Ales Bialiatski – 2014 Civil Rights Defender of the Year

 

Ales Bialiatski, founder of the Belarusian human rights organisation Viasna, is the recipient of the 2014 Civil Rights Defender of the Year Award. For over 30 years, he has pursued a life of continuous struggle to campaign for democracy and human rights, first in the Soviet Union and then in Belarus.

Ales is one of eleven political prisoners held in jail by the Belarusian authorities in a country often referred to as ”the last dictatorship in Europe”, sentenced to 4.5 years in prison for tax evasion in a trial with clear political overtones. He was arrested on 4 August 2011. Since then he has been imprisoned and prevented from communicating freely with the outside world. Being the head of the country’s leading human rights organisation Viasna Ales Bialiatski is a central figure in Belarusian civil society.

Valiantsin Stefanovitj is vice president of Viasna:
“It is important for Ales to receive this recognition. He is a strong and warm person who is extremely passionate about democracy and human rights. An external show of support like this award goes a long way to strengthening both him and all of us at Viasna and also provides the inspiration to continue to fight for a democratic Belarus. Only with pressure from the outside world can we bring about long lasting change. It was really exciting for me to write the letter to Ales and tell him about the prize. Unfortunately I do not know if the letter arrived as we have not yet received a response,” said Valiantsin.

Since the establishment of Viasna in 1996, Ales has been arrested over 20 times. Many of these arrests have been for minor infringements such as handing out copies of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

“The trial of Ales Bialiatski was initiated despite international protests and demands for his release. The process of prosecuting Ales was directly linked to his human rights work and the verdict serves as a warning to the entire Belarusian civil society”, says Robert Hårdh, Director of Civil Rights Defenders.

Ales has previously been honoured with several other awards, including the Swedish Per Anger Prize, The Sakharov Prize and Homo Homini Prize. He has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize twice, in 2006 and 2007.

The Civil Rights Defender of the Year Award is handed out on 4 April, which is the date of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. The award is given during Civil Rights Defenders’ annual conference Defenders’ Days, when human rights defenders from around the world gather in Stockholm. Ales’ colleague Tatsiana Revjaka and his wife Natalia Pinchuk are in Stockholm to receive the award on his behalf.

Benedicte Berner, acting chair of Civil Rights Defenders’ Board, talks about the recipient of the Award

Short film with Ales’ wife and colleagues

For more information on Ales Bialiatski and the situation in Belarus

To book interviews with Ales’ wife Natalia or his colleague Tatsiana, please contact:
Natasha Jevtic Esbjörnson, +46 76 576 27 62, natasha.esbjornson@civilrightsdefenders.org

About Viasna
Viasna helps thousands of people every year, mainly through the provision of free legal aid. In 2003 the authorities withdrew the organisation’s registration certificate – a clear violation of freedom of association under the UN Human Rights Committee. After several failed attempts to re-register, Viasna works without permission from the authorities – a violation that can result in up to two years in prison. The Belarusian security service, the KGB, constantly monitor their activities. Nevertheless they continue to work for human rights in Belarus.

About Belarus
Belarus became independent in 1991 with the dissolution Soviet Union. The country has been ruled by Alexander Lukashenka since 1994. Belarus is the only country in Europe still using capital punishment. The situation for human rights defenders in Belarus has reached a new low since the 2010 presidential election, when the regime launched a massive campaign against civil society in which the right to freedom of assembly and freedom of association is routinely violated. During the post-election demonstrations in 2010, the security forces arrested over 700 people. Organisations and political parties are denied permission to register their organisations with those who are unable to register being banned from working in Belarus. Operation of such an organisation without the necessary state permit can result in several years in prison.

Okrugli sto: Obrazovanje za Pomirenje: Uloga obrazovanja u procesu utvrđivanja odgovornosti i pomirenja

Poštovani,

Fond za humanitarno pravo, Pravni fakultet Univerziteta Union u Beogradu i Centar za unapređivanje pravnih studija Vas poziva da učestvujete na Okruglom stolu Obrazovanje za Pomirenje: Uloga obrazovanja u procesu utvrđivanja odgovornosti i pomirenja, koji će se održati na Pravnom fakultetu Univerziteta Union, 28. marta 2014. 

