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Study Visit Albania - the Netherlands: Day 1

26 - 01 - 2015
From 26 January until 30 January, an Albanian delegation visits the Netherlands for a study visit in the framework of a project on combatting human trafficking. Each day, participants of the study visit will write a blog for the NHC about their experiences. You can read here about their first day.

Hearings of Azerbaijan’s prisoners of conscience have started

22 - 01 - 2015
Hearings of Azerbaijan’s prisoners of conscience have started
The preliminary hearing in the case of Rasul Jafarov, a prominent human rights defender and a prisoner of conscience, was held in Baku on January 15, 2015. Journalists, diplomats and family members attended the hearing. Rasul Jafarov was brought to the Baku Court on Grave Crimes in handcuffs and was kept in a metal cage during the trial. While used in Azerbaijan, the European Court of Human Rights considers that such practice amounts to an inhumane and degrading treatment of the accused.

Letter to Chancellor Merkel about Arrested Human Rights Defenders Azerbaijan

21 - 01 - 2015
As member of the international NGO coalition “Sport for Rights”, the NHC signed a joint statement to Chancellor Merkel. Today she’s meeting president Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan and the Sport for Rights coalition urges her to use this opportunity to demand the immediate release of prominent human rights defenders (Rasul Jafarov, Intigam Aliyev, Leyla Yunus and many others), who have been convicted to long prison terms or are in pre-trial detention. Their arrests are part of an escalating crackdown on civil society by the Azerbaijani government.

Increasing Concern over Azerbaijani Human Rights Defenders

9 - 01 - 2015
The Netherlands Helsinki Committee is concerned about the further intensification of the Azerbaijani authorities’ campaign against human rights defenders towards the end of 2014. The trumped-up charges (related to alleged financial mismanagement) against Rasul Jafarov and Intigam Aliyev, two prominent defenders arrested in August, were widened (here and here), so they now could be convicted to up to 12 years. The start of their trials was announced for 15 and 16 January respectively; the NHC is working with other NGOs on arranging independent monitoring of their trials.

New Deadline of the Essay Contest on the Prevention of Torture

5 - 01 - 2015
The deadline of the essay contest on the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) is postponed to 15 February. The contest is open for students and recent graduates across Europe, who have a chance to win €1000 by submitting a 2000-4000 words essay. The prize winner will be announced at a conference on the prevention of torture and other forms of ill-treatment in Europe, which is being organized by the NHC in March 2015.

Civil society strengthened by new EU anti-money laundering directive

17 - 12 - 2014
Civil society strengthened by new EU anti-money laundering directive
One of the goals of the NHC is to enhance the capacity of civil society and strengthen its civil control over governments and institutions. As member of the EU - Russia Civil Society Forum (CSF), the NHC leads an Expert Group on Fighting Transborder Corruption, which aspires to address and fight the problem of so-called transborder corruption from the viewpoint of the Human Dimension and from positions of civil society. The possibilities for civil society organizations to monitor financial transactions might improve under a new agreement reached in the European Commission regarding the EU anti-money laundering directive.

Regional course on Advocacy and Policy Influencing for project monitoring partners

10 - 12 - 2014
Regional course on Advocacy and Policy Influencing for project monitoring partners
From 17 until 19 November, the Netherlands Helsinki Committee organized a course on advocacy and policy influencing, which took place in Skopje, Macedonia, as part of the project “Improvement of Prison Conditions for Reintegration of Juvenile Detainees in Albania, Macedonia and Kosovo”. This training aimed to improve advocacy and lobbying skills of monitoring partners in the project, so they can all successfully advocate in their countries for changes that will contribute to a better prison regime for juvenile inmates.

Minister Koenders meeting with human rights defenders ahead of OSCE Ministerial Council

4 - 12 - 2014
On the eve of the Ministerial Council meeting of the OSCE in Basel, Netherlands Minister of Foreign Affairs Bert Koenders met with civil society human rights activists from a.o. Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Ukraine. NHC director Harry Hummel also presented him with the outcome documents of the Parallel Civil Society Conference that took place ahead of the Ministerial Council meeting.

Dutch trainers introduce resocialization method for juveniles in prison in Kosovo

2 - 12 - 2014
The NHC communication team spoke with Patricia Meijer and Peggy Esajas of the Dutch youth penitentiary institution Teylingereind (Forensisch Centrum Teylingereind), who are conducting training sessions for staff of the Lipjan Correctional Center for Juveniles in Kosovo as part of the project “Improvement of Prison Conditions for Reintegration of Juvenile Detainees in Albania, Macedonia and Kosovo”.

EU-Russia civil society contacts to be further strengthened

1 - 12 - 2014
The potential of cooperation of independent civil society organisations across Europe needs to be exploited more fully. This was a leading thought at the 5th General Assembly of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum, held from 26 to 28 November in Tallinn, Estonia. As a member of the Forum, the NHC presented its work on stimulating advocacy on EU-Russia relations and on developing work on trans-border corruption affecting both Russia and European Union countries.

Tajikistan: Drop draft legislation restricting NGO access to funding

26 - 11 - 2014
Tajikistan: Drop draft legislation restricting NGO access to funding
Almost a hundred civil society groups called on the government of Tajikistan to drop new restrictive draft legislation on NGOs and to respect the right of NGOs to have unhindered access to funding for their work. The NHC also signed this joint statement.

Regional Conference "Access to the right to compensation for victims of human trafficking in the region"

20 - 11 - 2014
Regional Conference "Access to the right to compensation for victims of human trafficking in the region"
On 17 and 18 October, the regional Conference "Access to the right to compensation for victims of human trafficking in the region", was organized by ASTRA Anti-Trafficking Action from Serbia and its partners from the region, France and the Netherlands. The event was held in Belgrade in the small hall of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia.

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