt på Krimhalvøya, med de konsekvensene det vil ha for liv, sikkerhet og grunnleggende menneskerettigheter der,
i Ukraina og i hele regionen.
I dag spiller Den norske Helsingforskomité sine synspunkter på menneskerettighetsutvalgets innstilling til Stortingets kontroll-
og konstitusjonskomité. - Stortinget har en historisk sjanse til å styrke menneskerettighetenes stilling i norsk lovgivning.
I forrige periode ble det fremmet forslag om et eget kapittel med de sentrale menneskerettighetene i Grunnloven. Nå må det
sittende Stortinget kjenne sin besøkelsestid og vedta denne viktige reformen, sier Gunnar M. Ekeløve-Slydal, assisterende
generalsekretær i Den norske Helsingforskomité. Les vårt innspill og se møtet live ved å klikke på linken under.
- The judgments by a Moscow court of eight Bolotnaya protesters to prison terms from two and half to four years must be seen
in the context of Kremlin efforts to stifle opposition, said Gunnar M. Ekeløve-Slydal, Deputy Secretary General. - The judgments
send a chilling message to ordinary Russians that they should refrain from taking part in protests against President Vladimir
Putin and his rule. If not they may face serious consequences. The judgments target Russian civic activism and basic freedoms.
Helgens utvikling har vært svært dramatisk. Lørdag tok de opposisjonelle kreftene kontrollen over alle de sentrale statlige
institusjonene, men president Janukovitsj og han nærmeste medarbeidere forlot hovedstaden Kiev. Innen i morgen skal Oleksander
Turtsjunov, som det ukrainske parlamentet i går utnevnte til interim president, presentere en ny regjering. Vi håper Turtsjunov
vil skape et grunnlag for forsoning.
President Viktor Janukovitsj sitter med nøkkelen og ansvaret for å få slutt på volden og å få til en politisk prosess, sier
generalsekretær Bjørn Engesland om den svært dramatiske situasjonen. I tillegg til den omfattende volden i Kiev, har protester
og uro også spredt seg til en rekke andre byer.
Norwegian Helsinki Committee, of behalf of the Norwegian NGO Forum for Human Rights, has submitted recommendations to the
Government of Norway on human rights in 2014 at United Nations. The recommendations are particularly directed towards Norway's
efforts before the UN Human Rights Council, but are relevant also to other UN bodies. Some of the issues will be discussed
today when NGO forum for human rights meet with Foreign Minister Børge Brende on Norway's future human rights strategy.
Together with 27 other human rights organisations, the NHC sent a letter to the Czech President Miloš Zeman, criticizing his
decision to invite the President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov to an official state visit to Prague on 20-22 February. Islam
Karimov is the leader of one of the most repressive governments in the world, and should not be rewarded with the prestige
and recognition associated with an official state visit. Though the Czech President initially responded to the letter by calling
the human rights groups uninformed and hypocritical, on 13 February it was known that Karimov had decided to "postpone" his
visit, a decision welcomed by international human rights activists and victims of human rights abuse in Uzbekistan. Read
the letter below.
- Demonstrasjonene i Ukraina er oppstått fordi ukrainere er inderlig lei av korrupsjon, maktmisbruk og brudd på menneskerettighetene.
Landet har behov for store reformer, til dette trengs stor støtte til ukrainsk sivilsamfunn. Den norske Helsingforskomité
samarbeider med lokale, ukrainske organisasjoner for å skape en ny framtid i Ukraina.
The NHC has monitored developments in Armenia closely since the disputed presidential election in 2008. This fresh report
provides an analysis of trends within civic activism since the unrest that resulted in 10 deaths on 1 March 2008 until the
recent demonstrations against the Russia-led customs union. – The authorities’ reactions to civic engagement in Armenia over
the last weeks is definitely a reason for concern, says Armenia advisor in the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, Lene Wetteland.
– Though Armenia has received praise for legal reforms and some positive developments in the EU rapprochement process, these
recent actions should serve as a warning that these steps can easily be retracted, Wetteland says.
During the Winter session of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) today, an overwhelming majority voted for
the adoption of the report "Refusing impunity for the killers of Sergei Magnitsky"
The Government of Ukraine chose to meet demands for democracy with hastily adopted laws effectively taking away from people
fundamental rights and freedoms. The last few days have been dominated by serious violence with clashes between police and
protesters in Kiev, the city famous for its peaceful protests. This morning, we got the sad news that two demonstrators have
been killed, we fear more as tension is on the rise. – European leaders should engage in what happens in Kiev and intensify
efforts to support the protesters’ demand for human rights, Secretary General Bjørn Engesland says. President Yanukovich clearly
has demonstrated that Ukraine’s hard earned freedom and democratic development is of no importance to him. To avoid further
bloodshed it is time to consider which sanctions could be efficient to force President Yanukovich and the Government of Ukraine
to turn back, repeal undemocratic laws and to make sincere efforts to bring parties together for talks.
På gårsdagens informasjonsmøte for norske journalister som skal reise til OL i Sotsji var oppfordringen klar: Dra ut av OL-byen,
lag saker om det virkelige Russland, og møt menneskene som vet hva som virkelig foregår i regionen.
In September, Armenia’s President Sargsyan decided to sign initial agreements with the Russian-led Customs Union on the eve
of when he was expected to sign documents on an Association Agreement and a Deep and Comprehensive Trade Agreement with the
On 16 December 2013 Anar Mammadli, chairman of the Election Monitoring and Democracy Studies Centre, Baku (EMDS) and board
member of the network European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE) was arrested and given a three months pre-trial detention
at the Nasimin District Court in Baku.
I anledning statssekretær Bård Glad Pedersens besøk i Russland 14. og 15. desember har Den norske Helsingforskomité spilt
inn synspunkter på det vi mener er de mest sentrale menneskerettslige utfordringene i Russland. Les hele brevet til statssekretæren
Søndag avviklar Turkmenistan det som i mange andre land kallast parlamentsval, i Norge Stortingsval. Det vil seie – det blir
kalla parlamentsval i Turkmenistan óg, det er stemmelokale med alt riktig tilbehør over heile landet og det kjem eit resultat
etter ei oppteljing av stemmesedlar, men det er ikkje eit val.
Ivar Dale, NHC Central Asia representative, has participated at the OSCE Parallel Civil Society conference in Kiev in connection
with the now ongoing OSCE Ministerial Council. During the meeting, the Civic Solidarity Platform developed a policy document
containing civil society analysis and recommendations on alarming human dimension issues across the OSCE region and on human
dimensions issues in Ukraine, in light of the country’s OSCE Chairmanship. It also includes recommendations for increasing
the efficiency of the OSCE human dimension process. -The Platform provides an excellent opportunity for non-governmental
organizations to meet and develop common strategies to fight the serious human rights violations that unfortunately remain
all over the OSCE region. The Outcome Document should be studied closely by government representatives who wish to contribute
to democratic development, Ivar Dale comments.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee follows with great concern the dramatic developments in the streets of Kiev where at least
350 000 protesters gathered this weekend demanding the resignation of President Yanukovich.
