News

For the latest updates on human rights achievements, collaborations, events and activities.

34 Years Later, Vietnam Needs Larger Freedom

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On the eve of the 34th anniversary of Vietnam becoming a party to key human rights treaties, the human rights situation in the country continues to be marked by the prosecution and imprisonment of human rights defenders, violence against activists and protesters, use of repressive laws to criminalise expression and assembly, and inadequate guarantees to ensure citizens’ right to participate in public affairs, including in land use and environmental decision-making.

Safe and Secure Freedom of Assembly Must be Guaranteed at Belgrade Pride

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Civil Rights Defenders demands that the government of Serbia puts all measures in place to ensure a safe and secure Belgrade Pride March which is scheduled to take place on September 18. Freedom of peaceful assembly must be secured for all citizens of Serbia regardless of their personal attributes and to guarantee peoples’ fundamental human rights. Belgrade Pride Week 2016 which began on September 12 includes a variety of cultural, debate and community-oriented events, which will take place at several locations throughout the Serbian capital.

Petition to the International Association of Prosecutors

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Civil Rights Defenders together with the undersigned organisations have made an appeal to the International Association of Prosecutors to take the necessary steps to ensure that they comply with the Standards of Professional Responsibility of and Statement of the Essential Duties and Rights of Prosecutors. While recognising the commitment and sacrifice of many prosecutors the undersigned have observed situations in which some prosecutors have been involved in prosecutions that violate basic human rights laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and subsequent international covenants, conventions and instruments to which the Association should adhere to.

Addressing the Escalating Human Rights Crisis in Ethiopia

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Civil Rights Defenders together with 14 other prominent civil society organisations have issued a joint statement to the Permanent Representatives of Members and Observer States of the UN Human Rights Council to draw their attention to serious human rights violations in Ethiopia. These include violent crackdowns on peaceful protests in the provinces of Oromio and Amhara. All 15 civil society organisations urge the delegations to make serious recommendations to Ethiopia including a thorough, independent, impartial and transparent investigation into all deaths resulting from alleged excessive use of force by the security force.

Human Rights Defender Brutalised and Sentenced on Fabricated Charges

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Civil Rights Defenders condemns the conviction of Zhalaudi Geriev, a reporter with the Russian news site Caucasian Knot, to three years imprisonment for possession of narcotics. According to his lawyers Geriev’s conviction was based on a forced confession, fabricated evidence, and numerous violations of legal procedures and basic human rights. Geriev, who is 23, was targeted because of his journalistic activities. Along with his colleagues at Caucasian Knot, which has no central office and whose journalists often publish anonymously for both themselves and their families’ safety, Geriev wrote regularly about human rights violations in the Russian republic of Chechnya.

Why a UNGA Resolution is Still Needed in Myanmar

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Civil Rights Defenders (CRD), ALTSEAN-Burma, Amnesty International, Article 19, Forum-Asia, and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) are concerned that the European Union (EU) may not introduce a new resolution on the situation of human rights in Myanmar at the upcoming 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). Our organizations believe that ending the resolution at this time would be premature, and that strong human rights monitoring mechanisms must remain in place to ensure Myanmar continues to press forward with much needed reforms

Human Rights Abuses in Laos Must be Tackled Now

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On the eve of the annual ASEAN leaders summit in Vientiane, human rights and advocacy groups called upon the Lao PDR Government to commit to address its widespread violations of human rights, including instances of enforced disappearances and arbitrary detention, and overall denial of basic civil and political rights. Visiting world leaders have a unique opportunity to publicly raise human rights concerns during the ASEAN summit in Vientiane from September 6-8.

(Svenska) Sverige utreder möjligheten att lättare avhysa utsatta unionsmedborgare

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(Svenska) Förra året tillsatte regeringen en utredning för att ta fram förslag på hur möjligheterna att avlägsna otillåtna bosättningar kan förbättras. Utredningen föreslår bland annat en enklare avhysningsprocess och att att polisen ska ta en mer aktiv roll för att avlägsna otillåtna bosättningar. Civil Rights Defenders är mycket kritiska till slutsatserna i utredningen eftersom behandlingen av de som avhyses från sina boplatser strider mot Sveriges internationella åtaganden om de mänskliga rättigheterna.

Police Brutality Against Human Rights Defenders Must Stop

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Civil Rights Defenders expresses its concern that yet another human rights defenders has been subjected to unprovoked harassment by the police in Prijedor a municipality in Bosnia and Herzegovina in recent days. Nikola Kurida of Kvart, a partner organisation of Civil Rights Defenders had been visiting the residence of a colleague when the police arrived unannounced and started to threaten all those inside.

Call on the Human Rights Council Regarding Resolution on Deteriorating Human Rights Situation

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Today, Civil Rights Defenders joins 11 international, regional, and Cambodian civil society organisations in a letter to permanent missions of Member and Observer States of the UN Human Rights Council, urging them to support the adoption of a resolution addressing Cambodia’s gravely deteriorating human rights situation at the 33rd session of the Council (13-30 September 2016).

Civil Rights Defenders is Looking for a Business Controller

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Civil Rights Defenders is looking for a Business Controller with minimum three years of experience. As a person you are analytical and proactive and like to drive changes. You are service-minded and comfortably network and work with all levels of the organisation. Working together with us gives you a great opportunity to work with international projects across many different geographic regions and cultures. Welcome to apply.

Azerbaijan: Renewed Human Rights Crackdown Ahead of Referendum

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Less than six weeks ahead of a constitutional referendum, the Azerbaijani authorities have unleashed a new wave of repression to silence critical voices. Today, Civil Rights Defenders joins 17 member organisations of the Sports for Rights coalition in a statement to condemn this renewed crackdown. We call on the Azerbaijani authorities to take immediate steps to improve the human rights situation in the country, starting with the release of political prisoners held for their peaceful political activities or exercise of their right to freedom of expression.

Statement: Cuba Must End Repression Against Human Rights Defenders

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The Cuban Government continues its crackdown on human rights and its repression against human rights defenders. Several activists have now gone to hunger strike as means to demand change. In a statement today, Civil Rights Defenders expresses deep concern over the health conditions of the activists, and strongly condemns the systematic human rights violations they face in Cuba. We urge the Cuban Government to end all repression against Cuban citizens and human rights defenders and to guarantee their civil and political rights.

Cambodia: Campaign to Support Imprisoned Human Rights Defenders

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Civil Rights Defenders joins more than 50 local, regional and international civil society groups in launching a campaign to support and seek the release of five human rights defenders who are under arbitrary detention in Cambodia. They are currently under judicial investigation for trumped-up allegations of bribery. The #FreeThe5KH campaign aims to garner support for the five detained human rights defenders, to remind them that the public has not forgotten about their cause and to help keep their morale high while they remain in detention.

Stockholm Pride – A Time to Show Solidarity and Support

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This week, thousands of people gather in the capital of Sweden to take a positive stance against discrimination toward LGBT people, and to celebrate dignity, equality, diversity and human rights. While the concept of Pride is widely recognised in many parts of the world, the acceptance is not. In order to draw attention to the environment our friends and colleagues are forced to work in, Civil Rights Defenders is glad to welcome LGBT activists from Belarus, Russia and the Western Balkans to this year’s Stockholm Pride.

Civil Rights Defenders Supports Association of BH Journalists

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On 19 July, Civil Rights Defenders’ partner, the Association of BH Journalists, stated that politician Salmir Kaplan, accompanied with a group of his social media supporters, has initiated a public smear campaign against the Association of BH Journalists and Borka Rudić, the General Secretary of the association. Civil Rights Defenders condemns all attacks against journalists and free media and encourages the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina to investigate this and other attacks against journalists and media workers urgently.

Civil Rights Defenders at Stockholm Pride 2016

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Stockholm Pride has begun and as the city is decorated with rainbow flags, Civil Rights Defenders’ preparations for the week are well underway. We are delighted to welcome you to march for equality and diversity with us in the Pride Parade this Saturday. Furthermore, on Thursday, you will find us at Pride House where our colleagues Natalia Mankouskaya from Belarus and Jonny Dzhibladze from Russia discuss what challenges they meet as LGBT activists in their respective countries.

The Police Registration of Roma: A Case Overview

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In March 2015, Civil Rights Defenders filed suit against the Swedish State for violating human rights when the police in south Sweden registered thousands of Roma individuals. A year later, Stockholm District Court established that the State is to be found guilty of ethnic discrimination, but the historic ruling has been challenged by the Chancellor of Justice and a new trial is to be held in the Appellate Court. The process to justice for the victims is long, and the questions of what happens now are many. This overview aims to provide an understanding of what has happened as well as what is awaiting.

Cambodia: Killing of Kem Ley Adds Grave Concern to the Deteriorating Human Rights Situation

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Civil Rights Defenders joins 20 other local, regional and international civil society groups and networks in condemning the murder of Cambodian activist and political analyst Kem Ley in Phnom Penh on 10 July 2016. The signatories call for a prompt, thorough, impartial, and independent investigation into his death, and call on the authorities to ensure accountability for this atrocious killing.

HuffPost: “Protection Of Myanmar’s Muslims A Litmus Test For Reforms”

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“It’s crucial that the government take concrete measures to remove longstanding restrictions on the Rohingya and the Muslim minority”, writes Shaivalini Parmar, Programme Officer for Myanmar at Civil Rights Defenders, in The World Post on 6 July. “Revoking all policies that place arbitrary limitations on movement would be an appropriate start, so that, at minimum, access to basic services like health and education are no longer impeded”.

(Svenska) DN Debatt: “Regeringen måste ställa tydliga krav i nya samarbetet med Kuba”

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(Svenska) Medborgerliga rättigheter respekteras inte. Den svenska regeringen är i slutskedet med en ny biståndsstrategi för samarbete med Kubas regering. Signalen till Raúl Castro måste vara tydlig: Förtryck av människorättsförsvarare ska inte accepteras. Det skriver John Stauffer och Erik Jennische på Civil Rights Defenders i en debattartikel i DN Debatt den 4 juli.

Statement: Myanmar Must Investigate Destruction of Religious Buildings

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On 5 July, Civil Rights Defenders joins 18 other non-governmental organisations in Myanmar to call on the Government of Myanmar to conduct a formal investigation into the recent destruction of religious buildings in Kachin State and Bago Region. The statement represents a collective show of support from Myanmar civil society for victims of religiously motivated violence in the country. We call on the Government of Myanmar to live up to the aspirations of a democratic Myanmar with respect for human rights.

UN Human Rights Council Puts Cambodia on Notice

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At the 32nd session of the UN Human Rights Council, Belgium, Japan, France, Switzerland, the United States, the United Kingdom and the EU all expressed concerns at the recent escalation of crackdown on civil society and the political opposition in Cambodia. In a joint statement highlighting this cross-regional condemnation, Civil Rights Defenders, together with Cambodian, regional and international human rights groups, call on Cambodian authorities to immediately release detained civil society and opposition members.

Russia: First Time a Human Rights Defender Risks Prison Under the “Foreign Agents” Law

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The last several weeks have seen a marked deterioration in the human rights situation in Russia, including the first criminal case brought under the widely-criticised “foreign agents law” and the passage of anti-terrorist legislation that severely curtails existing human rights protections. The most recent legislation has yet to be signed into law, but it is part of an increasingly worrying trend that has alarmed observers both in and outside Russia.

Chancellor of Justice Lodges Appeal after Swedish State was Found Guilty of Ethnic Discrimination

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On 30 July, the Chancellor of Justice, on behalf of the Swedish State, lodged an appeal against the District Court ruling from 10 June where the court found the State guilty of ethnic discrimination because of the police registration of the eleven Swedish Roma citizens who Civil Rights Defenders acted as legal representatives for. The eleven individuals have, according to the court, been registered only because of their ethnic origin.

