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NEWSLETTER MAY 2016


IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Moscow Helsinki Group: Standing by Human Rights for Forty Years >>

TOP NEWS

Guest of Honour: Liudmila Alekseeva at the Expert Conference of the Helsinki Movement and the "Legal Dialogue" Symposium in Berlin >>
"Europe Lab": 80 Young Professionals from 26 Countries Are Joining the Club >>

Anna Sevortian in Novosibirsk: New Horizons of the Civic Dialogue >>

WORKING GROUPS
Deadline Extended! The "Fighting Transborder Corruption" Expert Group Is Looking for Investigators >>

MEDIA
Dmitri Makarov (International Youth Human Rights Movement, Voronezh, Russia): 'We Live in a Post- and Even a Post-Post-Helsniki World Now' >>


MEMBERS' VIEWS
GRANI Centre (Perm, Russia): Launch of an Information Portal for an Independent Evaluation of the Quality of Social Services  >>
ARTICLE 19 (London, UK): Defining Defamation - Principles on Freedom of Expression and Protection of Reputation >>
Bellona (St. Petersburg, Russia): New Issue of the "Environment and Rights" Journal Is Out >>

IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Moscow Helsinki Group: Standing by Human Rights for Forty Years

Photo by the Moscow Helsinki Group

On request of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum, Nina Tagankina, Executive Director of the Moscow Helsinki Group (MHG, Moscow, Russia), prepared a report on the celebration of the 40th MHG anniversary:

 

On 12 May 2016, the Moscow Helsinki Group turned 40 years. Within the celebrations on 12-13 May, an Anniversary Conference took place in Moscow, which was attended by representatives of human rights organisations – MHG’s long-term partners.

The conference brought together over 200 representatives from 23 regions of Russia - human rights activists, experts, public figures, journalists – as well as MHG friends (14 representatives from 10 countries). The participants not only congratulated the Moscow Helsinki Group with this anniversary and talked about its role and importance in the Soviet era and in modern Russia but discussed, first of all, major problems in the field of human rights in the country and key challenges human rights defenders are facing now.

Read more

TOP NEWS

Guest of Honour: Liudmila Alekseeva at the Expert Conference of the Helsinki Movement and the "Legal Dialogue" Symposium in Berlin

On 30-31 May 2016, the International Symposium “Domestic Law in a Global Upswing? The Strained Relationship between International and Domestic Law“ within the “EU-Russia Legal Dialogue” Programme took place in Berlin, Germany. The “Four Decades and the Future of the Helsinki Movement” Expert Conference on the occasion of the anniversary of the Moscow Helsinki Group (MHG) was one of the Symposium’s major elements. Both formats gathered over 90 representatives of NGOs, academics, legal practitioners, and renowned human rights activists from 23 countries.

At the public event attended by around 150 participants, Liudmila Alekseeva, MHG Co-Founder and Chairperson (Moscow, Russia), remembered:

'When founding the Moscow Helsinki Group, we set virtually an impossible task, but we have succeeded in achieving it – thanks to support of the citizens and like-minded people from other countries. And now, in the times of a new Migration Period, all of us have to set an equally ambitious task – to alleviate poverty – for the sake of all mankind, and not in a single state, but across the world.'

The experts of the Symposium and the Conference identified challenges the societies across Europe are facing – from neglecting international legal obligations to threats to the principle of separation of powers on the national level, from gender inequality to environmental violations, etc.

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TOP NEWS

"Europe Lab": 80 Young Professionals from 26 Countries Are Joining the Club

Preparations for the 2nd Forum for Young Professionals "Europe Lab" are on-going by leaps and bounds. Recently, a competent jury consisting of workshop coordinators and representatives of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum has made the final selection of participants.

Out of more than 280 applicants from 37 European countries, the jury has chosen the best of the best - 80 young people aged between 25 and 35 working in NGOs, think tanks, universities, business, public administration, and other fields of professional engagement. They represent virtually all the European regions - Balkan and Baltic states; Caucasus; Eastern, Central, and Southern Europe;  Eastern Partnership countries; founding EU states; Nordic countries; Russia...

"Europe Lab" 2016 will take place on 21–24 July in Croatia – Zagreb and Vukovar. The major programme of the Forum will include four workshops curated by experienced coordinators - "Wars After 1989 – Is There a Chance for Reconciliation?", "Brave New Media – A Jilted Generation", "Refugees (Un)Welcome – Caught in a Trafficking Jam", "Social Entrepreneurship – Rooted in Community".

Besides, further formats - such as an excursion to the Memorial Centre of the Homeland War in Vukovar and the Jasenovac Memorial Site, a film screening, and discussions - are planned. More information on the "Europe Lab" Forum is available here.

Forum for Young Professionals “Europe Lab” is organised by the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum in cooperation with the "Documenta" Centre for Dealing with the Past, the Memorial Centre of the Homeland War, and the German-Russian Exchange as well as supported by the European Commission, the Robert Bosch Stiftung, and the Oak Foundation. The ancestor of the Forum - the "Pilorama Lab" Project - was initiated and organised in 2012 and 2013 by the Civic Engagement Institute (Perm, Russia) and its General Director Zoya Lukyanova in cooperation with the Memorial Centre of the History of Political Repressions "Perm-36", the MitOst Association, and the German-Russian Exchange. 