After a run-up marked by flagrant violations of political pluralism and freedom of information, President Ilham Aliyev’s reelection
by an overwhelming majority on 10 October 2013, in a poll that the OSCE considered “seriously flawed”, has been followed by
new crackdown on the media. The daily newspaper Azadliq, one of the few remaining opposition news outlets, is now in danger
of succumbing to efforts to throttle it financially. NHC joins other human rights defenders in voicing concern at the situation.
On 7 May, the Kyrgyzstani NGO Bir Duino ("One World") presented the results of their analysis of the problems of early marriages
and early pregnancy in Kyrgyzstan at a press conference in Bishkek. Photo: Kloop.kg
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee was present in Tajikistan this week to tap the atmosphere surrounding the 6 November presidential
elections, where the incumbent Emomali Rakhmon as of Thursday morning took 83,9 % of the votes. The landslide win came as
no surprise, with the run-up to Election Day following a familiar formula long established in Tajikistan as well as in many
of its neighboring states. -Pre-determined election results are no proof of stability. We consider that it merely reflects
the lack of political pluralism in Tajikistan, said Ivar Dale, Norwegian Helsinki Committee Regional Representative in Central
A new book edited by Russian-French journalist Elena Servettaz, arguing for Europe to enact a Magnitsky law similar to the
US Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act was launched in the UK on 5 November. -The book presents powerful arguments
that Europe should deny visa and freeze assets of those who killed Sergei Magnitsky and other human rights violators, said
Bjørn Engesland, Secretary General.
Together with a coalition of 70 free speech, media freedom and human rights organisations worldwide, the Norwegian Helsinki
Committee has sent a letter to Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom, where we express our concerns that the
way the United Kingdom government’s response to the revelations of mass surveillance of digital communications is eroding
fundamental human rights in the country. The government’s response has been to condemn, rather than celebrate investigative
journalism, which plays a crucial role in a healthy democratic society. Rather than using national security as an argument
to hinder journalists in their work, the Governemnet should honour the UK’s international obligations to defend and protect
the right to freedom of expression and media freedom, and to end the UK government’s pressure on the Guardian and those who
assist them. The letter was initiated by Article 19, United Kingdom. Read the letter below.
The European Platform for Democratic Elections protests against the intimidation of its member organization, the Election
Monitoring and Democracy Studies Centre (EMDS) in Baku. We are worried that the investigations led by the Prosecutor general’s
office, have political motives, a reaction to the critical statements made by EMDS after the recent Presidential elections
in Azerbaijan. - As a member of the European Platform for Democratic Elections, we join the protests and we are very worried
to see that another efficient election monitoring NGO is targeted by the authorities, says Secretary General Bjørn Engesland.
Last April, Russian partner Golos was convicted for failing to comply with NGO-legislation and failing to register as 'foreign
-We can report only minor irregularities here in the Batumi area, and for what we have witnessed, the elections process this
time is a big step forward for Georgia compared to what we have seen in previous elections. NHCs Aage Borchgrevink is in Georgia
together with colleagues to observe the presidential elections in Akhalkalaki, Akhaltsike and Batumi. Even though we are aware
of irregularities, compared to previous years, people are not put under pressure, they are more open and they went to vote
in a calm manner, Borchgrevink says.
Den norske Helsingforskomité har skrevet brev til Statsminister Erna Solberg der vi peker på noen menneskerettslige utfordringer
som vi ber regjeringen prioritere. - Det er behov for et sterkt politisk fokus på gjennomføringen og overvåkingen av internasjonale
menneskerettigheter; både i utenrikspolitikken og i Norge, sier generalsekretær Bjørn Engesland. Les brevet i sin helhet under. Foto: Heiko Junge/NTB scanpix/SMK
Together with a group of human rights NGOs from several European countries, the NHC sent a letter yesterday to the ministers
of foreign affairs of EU member states urging the EU to extend and expand its targeted economic sanctions against Belarusian
companies providing support to the authoritarian regime of Alexander Lukashenka by exporting to and through the EU. - I am extremely concerned that the political prisoners, who have languished in prison for almost three years under terrible
circumstances, slowly are being forgotten by Europe. Effective sanctions are the best tool we have at hand, they should be
strengthened, not weakened, until the prisoners are released and Lukashenka truly improves his record of human rights in Belarus,
says Bjørn Engesland, Secretary general of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee.
In a surprising statement after last week's elections in Azerbaijan, delegations from the European Parliament and the Council
of Europe Parliamentary Assembly concluded that they had observed "free, fair and transparent electoral process". They did
this despite the widespread and reliable reports of fraud, pressure against voters and other manipulations. - We find it quite
astonishing that European parliamentary delegation members, who should defend the voters' right to democratic elections, instead
choose to look away from the facts of the presidential elections in Azerbaijan, secretary general Bjørn Engesland says. Together
with the European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE) we have made a statement criticizing the delegations.
22. august arrangerte Helsingforskomiteen seminaret 108 døgn i Lukasjenkos fangehull på Litteraturhuset i Oslo. Det ble en
følelsesladet rapport fra Europas siste diktatur. Under kan du se introduksjonene til våre hovedgjester Anatoly Lebedko og
On 30 September 2013, Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan presented a democratization package to address some of
the fundamental issues in the country, including freedom of religion or belief issues. - While the package includes positive
elements, it falls short of introducing a principled approach to freedom of religion or belief, said Mine Yildirim, head of
the Norwegian Helsinki Committee Freedom of Belief Initiative in Turkey.
The new NHC report Kazakhstan: Cunning democracy, analyzes the current situation for democracy in the country, and summarizes
some of our current concerns with regards to freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and freedom of religion or belief.
The report is co-written with Freedom House.
In a joint call issued today on the eve of the Presidential election, 22 human right organisations and press freedom campaigners
warn that the failure of the government of Azerbaijan to respect human rights, including freedom of expression, undermines
the democratic legitimacy of the government. - Azerbaijan should take immediate action to ensure fundamental rights are protected
ahead of the election, including by releasing journalists, political activists and human rights defenders, to ensure the election
is free and fair, NHCs Secretary General Bjørn Engesland says.