(Svenska) Civil Rights Defenders i Almedalen

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(Svenska) Nästa vecka, mellan den 3-10 juli, är det dags för Almedalsveckan på Gotland. Civil Rights Defenders finns på plats och deltar i flertalet seminarium och arrangemang. Vi kommer bland annat att diskutera mänskliga rättigheter inom psykiatrisk tvångsvård, övervakning i diktaturstater och vad EU gör för utsatta EU-medborgares rättigheter. Uppdateringar kring arrangemangen sker löpande på Civil Rights Defenders kanaler för sociala medier.

Civil Rights Defenders and the Faculty of Law in Uppsala Open a Human Rights Clinic

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This autumn, Civil Rights Defenders invites law students enrolled in Uppsala University to participate in a new project called Human Rights Clinic. The project is created in close cooperation with the Faculty of Law in Uppsala and aims towards providing the participants with practical skills in human rights law and an understanding of how the civil society works to protect and strengthen human rights. Apply no later than 1 August 2016.

(Svenska) Anmälan till JO om Farsta-Vantör-polisens avhysningspraxis

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(Svenska) Idag, den 22 juni, gjorde Civil Rights Defenders en anmälan till Justitieombudsmannen om de systematiska avhysningar av utsatta EU-medborgare som polisen i Farsta-Vantör ägnat sig åt de senaste månaderna. Avhysningarna präglas av rättsosäkerhet i flera hänseenden och vi menar att polisens avhysningspraxis strider mot såväl svensk rätt som internationella människorättsinstrument. Vi begär därför en JO-granskning av polisens agerande.

Newsletter 2: June 2016

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The last couple of months have been rather eventful. Among many things, Civil Rights Defenders has won a lawsuit against the Swedish State, released a new edition of the magazine Time to Act, organised the tenth edition of the regional Moot Court and published a report on freedom of expression in Russia. We have also welcomed more than 160 human rights defenders to our annual conference Defenders’ Days – Empowering Human Rights Defenders at Risk. Read more in our latest newsletter.

Swedish State Guilty of Ethnic Discrimination: What Happens Now?

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Today, 10 June 2016, Stockholm District Court found the Swedish State guilty of ethnic discrimination as a result of the register over thousands of Roma individuals set up by the police. The ruling establishes that the eleven individuals who Civil Rights Defenders represented were registered only because of their ethnic origin, which violates both Swedish law and the European Convention on Human Rights. Find out more about what happens now.

Historic Court Ruling: Swedish State Guilty of Ethnic Discrimination

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Swedish State is guilty of ethnic discrimination according to ruling in Stockholm District Court on 10 June 2016. Civil Rights Defenders wins the case and holds the State accountable for the police register of Swedish Roma citizens. The historical ruling today provides justice to the three children and eight adults who Civil Rights Defenders acted as legal representatives for in the lawsuit against the State.

Prijedor, Bosnia and Herzegovina: Attacks Against “Kvart” Need to Stop

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On Tuesday 31 May 2016, after the White Armbands Day, the third attempt in six months occurred to intimidate members of our partners, the Youth Organisation Kvart. Civil Rights Defenders strongly condemns the pressures against human rights defenders in Prijedor as well as the attacks on their premises. We urge the authorities to prosecute and sanction these attacks as well as to ensure protection for their future activities.

Ethiopia: End use of counter-terrorism law to persecute dissenters and opposition members

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Today, Civil Rights Defenders and eight other civil society organisations issue a joint statement calling on the Ethiopian government to end the use of counter-terrorism law to persecute dissenters and opposition members. We urge the Ethiopian Government to end its escalating crackdown on human rights defenders, independent media, peaceful protestors as well as members and leaders of the political opposition.

(Svenska) Sverige offrar offentlighetsprincipen för god relation till Kubas regering

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(Svenska) EU och Margot Wallström vägrar offentliggöra avtalsförslaget om politisk dialog och bistånd som EUs och Kubas förhandlingsdelegationer undertecknade i mars i år. “Så fort det här är fullt ut beslutat och signerat så blir det offentligt”, förklarade Margot Wallström för TT. Att EU och Sverige lägger sig för den kubanska regeringens krav att inte offentliggöra avtalsförslaget innebär att man offrar offentlighetsprincipen för att ha en god relation Kubas regering.

Uganda: Weak Cyber Laws Fail to Protect Internet Freedoms and Privacy

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In a new report, Civil Rights Defenders and the Ugandan NGO Unwanted Witness provide a joint analysis on cyber laws in Uganda and their failure to protect online freedoms and the right to privacy. The analysis is an assessment of Ugandan cyber laws from a human rights perspective that reflects on the compatibility of the provisions with Uganda’s own 1995 Constitution and International Human Rights Standards.

Lawsuit Against the Swedish State

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This Friday, on 10 June 2016, the Stockholm District Court will announce its ruling in the case of the ethnic register set up by the Skåne police. Civil Rights Defenders acts as legal representatives for 11 individuals from the Roma community whose personal information was registered by the police. We have not received any explanation as to why these individuals are included in the register, nor have we got any reason to believe that they were registered for reasons other than their ethnic origin. The ruling this Friday follows the main hearing which was held between 25-26 May.

(Svenska) Seminarium: FN:s granskning av mänskliga rättigheter i Sverige

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(Svenska) Den 30 mars kom FN:s rekommendationer om vad Sverige bör göra för att leva upp till de medborgerliga och politiska rättigheterna. Men vad händer nu? Civil Rights Defenders bjuder in till seminarium för att diskutera rekommendationerna. I panelen deltar ledamöter från sju riksdagspartier för att diskutera hur de kan följas och vilken roll riksdagen ska spela för mänskliga rättigheter i Sverige.

(Svenska) Seminarium: Ramzan Kadyrov – ett hot för hela Ryssland?

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(Svenska) I början av året kallade Tjetjeniens överhuvud Ramzan Kadyrov ryska oppositionspolitiker för förrädare och mordhotade en före detta rysk premiärminister på sitt instagramkonto. Håller Kadyrov, som gjort Tjetjenien till en lokal diktatur, på att få mer makt i Ryssland? Vad innebär det i så fall för människorättssituationen? Välkommen på ett frukostseminarium med den ryske statsvetaren Andrej Piontkovskij.

(Svenska) Fallet Sinthu Selvarajah läggs ned – uttalande

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(Svenska) I dag kom nyheten att åklagaren än en gång lägger ner utredningen av hur det gick till när den psykosdrabbade, 28-åriga Sinthu Selvarajah dog i samband med ett polisingripande vid den psykiatriska avdelningen på Västmanlands läns sjukhus i december 2014 – trots att det finns en mängd oklarheter i fallet och den officiella dödsorsaken starkt ifrågasätts av rättsmedicinska experter. Civil Rights Defenders har för avsikt att driva fallet vidare.

Report on Freedom of Expression in Russia

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In this briefing paper, Civil Rights Defenders gives an overview of the state of freedom of expression in Russia. It describes how human rights defenders who rendered support to journalists, bloggers and other civil society actors have become the epicentre of the authorities’ unabated crackdown on human rights. Since Vladimir Putin returned to the Kremlin in May 2012 the human rights situation in Russia has worsened significantly.

Civil Rights Defender of the Year 2016 – Intigam Aliyev

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Civil Rights Defenders is pleased to announce human rights lawyer Intigam Aliyev as the Civil Rights Defender of the Year 2016. Recently released from prison, he is one of several human rights defenders in Azerbaijan who has been detained for their work to promote human rights. “This support is highly valuable because it shows our realities to the world and gives hope about the future of democracy and human rights in Azerbaijan,” says Intigam Aliyev.

Today We Open the Doors to Defenders’ Days 2016

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For the fourth time in succession this year, Civil Rights Defenders opens the doors to Defenders’ Days! We welcome 160 human rights defenders from all over the world to attend the conference and to enjoy the opportunities for networking and sharing experiences. Furthermore, we have invited some of the world’s foremost human rights expert to host a wide variety of trainings, workshops and presentations.

“Justice Remains Unreachable” – Annual Report on Judiciary in Kosovo

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The Humanitarian Law Center Kosovo (HLC Kosovo) a partner of Civil Rights Defenders have just presented their annual report entitled “Justice Remains Unreachable”. The report deals with the monitoring of war crime trials and looks at ethically and politically motivated trials. The report was presented at a roundtable discussion involving the judiciary, prosecutors and law professionals from all over Kosovo.

(Svenska) FN kritiserar Sverige i rapport om mänskliga rättigheter

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(Svenska) Idag överlämnade FN:s människorättskommitté en rapport om hur Sverige lever upp till FN:s konvention om medborgerliga och politiska rättigheter. FN kritiserar regeringen på en rad områden och för fram långtgående krav på åtgärder. Kommittén ser bland annat med oro på behandlingen av romer i Sverige och noterar att romska utsatta EU-medborgare i hög grad förvägras sina rättigheter.

We are Looking for a Chief Operating Officer

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We are looking for a Chief Operating Officer with experience within leading positions in international contexts. The need for a COO is a key factor in reaching the vision to become one of the world’s leading human rights organisations. As a person you are a natural leader with passion and knowledge of how to engage and motivate others. At the same time you can show decisiveness and achieve results in difficult situations and firmly lead others in times of change.

Vietnam: Five Years in Prison for Popular Blogger

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On March 23, prominent blogger Nguyễn Hữu Vinh, more known under his pen name Anh Ba Sam, was sentenced to five years in prison. His assistant Nguyễn Thị Minh Thúy received a three-year prison sentence. “This is a clear case of the Vietnamese authorities using vaguely worded legal provisions as a tool to silence human rights defenders,” said Brittis Edman, South East Asia Programme Director at Civil Rights Defenders.

(Svenska) När behovet av stöd är akut

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(Svenska) Runt om i världen arbetar modiga människor intensivt med att skydda grundläggande mänskliga rättigheter, inte sällan med risk för sitt eget liv. Många av dem verkar i repressiva regioner vilket gör att de befinner sig i en utsatt situation på såväl arbetet som på fritiden. För de allra mest utsatta kan situationen eskalera mycket snabbt, vilket skapar ett behov av akut stöd – för detta har Civil Rights Defenders upprättat Akutfonden.

Stop Violations Against Kenyan Human Rights Defenders

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Today Civil Rights Defenders forwarded a joint Letter of Concern to the Kenyan government regarding the arrest of Joel Ogada on March 14. Joel is a prominent Kenyan environmental Human Rights Defender and Natalia Project participant. We urge the Kenyan authorities to act accordingly and guarantee in all circumstances that Kenyan human rights defenders are able to carry out their work without fear of reprisals.

Defenders’ Days 2016

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On 4 April, Civil Rights Defenders invites 160 Human Rights Defenders from all over the world to attend the conference Defenders’ Days – Empowering Human Rights Defenders at Risk. During four days the participants enjoy an extensive conference programme including presentations, panel discussions, several trainings and workshops focusing on human rights. Defenders’ Days offers Human Rights Defenders from many of the most repressive regions in the world with a safe atmosphere for international networking and for sharing knowledge. Find out more about the conference here!

Important Victory for Civil Rights Defenders Partner ‘Promo Lex’

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Civil Rights Defenders welcomes the decision of the European Court of Human Rights in the case Mozer -v- Moldova and Russia who found both countries liable regarding their lack of duty of care to the applicant Boris Mozer. “It is important recognition of the persistent work combatting human rights violations that our partners do with our support”, said Joanna Kurosz, Programme Director for the Eurasia Department at Civil Rights Defenders.

(Svenska) Varför får Castro bestämma, Margot Wallström?