TOP NEWS

Anna Sevortian in Novosibirsk: New Horizons of the Civic Dialogue

Upon invitation by the Foundation for Development of Political and Civic Freedoms "Civil Consent", a member of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum, Anna Sevortian, Forum's Executive Director, visited Novosibirsk on 16-17 May 2016.

Within this trip, meetings with Forum members and further Siberian public organisations took place - the Altai Regional Public Foundation for Social Support and Civic Initiatives, Regional Press Institute - Siberia, the Novosibirsk "Memorial" Society the Siberian Centre for Support of Civic Initiatives, etc. Anna Sevortian also took part in the Discussion Seminar "Civic Dialogue - The New Horizons" as well as met Viktor Richter, Consul General of Germany in Novosibirsk, and Marek Zieliński, Consul General of Poland in Irkutsk.

One of the results of the visit was agreement on an opportunity to organise the Exhibition "Different Wars: National School Textbooks on World War II" in Novosibirsk. It is worth remembering that this exhibition was displayed with a great success in Moscow and Yekaterinburg already.

WORKING GROUPS

Deadline Extended! The "Fighting Transborder Corruption" Expert Group Is Looking for Investigators

Call for Applications

Deadline extended! Apply till 10 June 2016!

The "Fighting Transborder Corruption" Expert Group is looking for motivated anti-corruption investigators to join the activities of fighting transborder corruption - building capacity for the EU and Russian civil investigators' project aimed at fighting cross-border corruption between EU and Russia. Applicants may be civil society activists, journalists, social researchers, or other individuals, who able to demonstrate the needed skills and motivation for participation. In total, three investigators from Russia and three from EU member states will be selected.

Read more

MEDIA

Dmitri Makarov (International Youth Human Rights Movement, Voronezh, Russia): 'We Live in a Post- and Even a Post-Post-Helsinki World Now'

To watch the interview on YouTube in Russian, please follow the link

Dmitri, thank you very much that you have found time for this interview for the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum. The International Youth Human Rights Movement (YHRM) has its headquarters in Voronezh but you have worked a lot in Moscow, Belarus, or Crimea. Can you please reveal how the idea of establishing the movement evolved and why Voronezh was chosen as its main location?

Well, now it is difficult to say that this is the only place of location, because the network has truly become international, how it has been thought from the very beginning. Our activists are located in various countries, especially in the post-Soviet territories (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus) but also in Central Asia and in Western Europe. Here in Berlin I am also meeting YHRM members and correspondents. The idea came to our minds in 1998. It was an attempt to start a new generation of human rights defenders and civil society activists, who are inspired by the ideas of the Helsinki Movement, which we have discussed a lot about in recent days and years, but relying on a new reality, new language, new people to build new human rights civil activity in their respective countries.

Speaking about educational programmes for the new generation of human rights defenders, I might mention that you are one of the organisers of the International School of Human Rights and Civic Activities, which takes place in different regions of Russia. Can you please tell us more about this project?

The school was founded by the YHRM - along with the Moscow Helsinki Group, the Centre for Civil Liberties from Kyiv, and others. This is international project and the events of the school took place from Vilnius to Vladivostok and from Arkhangelsk to Osh. Within the school programme, we are trying to carve this new language of human rights, the 'old new language' as well as the common understanding of the processes, which are happening now. In Moscow and St. Petersburg, it turned to the format of open schools for human rights aimed at reaching the possibly largest interested audience. For us, it is an important part of our educational mission, the dialogue with representatives of society as well as search for like-minded people, with whom we can launch various initiatives - those proposed by them, those planned together as well as those that are to come later on.

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MEMBERS' VIEWS

GRANI Centre (Perm, Russia): Launch of an Information Portal for an Independent Evaluation of the Quality of Social Services

The Information Portal “Independent Quality Assessment in the Social Sphere” has been launched by the GRANI Centre (Perm, Russia) at http://nez-oc.ru.

Independent evaluation of the quality of service delivered by organisations working in the fields of culture, social services, health, and education (Federal Act No. 256 dated 21 July 2014) is the current mechanism of development and improvement of social services, revision of the efficiency of implementation of social obligations of the government, increase in the quality and accessibility of services in the social field.

Read more (in Russian)

 

ARTICLE 19 (London, UK): Defining Defamation - Principles on Freedom of Expression and Protection of Reputation

Back in 2000, ARTICLE 19, in cooperation with international freedom of expression and media experts, published "Defining Defamation: Principles on Freedom of Expression and Protection of Reputation". The Principles, one of the first standard setting documents in this area, set out the appropriate balance between the right to freedom of expression and the need to protect individual reputation. Since their adoption, the Principles have obtained significant recognition and international endorsement.

To ensure the relevance of the Principles and broad ownership of them by stakeholders, ARTICLE 19 is inviting all interested parties to discuss and comment on the revision.

The public consultation will last from May till July 2016. The final version will be launched online in September 2016.

Read more

 

Bellona (St. Petersburg, Russia): New Issue of the "Environment and Rights" Journal Is Out

The latest edition (No. 61) of the ecological magazine of the Enviromental Human Rights Centre "Bellona" (St. Petersburg, Russia) is devoted to the problem of industrial pollution in Russia and the world.

'This time, we wanted to focus on various aspects of this problem - from international experience to judicial practices in the Russian Federation and from specific cases to opportunities of non-conflict resolution of the situation,” writes Angelina Davydova, Head of the Russian-German Bureau of Ecological Information (St. Petersburg, Russia), Editor-in-Chief of the issue.

The publication in Russian is available online.

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