In July 2012, Tajikistani authorities used disproportional force in a special operation in the mountainous Pamir region of
Tajikistan, bordering Afghanistan. Officially, the authorities were aiming to arrest criminals linked to militant forces in
Afghanistan. Effectively, communications lines were cut off for a long period of time, a large number of civilians suffered
in terms of property damage and injuries, and more than 22 people died. One year later, the authorities have failed to provide
adequate information on the details around what happened and which legal acts are being taken to punish those involved.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee congratulates the Belarussian human rights defender Ales Bialiatski with the Vaclav Havel
Human Rights Prize. - Ales Bialiatski has devoted his life to the fight for human rights, democracy and freedom for all citizens
of Belarus. As our good friend and collegaue we have seen how his work has made a tremendous impact on so many people lives.
I can hardly imagine a more well-deserved prize, says Secretary General Bjørn Engesland.
7. oktober tennes OL-ilden i Moskva og Putin fyller 61 år. Men ikke alle er velkomne til å feire begivenhetene. Det vil Amnesty,
LLH og Helsingforskomiteen gjøre noe med. Derfor inviterer vi til bursdagsfest på Egertorget mandag 7. oktober kl. 15-16.
Det er Putins bursdag, men vi inviterer gjestene.
– Snowden’s avsløringer i The Guardian og The Washington Post må føre til at det vedtas sterkere internasjonale regler for
å hindre overvåkning av personer uten begrunnet rettskjennelse og uten at de er mistenkt for lovbrudd, sier Gunnar M. Ekeløve-Slydal,
assisterende generalsekretær. – Helsingforskomiteen har tidligere kritisert at Telia Sonera og Vimpelcom (deleid av Telenor)
gir autoritære regimer i post-sovjetiske land som Usbekistan og Hviterussland tilgang til sine systemer. USA og andre demokratiske
land må nå sette en standard for å hindre utvikling av et globalt online overvåkingssamfunn. De må ta et oppgjør med en praksis
som er i strid med internasjonale menneskerettigheter og egne konstitusjonelle verdier.
From 26 September to 3 October 2013 the Norwegian Helsinki Committee will participate at this years' OSCE Human Dimensions
Implementation Meeting (HDIM) in Warsaw. HDIM is an arena where civil society representatives can present views and directly
challenge state represenatives. For many of the participants from non-democratic countries this is a rare opportunity. NHC
is, as always, very active during the conference.
Members of the Civic Solidarity Platform are deeply concerned about the safety of journalist Sergey Naumov, who was arrested
by police in his home town Urgench in Khorazm Province, Uzbekistan on Saturday night, 21 September 2013 and later sentenced
to 12 days imprisonment for "hooliganism".
- Supporting and protecting the Belgrade Pride Parade and Pride Week 2013 is an opportunity for Serbian authorities to show
its commitment for the human rights for all persons, and in particular, the human rights of those belonging to sexual and
gender minorities (LGBTI), Bjørn Engesland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee says. The Pride Parade march
in the streets of Belgrade is scheduled for September 28.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee and other Civic Solidarity Platform members urge in a letter to Norway’s Minister of Foreign
Affairs, Espen Barth Eide, Norway to use its influence at the UN Human Rights Council to oppose the “traditional values” agenda.
This agenda attempts to undermine the universality of fundamental human rights, and is part of a global trend to qualify human
rights protections and restrict the civic space for the expression of dissent.
34 observatører fra 11 land i det tidligere Sovjetunionen har gjennomført valgobservasjon av årets Stortingsvalg. Valgobservatørene
har blitt tatt svært godt i mot over hele landet, og har observert et valg der velgerne har stor grad av tillit til valgprosessen.
Valget har vært gjennomført på en svært profesjonell måte. Allikevel, det er forbedringspotensial også her.
Internasjonalt valgobservatørkorps setter Stortingsvalget under lupen! Helsingforskomiteen har invitert 33 erfarne observatører
fra 11 land som vil observere valget fra Kristiansand i sør til Kirkenes i nord. - Demokratiske valg er ingen selvfølge. Mens
Norge er et land hvor velgere flest stoler på at vi har frie og rettferdige valg, spiller valgobservasjon en avgjørende rolle
i dokumentasjonen av juks og manipulasjon i svært mange land. Til tross for at norske valg holder en svært høy standard, vet
vi av tidligere erfaring at observatørene kan påvise forbedringspunkter også hos oss, sier Generalsekretær Bjørn Engesland.
In a letter to the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyevin and the Prosecutor General Zakir, Norwegian Helsinki Committee,
along with several Human Rights NGOs, express a profound concern regarding the continued harassment and intimidation of investigative
journalist Khadija Ismayilova and the resulting interference in her work. - We urge the President of Azerbaijan to take immediate
steps to ensure a prompt, thorough, effective and transparent investigation into the threats made against the journalist Khadija
Ismayilova, as well as ensuring the effectiveness of the current investigation into the violation of Ismayilovas right to
privacy, Secretary general Bjørn Engesland says.
– The guilty verdicts of lawyer and world known whistleblower Sergei Magnitsky and the man he represented, William Browder,
CEO of Hermitage Management Capital, by a Moscow court on 11 July 2013 represents a new low point in Russia’s efforts to distort
facts and cover-up the real wrongdoing in the case, said Gunnar M. Ekeløve-Slydal, Deputy Secretary General. – The Magnitsky
case implicates Russian authorities in a series of human rights violations, including illegal arrest, torture, and failure
to provide medical treatment. Now they have added new violations to the list; exposing the legal nihilism and lack of rule
of law in the country.
On 29 June, Jennifer Lopez and other artists performed at a birthday concert for President Berdymuhammedov, Turkmenistan's
authoritarian ruler. - Turkmenistan is one of the worst human rights performers in the world, says Secretary General of the Norwegian Helsiniki
Committee Bjørn Engesland. Such an appearance in Turkmenistan not only legitimises a corrupt and authoritarian regime, but
also reflects badly on any artist's aspirations to draw attention to human rights issues. In an open letter to Ms Lopez,
the NHC and several other international NGOs encourage her to donate the fee she received to a charity working to improve
the dismal human rights situation in the country.
– The killing of journalist Akhmednabi Akhmednabiev on Tuesday 9 July should be promptly investigated and those responsible
should be prosecuted, said Gunnar M. Ekeløve-Slydal, Deputy Secretary General. – The attempted murder on Akhmednabiev in January
2013 was ignored by the Prosecutor’s office, in spite of a Dagestan Supreme Court decision that it should be investigated.
This culture of impunity for those attacking and even murdering journalists and human rights defenders in North Caucasus must
end. If not, authorities will remain complicit in these killings.