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(Svenska) Utrikesministern behöver förklara varför kubanska medborgare och människorättsförsvarare inte får vara med i diskussionen om sin framtid, skriver Civil Rights Defenders i en debattartikel i Dagens Arena den 4/3. Den svenska regeringen skulle kunna vara det land som tog kubanska människorättsförsvarares parti – men i stället har Sverige slutit ett samarbetsavtal utan att involvera den kubanska befolkningen.

(Svenska) En oberoende institution för mänskliga rättigheter: när var hur?

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(Svenska) Vid MR-rådets senaste förhör av Sverige i Genève upprepades kravet på att inrätta en svensk oberoende människorättsinstitution. Något som bäst beskrivs som en myndighet med uppgift att granska statens internationella MR-åtaganden samt främjande av mänskliga rättigheter. Hur bör en sådan institution organiseras och vilka för- och nackdelar finns det med olika lösningar? Välkommen till ett riksdagsseminarium den 16 mars.

(Svenska) Polisens dödsskjutning av psykiskt sjuk anmäls till FN

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(Svenska) Den 20 mars 2005 sköts den 22-årige Daniel Franklert Murne till döds av poliser utanför sitt hem i Lindesberg. Han hade drabbats av en akut psykos för första gången i sitt liv. I dag anmäler Civil Rights Defenders Sverige för dödsskjutningen. Sverige har brutit mot artikel 6, rätten till liv, och artikel 7, rätten att inte utsättas för grym och omänsklig behandling. Civil Rights Defenders företräder Daniels föräldrar och syster.

Grave Restrictions on Fundamental Human Rights

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In a letter to the Permanent Representatives of Members and Observer States of the UN Human Rights Council, Civil Rights Defenders together with eight undersigned civil society organisations expressed their serious concerns about the Ethiopian Government’s grave restrictions on fundamental human rights. This has been exemplified by the recent crackdown on largely peaceful protests in the Oromia region.

(Svenska) Museveni blir kvar – och förtrycket ökar

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(Svenska) Under lördagen stod det klart att sittande president Museveni behåller greppet om presidentposten i Uganda för en femte mandatperiod. Valdagen kantades av sammandrabbningar och nedsläckta sociala mediekanaler vilket, enligt kritiker och oppositionella i landet, skedde på order av den sittande regeringen. Civil Rights Defenders programchef för Östafrika och Afrikas horn, Mesfin Negash, analyserar valutgången i tidningen OmVärlden.

Vietnam: Call for Immediate Release of Prisoners of Conscience

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Civil Rights Defenders along with six civil society organisations call on the Vietnamese authorities to immediately release two prisoners of conscience Nguyễn Văn Đài and Lê Thu Hà. They were arrested on 16 December 2015 and charged under Article 88 of the Penal Code for ‘Conducting propaganda against the state’. All efforts by family and legal counsel to visit the pair since their arrests have been denied.

Honouring a Great Human Rights Advocate: Mr. Srdjan Dizdarevic , 29th September 1952 to 16th February 2016

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Civil Rights Defenders mourns the loss of prominent human rights advocate Srdjan Dizdarevic who died on February 16th in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Viewed as one of the leading human rights defenders in the country Civil Rights Defenders was honoured to have collaborated with him on numerous groundbreaking projects. These included successfully lobbying for the introduction of new laws against discrimination and for his work in dealing with a wide variety of human rights violations in Bosnia and Herzegovina

The UN Examination of Sweden – Read Civil Rights Defenders Shadow Report

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On the 9th and 10th of March, Sweden will be examined by the UN Human Rights Committee in Geneva – the body that monitors implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Last year, the Swedish government submitted their official report to the UN, explaining their views on the human rights situation in Sweden. Civil Rights Defenders recently forwarded an extensive alternative report to the Human Rights Committee to counteract the official depiction.

Second Generation of Human Rights Defenders School Kicks Off in Serbia

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Civil Rights Defenders is delighted to see another 50 participants partake in the second generation Human Rights Defenders School which is held in Belgrade and Nis in Serbia. Today the students will begin an intensive ten-month training including lectures and workshops focusing on contemporary human rights issues. Created by Civil Rights Defenders the school’s principal goal is to empower a new generation of human rights defenders.

Uganda Elections 2016 – A Situation Analysis by Civil Rights Defenders

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Uganda will hold its fifth presidential and parliamentary election on February 18, 2016. Around half of the population are registered to cast their votes, according to the Electoral Commission. The atmosphere is a mixture of fear of election-related violence coupled with the fear that civil and political rights will be further eroded. Reports of irregularities and election-related violence continue to surface. This has prompted local and international stakeholders to call for immediate reconciliatory measures to ease the situation.

(Svenska) Uttalande med anledning av samernas nationaldag

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(Svenska) Den 6 februari firas den samiska nationaldagen som i år infaller bara tre dagar efter att Gällivare tingsrätt utfärdade ett historiskt domslut i det uppmärksammade Girjasmålet. Civil Rights Defenders välkomnar beslutet, vilket ger samebyar rätt att råda över sina traditionella marker i enlighet med urfolksrätten, och uppmanar samtidigt till en tolkning som innebär att alla samers rättigheter respekteras.

Sweden Risks Violating Vulnerable EU citizens Rights – Open Letter

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In an open letter today, Civil Rights Defenders invites the Swedish government to a dialogue about vulnerable EU citizens and their human rights in Sweden. We are deeply concerned about the report on vulnerable EU citizens, submitted by the national coordinator to the government on 1 February. If municipalities and county councils shape their policies in line with the report, they risk violating Sweden’s human rights obligations.

(Svenska) Civil Rights Defenders kritisk till rapport – debatt i Studio Ett

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(Svenska) Den 1 februari lämnade den nationella samordnaren för utsatta EU-medborgare, Martin Valfridsson, in sin slutrapport till regeringen. Civil Rights Defenders är kritisk till innehållet som saknar ett människorättsperspektiv. “Man måste sluta betrakta de här människorna som en belastning utan snarare se dem som en potentiell tillgång”, säger Civil Rights Defenders chef, Robert Hårdh, i en radiodebatt med Martin Valfridsson.

Prominent LGBT Activist Charged Under Draconian Law

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Prominent Russian LGBT activist Sergey Alexseenko and long-term partner of Civil Rights Defenders was found guilty under the archaic “propaganda of homosexuality” law, which, was introduced in 2013. The law bans the distribution of propaganda to minors, which promotes non-traditional sexual relationships, and its introduction followed several administrative sanctions in various regions throughout Russia before being passed at a Federal level. The Arkhangelsk region where Sergey Alexseenko is based was one of the first regions to introduce punitive sanctions.

(Svenska) Poliser utkrävs inte ansvar för romregistret

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(Svenska) Polisens personalansvarsnämnd meddelade den 18 januari att de två personer som granskats avseende sitt ansvar för skånepolisens register över romer inte kan utkrävas personligt ansvar. “Det är allvarligt att ingen person kan ställas till ansvar trots att flera myndigheter konstaterat allvarliga brister och trots allvarliga kränkningar av individers rättigheter”, säger Robert Hårdh, chef på Civil Rights Defenders.

Myanmar: One Year On, No Justice for Kawng Kha Rape

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One year ago today, two teachers volunteering with the Kachin Baptist Convention were attacked and killed at home in a local church compound in Kawng Kha Village. A year on, there has been little progress towards identifying the perpetrators of the brutal rape, torture and murder. This case demonstrates the pressing need for the country’s incoming leaders to address impunity in genuine efforts to tackle sexual violence in conflict.

Vietnam Must End Arbitrary Detention of Human Rights Defenders

Vietnamese human rights defenders Nguyễn Vãn Ðài (L) and Lê Thu Hà (R).

In a statement released today, Civil Rights Defenders joins 25 civil society groups in calling on the Vietnamese authorities to drop charges against and immediately release human rights defenders Mr Nguyễn Vãn Ðài and Ms Lê Thu Hà, who have been in police custody in Hanoi after their arrest three weeks ago. The police have charged Ðài, a former prisoner of conscience, and his colleague Hà with “anti-state propaganda” under Article 88 of the Penal Code, which carries a prison sentence of between three and 20 years.

Family of Prominent Cuban Human Rights Defender Subjected to Threats and Harassment

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Cuban Human Rights Defender, Ailer Gonzalez Mena, of Estado de SATS, has been threatened by the Cuban authorities over the weekend. The security police visited her father and told him they had evidence she was meeting with the ”Cuban-American mafia members of congress”. They also asked him if he and his wife ”were currently able to receive bad news”, the father having recently undergone heart surgery.

(Svenska) Debatt: Civil Rights Defenders svarar Eric Erfors

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(Svenska) I Expressen den 10 december skriver Eric Erfors om hur han ser på Sveriges ansvar gentemot utsatta EU-medborgare från Rumänien och Bulgarien samt hur han ser på Sveriges rättsliga åtaganden i fråga om mänskliga rättigheter. Han gör det mot bakgrund av Civil Rights Defenders färska rapport om utsatta EU-medborgares rättigheter, men det är synd att han inte läste den innan han skrev. Läs vårt svar till Eric Erfors.

(Svenska) Civil Rights Defenders: Detta är Hugo Chavez arv

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(Svenska) I söndagens val till nationalförsamlingen i Venezuela kammade oppositionen hem två tredjedelar av mandaten och Hugo Chavez politiska projekt föll slutligen ihop. Under många år kunde Hugo Chavez med en kombination av stark karisma och höga oljepriser hålla projektet vid liv, men visade allt mindre respekt för de medborgerliga och politiska rättigheterna ju längre tiden gick. Läs Civil Rights Defenders debattartikel i Dagens Arena.

Will Myanmar’s Government Deliver on Human Rights Commitments?

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In the days following Myanmar’s historic election it was fast apparent that Aung San Suu Kyi’s party NLD had taken a landslide victory. Will the NLD and their allies be able to effectively remedy a long legacy of human rights abuses? What hope is there for the persecuted minority group Rohingya when they appear to have no representation in the new government? Read Civil Rights Defenders’ Op Ed in The Huffington Post.

Sweden Must Respect Vulnerable EU Citizens’ Rights

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By the end of 2015, Civil rights Defenders released a report on vulnerable EU citizens’ rights in Sweden. The report covers the right to social assistance, health care, education, protection against hate crime and the right not to be subjected to arbitrary evictions. “A serious discussion on Sweden’s obligations to protect vulnerable EU citizens’ rights has been lacking in the debate”, said Robert Hårdh, Executive Director of Civil Rights Defenders.

Read the Fourth Newsletter of the Year

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In our latest newsletter you can read about the initiative “Locked up – but not without rights” where two lawyers examine locked institutions in Sweden based on Swedish and international law. We also report about the campaign we have lunched to highlight the anonymous human rights defender and that we on the 10th of December released a report on vulnerable EU citizens’ rights in Sweden. Click here to read the full newsletter.

(Svenska) Debatt: Polisens övervåld måste få ett slut

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(Svenska) Återigen har en person med psykisk ohälsa dödats i samband med ett polisingripande – ett dödsfall som hade kunnat undvikas. Den 28-årige ingenjören Sinthu Selvarajahs död som uppmärksammades i Sveriges radios dokumentär “Död i slutet rum” är bara en i raden av händelser där akut sjuka personer dödas i konfrontation med polis. Läs Civil Rights Defenders och Riksförbundet för Social och Mental Hälsas debattartikel i Aftonbladet.

Remembering the Plight of Human Rights Defenders in Prison

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On the eve of the arrest of investigative Journalist Khadiya Ismayilova Civil Rights Defenders and other members of the Sports for Rights coalition together with the Civic Society Platform call for the immediate and unconditional release from prison of all human rights defenders. Ismayilova is one of dozens of human rights defenders and political prisoners who have been incarcerated by the regime on politically motivated charges.

