Russian human rights defenders evicted from office in Voronezh
Russian human rights defenders urge their colleagues worldwide to show solidarity by sending letters to officials and signing a petition in support of the organizations and their offices.
For 20 years, the Voronezh-based Human Rights House has been home to the oldest civil and human rights organizations in the region. It is this House that is well known both in Russia and abroad as one of the country’s largest centers of civic activity, education and youth initiatives.
However, one of the key founders of the House, the Confederation of Free Labor (CFL), faces termination of rent contract and will have to vacate the premises within 3 days. Another co-founder of the Human Rights House, the Youth Human Rights Movement Foundation, is expected to face similar problems on August 20, 2013.
It will mean the closure of the legal advice office with a long history and reputation. The eviction from the office will also put at risk the functioning of a number of youth organizations that used the CFL for obtaining their legal addresses. Most of them have long been working on a voluntary basis and do not have stable sources of income.
Human rights defenders issued a statement: “We realize that the future of the Human Rights House depends on the support of those who need us, on those who over the years have helped the Human Rights House, on the people who know us, and also on those who understand that in every city there should be civil society organizations, trade unions, human rights and youth initiatives. We consider it important that the Voronezh-based Human Rights House remained in the historic building in Tsuryupa Street and its activities continued. We ask the city government to support the Human Rights House and provide free rent of the premises now occupied by the two organizations (YHRM and CFL), or arrange their rent on most favorable terms.”
Human rights defenders also urge all active and concerned people to send letters to local authorities in Voronezh in support of the Human Rights House, as well as to sign a petition in support of the Human Rights House in Voronezh.