Human Rights Issues in Eurasia / Правовые Вопросы В Регионах Евразии

2014 – Pro- Russian Unrest in Ukraine

Posted by Info on 30/09/2014

Ukraine 2014

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What is the Ukraine crisis?

Posted by Info on 30/09/2014

Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union until 1991, and since then has been a less-than-perfect democracy with a very weak economy and foreign policy that wavers between pro-Russian and pro-European.

All started  as an internal Ukrainian crisis in November 2013, when President Viktor Yanukovych rejected a deal for greater integration with the European Union, mass protests started, which Yanukovych attempted to put down violently.Russia backed Yanukovych in the crisis, while the US and Europe supported the protesters.

In February, anti-government protests toppled the government and  Yanukovych ran out the country. Russia invaded and annexed Crimea the next month, trying to keep its influence in the country.

In April, pro-Russia separatist rebels began seizing territory in eastern Ukraine and later on July 17 the rebels shot  down the plane of Malaysian Airlines flight 17 flying from Amsterdam killing 298 people.

Fighting between the rebels and the Ukrainian military intensified, the rebels started losing, and, in August, the Russian army overtly invaded eastern Ukraine to support the rebels. This has all brought the relationship between Russia and the West to its lowest point since the Cold War. Sanctions are pushing the Russian economy to the brink of recession, and more than 2,500 Ukrainians have been killed, there are some 10 000 internally displaced person moving to central (45%) and western Ukraine (26%) though some are also located in the southern and eastern regions.

“People cite fear of persecution because of ethnicity or religious beliefs or, in the case of journalists, human rights activists and among intellectuals, due to their activities or professions. Others say they could no longer keep their businesses open.” UNHCR spokesmen said.

A lot of this comes down to Ukraine’s centuries-long history of Russian domination. The country has been divided more or less evenly between Ukrainians who see Ukraine as part of Europe and those who see it as intrinsically linked to Russia. An internal political crisis over that disagreement may have been inevitable. Meanwhile, in Russia, Putin is pushing an imperial-revival, nationalist worldview that sees Ukraine as part of greater Russia.

It appears unlikely that Ukraine will get Crimea back. It remains unclear whether Russian forces will try to annex parts of eastern Ukraine as well, how the fighting there will end, and what this means for the future of Ukraine — and for Putin’s increasingly hostile but isolated Russia.

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The Beslan Massacre – 10 years on

Posted by Info on 06/09/2014

The deadliest terror attack in modern Russia’s history led to the deaths of 334 hostages, most of them children.

On the morning of September 1, 2004, teachers, students and their families gathered in front of School Number One in the town of Beslan to celebrate the start of the new school year.

The Beslan hostage crisis turned out to be the deadliest terror attack in modern Russia’s history. The rebels took approximately 1,200 children and adults hostage at the school, without providing food or water for three days. On the first day, they executed a man in front of his two children and the other hostages. Later they took a group of men at gunpoint in a classroom on the first floor, shot them and threw their bodies out of the window.

The attackers demanded the recognition of Chechnya’s independence from Russia and the immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from the region. On September 2, the hostage-takers agreed to negotiate with Ruslan Aushev, the former president of the adjacent republic of Ingushetia, allowing him to enter the school and release 26 hostages.

On the third day of the standoff, local authorities received permission from the attackers to remove bodies lying in front of the school. But when medical workers approached the building, two of them were shot dead, followed by two explosions 20 seconds later.

The explosions caused the roof of the gym to collapse, killing many. After the first blast, hostages began to run out of the school, and Russian special forces stormed the building trying to rescue the rest.

The siege ended with 334 hostages dead, more than half of whom were children. The only attacker caught alive was sentenced to life in prison.


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The EU asylum system

Posted by Info on 06/09/2014

Since 2003, European countries – the 28 EU Member States and Schengen zone countries including Switzerland, Norway and Iceland – have implemented a harmonised asylum policy that was called the Dublin Regulation. Under this legislation, asylum seekers must apply for asylum in the first country that collects their fingerprints and if found in another state, they face expulsion back to their point of entry.

When this regime was created, one of the aims was to prevent so-called asylum shopping, when one person applies in more than one country or only applies to countries with stronger welfare benefits for refugees. Since 2013, fingerprints of all applicants have been collected and stored in a common database calledEURODAC. This has led migrants to burn their fingertips once they have been fingerprinted in Italy or Greece in order to apply in countries like Sweden or the UK.

This system has placed an unfair burden on the southern and eastern European nations, such as Greece, Italy, Spain, Bulgaria and even Turkey. Prior to the Dublin Regulation, many of these states were known as transit countries through which migrants passed on their way to the North.

Roughly two-thirds of applications for protection status are refused. Ironically, many of the wealthier countries that accept the highest number of applicants are beyond the buffer zone. For example, five countries (Sweden, Germany, France, Italy and the UK) welcome 70 percent of asylum seekers, while Sweden, Switzerland and Austria grant the most protection status per population.