International Human Rights Mechanisms Under Threat with New Proposed Russian Bill

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In yet another worrying development the Russian parliament, the Duma, adopted a bill in its first reading allowing the Constitutional Court to deem as unenforceable decisions from the International Courts including the European Court of Human Rights. While the bill will require several more readings before being passed and signed into law by President Putin, recent history has demonstrated that bills opposing human rights and the space in which civil society organisations can operate in are routinely passed with little objection.

Elections in Venezuela – Leaving Democracy Behind

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Venezuela is leaving democracy behind in the run-up to the elections of the National Assembly on December 6. That is the conclusion in a report from Civil Rights Defenders about the rapidly deteriorating situation of civil and political rights in the country. The possibility that the elections will contribute to a solution is diminishing as President Maduro has said that he will not accept a new majority in the National Assembly.

(Svenska) Gästledare i Svenska Dagbladet: Integritet är också en säkerhetsfråga

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(Svenska) “Som följd av terroristattentaten i januari mot tidningen Charlie Hebdo och nu den 13 november i Paris har det franska parlamentet antagit en serie beslut för att stärka den nationella säkerheten. Frankrike har inte valt att skapa någon ”Patriot Act”, den amerikanska lagstiftning som infördes efter attackerna den 11 september 2001, deklarerade den franska justitieministern. Frågan är om man inte går än längre”. Läs hela ledaren av Civil Rights Defenders styrelseordförande, Benedicte Berner.

(Svenska) Civil Rights Defenders utkräver ansvar för dödligt polisvåld

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(Svenska) För snart ett år sedan dog 28-årige Sinthu Selvarajah i samband med ett polisingripande på en psykiatrisk avdelning på sjukhuset i Västerås. Åklagaren bedömde dödsfallet som en olyckshändelse och alla misstankar om brott lades ner. Men utredningen har fått skarp kritik och fallet har återigen öppnats. Civil Rights Defenders företräder familjen i det nyöppnade ärendet. “Det handlar om allvarliga kränkningar av mänskliga rättigheter”, säger Robert Hårdh.

(Svenska) Seminarium: Utsatta EU-medborgares rättigheter i Sverige

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(Svenska) Den 10 december släpper Civil Rights Defenders en rapport om utsatta EU-medborgares rättigheter i Sverige. Samma dag bjuder vi in till ett seminarium där vi presenterar och diskuterar rapportens slutsatser. Vilka rättigheter har de utsatta EU-medborgarna när de befinner sig i Sverige och vilka motsvarande skyldigheter har staten att värna rättigheterna? Leder samtalet gör journalisten Alexandra Pascalidou. Välkommen!

(Svenska) Fallet Sinthu: “Tydligt att det finns systemfel som måste korrigeras”

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(Svenska) Civil Rights Defenders chef Robert Hårdh intervjuas av Sveriges radio om Sinthu Selvarajah som i december 2014 dog i samband med ett polisingripande. “Här är det helt uppenbart att det handlar om en person som är obeväpnad och instängd i ett rum och att det fanns tid för poliserna att hantera situationen annorlunda”, säger han till Sverige radio. Klicka här för att lyssna på hela inslaget.

Conference: Bosnia and Herzegovina – 20 Years of Peace

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The Dayton Peace Agreement ended the war but what kind of peace did Bosnia and Herzegovina get? The Swedish Institute of International Affairs with partners, including Civil Rights Defenders, invites you to a conference on the 5th of December to highlight 20 years of Bosnian peace. The conference agenda will include topics such as the Dayton Peace Agreement, how to build peace, the legacy of war and arts and culture. Welcome!

Cutting Aid to Support Refugees will Allow Extremism to Thrive

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News that Sweden and Norway are considering cuts to their international aid budgets in order to use the money to support refugees is of concern to advocates of democracy and human rights around the world. Sweden and Norway should continue to emphasise the root causes of the refugee crisis by helping to build democratic societies that people will not need to leave. Cutting international aid is not a wise long-term strategy. Read Civil Rights Defenders joint op–ed in The Guardian today.

(Svenska) Seminarium med Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera

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(Svenska) Människorättsförsvararen Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera, en av årets mottagare av Right Livelihood-priset, kommer till Stockholm. Hon arbetar för HBT-samhällets rättigheter i Uganda och är en av Afrikas mest frispråkiga människorättsförsvarare. Tillsammans med Civil Rights Defenders och flera andra civilsamhällesaktörer bjuder Right Livelihood Award in till frukostseminarium med Kasha Jacqueline Nabagesera den 1 december.

Civil Society Urges Obama to Press for the Release of Thich Quang Do

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Civil Rights Defenders along with numerous other civil society organisations in a letter to President Obama have called on him to press for the release of Vietnam’s most long standing prisoner of conscience Thich Quang Do. President Obama is due to attend the upcoming Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum and the US – ASEAN and East Asia summits where he will have the opportunity to meet with Vietnamese leaders.

(Svenska) Jurist på Civil Rights Defenders invald i Rådet för mänskliga rättigheter

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(Svenska) Annika Jyrwall Åkerberg, människorättsjurist på Civil Rights Defenders, är invald som sakkunnig ledamot i Stockholms stads nyinrättade råd för mänskliga rättigheter. Rådet har till uppgift att bevaka hur staden lever upp till de internationella deklarationer och konventioner om mänskliga rättigheter som Sverige har anslutit sig till och ska även verka i syfte att stärka arbetet med de mänskliga rättigheterna.

(Svenska) Avhysningen från Sorgenfri kritiseras av FN

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(Svenska) Den senaste tiden har blickarna riktats mot Malmö med anledning av avhysningen av omkring 200 EU-migranter från boplatsen på Sorgenfri, i början av november. Civil Rights Defenders menar att avhysningen kränker de boendes mänskliga rättigheter och vår kritik får även stöd av FN:s särskilda rapportör för minoritetsfrågor, Rita Itzak, som kritiserar beslutet i ett brev till utrikesminister Margot Wallström.

Harassment and Intimidation Against Prominent Human Rights Defender in Ingushetia

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Civil Rights Defenders is gravely concerned regarding the security infringements of Magomed Mutsolgov, a prominent human rights defender and leader of MASHR, an Ingush human rights organisation located in Ingushetia in the North Caucasus region of Russia. The concerns relate to a search on the 06th of November carried out by regional authorities on the office and home of Magomed Mutsolgov during which office equipment and documents were seized and subsequently confiscated.

(Svenska) Valet i Myanmar: “Inte en vändpunkt – men ett steg i rätt riktning”

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(Svenska) Civil Rights Defenders programchef för Sydostasien, Brittis Edman, intervjuas av TV4 om valet i Myanmar. ”Man måste fortsätta och bevaka situationen och de mänskliga rättigheterna och inte riktigt se att det är en vändpunkt utan ett steg i rätt riktning”, säger hon till TV4. De första siffrorna visar på en stor seger för oppositionspartiet NLD, men ännu är inte alla röster räknade i valet som ägde rum den 8 november.

(Svenska) Riksdagsseminarium: Lagliga vägar till Europa

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(Svenska) Närmare 60 miljoner människor är på flykt i världen och den senaste tiden har vi sett hur Medelhavet skördat många dödsoffer då människor, i brist på alternativ, tvingas företa sig den livsfarliga resan över havet. Mot bakgrund av situationen för många flyktingar bjuder Vänsterpartiet och Centerpartiet, i samarbete med Civil Rights Defenders och Amnesty International, in till ett seminarium den 18 november om lagliga vägar till Europa.

(Svenska) Debatt: Malmö stad har inte tagit sitt ansvar

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(Svenska) I ett debattinlägg i Dagens Samhälle den 6 november tydliggör Civil Rights Defenders hur vi ser på avhysningen från Sorgenfri ur ett människorättsperspektiv. Det var den 30 oktober som Civil Rights Defenders skrev ett öppet brev till Malmö stad och Polisen Skåne där vi argumenterade att avhysningsbeslutet bryter mot internationella människorättskonventioner, vilka Sverige är bundet av.

Empowering Young Human Rights Law Students in Strasbourg

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Civil Rights Defenders is proud to host the Trans-European Moot Court Finals at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg for a third year in a row. The finalists representing the winners of the Southeast European and Nordic competitions will meet head to head on the 06th of November for what promises to be an enthralling simulated real life court setting based on contemporary human rights issues.

(Svenska) Seminarium MR-dagarna: “Staten och svenskheten”

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(Svenska) Den 10 november anordnar Civil Rights Defenders seminariet ”Staten och svenskheten” under MR-dagarna i Göteborg. Vi kommer bland annat diskutera vilken roll staten har i att upprätthålla kategorierna ”svensk” och ”osvensk” och vilka konsekvenser det får för allas lika tillgång till mänskliga rättigheter. Hur påverkas till exempel vår idé om svenskhet när romer registreras av polisen enbart för att de är romer? Välkommen!

Joint Statement of Concern on Draft Law on Religion

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Civil Rights Defenders joins 26 civil society organizations in calling for Vietnam’s government to comprehensively revise the draft Law on Belief and Religion to comply with Vietnam’s obligations under international human rights law, and to do so through broad-based and inclusive consultation. In its present form, the draft law places limitations on freedom of religion or belief that extend beyond those permitted under international human rights law that is binding on Vietnam.

Azerbaijan Parliamentary Elections : Report Examines Two Years of Repression in Azerbaijan

While Rasul has been released Khadiya Ismayilova and Intigam Aliyev still remain behind bars

With just two days remaining until Azerbaijan’s parliamentary elections, the Sport for Rights campaign of which Civil Rights Defenders is a member, has launched a new report examining the unprecedented human rights crackdown taking place in the country. Since the inauguaral 2015 European Games held in Baku the authorities have clamped down on civil society organisations and human roghts defenders with an iron fist silencing all remaining critical voices in the country.

(Svenska) Stoppa avhysningen från boplatsen på Sorgenfri

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(Svenska) Upphäv beslutet att riva boplatsen på Sorgenfri i Malmö. Det kräver Civil Rights Defenders i ett öppet brev till Malmö stad och polisen Skåne den 30 oktober. På platsen bor omkring 200 EU-migranter och om beslutet drivs igenom innebär det att deras mänskliga rättigheter kommer att kränkas. Malmö stad har inte ordnat alternativa boenden för de personer som tvingas flytta och de har inte heller getts möjlighet att yttra sig.

(Svenska) Civil Rights Defenders på Aftonbladet debatt:

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(Svenska) Pierre Schori är just nu på Kuba för att söka stöd för Sveriges kandidatur till FN:s säkerhetsråd. Enligt en artikel på svenska ambassadens hemsida är det ”ett helt annat Kuba” som Pierre Schori besöker i dag än 1975, då han var där tillsammans med Olof Palme. Men utifrån ett människorättsperspektiv har ingen mur fallit. Kuba är precis lika mycket en enpartistat och pressfriheten är lika inskränkt nu som på 1970-talet.

Authorities Must Drop Politically Motivated Charges Against Activist

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The Myanmar authorities should immediately release from prison and drop all charges against activist Myat Nu Khaing. Myat Nu Khaing, an independent candidate contesting in the Phyu constituency in Pegu Division, was arrested on October 16 while campaigning for elections in Yangon. “Given the timing of the arrest, these charges appear politically motivated,” said Brittis Edman at Civil Rights Defenders.

