Bridging The Gulf Copyright (c) 2011, Bridging The Gulf nl Bridging The Gulf RSS-feed Bridging The Gulf RSS 144 30 Bridging The Gulf RSS Mon, 26 Jan 2015 13:19:49 +0100 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 into the Baku Serious Crimes Court with handcuffs and was kept in a metal cage during the trial. The European Court of Human Rights considers that such practices amounts to an inhumane and degrading treatment of the accused. During the hearing, the accused’s lawyers raised their concerns... Thu, 22 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0100 Letter to Chancellor Merkel about Arrested Human Rights Defenders Azerbaijan 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. Wed, 21 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0100 Increasing Concern over Azerbaijani Human Rights Defenders 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. Fri, 09 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0100 New Deadline of the Essay Contest on the Prevention of Torture 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. Mon, 05 Jan 2015 00:00:00 +0100 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. Wed, 17 Dec 2014 00:00:00 +0100 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. Wed, 10 Dec 2014 00:00:00 +0100 Minister Koenders meeting with human rights defenders ahead of OSCE Ministerial Council 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. Thu, 04 Dec 2014 00:00:00 +0100 Dutch trainers introduce resocialization method for juveniles in prison in Kosovo 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”. Tue, 02 Dec 2014 00:00:00 +0100 EU-Russia civil society contacts to be further strengthened 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. Mon, 01 Dec 2014 00:00:00 +0100 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. Wed, 26 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0100 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. Thu, 20 Nov 2014 00:00:00 +0100