Fond za humanitarno pravo, Pravni fakultet Univerziteta Union i Centar za unapređivanje pravnih studija ovim okruglim stolom žele da otvore nekoliko važnih pitanja – od pitanja koja je uloga obrazovanja u procesu pomirenja nakon perioda nasilnih suboka, postojanja potrebe akademskih institucija za uvođenjem tema suočavanja sa prošlošću i bliske prošlosti u okvirekurikuluma, odnosa formalnih i neformalnih programa ovog tipa, do pitanja edukativnih materijala koji će biti prezentovani na ovakvim programima.

 

Fond za humanitarno pravo

Pravni fakultet Univerziteta Union

Centar za unapređivanje pravnih studija

 

Poziv za Okrugli sto

Papir za diskusiju – Obrazovanje za Pomirenje – prezentacija publikacije i ekspertski sastanak

Agenda za okrugli sto Obrazovanje za Pomirenje Uloga obrazovanja u procesu utvrđivanja odgovornosti i pomirenja

ZAHTEV VLADI REPUBLIKE SRBIJE DA ORGANIZACIJAMA CIVILNOG DRUŠTVA OMOGUĆI PRISTUP DOKUMENTIMA O SADRŽINI ZAKONA

Koalicija za pristup pravdi zahteva od vlade Republike Srbije da bez odlaganja omogući organizacijama civilnog društva pristup dokumentima koji se odnose na sadržinu zakona čije se usvajanje priprema. U skladu sa strateškim opredeljenjima Republike Srbije, organizacije civilnog društva trebalo bi da imaju ključnu ulogu u zakonodavnim reformama i drugim aspektima procesa pridruživanja zemlje Evropskoj Uniji.

Koalicija za pristup pravdi najoštije protestuje protiv odluke Kancelarije za evropske integracije da ne dozvoli organizacijama civilnog društva pristup dokumentu koji sadrži komentare Evropske komisije na Nacrt zakona o javnom informisanju i medijima. Ova odluka koja nema nikakvo utemeljenje u Zakonu o slobodnom pristupu informacijama od javnog značaja, neposredno podstiče nadležna ministarstva da propisuju nova zakonska pravila skriveni od očiju javnosti.

Skrećemo pažnju na činjenicu da su kometari Evropske komisije dostavljeni Kancelariji za evropske integracije pre više od 45 dana,  a da je nadležno Ministarstvo kulture i javnog informisanja više puta pisanim putem potvrdilo da ono nije dobilo te komentare od Kancelarije. U vezi sa tim, Koalicija traži odgovor vlade Republike Srbije na pitanje ko i na osnovu kojih ovlašćenja može unutar Kancelarije da odluči o tome da li će se javnost i nadležno ministarstvo upoznati sa sadržinom dokumenata koji stižu iz Brisela, a koji se vezujuza izradu novih zakonskih propisa.

Medijski zakoni sadrže regulativu od posebnog značaja za demokratski poredak zemlje i ne bi smeli da budu predmet obrade skrivenih političkih agendi ministarstva i drugih zainteresovanih strana. Takođe, rad na izmeni celokupnog  zakonodavstva zemlje u procesu pridruživanja Evropskoj uniji ne bi smeo da bude opterećen demokratskim deficitima, jer je upravo razvoj demokratije, odnosno političke participacije, kao i sistema poštovanja i zaštite prava i sloboda onih na koje se zakoni odnose, osnovni ciljevropskih integracija društva. Zbog toga Koalicija za pristup pravdi zahteva od vlade Republike Srbije da bez odlaganja preduzme sve neophodne mere i neposredno obezbedi participativnu ulogu građana u procesu zakonodavne reforme u skladu sa najvišim demokratskim standardima modernog društva.

U Beogradu, 06. novembra 2013.

Koaliciju za pristup pravdi čine sledeće organizacije:

Centar za unapređivanje pravnih studija, Civil Rights Defenders, CHRIS – mreža odbora za ljudska prava u Srbiji, Fond za humanitarno pravo, Inicijativa mladih za ljudska prava, Nezavisno društvo novinara Vojvodine, Sandžački odbor za zaštitu ljudskih prava i sloboda, Praxis i Nezavisno udruženje novinara Srbije.