(Svenska) Förslaget om en ny tillsynsmyndighet för polisen och Kriminalvården

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(Svenska) Polisorganisationskommittén har utrett behovet av ett fristående organ som ska granska såväl polisens, Säkerhetspolisens och Kriminalvårdens verksamhet och föreslår att det ska bildas en ny myndighet för tillsyn av verksamheterna. Civil Rights Defenders ser positivt på förslaget men är kritisk till att utredningen inte behandlat den nya myndighetens uppdrag i relation till Sveriges internationella överenskommelser.

(Svenska) Yttrande om genomförandet av det omarbetade asylprocedurdirektivet

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(Svenska) 2013 antog EU det omarbetade asylprocedurdirektivet. Nu har regeringen utrett hur man ska införliva det omarbetade direktivet i svensk lagstiftning. I ett yttrande den 9 oktober ger Civil Rights Defenders sina synpunkter på utredningen. Bland annat föreslår vi åtgärder för att säkerställa kvaliteten på offentliga försvarare och att enskilda ska få tillgång till kommunikation och information de förstår och kan ta till sig.

(Svenska) Civil Rights Defenders intervjuas om valet i Vitryssland

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(Svenska) Den 11 oktober var det presidentval i Vitryssland och som förutspått var det Aleksandr Lukasjenko, som styrt landet de senaste 20 åren, som vann. Civil Rights Defenders är en av flera människorättsorganisationer som kritiserat valet eftersom det inte genomförts fritt och demokratiskt. I en intervju med Sveriges Radio kommenterar vår programchef för Österuropa och Centralasien den rådande situationen.

(Svenska) Kritiskt för människorättsförsvarare i Myanmar

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(Svenska) Omvärlden måste tala klarspråk om behovet av skydd för människorättsfösvarare i Myanmar. Det säger de burmesiska aktivisterna Khin Ohmar, Aye Aye Cho och Theinny Oo som under ett sverigebesök säger att bilden av det nya Myanmar, som ett land i förändring mot demokrati, inte stämmer. Att omvärlden får upp ögonen är extra viktigt just nu eftersom landet snart går till val.

Read the Third Newsletter of the Year

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In the third newsletter of the year you can read about the first Pride Parade held in the Ugandan capital city Kampala which took place only a year after the introduction of a law that made homosexuality a punishable offense, that the Russian authorities recently blacklisted one of Civil Rights Defenders donors as a consequence of the latest in a series of Russian Laws that restricts opportunities for civil society to act freely and that Civil Rights Defenders has moved to new premises.

(Svenska) Civil Rights Defenders och RSMH granskar låsta institutioner

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(Svenska) I Sverige har det länge saknats en oberoende civilsamhällesaktör som förmått att systematiskt bevaka situationen på låsta institutioner. Civil Rights Defenders och Riksförbundet för Social och Mental Hälsas initiativ ”Inlåst – men inte utan rättigheter”, handlar om att från ett människorättsperspektiv granska situationen för frihetsberövade med särskilt fokus på de mest utsatta.

“The Government is in Full Control of Citizens’ Lives”

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On the 11th of October President Lukashenka will run for a 5th term in office. Civil Rights Defenders spoke to several Belarusian human rights defenders to hear what they have to say about the election. One of them says that “the presidential election in Belarus does not differ much from the previous ones”. The majority of the human rights defenders have chosen to remain anonymous due to fear of reprisals.

(Svenska) Vårt yttrande om terrorismresor

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(Svenska) Den av regeringen tillsatta “Utredningen om genomförande av vissa straffrättsliga åtaganden för att förhindra och bekämpa terrorism” presenterade i juni 2015 ett delbetänkande om Straffrättsliga åtgärder mot terrorismresor. Civil Rights Defenders har skickat in ett remissvar där vi för fram synpunkter på utredningens förslag ur ett människorättsperspektiv. Klicka här för att läsa vårt yttrande.

(Svenska) Backar regeringen från ministrarnas löfte?

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(Svenska) I ett debattinlägg i Svenska Dagbladet skriver Civil Rights Defenders tillsammans med fem andra organisationer att Sverige behöver en institution för mänskliga rättigheter. I juli aviserade Margot Wallström och Alice Bah Kuhnke att regeringen tänker föreslå för riksdagen att en sådan institution ska inrättas i Sverige. Men när vi granskar budgeten för att se hur den ska finansieras finner vi – ingenting.

Belgrade Pride Week: What a Difference a Year Can Make

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In 2014 Belgrade saw its first successful Pride March in several years. After the extreme violence of 2010 and several subsequent bans there was an optimistic but cautious mood surrounding the 2015 event. On the 21st of September all fears were laid to rest as the Belgrade Pride March 2015 became the Belgrade Pride Parade winding through the streets of the Serbian capital. Over 1,200 participants thronged the event in what was a party of openness, inclusiveness and togetherness.

(Svenska) Regeringen måste värna utsatta EU-medborgares rättigheter

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(Svenska) I ett inlägg i DN Debatt den 15 september svarar Civil Rights Defekters på regeringens utspel om utsatta EU-medborgare. Enligt folkrätten är staten skyldig att respektera och garantera de mänskliga rättigheterna för alla människor som befinner sig på dess territorium. Att regeringen lägger tonvikten på åtgärder som syftar till att EU-medborgare inte ska komma hit är problematiskt ur flera perspektiv.

Vietnam: Restrictions on Freedom of Movement Violate Domestic and International Law

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Authorities in Vietnam have blocked at least 33 human rights defenders and activists from freely travelling abroad or internally in the last six months, despite legal protection of the right to freedom of movement. Civil Rights Defenders considers these restrictions arbitrary and in violation of Vietnam’s obligations under its own Constitution and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

Lao Government Must Investigate Sombath’s Disappearance

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The 11th of September 2015 marks 1000 days since prominent Lao civil society leader, Sombath Somphone, “disappeared” at a police checkpoint on a busy street in Vientiane. Civil Rights Defenders joins 10 regional and international organisations in reiterating our call for the Lao government to intensify its efforts to conduct a investigation into Sombath’s apparent enforced disappearance. The full statement can be read here.

Azerbaijan: Dismay as Investigative Journalist Khadiya Ismayilova is Sentenced to 7.5 Years in Prison

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Civil Rights Defenders condemns the politically motivated sentencing of Azerbaijani investigative journalist Khadiya Ismayilova to 7.5 years in prison. Today, the 01st September Khadiya was convicted by the Baku Court of Grave Crimes on charges of embezzlement, tax evasion, illegal entrepreneurship and abuse of office. She was acquitted on an earlier charge of inciting someone to commit suicide.

(Svenska) Inlåst – men inte utan rättigheter

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(Svenska) Vi välkomnar Annika Jyrwall Åkerberg till Civil Rights Defenders. Annika är människorättsjurist och ansvarig för vårt arbete ”Inlåst – men inte utan rättigheter”, som drivs tillsammans med Riksförbundet för Social och Mental Hälsa. “Initiativet innebär att vi har fått en unik möjlighet att granska landets låsta institutioner, så som häkten och förvar”, säger Annika Jyrwall Åkerberg.

(Svenska) Civil Rights Defenders välkomnar FN-uttalande om samers markrättigheter

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(Svenska) FN:s särskilda rapportör för urfolks rättigheter, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, kom i dag med ett uttalande om samers rättigheter efter att hon besökt Sápmi. Hon understryker att självbestämmande över traditionella marker och naturresurserna där är helt centralt för det samiska folkets rättigheter och i förlängningen en förutsättning för deras överlevnad som folk.

Capacity Building in Moldova: Advocating, Lobbying and Navigating the EU Bubble

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On the 27th of August Civil Rights Defenders ran a two-day empowerment workshop focusing on “Lobbying and Advocacy for Human Rights at EU Level”. As Moldova moves closer to full EU significant human rights issues still persist; lack of fair trials, inadequate conditions in prisons, hate speech, violence against women, people trafficking, the marginalisation of the Roma community and harassment of LGBT people.

CAMBODIA: Open Letter to Permanent Representatives of Member and Observer States of the UNHRC

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Members of the UN Human Rights Council should address the deteriorating human rights situation in Cambodia during the upcoming council session. They should also extend the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia, a coalition of International, regional and domestic human rights groups including Civil Rights Defenders writes in an open letter today.

Alarming Deterioration in the Human Rights Landscape in Azerbaijan

While Rasul has been released Khadiya Ismayilova and Intigam Aliyev still remain behind bars

The human rights situation continues to deteriorate in Azerbaijan in the aftermath of the European Games. On August 08th, the journalist Rasim Aliyev was brutally attacked and severely beaten by a group of people. He subsequently died on August 09th in a Baku hospital while human rights defenders Leyla and Arif Yunus were handed down lengthy prison sentences yesterday on politically motivated charges.

Fourth Viet Pride Promotes Diversity in Common Spaces in Vietnam

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Despite a rainy weekend, hundreds turned out to attend the 4th annual Viet Pride in Hanoi, that included a bike rally through the streets of the capital city on August 02nd . As part of its work to combat non-discrimination worldwide, Civil Rights Defenders supports Viet Pride and has participated in this year’s events along with a growing coalition of local and international supporting organisations, including civil society groups, businesses, and foreign embassies.

Civil Rights Defenders Proud to be Part of Stockholm Pride Parade 2015

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The Swedish summer has been a veritable downpour, raining almost every day. However the clouds cleared on the 01st August 2015 as hundreds of thousands lined the street to welcome the endless themed floats and participants from all over the world attending the Stockholm Pride Parade 2015. Civil Rights Defenders was delighted to welcome visitors from Russia, Moldova, Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia, and Kosovo who danced through the liberal streets of Stockholm.

International Day of Solidarity with Civil Society in Belarus – August 04th

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August 04th is celebrated as the International Day of Solidarity with Civil Society in Belarus. It is all the more important as the human rights landscape in Belarus has not improved, having been overshadowed by events in Russia and Ukraine. This was underpinned by Miklós Haraszti, the UN Special Rapporteur on Belarus in his report to the Human Rights Council at the end of June where he noted no real improvements in the human rights situation in the country.

Published in the Irrawaddy: Human Rights Defenders Continue to Suffer in Burma

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Min Min* has been actively promoting land rights issues for over two decades. In the late 1990s she was arrested and imprisoned for her political activities, and during her detention she was subjected to torture and severe abuse at the hands of authorities. After languishing in prison for years, she was finally released. Undeterred by her experience, she continued to pursue her rights activism.

Ethiopian Authorities Release Two Zone 9 Bloggers and Four Journalists

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Civil Rights Defenders welcomes the release of two Zone 9 Bloggers who were arrested along with four other bloggers and three journalists in April 2014 on incitement and terrorism charges. In what is seen as an unprecedented move by the Ethiopian authorities the three journalists were also released with all charges against the journalists and bloggers dropped. Another journalist who had spent more than four years in prison has also been released.

Russia’s Upper House Approves First List of 12 ‘Undesirable’ Foreign Organisations

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In less than a month since the passing of a controversial law on “Undesirable Foreign and International Organisations” the Russian authorities have now taken steps towards banning 12 overseas organisations. Many of the organisations contained on the list consist of prominent US based organisations. Under the law they are deemed “to pose a threat to the foundation of the constitutional order of the Russian Federation, the defense capability of the country or the security of the state”.

Remembering the Victims at the 20th Anniversary of the Srebrenica Genocide

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On the 11th July Civil Rights Defenders will join the ceremonies to commemorate the victims of the Srebrenica genocide in Bosnia & Herzegovina which represents the largest genocide in Europe since World War II.The Srebrenica genocide took place in July 1995 led by members of the Army of Republika Srpska, under General Ratko Mladic, now on trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

Crackdown on Civil Society in Cuba Continues to Worsen Despite Warnings

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Civil Rights Defenders is shocked to have learned that Antonio Rodilles Project Director of the independent State of Sats has been severely beaten by state security officials and that 80 human rights activists were arrested on Sunday 05th July. This is despite the stark warnings from Cuban civil society and international organisations such as Civil Rights Defenders to the EU and USA regarding the deteriorating situation for human rights defenders in Cuba.