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Death Penalty Statistics, Country By Country

Posted by Info on 23/05/2013

The latest statistics show that China executes thousands, said AI in its report on the death penalty worldwide. The report does not provide a precise figure of executions in China as Beijing keeps such figures secret.

China, together with IranNorth KoreaYemen and the US (the only G7 country to still execute people) carried out the most executions last year.

Europe and Central Asia
Belarus was the only country in Europe and Central Asia to carry out executions, and did so under strict secrecy, with at least three men put to death in 2012. Latvia became the 97th country in the world to become abolitionist for all crimes, after removing the last capital crimes from its legislation during 2012.
Amnesty International executions around the world

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Amnesty Report Notes Worldwide Abuses

Posted by Info on 23/05/2013

The findings were published on May 23 in Amnesty International’s annual report, “The State of the World’s Human Rights,” for 2012 and documents abuses in 159 countries and territories.

Amnesty International Secretary-General Salil Shetty: “Governments have been created to protect the rights of their citizens, but we then have governments who are actually doing exactly the opposite, who are actually violating the rights of their own citizens and people who are living inside their boundaries. So I think in this day and age the excuse of national sovereignty, that these are internal affairs, is simply not acceptable.”

The researchers say that there has been a suppression of freedom of expression to varying degrees in Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan.

Kazakh authorities used “excessive force” to break up strikes and public protests by oil and gas workers in southwestern Kazakhstan from May through the end of 2012. Hundreds of employees were dismissed, dozens of protesters, trade unionists, and opposition activists were detained, and at least 16 people were killed during clashes between protesters and police in December 2011. The report also says refugees were forcibly returned to China and Uzbekistan, despite international protests.

Torture and ill-treatment remains widespread in Tajikistan while impunity for perpetrators continued. The assessment says independent monitoring bodies were given “no access to detention facilities.” It notes that children, elderly people, and witnesses in criminal cases endured torture that included “the use of electric shocks, boiling water, suffocation, beatings and burnings with cigarettes.”

Uzbekistan has restricted the freedom of expression because human rights campaigners and journalists are continually harassed. 10 journalists and human rights defenders remained imprisoned in “cruel, inhuman, and degrading conditions.”  The  suspected members of banned religious groups are a particular target of ill-treatment by Uzbek authorities.

That torture and other forms of ill-treatment of those suspected of criminal offenses remain widespread in Turkmenistan. It cites electric shocks, rape, and the forcible administration of psychotropic drugs among the methods employed by authorities against suspects. It said freedom of movement remained drastically restricted.

 In Russia, increased peaceful political protests have prompted “repression,” including restrictive new laws and the harassment of rights activists, journalists, and lawyers.  The number of apparently politically motivated verdicts is on the rise. The situation is said to be particularly bad in the volatile North Caucasus, where Amnesty says Russia often fails to properly investigate claims of abuses by law enforcement officials. The assessment says torture and ill-treatment of detainees remain a problem.

 Kyrgyz authorities were guilty of ethnic discrimination after deadly clashes between ethnic Uzbeks and Kyrgyz three years ago.

In Georgia the new government is dealing with a delicate political balancing act.

The Amnesty report calls on Belarus to abolish the death penalty, which it says has been carried out in a “cruel and inhuman” way. Executions are conducted in “utmost secrecy” with neither the condemned nor their relatives being informed in advance.

It criticizes Moldova for not doing enough to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation. Moldova was also cited for a law mandating the chemical castration of violent child abusers.

Ukraine is plagued by failings in its criminal justice system and a lack of safeguards for detainees. The rights of homosexuals and transgenders are at risk because of pending legislation.


Posted in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan | Leave a Comment »

Sign Petition Calling On Kazakhstan’s Government To Help Protect Journalist’s Rights

Posted by Info on 22/05/2013

Kazakh Human Rights Defender calls for international action

Lukpan Akhmedyarov, Editor in Chief of one of Kazakhstans last remaining independent newspapers, calls on the international community to establish mechanisms to guide and monitor the human rights implementation process

Take Action Now! Petition on line

подпиши обращение к правительству Kазахстана, чтобы помочь защитить права журналистов

Thematic Focus:

Enforcement and compliance of the right to freedom of expression and opinion. (Article 19 of the ICCPR)

Proposal summary:

Establishing mechanisms to realize the process of democratization and human rights implementation. The mechanisms must set out specific targets and include a verification process.