SAOPŠTENJE KOALICIJE ZA PRISTUP PRAVDI

STATEMENT OF THE COALITION FOR ACCESS TO JUSTICE

NUNS i CUPS pozdravljaju odluku Ministarstva kulture da povuče Nacrt zakona o javnim servisima

Nezavisno udruženje novinara Srbije (NUNS) i Centar za unapređivanje pravnih studija (CUPS), izražavaju zadovoljstvo zbog odluke Ministarstva kulture i javnog informisanja da formira novu radnu grupu za izradu Nacrta zakona o javnim medijskim servisima i na taj način prihvati zahtev da se rad na ovom zakonskom tekstu vrati u institucionalne okvire.

NUNS i CUPS su pre sedam dana zatražili da se Nacrt zakona o javnim medijskim servisima i Nacrt zakona o elektronskim medijima povuku iz javne rasprave. Nacrt zakona o javnim medijskim servisima stavljen je na javnu raspravu iako je protivan Ustavu Srbije i svim najvišim standardima koji se odnose na status i delatnost javnog servisa. Uz to, ovaj zakonski tekst sačinjen je izvan nadležnog ministarstva, a  javnost je i dalje uskraćena za informaciju o tome ko su bili njegovi autori.

Zahtev da se i Nacrt zakona o elektronskim medijima povuče iz javne rasprave obrazložen je činjenicom da radna grupa eksperata, koja je u međuvremenu raspuštena odlukom ministra kulture, nije završila rad na ovom tekstu.

NUNS i CUPS podsećaju javnost da pred državom Srbijom i dalje stoji obaveza da celokupnu oblast javnog informisanja, uključujući i oblast elektronskih medija i javnih medijskih servisa, uredi u skladu sa najvišim evropskim standardima, i to na transparentan način, u okviru javne demokratske razmene mišljenja svih onih koji su neposredno zainteresovani za sadržinu ovih pravila.

Nezavisno udruženje novinara Srbije

Centar za unapređivanje pravnih studija

U Beogradu 15. avgusta 2013.

Journalist murdered in Dagestan

Early in the morning of July 9 the journalist Akhmednabi Akhmednabiev was murdered close to Makhachkala in Dagestan, Russia. Akhmednabi Akhmednabiev was a local correspondent of the news portal Caucasian Knot and the weekly Novoe delo. Civil Rights Defenders expresses our deepest concern over the murder of Akhmednabi Akhmednabiev and call on the Russian authorities to immediately initiate prompt and correct investigations into the case.

“We are deeply worried about the lack of safety of journalists and other human rights defenders in Dagestan and other parts of the North Caucasus”, says Robert Hårdh, Executive Director. “They work amid a culture of fear, which is fuelled by violence and killings. It is high time for Russian authorities to take serious measures to protect human rights defenders in the region.”

Akhmednabi Akhmednabiev was one of few journalists in Dagestan that dared writing about human rights violations and other crimes committed by authorities. In May 2012 he reported that he received threats directed against him. Later on, in January 2013, he was subject to a murder attempt, when unknown assailants tried to shoot him. At that time Akhmednabi Akhmednabiev survived without any injuries.

Today’s murder of Akhmednabi Akhmednabiev is the second killing of a journalist in Dagestan in a short period of time and represents yet another serious blow to independent journalism and freedom of speech in the republic of Dagestan. The publisher of the weekly newspaper Chernovik, Gadzhymurad Kamalov, was shot dead near the newspapers’s office on December 15, 2011. There is a clear pattern of increased violence and threats towards human rights defenders and journalists in Dagestan.

“We urge the local and federal Russian authorities to immediately ensure prompt and correct investigations of the murder of Akhmednabi Akhmednabiev”, says Robert Hårdh, Executive Director. “In accordance with the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, Russia must take all necessary measures to ensure the protection of human rights defenders and contribute to an environment in which human rights defenders can work safely.”