Archive 2012

Statement on the verdict against Kazakh human rights defender Kuramshin

13 - 12 - 2012
Human rights defender Vadim Kuramshin has been sentenced to 12 years in prison with confiscation of his property. He was found guilty of extortion. The circumstances of the case suggest that he is being punished for his efforts to attract attention to problems of torture and abuse of prisoners. The sentence comes at a time when a growing crackdown on free speech is being witnessed in Kazakhstan.

Human rights appeal to the OSCE

6 - 12 - 2012
Work for human rights is increasingly insecure in the OSCE region, said an NGO conference in Dublin, co-organized by the Netherlands Helsinki Committee. The Dublin Declaration issued by the conference said the human rights defenders are increasingly “being targeted for persecution for their legitimate work, banned from entering OSCE states where they do human rights monitoring, subjected to smear campaigns, branded as foreign agents and enemies of the state, imprisoned, subjected to torture and inhuman and degrading treatment, convicted on the basis of fabricated charges for crimes they have not committed, forced to emigrate, threatened, physically attacked and even murdered without any effective investigations being pursued, leading to prevailing impunity for perpetrators”.

Conference on reproductive rights in Tajikistan

1 - 11 - 2012
Conference on reproductive rights in Tajikistan
On the 1st of November a conference took place in Dushanbe, Tajikistan addressing the "Human rights based approach in the social policies of Tajikistan with a special focus on reproductive rights. This conference was organized in the framework of a cooperation project between the NHC and Tajik Public Foundation "Nota Bene".

NHC: The Netherlands should continue to promote rule of law across the whole of Europe

25 - 10 - 2012
At the NHC 25th anniversary reception, Chairman Ian de Jong of the Netherlands Helsinki Committee called for the Netherlands to not look away from problems in the maintainance of the rule of law and human rights in wider Europe. "Sooner or later we get an unpleasant way to deal with the consequences of that denial. Migration, crime, corruption and civil war do not respect borders. The cost of investments for improvements in the rule of law are nothing compared to what else can come upon us."

NHC celebrates 25th anniversary

24 - 10 - 2012
NHC celebrates 25th anniversary
The Netherlands Helsinki Committee celebrates its 25th anniversary with a reception on Wednesday 24 October 2012. We are honoured that Minister for European Affairs and International Cooperation Dr. H.P.M. Knapen will present his views on the importance of the promotion and maintenance of the rule of law in Europe. Human rights lawyer Ms Dina Vedernikova will present an example of one the NHC's projects, capacity-building of NGOs and lawyers in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia on submitting cases to the European Court of Human Rights.

Essay contest

18 - 10 - 2012
Essay contest
On account of the conference about the protection and future of human rights there will be an essay contest among students. The conference will be held at The Hague University of Applied Science (Haagse Hogeschool) in The Hague and during the conference the winner will be announced. The conference will be held at the 25th of January 2013. The winner will receive the sum of 1000 euro or in case there are more winners, a portion of this amount.

Cooperation Turkey and the Netherlands: A Basic Course Regulatory Impact Assessment

16 - 10 - 2012
Cooperation Turkey and the Netherlands: A Basic Course Regulatory Impact Assessment
In September 2012 a group of officials from the Turkish Ministry of Justice explored Dutch solutions to reduce administrative burden in regulatory systems in a Basic Course Regulatory Impact Assessment in The Hague. As a legislator it is of high importance to take into account the consequences and burden of new legislation prior to the implementation of this legislation.

EU-Russia Civil Society Forum

11 - 10 - 2012
The NHC took part in the General Assembly of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum, held on 9 and 10 October in St Petersburg. The Assembly expressed serious concern about "recent negative trends in the relations between the Russian Federation and the European Union". The Forum ascribes this development in large part to changes in Russia. "In particular, we are extremely concerned with increasing pressure of the state on the Russian civil society". The Forum was worried that "in the European Union as a whole the interest towards the Russian Federation is significantly decreasing", with "fewer strtegies and ideas being developed in the EU political circles towards development of cooperation and improving interaction with the Russian Federation".