In a letter to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (Pace) The Norwegian Helsinki Committee, together with
23 other international human rights organisations, strongly urges PACE to condemn so-called “homosexual propaganda” bans as
incompatible with the rights to freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and the prohibition of discrimination. The Assembly
should vote in favour of today’s resolution and recommendation on tackling discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation
and gender identity. Read the letter below
Following her detention upon arrival to Tashkent International Airport from Bishkek at 7:20 PM on Monday 24 June, prominent
Kyrgyzstani human rights activist Tolekan Ismailova was deported to Almaty, Kazakhstan in the afternoon of 25 June.
The Siberian newspaper Yakutsk Vecherny, and Yelena Kostyuchenko, journalist of Novaya Gazeta, were among the laureates of
this year’s Press Freedom Award, issued by Fritt Ord and Zeit Stiftung. – The prize jury has come to an important and appropriate
decision, drawing attention to the deteriorating conditions for freedom of speech and the difficult situation for journalists
in today’s Russia, said Secretary General Bjørn Engesland.
The Turkish government should respect freedoms and establish independent investigation into police violence against demonstrators.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is deeply concerned about recent reports of police abuse against largely peaceful demonstrators
in Istanbul, Ankara and many other Turkish cities.
Den norske Helsingforskomité har sluttet seg til en markering på Youngstorget på onsdag 19. juni kl. 18.00. Markeringen arrangeres
av LIM - nettverket, norsk - tyrkiske fredsaktivister og Norges Fredsråd med støtte fra en rekke andre organisasjoner.
Budskapet er: Respekter ytringsfriheten, ta vare på miljøet og stopp politivolden mot demonstrantene. Nefise Özkal Lorentzen
fra LIM og John Peder Egenæs fra Amnesty International Norge er blant appellantene. Sufimusikk og fotoutstilling med bilder
fra demonstrasjonene i Tyrkia står også på programmet.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee condemns the legislation waved through this week by the Russian State Duma; prohibiting “propaganda
of non-traditional sexual relations”. The restrictive legislation is part of a wider trend of worsening human rights situation
for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people in Eastern and South-Eastern Europe.
Mandag 3. juni kommer den russiske statsministeren Dmitry Medvedev til Kirkenes for å bli med på feiringen av 20-årsjubileeet
for Barentsssamarbeidet, som omfatter Finland, Norge, Russland og Sverige. Statsminister Jens Stoltenberg skal etter planen
ha et separat møte med sin russiske kollega Dmitry Medvedev den 4. juni. – Gitt den forverringen i Russland vi nå er vitne
til når det gjelder myndighetenes behandling av menneskerettighetsorganisasjoner og andre deler av det sivile samfunnet, må
Stoltenberg prioritere menneskerettighetsspørsmål i samtalene med Medvedev, sier generalsektretær Bjørn Engesland. Utviklingen
i Russland er stikk i strid med Barentserklæringen.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is pleased to announce the continuation of our small grants fund for Central Asia. All organizations
with project proposals related to human rights, democratization or strengthening of civil society may apply. While we are
open to all good proposals, we encourage projects in Kazakhstan related to the outlying regions of the country. In Kyrgyzstan,
we are particularly interested in projects addressing the basic human rights of vulnerable groups as well as legal initiatives.
In Tajikistan, strengthening of the media and the rights of children is important. However, we are open to original and innovative
Russian Civic Assistance Committee will soon present a book,- a collection of memories of eyewitnesses of and participants
in the Chechen wars. The title of the book, published in Russian, is ‘Stories of one war’ / Каждый молчит о своем: истории
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee has joined a call to the President of the UN Human Rights Council to ensure that records
of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) reflect all recommendations presented to the state under review. Recently, Russia managed
to remove two recommendations from Georgia from the list of recommendations at the end of the report and to get them added
as footnote. This is the last blow against the format of the Working Group reports which regularly, under the attack of countries
under Review, get modified and weakened. The statement calls on the President to issue a statement which would clearly define
how the Working Group report should be made and what it should contain.
One of Russia’s most respected human rights defenders, Svetlana Gannushkina, is prosecuted for “failure to comply with legal
requirements by the Prosecutor” and is to stand trial on 4 June. Gannushkina, the head of the Civic Assistance Committee (CAC),
suspended cooperation with the Moscow Prosecutors' office in April 2013 because unreasonable requirements were imposed on
her organization. In 2007, Svetlana received the Sakharov Freedom Award from the Norwegian Helsinki Committee. She has been
nominated for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize by Erna Solberg, the head of the Conservative Party in Norway.
Seks ledere for den Kroatiske utbryterrepublikken i Bosnia-Herzegovina er funnet skyldig i krigsforbrytelser og forbrytelser
mot menneskeheten. Dommen ble avsagt i Den internasjonale domstolen for det tidligere Jugoslavia (ICTY) i dag, to årtier etter
at bosniske muslimer ble myrdet og deportert fra Bosnia-Herzegovina under den blodige krigen i det tidligere Jugoslavia. –
Dommen er svært viktig for å vise ofrene at deres lidelser har blitt sett og erkjent, sier Helsingforskomiteens undervisningsleder
Enver Djuliman, selv fra Mostar i Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is present in Kiev during the Kiev Pride 2013. Ahead of the Pride March, Queer Youth Norway
and LLH - Norwegian LGBT Association jointly with the Norwegian Helsinki Committee sent a letter to the Ukrainian Embassador
to Norway, Yurii Onischenko, expressing concern over the reports that the Pride might be banned by the Kiev City Administration.
Read the letter below.
-Norwegian authorities should contribute to Europe enacting Magnitsky type legislation, said Gunnar M. Ekeløve-Slydal, Deputy
Secretary General. – There is need for new ways of addressing the very serious human rights violations that take place in
Russia from the part of European governments and institutions. Magnitsky legislation may prove to be an efficient supplement
to regional and international human rights mechanisms. Norway should signal support of the EU enacting Magnitsky type legislation.
One year after the bombing of the DIY pub and violent counter demonstrators attacked a Diversity March in Yerevan, Armenia
still suffers from widespread intolerance and discrimination of minorities. The legislation does not include hate crime with
intent towards gender and sexual minorities, and the government fails to protect the rights of these citizens. Media is more
often used as a tool to build up under prejudice and intolerance, and homophobic statements are frequently used by stakeholders
to gain popularity.
Today, 13 May 2013, eight years have passed since the horrific massacre of civilians by government forces in the Uzbek town
of Andijan. In spite of repeated calls from the international community, Uzbekistan still refuses to carry out an independent
The journalist Elena Bondar has been granted refugee status from the UNHCR. Bondar had been working as a reporter for Ferghana
News Agency, the leading news site covering Central Asia, often writing under a pseudonym. Uzbek authorities opened criminal
investigations against her, and she was forced to leave the country. Originally, the UNHCR rejected her application for asylum,
but the decision was overturned after Bondar lodged an appeal.
