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NEWSLETTER MAY 2014


TOP NEWS
General Assembly Will Take Place in Tallinn on November 27-29, 2014 >>
Round Table "Civil Society Ukraine-Russia-EU" in Berlin >>
Official Opening of the Forum's Secretariat >>
"Soldiers' Mothers of St. Petersburg" Has Become the 126th Forum Member >>

STEERING COMMITTEE

Statement "On the Goldman Environmental Prize for Suren Gazaryan" >>

OUTLOOK
Baltic Sea NGO Forum in Turku >>

MEMBERS' VIEWS
Analysis on the Lack of Support to Russian Civil Society >>
New "Foreign Agents" Ruling  >>
Mission Statement of the European Platform for Democratic Elections on the Ukrainian Presidential Elections >>

TOP NEWS

General Assembly Will Take Place in Tallinn

on November 27-29, 2014

The next General Assembly of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum is due to take place in Tallinn, Estonia, on November 27-29, 2014. That was agreed in the course of the General Skype call of the Steering Committee on May 6, 2014.

The official Programme of the meeting will be available in June already. It will include both plenary sessions and Woking group rounds, whereas the participants will have more time for the work within the latter format, which was the wish based on the experiences from the last year. An additional option may be a trip to Helsinki with the aim to meet local NGOs and potential partners there.

The co-organiser of the event will be the
Open Estonia Foundation
, which also provided additional funds for the financial suppot of the General Assembly.

Read more on the General Assembly format

TOP NEWS

Round Table "Civil Society Ukraine-Russia-EU" in Berlin

Civil society representatives from Ukraine, Russia and the European Union met on May 20, 2014 in Berlin at a “Round Table” to discuss the possible input of non-governmental organisations to conflict resolution in Ukraine and the improvement of relations between the respective countries. The meeting marked the first direct cooperation between the EU-Russia and the Eastern Partnership (EaP) Civil Society Forums. It was opened by Dr Gernot Erler, German Government Coordinator for Intersocietal Cooperation with Russia, Countries of the Eastern Partnership and Central Asia, and supported by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Robert Bosch Stiftung.

 

The event, which was held at the Berlin representation of the Robert Bosch Stiftung, assembled around 25 representatives of non-governmental organisations and foundations from Ukraine, Russia, and the EU.  Along with Russian human rights activist Andrey Yurov, currently in Ukraine on behalf of the Russian Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights, Oleksandra Matviychuk, Chairwoman of the Board at the Centre of Civil Liberties (Kyiv), Jan Piekło, Director of the PAUCI Foundation, Member of the Steering Committee of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (Kyiv/Warsaw), Viktor Voronkov, Director at the Centre of Independent Sociological Research (St. Petersburg), Rostislav Valvoda, Coordinator of Programs in Eastern Europe at “People in Need” (Prague) as well as NGO representatives from Moscow, Luhansk, Berlin, and Warsaw attended the meeting.

 

Following presentations on changes in societies and mutual perceptions since the beginning of the Ukraine crisis, discussions centered on the potential of civil society actors to cooperate in efforts of de-escalation and conflict resolution between Ukraine, Russia and the EU. Debates focussed on the construction of a common information and monitoring network as well as the development of a platform for factual information and de-escalated communication as first areas of cooperation.


See the Programme

TOP NEWS

Official Opening of the Forum's Secretariat

On May 24, 2014, the official opening of the Secretariat of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum - along the Members' Meeting of the German-Russian Exchange, where new Forum's premises are located now, took place in Berlin.

The event was attended by representatives of NGOs, scholars, journalists, politicians and other interested public. It included an official presentation of the Forum structure, Open Dicsussion "Maidan, Krym, Eastern Ukraine" with participation of political scientist and historian Tim Bohse and the journalist of 1+1 TV Channel Nataliia Fiebrig (Ukraine-Germany), as well as a reception with greetings by Wolfgang Eichwede, Founding Director of the Centre for East European Studies at the University of Bremen, Aigul Sembaeva, Chairwoman of the Board at the German-Russian Exchange (St. Petersburg), Anna Sevortian, future Executive Director of the Forum, and others.

Go to the
presentation of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum

TOP NEWS

"Soldiers' Mothers of St. Petersburg" Has Become
the 126th Forum Member

Public Human Rights Organisation "Soldiers' Mothers of St. Petersburg" has become the 126th Forum member.

It operates since 1991 to protect the legitimate rights of citizens to subject to military conscription or alternative civilian service as well as military personnel and their families. The organisation provides the specified citizens with legal and other social assistance and support as well as monitors - upon citizens' request - violations of their rights and legitimate interests for further preparation of analytical materials and making them available to the competent interested public authorities.