Fourth “FUTURA” Competition to be held in Bosnia and Herzegovina

On 3-5 of July, Civil Rights Defenders will organise the fourth “FUTURA” competition at the Municipal Court in Travnik (Bosnia and Herzegovina). The competition is a qualifying event for prospective participants of the Regional Moot Court Competition Before the European Court Of Human Rights. “It is much more than just a qualifying stage for the Moot Court Competition before the ECtHR, it is also another chance to gain experience, knowledge and establish contacts amongst fellow law students”, said Ena Bavcic at Civil Rights Defenders.

Meydan TV Director Emin Milli Threatened for Critical Reporting on European Games

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Civil Rights Defenders together with several other civil society organisations who are members of “Sport for Rights” has issued a statement calling on the Azerbaijani authorities to put an end to their ongoing attempts to silence critical reporting. The statement follows after Meydan TV Director Emin Milli reported that he had received a threat from the Azerbaijani Minister of Youth and Sport, Azad Rahimov, in connection with his critical reporting on the European Games.

End of Sentence for Lawyer a Reminder of On-going Detention of Prisoners of Conscience in Vietnam

Le Quoc Quan, a prominent human rights lawyer and blogger, left An Diem prison in Quang Nam province last Saturday after completing his 30-month sentence. Civil Rights Defenders considers the 2013 “tax evasion” charges against Quan reprisal against his writings on human rights abuses and democratic reforms, topics usually not reported by State-controlled media in Vietnam.

Proposed Bill will Restrict the Activities of NGO’s in Uganda

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Civil Rights Defenders is concerned over the trajectory of a bill that aims to regulate Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO’s) in Uganda. The NGO bill introduced in April 2015 is due to be debated by Ugandan legislators and contains several provisions aimed at curtailing Freedom of Association. It seeks to repeal and replace the current Non-Governmental Organisation Registration Act Cap 113 regulating NGO activities in Uganda.

(Svenska) Sverige bör ta FN:s rekommendationer på större allvar

John Stauffer Photo: Civil Rights Defenders

(Svenska) I januari granskades hur mänskliga rättigheter respekteras i Sverige vid FN:s människorättsråd i den så kallade UPR-processen. Granskningen resulterade i en mängd rekommendationer om åtgärder Sverige bör vidta. Idag antar regeringen formellt rekommendationerna vid ett sammanträde i Genève men Civil Rights Defenders ser med stor oro på alla de centrala rekommendationer som Sverige valt att inte ta sig an.

First Judgement for Wartime Sexual Violence in Bosnia and Herzegovina

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On the 24th of June, the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina issued the first judgement on reparations for survivors of wartime sexual violence in the Western Balkans. Two former members of the Army of Republika Srpska have been sentenced to ten years of imprisonment each for rape committed against a minor in 1992. The claimant will also be compensated an amount of approximately EUR 13.550.

Azerbaijan : The Repressive Side of the European Olympic Games.

While Rasul has been released Khadiya Ismayilova and Intigam Aliyev still remain behind bars

Azerbaijan’s human rights record will once again be in the spotlight on the 16th June 2015 when Civil Rights Defenders will co-sponsor an event at the 29th session of the UN Human Rights Council. Entitled Azerbaijan: The Repressive Side of the European Olympic Games and organised by Human Rights House Network, International Media Support and People in Need, the event will shine a light on the severe restrictions on fundamental freedoms and the imprisonment of civil society.

The Misuse of Anti-Terrorism Laws in Africa with Civil Rights Defenders at the UN Human Rights Council

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During the 29th session of the UN Human Rights Council which will be held in Geneva on June 16th, 2015 Civil Rights Defenders will co-sponsor an event entitled “The Misuse of Anti-Terrorism Laws in Africa”.This event will discuss and analyse anti-terrorist legislation trends across the African continent and how they are often used as a smokescreen to stifle dissenting voices instead of addressing genuine national security concerns.

Human Rights Organisations Propose Amendments to Ensure Adequate Regulation of Hate Crime

Ena Bavcic

As a member of the Coalition for Combat Against Hate Speech and Hate Crime, Civil Rights Defenders supports the Coalition’s proposed amendments to the Criminal Code of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which aims to ensure adequate regulation of hate crime. We also ask the House of Commons of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina to organize a session on the topic of adequate regulation of hate crime.

UN Report Highlights Gross Human Rights Violations in Eritrea

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On June 08th The UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in Eritrea issued a damning report and subsequent statement finding the Government of Eritrea “responsible for systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations that have created a climate of fear in which dissent is stifled, a large proportion of the population is subjected to forced labour and imprisonment, and hundreds of thousands of refugees have fled the country”

Serbian Media Landscape: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

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On the 26th of May, Civil Rights Defenders organized a hearing event about the Serbian media landscape at the European Parliament. Although officials talk of progress in the Western Balkans media, there are numerous problems. “Last year, three important media laws were adopted, all of them drafted in cooperation with Civil Rights Defenders’ partners. Still, each Government sees the media, and especially the Public Broadcasting Service, as something to control.” said Goran Miletic at Civil Rights Defenders.

We are seeking an intern for the East and Horn of Africa Department

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We are seeking an intern for the East and Horn of Africa Department for the autumn semester. The internship consists of assisting the Program Director in his daily work. The tasks are varied and include writing articles, conducting research and monitoring of regional developments, drafting reports, some administrative work and assisting with the preparation of various activities and events in Sweden and abroad. Please send your application no later than the 30th of June.

Joint Statement Calling for the Release of Vietnamese Prisoner of Conscience

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Several human rights organizations call on the Vietnamese government to abide by their international and domestic obligations and immediately release Tran Huynh Duy Thuc, Vietnamese ICT entrepreneur and blogger. Tran Huynh Duy Thuc was arrested under the initial charge of “promoting anti-government propaganda” under Article 88 of the Vietnamese Penal Code for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression.

Published in The Nation: Myanmar, Thailand abandoned Rohingya in their time OF NEED

Published in The Nation May 22, 2015: In the past three years, more than 100,000 Rohingya have fled sectarian violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, where they have been subjected to a systemic, state-sponsored campaign of violence, abuse and discrimination, leading to a humanitarian crisis. The international community must awaken now, grasp the urgency of the Rohingya’s plight and do more. How many more mass graves need to be uncovered before we ensure accountability from the government of Myanmar, and put an end to systemic abuses against a recognised vulnerable population?

(Svenska) Vi söker två praktikanter till rättsavdelningen för arbete med mänskliga rättigheter i Sverige

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(Svenska) Praktiken består av att ge stöd till Civil Rights Defenders juridiska avdelning, framförallt i förhållande till organisationens arbete med att värna mänskliga rättigheter i Sverige. Sverigearbetet rör främst frågor om diskriminering, hatbrott, minoritetsrättigheter, rättigheter för frihetsberövade, övervakning/nätfrihet och asylrätt. Vänligen skicka din ansökan senast 27 maj.

(Svenska) Läs årets andra nyhetsbrev

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(Svenska) Efter lång tid av förberedelser och hårt arbete öppnade vi den 7 april äntligen upp dörrarna till en av de viktigaste konferenserna för mänskliga rättigheter, Defenders’ Days. Var du inte på plats? I Civil Rights Defenders andra nyhetsbrev för året kan du läsa en summering från konferensen. Läs även om årets Civil Rights Defender of the Year Award, fältkontoret i Moldaviens första verksamhetsår och mycket mer!

Media Indicators Report Launched on World Press Freedom Day

Media Indicators Report launched on World Press Freedom Day

On World Press Freedom Day, Civil Rights Defenders and its partners in Kosovo presented the first Media Indicators report on Kosovo. It focuses on journalists’ perception of key media issues, based on indicators of the European Council. “Although a majority of journalists think that the legal framework guarantees freedom of expression, they believe that it is not implemented.”, said Sarah Maliqi at Civil Rights Defenders.

Two Organisations at Risk of being Labeled as ‘Terrorist Entities’ in Kenya

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Human Rights Agenda (HURIA), The National Coalition for Human Rights Defenders-Kenya (NCHRD-K), the Eastern Horn of Human Rights Defenders Project (EHAHRDP) and Civil Rights Defenders has learned of the intention of the Inspector General of Police of Kenya to freeze the bank accounts of two highly respected Kenyan human rights organisations following the recent terrorist attack at the University in Garissa.

Governments in Latin America Should Open the Doors to all Cubans

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9 to 11 April US President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro will participate at the Summit of the Americas, the first time both countries have met at this summit in decades. The report that Civil Rights Defenders will publish today demonstrates, however, that any willingness to cooperate with Cuba is solely reserved for the Cuban government. The interest to invite Cuban human rights defenders is wholly limited.

(Svenska) Civil Rights Defenders välkomnar slutsatserna i JO:s granskning

(Svenska) För snart ett år sedan inledde Justitieombudsmannen, JO, en granskning för att klargöra vem som bär ansvar för det polisregister över romer där 4700 individer registrerats. I dag blev den klar. JO pekar bland annat på att ansvarsfördelningen inom polismyndigheten har varit mycket otydlig och att detta innebar att det saknades kontroll och styrning över behandlingen av registret.

(Svenska) 7 miljoner till arbete för mänskliga rättigheter – Tack alla lottköpare!

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(Svenska) Civil Rights Defenders tilldelas 7 miljoner kronor från PostkodLotteriet. Pengarna kommer att gå till arbetet med att stärka de mänskliga rättigheterna i Sverige och utomlands. – Med en närvaro i Europa, Afrika, Sydamerika och Sydostasien ser vi ett större behov än någonsin att verka för de mänskliga rättigheterna, säger Robert Hårdh, chef på Civil Rights Defenders.

Bishop Held Liable for Spreading Homophobic and False Statements in Moldova

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Civil Rights Defenders welcomes the decision of Bălți Court of Appeal in Moldova who rejected the claim of Bishop Markel from the Moldovan Orthodox Church requesting an annulment of a previous judgment against him for hate speech. In June of 2014, the Court had ruled that Bishop Markel’s statements represented hate speech and incitement to discriminate against homosexuals and this decision was upheld at the Appeal Court in late February.

Human Rights Defenders School Launched in Serbia

Human Rights Defenders School Photo: Civil Rights Defenders

Civil Rights Defenders recently launched a capacity building Human Rights Defenders School in Serbia. The initiative kicked off in Belgrade on January 16 and is an effort to strengthen Serbian human rights defenders in their field of work. During seven months participating activists in Belgrade and Nis will receive training in human rights advocacy and be able to attend lectures and seminars led by prominent human rights experts.

Authorities Must Drop Charges Against Prominent Journalist in Azerbaijan

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In August 2014, Emin Huseynov, Director of the Azerbaijani Institute for Reporter’s Freedom and Safety (IRFS), was forced into hiding in order to protect himself from Government repression. At the time Emin Huseynov was accused of tax evasion, illegal business and abuse of power, charges that Civil Rights Defenders and other international human rights organisations consider politically motivated.

(Svenska) Riksdagsseminarium 2 februari om mänskliga rättigheter i Sverige

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(Svenska) Den 26 januari granskas Sverige i den så kallade UPR-processen i Genève. Då får vi veta hur FN ser på eventuella framsteg och tillbakagångar, samt vilka rekommendationer Sverige får från andra medlemsländer. I och med att Sverige granskas bjuder Civil Rights Defenders in till ett seminarium i riksdagen, den 2 februari. Sex experter från det civila samhället diskuterar granskningen. Vi behöver din anmälan senast den 30 januari.