Endemic corruption, arbitrariness and denial of justice are key words that illustrate the justice system of Turkmenistan today.
Few citizens dare to address the system for help, knowing that virtually any case is decided through money and good connections.
Now, three brave persons that independently of each other have been through the system and back with their complaints to no
avail, hope that international resonance to their case can create a positive precedence for others.
With today's opening of the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Stockholm and Helsinki, the Don’t Play with the Dictator!
campaign has written a letter to the President of the International Ice Hockey Federation René Fasel, where we urge him and
the representatives of the national IIHF member organisations to support the victims of human rights violations by removing
the 2014 IIHF World Championship from Belarus at the next meeting of the IIHF General Congress in Stockholm in May 2013. The
NHC is a member of the Don't Play with the Dictator! campaign. Read the letter below.
In a statement published 29 April, NHC and the International Partnership Group on Azerbaijan urges the member states of the
United Nations to hold Azerbaijan accountable during its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on 30 April 2013 for its failure
to protect basic human rights. The International Partnership Group on Azerbaijan, in which NHC is a partner, urge the UN to
take Azerbaijan to task for failing to implement the commitments it made after its first review in 2009. Read the full statement
As part of the NHC project on the role of Universities in peacebuilding, a conference was held 19-20 April in Tuzla, Bosnia
and Herzegovina. The aim of the conference was to initiate a dialogue on how universities can contribute to build and promote
peace in the region. The University of Tuzla is one of five partner universities from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Kosovo,
that participates in the project Build Bridges not Walls: the Role of the Universities in Peacebuilding.
Den norske Helsingforskomité har gjennomført årsmøte for våre styre- og rådsmedlemmer. I årets uttalelse ber årsmøtet den
norske regjeringen om kraftfullt å ta til motmæle mot de pågående angrepene mot russisk sivilsamfunn, særlig med bakgrunn
i dommen mot vår 2012 Sakharovs Frihetsprisvinner Golos. Årsmøtet ble leder av visepresident i vårt råd, Stortingsrepresentant
Anne Marit Bjørnflaten.
NHC annual meeting, on 25 April 2013, has adopted our 2012 Annual Report. The report is an account of our wast activities
during last year, one of the most active in our history. Among many other issues you can read about the Norwegian Helsinki
Committe 35 years' anniversary, celebrated last year with a jubilee seminar with partners and friends as well as the Sakharov
Freedom Award 2012 ceremony, presenteing the award to the Russian Association Golos on 23 October last year.
Today, Golos was convicted for failing to comply with NGO-legislation and failing to register as foreign agents.NHC was a
witness during the trial where we refuted claims that Golos has accepted prize money from us. The legislation is itself in
violation of international law, and we condemn the court decision as unlawful. Golos must pay a fine of 300 000 roubles, approx.
9 500 USD. Follow updates on our Facebook-page and on Twitter nhc_no.
Sonia Biserko, Chair of the Serbian Helsinki Committee and author of the book “Yugoslavia’s Implosion” published by the Norwegian
Helsinki Committee, visited Brussels on 19-20 March to launch the book and take part in discussions around the topic of “Serbian
nationalism still alive: what impact for EU enlargement?”.
On April 25, Golos was convicted for failing to comply with NGO-legislation and failing to register as foreign agents. NHC
was a witness during the trial where we refuted claims that Golos has accepted prize money from us. The legislation is itself
in violation of international law, and we condemn the court decision as unlawful. Golos must pay a fine of 300 000 roubles,
approx. 9 500 USD. On 9 April Golos, a renowned human rights NGO conducting election monitoring in Russia, and Golos director
Lilia Shibanova, was informed by the Ministry of Justice that a case is initiated against them for being in breach of the
2012 "foreign agents law”. – To initiate legal actions against a human rights organizations for not having registered as a
“foreign agent”, is a violation by Russian authorities of international standards, said Gunnar M. Ekeløve-Slydal, Deputy Secretary
General. The 1998 UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders clearly states the rights of human rights defenders to receive
funding from abroad.
In a letter sent yesterday to the Turkish Minister of Interior Muammar Güler, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee expresses our
concern about the death treats against the Turkish lawyer Erdal Doğan, who is a legal counsel for the victims in the Zirve/Malatya
trial concerning the killing of three Christians on 18 April 2007 in Malatya, South Eastern Turkey. The letter is a part of
NHC's new initiative in Turkey, the Freedom of Belief Initiative, a human rights project founded to improve the protection
of the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief in Turkey. The project is headed by our co-ordinator in
Istanbul, Mine Yildirim. A letter has also been sent to Mrs. Margaret Sekaggya, UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of
Human Rights Defenders and Nils Muižnieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee was relieved to learn of the decision by Ukrainian authorities to respect international human
rights obligations and to reject an extradition request for the former Prime Minister of Tajikistan to his home country.
I et brev til Statminister Jens Stoltenberg i dag ber Helsingforskomiteen ham om å ta opp den pågående russiske myndighetskampanjen
mot det sivile samfunn når han møter Statsminister Dimitrij Medvedev i St.Petersburg 5. april. - Stoltenberg bør benytte anledningen
til å kritisere den pågående myndighetskamapanjen mot russiske NGO-er direkte med Statsminister Medvedev. Politikken er klart
i strid med Russlands internasjonale forpliktelser, og rammer menneskerettighetsorganisasjoner særlig sterkt, sier Helsingforskomiteens
generalsekretær Bjørn Engesland i brevet. Ifølge informasjon Helsingforskomiteen har innhentet fra sine russiske partnere
er så langt 121 organisasjoner i 29 russiske regioner blitt oppsøkt av myndighetene. Fem organisasjoner som Helsingforskomiteen
støtter med midler fra Utenriksdepartementet er hittil blitt gjenstand for inspeksjoner. Les hele brevet under.
Together with the Civil Society Institute (CSI) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) the Norwegian Helsinki
Committee have submitted a mid-term assessment (May 2010–December 2012) following recommendations by the United Nations Human
Rights Council at Armenia’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in May 2010.
The report "Democracy and human rights at stake in Hungary", published by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC) on 23 January
2013, describes how Viktor Orbán’s government centralised power after taking office in 2010 by undermining the independence
of courts and putting media freedom under pressure.
The report was met with considerable criticism from Hungarian authorities, claiming that it overlooked important factors,
exaggerated problems, was biased against the current government, and neglected its concessions to international criticism
and Constitutional Court decisions. In particular, Hungary’s ambassador to Norway, Mr Géza Jeszensky, issued a 4 ½ page critical
letter to the NHC outlining his government’s response, while Ferenc Kumin, Deputy State Secretary for International Communication,
responded very negatively to the report in his blog.