OSCE ODIHR Human Dimension Implementation Meeting - Central Asia

7 - 10 - 2012
The NHC together with its project partners participated in the HDIM 2012. A side event was organized and moderated by the NHC, our project partners, incl. Mr. Yevgeniy Zhovtis, have spoken on the latest developments on freedom of expression, religion and association and assembly in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan.

OSCE ODIHR Human Dimension Implementation Meeting

19 - 09 - 2012
OSCE ODIHR Human Dimension Implementation Meeting
As in previous years the Netherlands Helsinki Committee will participate in the OSCE ODIHR Human Dimension Implementation Meeting (HDIM) to be held in Warsaw, 24 September - 5 October 2012. The NHC will be active threefold.

Statement on the verdict against pussy riot

22 - 08 - 2012
Statement on the verdict against pussy riot
The Civic Solidarity Platform, of which the NHC is a member, has issued a statement on the verdict against the Russian music band Pussy Riot. On Friday 17 August 2012, three members of the band were sentenced to two years in prison after being convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred under the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. The charges relate to a protest which the group staged in Moscow’s main Russian Orthodox cathedral on 21 February 2012 during which they performed their song Virgin Mary, Drive Putin Away. The verdict violates the right to freedom of expression and is believed to be politically motivated.

Concern over detention of board member of Bridging the Gulf

25 - 07 - 2012
Concern over detention of board member of Bridging the Gulf
The Netherlands Helsinki Committee is extremely concerned at the detention on 17 July of Dr Mohammed al Roken, a lawyer and human rights defender from the United Arab Emirates. Dr Al Roken is e board member of Bridging the Gulf, a network of people in the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council to work on peaceful progressive change and on the furtherance of human rights. Bridging the Gulf's activities are devised by people from the GCC countries. Dr Al Roken is one of them. The Netherlands Helsinki Committee is working closely with Bridging the Gulf, providing logistic and administrative support.

NHC supports statement by the Civic Solidarity Platform on the amendments to the Russian NGO Law

12 - 07 - 2012
The Civic Solidarity Platform, of which the NHC is a member, has issued a statement on the recently approved amendments to the draft NGO Law in Russia. These amendments are nothing more than a procedural move and do not reduce the bill’s harmful effects on civic organizations. Russia’s oldest rights organization, the Moscow Helsinki Group, has said it would close down its offices rather than comply with the law.

NHC joins Human Rights appeal to EU on Central Asia policy

21 - 06 - 2012
Civil society organisations from Central Asia and Europe have issued an appeal, containing a number of suggestions to improve the effectiveness and impact of EU action to promote human rights in Central Asia.

NHC partner ASTRA launches new media campaign on labour exploitation

21 - 06 - 2012
The NHC’s partner in Serbia, ASTRA, presented its new media campaign “Human Trafficking. Labour exploitation. Serious and Organised Crime” at a press conference in Belgrade on June 19th.

NHC contributes to improved child protection in Kyrgyzstan

1 - 06 - 2012
A NHC-implemented project on children’s and women’s access to social and economic in Central Asia has significantly contributed to Parliament of Kyrgyzstan approving the code on Children on May 31 this year.

Third Expert Meeting for lawyers “Health and Psychological Consequences of Human Trafficking”

19 - 05 - 2012
A third expert meeting for lawyers titled “Health and Psychological Consequences of Human Trafficking” was held at Zira Hotel, Belgrade, on May 18, 2012. The expert meeting is part of the project “Protection of Trafficking Victims’ Rights through/and the Provision of Legal Assistance” carried out by ASTRA – Anti Trafficking Action and the Netherlands Helsinki Committee with support of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MATRA).

