News for November 2015

Join Cities for Life campaign (video)

30.11.2015 Join Cities for Life campaign (video)

The campaign “Human Rights Defenders Against the Death Penalty in Belarus” calls on everyone to join the action “Cities for Life – Cities against the Death Penalty”, which takes place on November 30 to celebrate the first abolition of the death penalty by a European state, decreed by Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor of Habsburg-Lorraine in 1786 for his Grand Duchy of Tuscany.

Human rights defenders and their rights: National legislation and international instruments

30.11.2015 Human rights defenders and their rights: National legislation and international instruments

Article 6 of the UN Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which was adopted by the General Assembly’s Resolution 53/144 of 9 December 1998, defines the rights of human rights defenders in the field of searching and disseminating information on human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Issue of death penalty in Belarus still a priority for EU countries

30.11.2015 Issue of death penalty in Belarus still a priority for EU countries

The resumption of a dialogue between the EU and Belarus will become a platform for further discussion of the issue of the death penalty, said David Spiers, Deputy Chief of the UK Mission to Belarus, in an interview to the Human Rights Center “Viasna”.

28.11.2015 Police See No Offense In Homel Customs Officer Using Foul Language

A Homel freelance journalist Kanstantsin Zhukouski received a response from the Department of Internal Affairs of the Homel regional executive committee to his complaint on the fact, that a customs officer on duty was using foul language.

27.11.2015 PACE: Belarus needs to increase citizens’ trust in elections

Head of the PACE election observation mission Reha Denemeç has published a report about the presidential election held in Belarus on October 11, 2015.

Lawtrend writes to UN Special Rapporteurs about pressure on journalists and human rights defenders

27.11.2015 Lawtrend writes to UN Special Rapporteurs about pressure on journalists and human rights defenders

At least 12 people were charged with illegal demonstrating as a result of a protest held on November 24 in central Minsk. The Legal Transformation Center Lawtrend has prepared a communication, which was joined by the Human Rights Center "Viasna" and the Belarusian Helsinki Committee, to complain about the incident.

Court of Appeals in Baku confirms 7.5-year prison term for critical journalist Khadija Ismayilova

27.11.2015 Court of Appeals in Baku confirms 7.5-year prison term for critical journalist Khadija Ismayilova

On November 25, the Baku Court of Appeals upheld the 7.5-year sentence for investigative journalist and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty contributor Khadija Ismayilova, RFE/RL Azerbaijani service said.

Russia: NGOs officially portrayed as “foreign agents”, “anti-constitutional” and “anti-Russian”, what next?

26.11.2015 Russia: NGOs officially portrayed as “foreign agents”, “anti-constitutional” and “anti-Russian”, what next?

The “war” against the human rights movement in Russia is reaching a new stage. While more than a hundred NGOs have been officially labelled as “foreign agents” since June 2013, they are now being targeted for so-called “anti-constitutional” and “anti-Russian” activities - accusations reminiscent of the Soviet era repressive rhetoric.

UN Human Rights Committee registers complaint by Hrodna human rights activist

26.11.2015 UN Human Rights Committee registers complaint by Hrodna human rights activist

Human rights defender Uladzimir Khilmanovich has received a written notification from the United Nations Human Rights Committee saying that his complaint has been registered and taken into consideration. The case concerns an incident of 2013, when the activist was fined for a photo with a portrait of Ales Bialiatski.

Amnesty International asks to commute death sentence handed down to Ivan Kulesh

26.11.2015 Amnesty International asks to commute death sentence handed down to Ivan Kulesh

Amnesty International has urged President Lukashenka to "halt any planned executions and immediately commute the death sentence handed down to Ivan Kulesh and all others sentenced to death in Belarus", according to a statement released on November 24.

Report on the results of monitoring of a mass event on November 24 in Minsk dedicated to the anniversary of the referendum of 1996

26.11.2015 Report on the results of monitoring of a mass event on November 24 in Minsk dedicated to the anniversary of the referendum of 1996

The mass event on November 24, 2015 was monitored fully and in person by six observers who had been trained and marked accordingly.

PACE rapporteurs express dismay at death sentence in Belarus

25.11.2015 PACE rapporteurs express dismay at death sentence in Belarus

Two rapporteurs of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) have expressed their dismay at a death sentence handed down in Belarus last week, and urged the authorities not to carry it out.

12 charged over protest staged to mark 1996 referendum anniversary

25.11.2015 12 charged over protest staged to mark 1996 referendum anniversary

Twelve persons, including three journalists and two observers, have been charged with illegal picketing as a result of a demonstration held yesterday in central Minsk to mark the 19th anniversary of the 1996 referendum, a poll criticized both in Belarus and abroad as it dramatically increased President Lukashenka’s power.

Closed medical institutions: Treatment or violence?

25.11.2015 Closed medical institutions: Treatment or violence?

Every year, Belarusian courts consider about 700 lawsuits asking for forced treatment of citizens, 90% of which are met. Meanwhile, the patients of closed institutions keep writing to human rights defenders with complaints of ill-treatment. Pavel Sapelka, who specializes in analyzing the country’s penal system, concludes that the current legal regulation in this area is insufficient. His findings are based on a detailed analysis of legislation and practice with respect to special hospitals.

Ales Bialiatski: American politicians and activist interested in Belarus

25.11.2015 Ales Bialiatski: American politicians and activist interested in Belarus

Head of the Human Rights Center "Viasna" Ales Bialiatski has returned from a working visit to Washington, where he met with members of Congress, senators, officials of the State Department and non-governmental organizations based in the U.S.

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