In this Q&A, the NHC outlines its position on some of the main points raised in these discussions. In addition, some comments
are given to the extensive amendments of the Fundamental Law (the Constitution) of 11 March 2013. The amendments caused renewed
concerns that the government’s project of centralisation is ongoing despite strong domestic and international criticism.
I et brev til utenriksminsiter Espen Barth Eide i dag ber vi ham offentlig å gi uttrykk for at russiske myndigheter må stoppe
den pågående kampanjen mot det sivile samfunn. - Organisasjoner som fremmer menneskerettigheter har rett til å kunne operere
fritt, selv om de får økonomisk støtte fra utlandet, sier Helsingforskomiteens generalsekretær Bjørn Engesland. - Vi har også
bedt Eide ta initiativ til at europeiske toppledere kritiserer myndighetenes kampanje mot det sivile samfunnet i klare ordelag.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is deeply concerned about recent developments in Russia related to freedom of association
and the rights of human rights defenders to conduct their work, said Bjørn Engesland, Secretary General. – Large numbers of
non-government organizations were today subject to inspections from authorities, including Memorial and other well-known human
rights organisations. The inspections are follow-up on recently adopted restrictive legislation that violates freedom of association
and aims at obstructing human rights work in the country. European institutions and governments should react strongly.
Chair of the Helsinki Committee for human rights in Serbia Sonja Biserko will present her book «Yugoslavia’s implosion», as
well as views on Serbia with relevance to Serbia’s EU integration, in events in Brussels on 18-20 March 2013. The book, published
by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, will be presented to the public on Wednesday 20 March at 13.00. There will also be meetings
with the European Parliament Working Group for Western Balkans, representatives of the European Commission, Directorate General
of Englargement among others. The visit is organized by the NHC in co-operation with our liason in Brussels, the International
Partnership for Human Rights.
I anledning Kosovos Statsminister Hashim Thaçis norgesbesøk som starter i dag, har Helsingforskomiteen satt opp en liste over
menneskerettighetsutfordringer som Kosovo står overfor. Thaçis delegasjon består blant annet av Europaminister Vlora Çitaku
og vise-utenriksminister Petrit Selimi. Selimi skal være hovedinnleder på dagens NUPI-seminar som har fokus på Kosovos EU-integrering.
On 24 July central Special Forces entered the Gorno-Badakshan region (Pamir) with military personnel and equipment, including
helicopters. Allegedly, the aim was to arrest the militants suspect of the murder of the local head of the KNB. However, as
the day advanced, reports of civilian casualties emerged, as well as raids and shooting of schools and private homes. There
was no organized evacuation of civilians before the actions started, and an information blockade followed.
Voting at the 2013 Presidential elections in Armenia is underway, following a month of low key campaigning. The ruling Republican
party’s candidate and incumbent president Serge Sargsyan is expected to win the majority of the votes in an election where
the three largest opposition parties in the Parliament did not advance or support any candidate. NHC's Lene Wetteland is observing
the elections in Vanadzor.
Oslo/Almaty: On 5 February 2013, the former Prime Minister of Tajikistan, Abdulmalik Abdullodzhonov, was arrested at Borispol
International Airport in Kiev, Ukraine. Abdullodzhonov, who has been residing in the USA for the past 14 years, had arrived
to Ukraine on private business and was detained due to his having been included on the Interpol wanted list by Tajik authorities.
If extradited, Abdullodzhonov is at great risk of being subjected to ill-treatment and torture.
Norwegian Helsinki Committee, of behalf of the Norwegian NGO Forum for Human Rights, has submitted the annual recommendations
to the Government of Norway on human rights at United Nations. The recommendations are particularly directed towards Norway's
efforts before the UN Human Rights Council, but are relevant also to other UN bodies.
- “Civic observation is a powerful instrument for citizens’ control over electoral processes and deserves the attention and
the support of the European institutions. We wish the best success for the newly established “European Platform for Democratic
Elections” said Werner Schulz, Member of the European Parliament, during the presentation of the EPDE at the European Parliament
on Wednesday January 30th.
Rapporten Democracy and human rights at stake in Hungary som Den norske Helsingforskomité publiserer i dag viser hvordan Viktor
Orbáns regjering sentraliserer makten og setter domstolenes uavhengighet og medienes frihet under press. - Ungarn ble inntil
nylig sett på som et av de mest vellykkede nye demokratiene i Sentra-Europa, men på kort tid har utviklingen gått i motsatt
retning i en grad som de færreste trodde var mulig, sier generalsekretær Bjørn Engesland i en uttalelse i forbindelse med
The International Partnership Group, coordinated by ARTICLE 19, along with Amnesty International, Norwegian Helsinki Committee
and several Azerbaijani and international NGOs urges the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) to make a
strong call for Azerbaijan to improve its deteriorating human rights record. On Wednesday 23 January, the vote on two crucial
resolutions on Azerbaijan will be an opportunity for the Assembly to show its genuine commitment to its human rights principles.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee was distressed to learn of serious, anonymous threats made against the Central Asia Program
Director of Human Rights Center Memorial, Vitaliy Ponomarev, on 12 January 2012 and urges Russian and Uzbekistani authorities
to open an investigation.
In a statement today the Civic Society Platform, which includes the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, condemned the December 19
raid on the premises of the Human Rights House in Voronezh by Russian police. The statement calls on the international community
to speak out against this and other cases of harassment against civil society in Russia.
On 19 December 2010, two years ago today, thousands of peaceful citizens gathered in central Minsk, protesting the oppression
and the stolen presidential elections. The protests were organised on the day of the last presidential elections officially
won by Alexander Lukashenko. Lukashenko has been in power since 1994.
Tblisi,10 November 2012: Grave crimes were committed during the war between Georgia and Russia in August 2008. The NHC documented
war crimes and crimes against humanity during and after the cessation of hostilities. In the years since, the NHC has investigated
in Georgia and Russia, trying to assess whether domestic investigations are on-going and effective.
The Moscow City Court today decided to exclude the Russian Justice Initiative from the list of international organisations
allowed to function in Russia. – The court decision sets an alarming precedence, said Bjørn Engesland, Secretary General of
the Norwegian Helsinki Committee. It means that one of the biggest international human rights organisations in Russia is prohibited
from doing its important work. It opens up for more similar cases against other international organisations.
NHC together with partner organisations Civil Society Institute and The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) call
upon Armenian authorities to eliminate violations in the administration of justice and ensure the establishment of an independent
judiciary and the rule of law. These steps are fundamental to the further democratic development of Armenia, and should be
a prerequisite for any further engagement with the EU.
On 12th December 2012, Norwegian Helsinki Committee was among twelve civil society organisations supporting or conducting
citizens’ election observation in the states of the Eastern Partnership, the Russian Federation, Norway and the European Union
who launched the European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE) in Warsaw.