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Kazakhstan: Dangerous Precedent – Journalist At Risk

Posted by Info on 16/05/2013

Journalist Alexander Kharlamov,63, was arrested and was 3 days later  accused of inciting religious strife on the grounds of his forthright atheist views and fears to be sent to a psychiatric institution. He writes a blog, is a regular contributor to the Ridderskiye Vesti and Flash newspapers, and heads a rights group called Secret Service. He is particularly well known for campaigning against corruption, and has written extensive on malpractice among municipal, police and prosecution service staff in his town. His case raises concerns about the misuse of psychiatric medicine for punitive ends, a practice common in the Soviet period.

 Article 164 of Kazakstan criminal code makes it illegal to engage in actions intended “to incite social, ethnic, clan, racial or religious enmity or animosity”, and refers also to “the ethnic honour and dignity or religious feelings of citizens”.

The criminal investigation experts appointed to assess Kharlamov’s published work, who concluded that 28 of the 36 articles they looked at qualified as incitement. One of the offending passages referred to religion in general as “an ideology based on primitive ideas and concepts, myths, lies and deception”.

Sergei Duvanov, a well-known journalist in Kazakstan, said the legal moves against Kharlamov were in clear breach of the right to freedom of expression. “He’s expressing his point of view. It doesn’t matter whether it’s correct or not, whether it coincides with the views of the majority of people, or whether he’s in the minority,” 

In a resolution from April 18, the European Parliament noted Kharlamov’s detention along with other cases where human rights activists and opposition members had been prosecuted. The resolution urged Kazakstan’s government to revoke Article 164 and called for talks on a new Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with the European Union to be suspended until the country significantly improved its human rights record.



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Uzbekistan: 8 Years After Andijan Massacre. What Has Been Done By The EU?

Posted by Info on 13/05/2013

On May 13, 2005, security forces in the city of Andijan, Uzbekistan, opened fire on protesters,  the majority  unarmed, killing hundreds of men, women and children  as they tried to flee. Till today no one has been held accountable, and the authoritarian president, Islam Karimov, has defied calls for an independent investigation. Instead the Uzbek authorities imprisoned dozens of human rights defenders and journalists and ejected human rights groups and international media from the country.

The European Union and its members expressed outrage in the immediate aftermath and imposed sanctions. But Uzbekistan has for over a decade  blocked access to 11 UN rights monitors, worse standing than even Iran, China or Turkmenistan. ICRC visits resumed in 2009 after being blocked  for five years. And the EU foreign ministers cited this as one of the “positive steps” allowing for lifting sanctions.  The last of those sanctions were lifted in 2009, though Uzbekistan met none of the human rights conditions the EU had set.

Will the EU be capable  of saying enough is enough as Since then Uzbekistan’s reputation as one of the world’s worst human rights abusers has only grown.

Will the EU and its allies ask the UN Human Rights Council to appoint a country rapporteur to draw global attention to the human rights disaster in Uzbekistan and force an international debate about its abuses. (Human Rights Watch).


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Freedom Of Speech Index for 2012

Posted by Info on 08/05/2013

Reporters Without Borders has published its annual Freedom of the Press Index for 2012:

Uzbekistan occupied 164th place out of 179 countries. From last year’s index Uzbekistan moved down seven notches which shows the deterioration of the situation journalists face in the country. Uzbekistan remained a nightmare for journalists. Dictatorship of President Islam Karimov controlled the Internet, pressured the media and punished independent journalists using courts.

It was a good news to hear, that The UNHCR in Kyrgyzstan granted refugee status to Uzbek journalist Elena Bondar. Pressure on Bondar – threatening phone calls and aggressive treatment by law enforcement officers – forced the young journalist to flee Uzbekistan and seek refugee status.

The worse situation is only in Turkmenistan with the regime of President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov. Turkmenistan came 177th on the index, along with Eritrea and North Korea which came on the bottom of the index.

Kazachstan occupied 16oth, Tajikistan 123rd and   Kyrgyzstan 106th place.

Russia came 148th, falling six notches from last year which is explained by repressions and the suppression of protests after Vladimir Putin came to power.

Moldova, Armenia and Georgia fared the best coming 55th, 74th and 100th.

Íà÷àëñÿ ðàáî÷èé âèçèò ïðåçèäåíòà Ðîññèè â Òóðêìåíèþ

Personality cult in Turkmenistan. President Berdymukhamedov introduced minimal reforms but heaped honours upon himself. For his 50th birthday, he awarded himself the Watan (Motherland) Order, a gold and diamond pendant weighing about 1 kilogram for his “outstanding achievements” in his barely six months in office.

Posted in Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, UN, Uzbekistan | Leave a Comment »

Uzbekistan And The Freedom Of Religion

Posted by Info on 07/05/2013

“Since Uzbekistan gained independence in 1991, its government has systematically and egregiously violated freedom of religion or belief, as well as other human rights.” The US commission on International Religious Freedom said in its report in 2013.

It was estimated that  Uzbekistan has from 5,000 to 10,000 prisoners of conscience.