Media Outlet Raided – Severe Breach of Media Freedom

Photo: Civil Rights Defenders

On 28 December the Police of the Republika Srpska in Bosnia and Herzegovina forcibly entered the premises of Klix-ba, one of the most influential web portals based out of Sarajevo. According to a police spokesperson the raid was said to have been sanctioned by Sarajevo’s Cantonal Court. The Police entered the premises in an attempt to uncover the source of a recording that is said to be that of Republika Srpska Prime Minister Zeljka Cvijanovic.

(Svenska) Skönmålad bild av minoriteters vardag förstärker problemen

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(Svenska) Regeringen skickade nyligen in sin rapport till FN:s människorättsråd för granskningen av Sveriges efterlevnad av de mänskliga rättigheterna, och ger en positiv bild av människorättssituationen i Sverige. Civil Rights Defenders presenterar nu en skuggrapport för FN där bilden av romers, samers och andra minoriteters situation står i stark kontrast till regeringens.

Seminar: Meet Belarus’ most prominent human rights defender

Foto: Arkivbild Viasna ©Jura Sidun

After 1,052 days in prison Ales Bialiatski was granted an amnesty on June 21 of this year and immediately resumed his work as a human rights defender and President of Viasna. In cooperation with Östgruppen, Civil Rights Defenders invites you to meet with Ales on October 24 where you can hear about the current situation in Belarus and the country’s relationship with neighboring Russia and Ukraine.

24 September: The state of Internet freedom after the coup in Thailand

Photo: Thai Netizen Network

Since the military coup three months ago, Thailand has introduced a ban on political gatherings; politicians and activists have been arrested, and media censored. In the light of these developments, we invite Thai human rights defender and Internet activist Arthit Suriyawongkul to talk about the present state of freedom of expression and how human rights defenders can operate under these conditions.

Newsletter no 3, July-September 2014

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Read about how Civil Rights Defenders focus-area has expanded in the past year and the fantastic news that Belarus’ leading human rights defender Ales Bialiatski has been released – after 1052 days behind bars. Meet some new faces in our team, and learn about how the respect for LGBT rights are increasing in Kosovo and Albania. Also, take part of our plans for Stockholm Pride 2014 and learn about our intensified focus on human rights in Sweden.

Swedish Attorney Generals’ verdict on damages awarded to Roma lacks a human rights perspective

John Stauffer Photo: Civil Rights Defenders

The Attorney General recently ruled that the Roma who were illegally registered by the Skåne Police should receive 5,000 SEK in damages from the state as a result. The Attorney Generals’ decision is based almost exclusively on the Swedish Commission on Security and Integrity Protections conclusions regarding the legality of the registers but certain flaws have clearly been highlighted. 

Tomás Ojea Quintana on challenges in Myanmar

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Tomás Ojea Quintana, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, describes the ongoing reforms as a positive step towards democracy in Myanmar, while stressing the remaining challenges. On 20 March, he visits Civil Rights Defenders to talk about future challenges for human rights in Myanmar and the role the international community can play in addressing these challenges. Watch live on: http://bambuser.com/v/4459084

Little respect for rule of law in unrecognized territories

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In Transnistria, the breakaway region on Moldova’s eastern border with Ukraine, the socio-political environment remains highly repressive. Authorities act with impunity, there is little respect for the rule of law, and fundamental human rights are routinely violated. Don’t miss an interesting breakfast seminar with Ion Manole, on the current human rights situation in Transnistria. Live on: http://bambuser.com/v/4434424

Anti-gay law in Uganda violates international conventions

H.E Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of Uganda. Photo: Foreign and Commonwealth Office

February 25, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni signed into law a bill strengthening the punishment against homosexuals, who can now be sentenced to fourteen years up to life in prison for sexual relations with the same sex. Civil Rights Defenders, along with many other human rights organisations, have called for Uganda’s government to reverse the decision and urged them to guarantee Ugandan citizens their human rights

(Svenska) Förtrycket återuppstår när OS är över

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(Svenska) OS i Sotji är slut. Sverige åker hem med guldmedaljer i bagaget och Ryssland har fått utstå rättmätig kritik för sina människorättsbrott. Men när Ryssland nu försvinner ur rampljuset riskerar landets människorättsförsvarare återigen att utsättas för trakasserier och förföljelse. För att stävja utvecklingen krävs att svenska politiker och deras EU-kollegor fortsätter att arbeta aktivt för mänskliga rättigheter i Ryssland även efter Sotji.

Testimonies from North Caucasus

Den 5 maj 2011 mördades Khava Sultygovas enda son Muslim Agiev i Grozny, Tjetjenien under så kallad "antiterroristattack". Ingen utredning om hans påstådda kopplingar till terroristorganisationer hade gjorts. Foto: Pieter ten Hoopen

The North Caucasus is situated only 70 miles from Sotji. It’s the site for Europe´s bloodiest conflict in present times and it’s a region where the local population suffer indiscriminate violence on a regular basis and where fear and uncertainty are an every day reality. From January 30 to February 23 the photo exhibition entitled, “Testimony from North Caucasus”, can be viewed at the museum Fotografiska in Stockholm

(Svenska) Civil Rights Defenders positiv till åtal mot polisman i Varberg

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(Svenska) Civil Rights Defenders som tidigare kritiserat den svenska polisens hantering av situationer där förövaren lider av någon form av psykisk sjukdom ställer sig positiv till åtalet mot den polisman som sköt ihjäl en knivman i Varberg. – Tittar man på gärningsbeskrivningen i åtalet är det tydligt att det begåtts flera fel i situationen, säger John Stauffer chefsjurist på Civil Rights Defenders.

(Svenska) “Säkerställ respekten för digitala rättigheter”

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(Svenska) Civil Rights Defenders skriver den 17 december i Dagens Arena om respekten för digitala rättigheter som måste säkerställas och om att Sveriges övervakningsverksamhet präglas av både brist på insyn och transparens. Vidare lyfter Civil Rights Defenders 13 principer som det civila samhället tagit fram för att tydliggöra vad kraven i internationell rätt betyder i den digitala miljön och pekar på vikten av att stater följer dem.

Serbia must protect the rights of asylum seekers

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Extensive and violent protests erupted in Serbia when local authorities in the cities of Obrenovac and Vracevic decided to give 200 asylum seekers temporary winter accommodation in dormitories, as a result of freezing temperatures. Aggravated citizens blocked the road leading to the accommodation facilities and one of the dormitories was set on fire. Civil Rights Defenders strongly condemns the lack of reaction from the police and the failure to protect the asylum seekers.

(Svenska) Civil Rights Defenders söker en människorättsjurist med Sverigefokus

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(Svenska) Vill du arbeta med att försvara människors medborgerliga och politiska rättigheter i Sverige? Civil Rights Defenders söker en engagerad jurist till sin rättsavdelning. Vi söker dig med jur. kand examen samt ett dokumenterat intresse och/ -eller erfarenhet av att arbeta inom MR-området. Vidare ser vi gärna att du har erfarenhet och kunskap om att driva enskilda fall i Domstol. Sista ansökningsdatum: 3/1- 2014

Organisations call on international solidarity with the newspaper Azadliq

On 17 October, just a week after the presidential election, the sale of several daily newspapers including the newspaper Azadliq was banned in metro stations in Baku. Azadliq is one of few remaining opposition news outlets in Azerbaijan. “We urge the country’s judicial and political authorities to stop hounding it and we call on international solidarity with the daily”, said Civil Rights Defenders and several other organisations in a joint statement.

Housing Rights Activist Yorm Bopha is freed on bail

Cambodia November 22, 2013 : Photo Licadho

22 November the Supreme Court ordered the release of Cambodian Housing Rights activist Yorm Bopha, but only on bail. The Court further ruled that the Boeung Kak Lake activist should have her case returned back to the Court of Appeal for a retrial. “The fact that Bopha is released on bail is positive in the respect of her being able to go home to her family and friends. But it is at the same time disturbing that the Supreme Court does not drop the charges, but instead decides on a new trial in the Appeal Court and thereby allows a continuation of this politically motivated process.” says Brittis Edman, Southeast Asia director at Civil Rights Defenders

Gold and silver to the Civil Rights Captcha

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The PR Agency Prime won gold and silver with the campaign “Civil Rights Captcha” for Civil Rights Defenders. The gold was in the category “Campaign of the year in social media”, and the silver in the category “Mass media campaign of the year”. Spinn is a Swedish competition in effective marketing PR, ie non-purchased marketing (publicity, seminars, internet etc.) in private channels (web, email, newsletters, lectures etc.).

Cambodian Supreme Court must free housing rights activist Yorm Bopha

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On 22 November, the Cambodian Supreme Court is hearing the final appeal of human rights defender Yorm Bopha. Civil Rights Defenders believes she is imprisoned for her human rights activism.For more than a year, Yorm Bopha, has been in prison following an unfair trial. In 2012, the housing rights activist and mother of one was sentenced to three years for what the Phnom Penh court determined as “intentional violence with aggravating circumstances” without any concrete evidence presented against her.

Convicted for homophobic attack

On 22 January, Russian LGBT activists held "We are for Traditional Values" demonstrations in protest of the federal bill to ban "propaganda of homosexuality", as a response to the authors, who cited Russian traditional values as the basis for banning "propaganda of homosexuality to minors." Photo: Maria Kozlovskaya.

An attack on a participant of a peaceful action on LGBT-rights has been met with legal consequences for the first time in Russia. Civil Rights Defenders welcomes the ruling and hopes that the verdict is a step in the right direction. In the aftermath of the so called ”propaganda laws” there has been an increase of aggression and violence towards LGBT-people in Russia. Despite this the courts usually treat the cases as hooliganism instead of hate-crimes.

Unique action of a Supreme Court judge in a region of impunity

Judge Vakhid Abubakarov, photo from http://vs.chn.sudrf.ru

A judge from the Supreme Court of the Chechen Republic has ordered the withdrawal of a case after being blackmailed. This is the first time ever that a judge in Chechnya has publicly spoke out regarding the pressure upon judicial bodies. Chechnya has gained an infamous reputation when it comes to impunity for grave human rights abuses and the lack of an independent and transparent judiciary.

(Svenska) Vill se stöd till vitrysk HBT-rörelse

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(Svenska) Svenska politiker och diplomater har inte engagerat sig för HBT-personers rättigheter i Vitryssland – kanske för att HBT-rörelsen i landet hittills varit svag. Men stödet utifrån är viktigt om homo-, bisexuella och transpersoner i Vitryssland ska våga verka för sina rättigheter. Det skriver Robert Hårdh, chef för Civil Rights Defenders och Alexander Bard, artist, i en debattartikel i Sydsvenskan.

“Seven” on tour in the Balkans

Photo: Seven on tour

Starting on the 5th of November, the documentary play Seven will be on a tour in the Western Balkans, visiting Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, Albania. Seven is a documentary play about gender based violence based on interviews with seven activists from around the world. The tour is supported by the Swedish Institute and coordinated by Civil Rights Defenders in cooperation with local partners in each country.

Peaceful post-election protests in Cambodia mobilise masses

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In Cambodia, peaceful protests which took place over three days last week mobilised tens of thousands of people who came out in force to call for electoral reform and a review of the results from the parliamentary elections in July. The opposition party collected thumb prints from some two million Cambodians. The authorities responded with restraint, essentially protecting the rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.

Percy Bratt resigns as chairperson of Civil Rights Defenders

Percy Bratt

Civil Rights Defenders Chairperson Percy Bratt has announced that he will immediately resign from his current position due to ill health. Percy Bratt has for many years contributed his invaluable knowledge of legal issues both at national and international levels to the organisation.Together with the organisation’s Executive Director, Robert Hårdh and contributions from board and staff members he has been instrumental in pushing the organisation forward.