Bosnisk -serbiske Zadravko Tolimir ble 12.12.2012 dømt til livsvarig fengsel og funnet skyldig i blant annet folkemord ved
Srebrenica og i tvungen befolkningsforflytning fra Srebernica og Zepa i FNs krigsforbryterdomstol for det tidligere Jugoslavia
i Haag (ICTY).
In a letter signed by six human rights organizations, Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council, José Manuel Barroso,
President of the European Commission and Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, are called upon to raise the
issue of Chinese poet, human rights defender and Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo at the Nobel Peace Award Ceremony on 10 December
2012. The signatory organizations include PEN International, Front Line Defenders, Protection International, OMCT, International
Partnership for Human Rights, and the Norwegian Helsinki Committee.
The office of our partner in Belarus, prominent NGO 'Viasna', led by the imprisoned human rights defender Ales Bialiatski,
was confiscated on 26 November. The move was the last fulfilment of the illegal conviction of Bialiatski just over one year
ago. NHC has protested this last blow against Viasna through the network Civil Society Platform.
Tuesday 20.11 Sonja Biserko, founder and President of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia, presented her book
"Yugoslavia’s Implosion" at The Norwegian Helsinki Committee’s seminar "Serbia - stuck in the past or proving EU worthy of
a peace prize?"
The seminar also featured Neil Campbell, head of EU policy development at the Open Society European Policy Institute in Brussels,
and Aage Borchgrevink, Norwegian author and senior advisor at the Norwegian Helsinki Committee. Sonja Biserko thanked the
Norwegian Helsinki Committee, the publisher of the book, for being one of most important supporters of the HCHRS for two decades.
Oslo, 21.11: En ny lov trer i dag i kraft i Russland som krever at organisasjoner som mottar støtte fra utlandet må registrere
seg som utenlandske agenter. En rekke russiske organisasjoner har protestert mot loven, fordi den skaper et bilde av dem som
spioner eller agenter for fremmede stater. Den norske Helsingforskomiteen protesterer mot loven, som både mistenkeliggjør
menneskerettsorganisasjoner og begrenser handlefriheten deres.
After the May 2012 elections, former key allies of Slobodan Milosevic became Serbia’s Prime Minister and President. Their
declared goal is now EU membership. Is this goal credibly pursued by the new government? Does the process towards EU membership
warrant the Noble Peace Price to the European Union? Tuesday 20.11 we launch the book “Yugoslavia’s Implosion: The Fatal Attraction
of Serbian Nationalism” by Sonja Biserko, where she traces the roots of Serbia’s situation today.
Den norske Helsingforskomité tar avstand fra en ny ukrainsk lov som vil gjøre det forbudt å «propagandere for homoseksualitet»
og som i praksis vil kunne brukes til å stoppe all positiv omtale av homofili.
- We are concerned with the reports that a conference aiming at discussing freedom of the internet allows restrictions on
contributions from civil society – input that would contribute to a more open and relevant discussion, says Bjørn Engesland,
Secretary General of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee. - One would think that the authorities had learned from the discussions
that surrounded the Eurovision Song Contest that such restrictions and violations do not pass unnoticed, and do not reflect
positively on the country’s image.
The UN CEDAW committee is “seriously concerned about attitudes and policies reinforcing discriminatory traditional norms,
harmful practices and patriarchal attitudes and deep-rooted stereotypes […] in all spheres of life” in Turkmenistan.
Parlamentsvalget 28. oktober forsterker dessverre inntrykket av at Ukraina er i fred med å forlate Oransjerevolusjonens løfter
om mer demokrati. Fengsling av opposisjonspolitikere og og andre former for maktmisbruk er i ferd med å bli et alvorlig hinder
på veien til ukrainsk integrering i Europa, sier Gunnar M. Ekeløve-Slydal, assisterende generalsekretær.
On 15 October, the well-known Uzbek human rights activist Mutabar Tajibayeva participated in a joint NHC/NOAS seminar on Uzbekistan
in Oslo. More than 30 guests from immigration authorities, ministries and other interested attended the seminar and the following
movie screening aimed at shedding some light on the human rights situation behind the closed gates of Uzbekistan.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee was disappointed to learn of the 7 ½ year prison sentence given to Kazakhstan opposition
leader Vladimir Kozlov on 8 October 2012. Kozlov is the head of the main opposition party in Kazakhstan, Alga (Forward).
– The Norwegian Helsinki Committee remains deeply concerned about the current human rights situation in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan,
which begs improvement on every aspect of fundamental human rights, says Secretary General of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee,
Bjørn Engesland. Both states are counted amongst the most repressive not only in the Central Asian region, but also in the
world as a whole. Torture, political use of the judiciary and repression of media and civil society is widespread.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee condemns today’s decision by the Serbian Authorities to ban Belgrade Pride 2012. This is
the third time that the parade has been banned. The parade, belonging to an international movement of peaceful celebrations
of diversity, is an important way to attract attention to the rights of equality before the law for all persons defining themselves
as Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Trans and Intersex persons (LGBTI). Banning the parade indicates that Serbian Authorities are
not prepared to secure the rights to freedom of assembly and expression for one of Europe’s most vulnerable minorities.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is represented also at this years' OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting in Warsaw.
In our interventions at the meeting we will focus on the importance of independent judiciary drawing upon the examples of
the Sergey Magnitsky case in Russia and the case against several oppositionals in Western Kazakhstan, and also drawing attention
to governments' obligation to facilitate human rights eduaction, including by refraining from hindering participation by visa
Den hviterussiske politiske fangen, den anerkjente menneskerettighetsaktivisten og Nobelpriskandidaten fylles femti år i dag.
Over hele Europa blir hans fødselsdag markert, og Den norske Helsingforskomité slutter seg til en uke av gratulasjoner til
Ales. Ales Bialiatski, leder av den kjente menneskerettighetsorganisasjonen Viasna i Hviterussland ble i november i fjor tid
dømt til fire og et halvt års fengsel for skatteunndragelse samt til inndragning av eiendom.
Norge bør ratifisere den valgfrie protokollen til FNs torturkonvensjon og opprette et nasjonalt tilsynsorgan for tortur i
Norge, skriver Helsingforskomiteen sammen med Amnesty International i et høringssvar. -Tilsynet bør utføres av en ny nasjonal institusjon for menneskerettigheter som etableres som en sterk og uavhengig kommisjon
for menneskerettigheter, slik Helsingforskomiteen tidligere har gått inn for, sier Generalsekretær Bjørn Engesland.