The commission said Uzbekistan should not receive US military equipment or aid unless it shows real respect for religious freedoms and organisations responsible for gross violations of freedom of religion should not be included in a list of recipients.

In 2003, in response to the worsening human rights situation, Washington stopped military aid to Uzbekistan but at the beginning of 2012 the Obama administration cancelled this embargo.
On 18 January 2012 US State Secretary Hillary Clinton signed a decree to send non-lethal military equipment to Uzbekistan.
The document is in force only until September 2013 when it should be renewed and revised every six months.




2010_Uzbekistan_DefendersUzbekistan´s Imprisoned Human Rights Defenders

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Европарламент Kритикует Казахстан За Cитуацию C Правами Чeловека

Posted by Info on 06/05/2013

Депутаты Европарламента приняли резолюцию большинством голосов на пленарном заседании 18 апреля 2013, в которой подвергли критике власти Казахстана за состояние с правами человека в республике.

 В резолюции подвергли критике судебные решения о запрете оппозиционных партий, в частности незарегистрированной партии “Алга” (“Вперед”), а также независимых СМИ. Депутаты также призвали ослабить ограничения для регистрации и деятельности религиозных организаций, а также уважать право работников на создание независимых профсоюзов.

Европейский парламент вновь выразил обеспокоенность в связи с заключением лидеров оппозиции, журналистов и адвокатов по результатам судебных процессов, не соответствующих международным стандартам. В документе звучит призыв освободить осужденных на основании уголовных дел, которые могут считаться политически мотивированными, в частности, Владимира Козлова и Вадима Курамшина.

“Репортеры без границ” не любят президента Нурсултана Назарбаева, считают его одним из самых убежденных противников свободы печати. В реестре этой правозащитной организации Казахстан находится на 160 месте по уровню независимости средств массовой информации из 179 возможных.

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Kazakhstan: Authorities seek closure of independent, critical media

Posted by Info on 06/05/2013

Prosecuting authorities are seeking to close down independent media outlets Respublika and Vzglyad, the satellite TV station K+, the news portal, and all websites linked to these outlets as they are critical of President Nursultan Nazarbayev’s government. The prosecutor links the independent media to what it calls the “extremism” of the two main opposition parties, Alga and Khalyk Maydany, and accuses the outlets of “extremist propaganda”.In August 2011, a similar charge of “extremism” was used to block access to LiveJournal, a popular blog platform.

Nursultan Nazarbayev is one of the world’s longest-serving presidents, a man who has driven opponents into exile and who  won his elections with more than 90% of the vote. International monitors have sharply criticised Kazakhstan‘s presidential election, citing numerous cases of ballot-box stuffing, voter intimidation and a lack of transparency.

Human rights in Kazakhstan

European Parliament debated and adopted by a large majority the resolution on 18.4.2013 , calling to protect human rights in Kazakhstan. Parliament strongly criticised the court decision to ban opposition parties, including the unregistered ´Alga!` party, as well as independent media actors. It also called for restrictions on the registration and practice of religion to be eased and for workers rights to form independent labour unions to be upheld.

The House reiterated its concern at the detention of opposition leaders, journalists and lawyers on the basis of trials which fall short of international standards and called again for the release of persons convicted on the basis of vague criminal charges, which could be considered to be politically motivated, including Vladimir Kozlov and Vadim Kurashim. MEPs also stressed that Aliya Turusbekova cannot be held responsible for the actions of third persons.

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New NGO in Geneva: The Future of Human Rights Forum

Posted by Info on 26/03/2013

FHR Martin

The Future of Human Rights Forum (FHRF) is an international, non-profit, non-governmental organization devoted to the protection and effective application of fundamental human rights and individual freedoms.

With its headquarters in Geneva, at the heart of the human rights community, the FHRF works with grassroots political organizations, journalists, police experts and the United Nations. The FHRF encourages constructive approaches for strengthening democratic institutions and supports freedom of opinion and expression so as to ensure transparency and accountability in the international system and in countries of concern.

Serious human rights violations happen daily. Current protection systems are lacking. Crucial reforms are needed. The problems in current human rights institutions are often publicized, however, there is insufficient focus on finding solutions and bringing them to the public’s attention. It is in this field, that the FHRF seeks to play an active, constructive and responsible role.

Martin cover HRF

Join FHRF and assist this process!

For more information contact

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Martin Ennals Award Nominees 2012 – Luon Sovath, a Buddhist monk in Cambodia

Posted by Info on 04/12/2012

Martin Ennals Award Nominees 2012

Luon Sovath, a Buddhist monk in Cambodia

Cambodian monk
Activist monk Luon Sovath has been internationally recognized for his work in documenting land rights abuses in Cambodia. He is using his camera and his phone for recording the systematic violations of the economic and social rights. He has been banned from staying in temples by Cambodia’s Buddhist establishment but has continued to rally for rights of people forced from their land or homes by development projects.

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