Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

Archive for November 25th, 2009

Europe Starts Extraditing Russian Suspects

Posted by Info on 25/11/2009

The number of extraditions from the European Union to Russia has grown significantly in recent years, as a result of improved cooperation in international criminal investigations.

Within the last two weeks alone, Bulgaria, Poland and Cyprus have extradited three men wanted in Russia on various charges. It was the first time Cyprus responded to an extradition request from Moscow since 2004. Russia’s Prosecution has hailed this new era of European cooperation as extremely productive.

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Kremlin’s Secrets Information Available On CDs On Market In Moscow

Posted by Info on 25/11/2009

Gorbushka market, just outside central Moscow, does a thriving trade in any electronics good you could want: mobile phones, plasma television sets, the latest DVDs, and, if you ask to see them, software peddlers will show potential clients a list of “databases”.

These consist of CDs with names such as “Ministry of Interior – Federal Road Safety Service”, “Tax Service” and “Federal Anti Narcotics Service” and cost about $100 apiece.

Each contains confidential information gathered by Russian law enforcement or government agencies: anything from arrest records, personal addresses, passport numbers, phone records or address books to bank account details, known associates, tax data and flight records are on offer. In some malls these are sold openly, but in Gorbushka, after a recent police sweep, sellers are more discreet; one merchant gives shoppers a list of available titles and offers to burn the disks for 3,000 roubles ($104, €70, £63). He said there was no moral dilemma about selling personal information. “There is a market and we fill it.

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Репортаж Би-би-си о женщинах в Чечне получил награду

Posted by Info on 25/11/2009

“Мы хотели понять, как живут сейчас чеченские женщины, несущие на своих плечах груз всех этих лет, в течение которых в Чечне ушло из жизни так много мужчин. Лет, которые так тяжело сказались на мужчинах и на отношениях в чеченском обществе”, сказал Русской службе Би-би-си Ник Стерди.

Защитой прав женщин в Чечне активно занималась сотрудница правозащитной организации “Мемориал” Наталья Эстемирова, с которой журналисты Би-би-си провели два дня, наблюдая за ее работой.

“Наталья Эстемирова бескомпромиссно отстаивала законные права чеченских женщин. В чеченских госучреждениях женщины обязаны носить платки. Эстемирова принципиально отказывалась это делать, и мы видели, как чиновникам, которые хотели с ней поговорить, приходилось выходить на улицу. Но это была, наверное, наименее серьезная из проблем, которыми Наталья занималась”, – вспоминает Ник Стерди.

Репортаж журналистов рассказывает об убийствах, исчезновениях, похищениях женщин, продолжающихся в Чечне, несмотря на прекращение масштабных боевых действий.

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Kyrgyzstan: Security Officers Accused Human Rights Activist In Espionage And Extremism

Posted by Info on 25/11/2009

8 November 2009, a member of Memorial Human Rights Center, Bakhrom Khamroev, was illegally detained by representatives of the State Service for National Security (GSNB). Khamroev was collecting information on persecution of independent Muslims in Southern Kyrgyzstan. Without any kind of reason, the Russian citizen was held in detention for about 14 hours, subjected to interrogations and scare-tactics, before being put on a plane to Moscow on the morning of the following day.

The threats of extradition to Uzbekistan went on for 8 hours – until the human rights defender half way through the third night was told about the decision to send him to Moscow. One of the officers said, “The Uzbeks will pay 50 thousand for you. We don’t mind some extra money for New Year’s. How much can you pay? You don’t understand? If you don’t understand, we’ll buy you a ticket to Moscow via Tashkent, you know yourself what will happen there.”

We don’t exclude that Bakhrom was saved from extradition only by the fact that the information about his arrest reached foreign media outlets that same evening. On the evening of 18 November, the organization Human Rights Watch urged the authorities in Kyrgyzstan to immediately free the detained. Many international human rights organizations expressed concern at the events.

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Medvedev Will Choose Dagestan’s President

Posted by Info on 25/11/2009

On November 19, United Russia party leader Boris Gryzlov presented five candidates for the position of president of Dagestan to President Dmitry Medvedev.

United Russia, as the majority party in Dagestan, received the right to come up with the shortlist of candidates for the president of the republic. Medvedev now will have to choose one person from the list and ask the Dagestani parliament to appoint him as Dagestan’s president. The current president’s term expires in February 2010.

This non-transparent mechanism replaced popular elections of regional governors throughout Russia in 2004.

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Russia Imposed Counter-terrorist Operation Regime On Part Of Chechnya

Posted by Info on 25/11/2009

On 24 November the Russian federal authorities imposed a counter-terrorist operation regime on part of Chechnya’s Achkhoi-Martan district, with the aim of neutralizing a group of militants hiding out in a wooded mountainous area. The regime means that military and law enforcement personnel will have the right to search and demand ID’s from suspicious individuals, as well as inspect cars and other means of transport. The inhabitants of some areas within the designated area will be evacuated and, if necessary, vehicles will be seized.