In cooperation with local activists, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee has submitted an alternative report to the Committee
on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women’s (CEDAW) 53 Session on 11 October, where Turkmenistan will be heard in
Foreningen GOLOS tildeles Andrej Sakharovs Frihetspris 2012 for sin fremragende innsats for å fremme demokratiske verdier
gjennom frie og rettferdige valg i Russland, sier generalsekretær Bjørn Engesland i Den norske Helsingforskomité i en pressemelding
Fortsett innsatsen for menneskerettigheter og demokrati på Vest-Balkan
(21/01-2011) Helsingforskomiteen peker på at fortsatt støtte til demokrati og menneskerettigheter trengs på Vest-Balkan. Rettsoppgjør
etter grove overgrep og styrking av sivilsamfunn med sterke og kritiske organisasjoner bør prioriteres, ikke minst i Kosovo
og Bosnia og Hercegovina, skriver komiteen i et brev til Utenriksdepartementet som innspill til arbeidet med en ny stortingsmelding
om norsk vestbalkanpolitikk.Stortingsmeldingen er ventet våren 2011.
I 35 år har Den norske Helsingforskomité arbeidet for demokrati og menneskerettigheter. Kampen er ennå ikke vunnet, men pågår
i dag. I denne kampen kan du bidra: Den norske Helsingforskomité trenger din støtte i kampen for menneskerettigheter i Europa!
På vegne av en rekke representanter for norsk sivilsamfunn, alle medlemmer i NGO-forum for menneskerettigheter, har Den norske
Helsingforskomité oversendt et brev til Statsminister Jens Stoltenberg, hvor organisasjoene tar opp en bekymringsverdig utvikling
når det gjelder åpenhet og deltakelse for frivillige organisasjoner i spørsmål som har med Norges internasjonale menneskerettighetsforpliktelser
Oppdatering 2. september 2012: Svar på brevet fra utenriksminister Jonas Gahr Støre kan leses nedenfor.
I et brev til Utenriksminister Jonas Gahr Støre, uttrykker Helsingforskomiteen sammen men en rekke norske organisasjoner bekymring
for prosessen rundt reetableringen av Nasjonal Institusjon for menneskerettigheter i Norge.
We are currently seeking a highly qualified person to be the regional coordinator of the (EU-funded) program “Coalition for
trust” in the South Caucasus. The aim of the program is to contribute to building knowledge and trust between people in a
region marked by conflict and human rights violations. Activities include education and training, network building, advocacy
- Five years on, there is broad consensus that the human rights dialogues established with the Central Asian governments and
other measures taken to implement the Strategy’s human rights objectives have not been as effective as desired. The overall
human rights situation in Central Asia has not improved in any substantial way and, in some respects, human rights protection
has even deteriorated in the countries of the region. NHC is among the signatories of an appeal to the European Union in occation
of the five year anniversary of the EU Central Asia strategy.
Helsingforskomiteens Enver Djuliman deltok i panel på Litteraturhuset i Oslo under den årlige markeringen av folkemordet i
Srebrenica den 11. juni. - Folkemordet i Srebrenica er ikke bare bosniakisk, det tilhører like mye serberne og kroatene, og
bevisstheten om og anerkjennelsen av de historiske realitetene er viktig for alle, sa Djuliman i sin innledning på seminaret.
A dedicated human rights defender and our good friend Boris Zvoskov, head of the Legal Initiative human rights association,
has died, after a prolonged disease. The Norwegian Helsinki Committee has known and cooperated closely with Boris for over
ten years. We extend our deepest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.
In a letter addressed to Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre today, NHC express concern with recent developments in the Russian
Federation related to the on-going crackdown against opposition leaders and human rights activists, as well as the adoption
of restrictive legislation on public rallies. - President Putin pledged to inspire “greater participation of citizens in
public affairs” and to have “more consultations with different sectors of society about legal reforms” on the day of his inauguration,
Secretary Bjørn Engelsnad says. Recent developments stand in sharp contrast to these words.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee congratulates the organizers of Pride Parade “Equal – before the law” in Split this Saturday.
Despite fear of violent incidents, 600 persons managed to walk through the city and make the parade a celebration of human
rights and equality; the very nature of pride parades.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee participated in a picket in front of the Ukrainian Embassy in Oslo Monday, passing on a statement
to Counsellor Vitalii Pantus. The statement comes as a reaction to the recent violent attacks on a peaceful demonstration
organized by Ukrainian LGBTI organizations, where several activists were victims of violence. – We are concerned with the
development in many European countries. It seems to be a trend of violent intolerance that is unacceptable in countries that
are aspiring at rapprochement to Europe, hosting European Championships in Football, Olympic Games or applying for EU membership,
says Secretary General Bjørn Engesland.
In a letter sent today to the Federal Minister of Justice in Austria Dr. Beatrix Karl, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, together
with Human Rights Watch, Civil Rights Defenders, Austrian Helsinki Association, European Center for Constitutional and Human
Rights, and International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), urges the Austrian government to request the extradition of
Lecha Bogatyrov from the Russian Federation. Lecha Bogatyrov is the man who allegedly fired the fatal shots that killed the
Chechen exile Umar Israilov on the streets of Vienna in January 2009. Three men were convicted 1 June 2011 by the Vienna Landesgericht
to long prison sentences for the killing of Israilov, but the current current impunity for Mr. Israilov’s alleged killer should
be treated as a political issue by the Austrian government.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee expresses full support for the Split Pride Parade “Equal before the Law”, which despite political
pressure and threats of violence will be organized on Saturday 9 June.
On 22 and 23 May, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee and the Coalition for the International Criminal Court organized a seminar
in Almaty, Kazakhstan with participants from civil society in all five Central Asian republics.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is pleased to announce the continuation of our small grants fund for Central Asia. All organizations
with project proposals related to human rights, democratization or strengthening of civil society may apply. While we are
open to all good proposals, we encourage projects in Kazakhstan related to the outlying regions of the country. In Kyrgyzstan,
we are particularly interested in projects addressing the basic human rights of vulnerable groups as well as legal initiatives.
In Tajikistan, strengthening of the media and the rights of children is important. In addition to our regular program, we
are glad to announce that additional grants have been allocated for smaller projects in Kazakhstan. These grants may be up
to 9,999 USD, and are intended to support projects in more outlying regions of the country. The deadline and other requirements
are the same.
The report “A Chronicle of Violence: The events in the south of Kyrgyzstan in June 2010 (Osh Region)”, published today, gives
a detailed chronology of the events in the Osh Province in the period 29 April to 15 June 2010, as well as an analysis of
available information and statistics related to the violence in the south of Kyrgyzstan in June 2010. The 200-page report
was prepared by Memorial Human Rights Center (Russia), the Norwegian Helsinki Committee (Norway) and Freedom House (USA).