Bijeenkomst: De situatie van MOE-landers in Nederland

11 - 05 - 2012
Op 21 mei 2012 organiseert het Nederlands Helsinki Comité een bijeenkomst over de migratie van mensen uit Midden –en Oost –Europa (‘MOE -landers’). De grote uitbreiding van de Europese Unie in 2004 en 2007 maakte definitief een einde aan de oost -west splitsing die Europa onderging in de Koude Oorlog. Vrij verkeer van personen werd mogelijk, en – binnen zekere grenzen – vrije vestiging. In Nederland vestigden zich, vast of tijdelijk, enkele honderdduizenden MOE -landers. Zij waren onder andere in het nieuws door het PVV -meldpunt ‘Midden - en Oost -Europeanen', dat Nederlanders aanspoorde overlast door MOE -landers te melden. Het Bureau Discriminatiezaken heeft in 2011 steeds meer meldingen ontvangen over discriminatie van MOE -landers op grond van ras en nationaliteit in de media en op de arbeidsmarkt. Ook is er in de media o.a. bericht over de huisvesting van werknemers uit Midden -en Oost -Europa: in b.v. zogenaamde ‘Polen -hotels'.MOE -landers zouden tevens uitgebuit worden omdat misbruik wordt gemaakt van hun relatief zwakke economische en sociale positie in Nederland. Nu is de vraag wie er precies last heeft van wie

Kazakhstan: Ensure accountability for attack, protect journalists

25 - 04 - 2012
The Netherlands Helsinki Committee and organizations from Belgium, Poland and Norway express their dismay at the brutal attack on Kazakhstani journalist Lukpan Akhmedyarov and support the call made by representatives of Kazakhstan's civil society and journalist community for a prompt, impartial and thorough investigation of the attack. In light of this attack, as well as other recent assaults on journalists in Kazakhstan, the organizations also urge the Kazakhstani authorities to adopt effective measures to protect and ensure the safety of journalists when they carry out their professional duties.

New case of harassment of independent Uzbek journalist

10 - 04 - 2012
Brussels, The Hague 10 April 2012. International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR) and the Netherlands Helsinki Committee (NHC) deplore the conviction of Uzbek journalist Elena Bondar on spurious charges of promoting national hatred as an attempt to intimidate and punish her for her independent journalism work. Her conviction yet again demonstrates the vulnerability of independent journalists in Uzbekistan.

Call on the EU to push for implementation of Kazakhstan's human rights commitments

20 - 03 - 2012
With negotiations on a new EU-Kazakhstan cooperation agreement about to enter a new phase, the Netherlands Helsinki Committee, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee and the International Partnership for Human Rights appeal to the EU to use this agreement as an opportunity to push for concrete democracy and human rights progress in the Central Asian country. The EU should make clear to the Kazakhstani government that a deepened relationship requires decisive measures to reverse the negative trend in human rights protection that recently has been seen in Kazakhstan, as well as constructive reforms to deliver on human rights commitments and promises.

Fundamental freedoms under serious threat in Central Asia

7 - 03 - 2012
Twenty years after the end of the Soviet Union fundamental freedoms are still under serious threat in the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Despite promises of gradual reform made by the authorities, the human rights situation in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan has not improved in any meaningful way in the recent period, while the situation in Kazakhstan has deteriorated. This is the main conclusion of a new report published on 7 March by a coalition of five human rights groups, including the Netherlands Helsinki Committee.

NHC welcomes release Kazakhstani human rights defender

17 - 02 - 2012
NHC welcomes release Kazakhstani human rights defender
The Netherlands Helsinki Committee welcomes the release of Kazakhstani human rights defender Yevgeni Zhovtis, on 17 February of this year. The authorities of Kazakhstan have decided to release Zhovtis, as a court decision from 1 February to amnesty him entered into force.

Russian human rights activist Gregory Shvedov has been awarded the 2012 Geuzenpenning

9 - 01 - 2012
Russian human rights activist Gregory Shvedov has been awarded the 2012 Geuzenpenning
The Netherlands Helsinki Committee congratulates Russian human rights activist Gregory Shvedov on being awarded the 2012 Geuzenpenning Shvedov has been fighting for human rights in Russia and the former Soviet Republics for years. Shvedov is editor-in-chief of the Caucasian Knot, an independent news and reference site covering the Caucasus region.

2012: NHC 25th anniversary year

1 - 01 - 2012
2012: NHC 25th anniversary year
The Netherlands Helsinki Committee will be celebrating its 25th anniversary in October 2012. For us, this is an occasion for investigating and discussing current and future developments in promoting and protecting human rights, the rule of law and democracy in Europe and the former Soviet Union.

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