Meanwhile, a newly-published report by Thomas Hammerberg, the Council of Europe’s human rights commissioner, states that the number of terrorist acts, killings and abductions in Chechnya has increased this year compared to 2008, despite the fact that the Russian government officially earlier this year ended the counter-terrorist operation launched in the republic in 1999. Hammerberg called on the Russian authorities to clarify the legal norms governing zachistki, or counter-insurgency sweeps, in the republic, to guarantee the observation of human rights during such operations, to carry out independent investigations of violations and to put an end to abductions, extra-judicial killings and secret arrests.

Hammerberg noted that the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has heard over 100 cases connected to counter-terrorist operations in Chechnya. According to the report: “in many cases the court has encountered violations of fundamental rights that are protected by the European Convention for Human Rights, including the right to life, and also violations of the prohibition on torture and inhumane treatment”.

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UN report – Over 1% of Russian And Estonian population HIV-positive – in Ukraine 1.6%!

Posted by Info on 25/11/2009

Over 1% of Russian residents are HIV-positive, according to a joint report by the UN Program on HIV/AIDS and the World Health Organization.

Injecting drug use remains the primary transmission route in Russia and the region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia region on the whole. According to the report, about 37% of Russia’s estimated 1.8 million drug users are HIV-infected. Young people account for a considerable number of infections among injecting drug users in the region.

“In a study involving street youth (aged 15-19) in St. Petersburg, 37.4% of the people surveyed were HIV-infected, with a positive HIV status strongly and independently associated with injecting drugs and sharing needles,” the report, released on Tuesday, said.

According to the report, three countries in the region – Estonia, the Russian Federation and Ukraine have HIV prevalence that exceeds 1%, with Ukraine showing the most alarming infection rate of 1.6%.

The estimated number of people living with HIV in Eastern Europe and Central Asia rose to some 1.5 million, up 66% from 2001.

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Council of Europe, Norway, Solidarity, Oil and Human Rights in Azerbaijan

Posted by Info on 25/11/2009

Azerbaijan has the highest number of imprisoned journalists among all of the 56 member states of the OSCE. In the most recent cases, five journalists were convicted of defamation and two sentenced to prison in October, while earlier this month two bloggers — Emin Milli and Adnan Hajizada — were sentenced to up to 2 1/2 years in prison on hooliganism charges.

In reaction to the latest incidents, 34 members of the nongovernmental organization Human Rights House Network, based in Oslo,  Nowray sent a letter of concern to the authorities in Baku. The letter calls on authorities to “take adequate measures to protect the democratic values and especially the right to freedom of expression” in Azerbaijan.

RFE/RL: Statoil  (the Norwegian oil company)expressed its concerns about the bloggers case. But on the other hand, is it the job of oil companies to care about human rights issues?

Ane Tusvik Bonde, regional manager for Eastern Europe and the Caucasus at the Human Rights House Foundation about the situation in Azerbaijan.: I think it is really good that they’re doing that because it also affects, in a way, Statoil’s work in Azerbaijan that the freedom of speech and access to information are restricted. They rely on transparency in their work. If there is no way to criticize and get access to information, it will be also a problem for them — for example, when it comes to corruption.
RFE/RL: Many critics say that the Council of Europe should be more active in defending its mission and standing up to principles. Do you agree?

Bonde: The parliament in the Council of Europe should be more active. As  Malahat Nasibova mentioned…, the parliament had not discussed or raised any concerns about Azerbaijan for the last two years. And  they (the Coucil Of Europe) admitted that it’s true. ..
Our job is to lobby the Norwegian parliamentarians and others to raise these issues and also to lobby…so that they [will] really pay more attention to what is going on in Azerbaijan. So concerning the Council of Europe, they could do more [and] our obligation is to pressure them.

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Women Face Abuse In Tajikistan – Girls drop out schools early and enter into polygamous marriages

Posted by Info on 25/11/2009

Andrea Strasser-Camagni, Amnesty International’s expert on Tajikistan: “The traditional Tajik family values, reinforced after the break-up of the Soviet Union, impose further discrimination on women by narrowing their identity to that of wife and mother, or pushing them into the lowest paid sector of the job market.”

“Women in Tajikistan are beaten, abused, and raped in the family but the authorities tend to reflect the societal attitude of blaming the woman for domestic violence. They see their primary role as mediator, to preserve the family rather than protect the woman and to safeguard their rights,”

Education is a key factor in developing girls’ empowerment and providing an escape route from violence and poverty.  Girls’ access to education is restricted through societal attitudes, and this limits their opportunities to escape the cycle of violence, discrimination and poverty.  Girls drop out early from schools; instead, they enter into early and often unregistered or polygamous marriages.

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