Second Albanian LGBT activist included in the Natalia Project

Xheni Karaj. Photo: Civil Rights Defenders

“I was once spat at by a man on the street while at a demonstration. Albanian men get very threatened by lesbians so I challenged him. I grabbed his hand and told him I would not let go until the police arrived” said Xheni Karaj, LGBT activist from Albania who is now included in the Natalia Project security system. The Natalia bracelet represents an important physical, moral and psychological support to human rights activists.

New media and art as tools for human rights advocacy

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Civil Rights Defenders is organising a five-day working conference in Przno, Montenegro, from the 22 to the 27 October. The conference is entitled “Empowering people – ideas worth spreading“ and will gather human rights activists from Albania, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. The goal of the conference is to increase the participants’ capacities in using new media and technology as well as art in their advocacy work.

Opinion: Police records about the Roma community in Sweden is institutionalised racism

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Police records regarding the Roma community in Sweden have deeply upset both the Roma and many in mainstream society. It revealed a sinister practice intent on flagrantly violating the values that are fundamental to a democracy. Respect for human integrity , dignity and rights of the citizen have obviously got lost some where in the police force’ skewed philosophy in combatting crime.

Election will not be credible unless people can criticise the government

Photo: Aziz Elkhanoglu, Art for Democracy

In a joint call issued on the eve of the Presidential election, 22 human rights 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.

Swedish comedians stand up for freedom of speech

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Tickets for this year’s most important comedy show have been released. 16 December, some of Sweden’s top comedians will fill Södra Teatern in Stockholm in a charity show called “Stand up for freedom of speech.” In many places in the world freedom of speech is silenced and to speak critically about injustices can have terrible consequences. For the comedian agency Roa’s comedians it was therefore important to stand up for freedome of speech while supporting Civil Rights Defenders with the profit from the show.

Belgrade Pride in Swedish media

For the third year in a row Serbian authorities banned the Pride Parade in Belgrade. The frustration and disappointment within the LGBT community was unmistakable and Civil Rights Defenders immediately condemned the decision. The newspaper Svenska Dagbladet interviewed Civil Rights Defenders Program Director for the Western Balkans, Goran Miletic, and wrote; “Now, he and the others must continue to battle against the wind”

Natalia braclet protects LGBT-activist in the Balkans

Kristi Pinderi, LGBT activist from Albania, is one of the human rights defenders included in the Natalia Project.

Kristi Pinderi from Albania, is one of the first human rights defenders from the Western Balkans to be included in the Natalia Project security system. For him the bracelet represents a strong moral support in his day-to-day work: ”Behind the bracelet there is an entire system and organisation with people, institutions, and media ready and willing to act in case of an emergency. It is a way for human rights activists not to feel alone and it is definitely the best tool for empowering them”

Structural racism and hate crimes still a big problem in Sweden

Alternative report CERD

A hearing was held with the Swedish government in the UN Racial Discrimination Committee due to previous criticism from the committee. Civil Rights Defenders, along with Swedish United Nations Association, and nearly fifty other organizations presented a parallel report to the UN Racial Discrimination Committee. The report shows that structural racism, discrimination and hate crimes still are serious problems in Sweden.

Harassment of investigative journalist must be effectively investigated

Khadija Ismayilova (humanrightshouse.org)

In a letter to Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev and the Prosecutor General Zakir Garalov, several human rights organisations, including Civil Rights Defenders, express their profound concern regarding the harassment and intimidation of investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova. The organisations urge the president to ensure an effective investigation into the threats against her.

House of representatives adopted proposed definition of hate crime

Sumeja Tulic, programme officer at Civil Rights Defenders in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

On 24 July, the House of Representatives of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina adopted the legal amendment proposed by civil society, including a definition on hate crime. “I am very pleased that our effort to foster a coalition of organizations in Bosnia and Herzegovina has yielded such a positive outcome”, says Sumeja Tulic, programme officer at Civil Rights Defenders.

Trans Gender Europe: Bosnia adopts trans-inclusive hate crime law

Bosnia 2

TGEU reports that “Bosnia i Herzegovina’s House of Representatives recently adopted hate crime legislation that is inclusive of gender identity and sexual orientation”. The legislation reads “Whoever publicly incites or makes publicly available pamphlets, photos, texts and other materials which advocates, urges or incites hatred, discrimination or violence directed by any person or group of […]

Definition of hate crime in the Criminal Law needs to be improved

28-30 November 2012 Civil Rights Defenders organised a workshop on hate crimes and hate speech. The workshop included training in monitoring, advocacy and litigation strategies. Photo: Civil Rights Defenders

The Draft of the Law on Amendments to the Criminal Law in Bosnia and Herzegovina, recently sent to the parliament, contains narrow and incomplete legal formulations of hate crimes and exclude several protected grounds. This caused Civil Rights Defenders’ partner to propose changes to the legal formulation of hate crimes. Civil Rights Defenders urges the authorities to take the needed steps in accepting the changes.

Burmese human rights lawyers inspired in Serbia

Human rights lawyers in Burma do not waste any time when trying to make use of emerging opportunities as their country is opening up. But rule of law is weak, civil society initiatives are nascent and threats against lawyers commonplace. To support them, Civil Rights Defenders has organised a two-week study tour to Serbia for ten activist lawyers, to meet with our partner organisations that work in the field of legal aid.

(Svenska) Pussy Riot till Sverige

Pussy Riot-medlemmar tillsammans med EU-minister Birgitta Ohlsson och Robert Hårdh, chef för Civil Rights Defenders

(Svenska) Civil Rights Defenders, 
Folkets Hus och Ebba Lindqvist PR tar den ryska feministiska punkgruppen Pussy Riot till Almedalen, för att värna yttrandefriheten. Pussy Riot har genomfört ett antal intervjuer, träffat svenska politiker och har precis deltagit i Öppna Almedalen. ”En regim som inte tål att granskas och kritiseras är en räddhågsen men också farlig regim. Ingen ska behöva fängslas för sina åsikters skull, varför vi kräver att medlemmarna i Pussy Riot omedelbart friges.”
Robert Hårdh, chef, Civil Rights Defenders.

20th Anniversary of the massacre in Štrpci

Twenty years ago, the Army of the Republic of Serbia abducted 19 non-Serb citizens of Serbia and Montenegro on the railway station in Štrpci (BIH). The passengers were taken to the village of Visegradska banja, where they were tortured and killed. Up till now, the remains of three victims have been found. On February 27, Civil Rights Defender’s partners in Serbia marked the 20th Anniversary of the abduction in Strpce in front of the main railway station in Belgrade.

MFA’s reply on human rights defenders

In December, Civil Rights Defenders wrote a letter to the Foreign Minister Carl Bildt and urged him to demand stronger protection for human rights defenders in Kosovo. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has replied that “we are discussing these important issues on a political level. When Prime Minister Hachim Thaci visited Sweden in October, EU integration and the necessary reforms, including human rights, were major themes.”

Future professionals trained in freedom of speech

Photo: Press Council in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Theoretical and practical insight into national media legislation and European standards in the field make law students better prepared to handle human rights issues in their future work as legal professionals. That is why Civil Rights Defenders, together with one of its long-term partners, the Press Council in Bosnia and Herzegovina, is conducting trainings for law students in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The culture of silence and impunity must be broken

On 29 November, Ramush Haradinaj, Prime Minister in the Kosovar government 2004-2005, and former commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army, was again aquitted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). Haradinaj was on trial for crimes against civilians in the prison camp in Jablanica in 1998. Civil Rights Defenders deeply regrets the fact that the ICTY failed to properly establish the facts in this case.

Summoned to court for publication of human rights monograph

A new court case against Stanislav Dmitrievsky, Head of the Russian-Chechen Friendship Society, signals that Russian authorities continue to restrict the work of human rights defenders. Civil Rights Defenders calls for international attention to this case as this is yet another attempt to silence Stanislav Dmitrievsky and his organisation for their work against impunity in the North Caucasus.

“Foreign agents” law now in effect – NGOs’ premises vandalised

Photo: Yuliya Klimova, Memorial

The Night Watch – this is what a group of about 20 Russia Young activists called the late-night act of vandalism on the premises of internationally funded Russian human rights organisations as well as the picket in front of Transparency International later that day. At least two organisations’ premises were vandalised with chalk drawings saying “foreign agent” and “I love USA” on their buildings on the same day as the “foreign agents” law came into effect.

Stockholm process strengthens human rights defenders at risk

Map of the North Caucasus

The situation for citizens and human rights defenders in the North Caucasus continue to deteriorate; grave human rights violations turn everyday life into a nightmare. In November 2012, Civil Rights Defenders gathers about 20 of the key human rights defenders from the region to the North Caucasus Conference. During a few intensive days in Stockholm we develop strategies to improve their security and to increase the awareness among decision makers in order to create real change.

Supreme Court allows dissemination of information on LGBT issues

Two of Civil Rights Defender’s partners have appealed the regional laws that prohibits ”propaganda for homosexuality” to the Russian Supreme Court. In the latest ruling, on 25 October, the Court decided in favor of the law in St Petersburg but stated that dissemination of information about lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender issues cannot be banned. The laws have already been used to clamp down on LGBT activists.

Ukraine prohibits ‘gay propaganda’

The Ukrainian parliament has in the first reading approved a bill to ban the positive depiction of homosexuality, permitting charges of up to 5 years in prison and hefty fines. “Unfortunately, this is a recent, growing tendency in the region, which shows no respect for basic human rights from the authorities and further promotes social exclusion and stigmatisation of the LGBT community.” said Joanna Kurosz at Civil Rights Defenders.

New report: Long road to press freedom ahead

Cover report Press Freedom Serbia

Only 4 of the European Council’s 27 principles for press freedom have been fully implemented in Serbia, the first comprehensive report on the media situation in the country: Serbian Media Scene VS European Standards, suggests. Free press is a cornerstone for democratic development; in this report the challenges lying ahead of the Serbian media scene become evident. This report is a result of a yearlong cooperation between Civil Rights Defenders and local partners.

We trained judges in freedom of speech

In December, Civil Rights Defenders organised a workshop on the new freedom of expression law for judges in Moldova. The aim was to improve understanding of how the new legislation should be interpreted and applied by magistrates who work with these types of cases. “Strengthening the legal system is central, because that’s where the rights are protected”, commented Percy Bratt, chairman of Civil Rights Defenders board and one of the trainers, afterwards.

Combating prejudices with radio debates

Widespread lack of respect for human rights, in particular discrimination against vulnerable groups, remains of great concern in Albania. Civil Rights Defenders believe that the media can play an important role in raising awareness about human rights and mobilizing civic engagement. A cooperation with Independent Local Media Association (ILMA), to engage citizens in debates on radio about the most important human rights issues, has therefore been established.

Kosovo 2.0 – Vibrant news in three languages

Kosovo 2.0 is a web portal and a magazine available in English, Albanian and Serbian. Since the launch in July 2010, it has had around 257,760 unique visitors and more that 1,000 unique visits a day. Civil Rights Defenders collaboration with Kosovo Glocal aims at building up Kosovo 2.0, a comprehensive and vibrant media platform, offering interesting and current news, commentary and information that will contribute to an overall respect of freedom of expression in Kosovo.

Map of victims of the Yugoslav wars

Together with Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) in Serbia Civil Rights Defenders provide work to raise public awareness on the importance of confronting the past, by compiling and disseminating a comprehensive record of human losses in Kosovo, Serbia and Montenegro in the wars of the 1990s. The “Interactive Online Map of Human Losses” provides user-friendly information and access to relevant documents on human losses in Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Croatia, Slovenia and Macedonia.