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Archive 2011

OSCE civil society parallel conference - human rights crisis in Belarus

6 - 12 - 2011
Almost a year has passed after the dramatic events of 19 December 2010 in the Republic of Belarus that gave rise to a new stage in the obliteration of fundamental rights and freedoms in this European country and OSCE member-state. It is with deep regret that we have to admit that throughout this past year the systemic crisis with regards to human rights has grown deeper and repressions are mounting up. We believe that the international community, including within the OSCE framework, so far proved powerless to prevent the deterioration of the situation and bring the situation back into the state when the international norms are observed. In this regard, we urge the OSCE and the international community in general to use more effective measures to influence the situation in the Republic of Belarus, that go beyond appeals and recommendations contained in reports and resolutions.

NGOs call for more OSCE efforts in realizing human dimension commitments

5 - 12 - 2011
Independent civil society organizing for the defence of human rights is becoming increasingly difficult in many OSCE participating states. The OSCE should do more to promote freedom of association, to protect human rights defenders and to improve freedom of movement. It should allow for more civil society input in the development of its policies and activities. These calls were issued by a conference of representatives from NGOs from over twenty-five countries, held in Vilnius on the eve of the OSCE Ministerial Council, meeting in that city on 6 and 7 December. The conference said the OSCE should continue to expand its valuable work in promoting freedom of assembly, the rule of law and media freedom. The conference today presented its demands and recommendations to OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Audronius Ažubalis.

Civil Society Meets in Advance of OSCE Ministerial Council

3 - 12 - 2011
The Netherlands Helsinki Committee is co-organizer of the OSCE Civil Society Parallel Conference in Vilnius, Lithuania, on 4 and 5 December. This event brings together representatives of civil society organizations from all across the OSCE region. This effort is modelled on last years parallel conference in Astana, prior to the OSCE Summit. There will be around 70 participants in this Parallel Conference from around the OSCE region.

Special issue Security and Human Rights: A Tribute to Max van der Stoel

24 - 10 - 2011
Special issue Security and Human Rights: A Tribute to Max van der Stoel
A special issue of Security and Human Rights is published, honouring the life and work of Max van der Stoel, who passed away earlier this year. This special SHR issue contains never before published personal recollections of distinguished authors who all worked closely with Max van der Stoel. Among the authors are Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, Danilo Turk (President of Slovenia), Peter Kooijmans (former Foreign Minister of the Netherlands) and Knut Vollebaek (former Foreign Minister of Norway and the present OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities). The special issue offers unique insights in many aspects of the multifaceted work of Max van der Stoel that have largely remained outside the public domain so far.

Mensenrechtenavond #2: Olymposche spelen en Mensenrechten

12 - 10 - 2011
Mensenrechtenavond #2: Olymposche spelen en Mensenrechten
Het Nederlands Helsinki Comité (NHC) organiseert op woensdag 19 oktober een debat over de Olympische Spelen en mensenrechten. Dit debat is de tweede bijeenkomst in een reeks 'Mensenrechtenavonden' die het NHC organiseert in het Humanity House om de discussie over mensenrechtenkwesties te bevorderen.

Contribution to OSCE Review Meeting: Civil Society under Pressure in Central Asian Countries

22 - 09 - 2011
Twenty years after the Soviet Union dissolved and Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan gained independence, civil society activities remain seriously restricted in these countries. In a joint contribution to the upcoming OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting in Warsaw, two European and three Central Asian NGOs highlight how the authorities of the three countries continue to stifle the rights of their citizens to freely and peacefully assemble, associate and engage in activities to promote human rights.

Belarus demands continued attention from UN Human Rights Council

5 - 09 - 2011
International human rights organizations, including the Netherlands Helsinki Committee, are calling on the UN Human Rights Council to continue addressing the situation in Belarus. In contradiction to the June resolution of the Council on Belarus, further steps have been taken by the authorities to repress freedom of expression and to thwart fair trials. Harassment of human rights defenders has been stepped up, with Ales Bialiatisky, the leader of human rights organisation Viasna, being imprisoned.

Anti-trafficking NGO ASTRA, Serbia: 'The State Does Not Help Trafficking Victims'

1 - 08 - 2011
For trafficked victims the hell does not end when they get out of the trafficking chain. According to extensive research that has been done for the last 10 years by Serbian anti-trafficking NGO ASTRA budgetary allocations for victim assistance do not exist when putting aside salaries of the employees in the institutions that should be working on improvement of the aid for trafficking victims. ASTRA recently published a Ten-Year Report on Human Trafficking in Serbia which concluded that the Serbian government does not provide sufficient, efficient, nor systemically organized support to trafficking victims.

New incidents of harassment reinforce concerns about safety of individuals viewed as linked to Turkmen exile NGO

20 - 07 - 2011
The Netherlands Helsinki Committee and the International Partnership for Human Rights condemn the hacking of the website of its partner organization Turkmen Initiative for Human Rights, as well as other recent incidents of harassment targeting the organization. There are concerns about the safety and well-being of all individuals living inside Turkmenistan who the authorities link to this organization.

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