The organisation decided to join two working groups of the Forum -
"Human Rights and the Rule of Law" and "Social Issues and Civic Participation".

Read more

STEERING COMMITTEE

Statement "On the Goldman Environmental Prize for Suren Gazaryan"

The Steering Committee of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum welcomes the decision on the Goldman Environmental Prize for Suren Gazaryan, Board member of the Non-Governmental Organisation “Environmental Watch on North Caucasus” (EWNC), which has been actively participating in the Forum’s work. 

The decision on the awarding of Suren Gazaryan is an important recognition of his merits in the fields of ecology, nature preservation and human rights. 

This award is especially significant under the actual circumstances, when the activities of the “Environmental Watch on North Caucasus” were discontinued in March 2014 by the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Adygea for half a year, another Board member Evgeni Vitishko serves a 3-year term in prison after campaigning against capture of forests and the seashore line in the Krasnodar region on an arguable court verdict, whereas Suren Gazaryan himself had to abandon the territory of the Russian Federation to avoid persecution based on the same file.

Read more

OUTLOOK

Baltic Sea NGO Forum in Turku

The EU-Russia Civil Society Forum will be present at the 12th Baltic Sea NGO Forum (Turku, Finland, June 2-3, 2014) with the Open Session "EU-Russia Relations: Civil Society Challenge in the Baltic Sea Region" moderated by Sergei Tereshenkov, Forum's PR-Coordinator.

Apart from that session, the representative of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum will be open for questions and suggestions at any time and available in the course of the entire event as well as on the second day (June 4th) of the 5th Annual Forum of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region.


Save the date: June 3, 2014, 9:15 a.m. - 10:45 a.m. EET, Meeting Room "Turku", Break Sokos Hotel Caribia, Turku, Finland 

 

Read more

MEMBERS' VIEWS

Analysis on the Lack of Support to Russian Civil Society"

 

Stefanie Schiffer (European Exchange) and Thomas Vogel (Parliamentary advisor and analyst for Werner Schulz MEP) have recently published a paper named "The EU is neglecting the demands of Russian civil society". Hereafter you can read the introduction to the analysis.
 

"Whilst EU financial aid for civil society in the countries of the Southern and Eastern Partnership has continually risen over the past years, funding and administrative capacities for Russia have been dramatically reduced. In spite of protests from non-governmental organisations and calls from the European Parliament, the European Commission is continuing to pursue this policy, as can be seen in the new EU budget up to 2020. The EU is therefore weakening one of the few instruments at its disposal for supporting those institutions and individuals in the Russian Federation who strive for the democratic transformation of the country, for human rights and for European unity."

 

New "Foreign Agents" Ruling

 

A Moscow court today rejected an appeal filed by the Memorial Human Rights Center, one of Russia’s most prominent human rights NGOs, against a prosecutor’s order requiring it to register as a “foreign agent.” This decision is greatly disappointing and reinforces the impression that there’s no end in sight to the crackdown on independent NGOs in Russia.


“The decision in Memorial’s case is part and parcel of a state-orchestrated campaign aimed at intimidating and silencing inconvenient NGOs,” said Brigitte Dufour, the director of International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR). She attended the trial as part of a trial monitoring project implemented by IPHR in the framework of the Civic Solidarity Platform, a network of over 50 human rights NGOs in Europe, the former Soviet Union and North America. “The international community must continue to speak up against this campaign and use all opportunities to demonstrate solidarity with Memorial and other NGOs targeted under it,” she continued.

 

Read more

 

Mission Statement of the European Platform for Democratic Elections on the Ukrainian Presidential Elections

 

European Platform for Democratic Elections (EPDE), whose co-founding organisations were "Golos" Association and "European Exchange", members of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum, led a mission of short-term observers for the presidential election in Ukraine. Initially, 823 observers were supposed to be deployed across all Ukrainian regions.

 

However, the Ukrainian Central Election Committee (CEC) initially (May 19) denied accreditation to the mission. On May 23, a court decision was reached to allow accreditation, but due to this delay, EPDE had to reduce the number of observers. As a result, 200 short-term observers, were deployed in 9 regions of Ukraine: Kiev, Kiev district, Dnipropetrovsk, Zhytomyr, Lviv, Odessa, Poltava, Chernihiv, Kharkiv region, as well as northern Luhansk. EPDE observers also conducted observation at the Ukrainian Embassy in Russia and the Ukrainian Embassy in Finland.

 

Read more

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