BHHRG

About BHHRG

The British Helsinki Human Rights Group monitors human rights and democracy in the 57 OSCE member states from the United States to Central Asia.
* Monitoring the conduct of elections in OSCE member states.
* Examining issues relating to press freedom and freedom of speech
* Reporting on conditions in prisons and psychiatric institutions

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Troubles in Transnistria: Why not a referendum to decide the issue?
HITS: 13276 | 19-02-2008, 15:39 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Moldova , PR and human rights, World health

The West and its surrogate agencies have shown themselves resolutely uninterested in the conduct of elections in Transnistria. After a month of impasse on the PMR-Ukrainian border, the OSCE in Vienna announced that it would not recognise the results of any referendum held in Transnistria to allow the local population to express its opinion on its fate.[1]
Igor Smirnov has been president of the breakaway region since 1990. During an interview with BHHRG he pointed out wearily how often the West – the “international community” as it calls itself - has ignored elections in Transnistria or prejudged them. Last December’s parliamentary elections had been won by the opposition but the West still denies legitimacy to such polls even though it accepts, for instance, that Montenegro’s Milo Djukanović has held power as premier or president or now again premier for almost 17 years. Despite the fact that the West has been happy to accept the disintegration of both the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, it remains strangely fixated on preserving the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the post-Soviet states whose claim to political legitimacy is often shaky to put it mildly.[2]

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Roma Life in Eastern Slovakia
HITS: 1971 | 12-05-2004, 18:45 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Slovakia , World health

It is difficult to say how many Roma live in Slovakia – the number has been put at c.400,000.[1] Slovak government representatives claim that only 30% live in miserable conditions while the remaining 70% - the majority - is fully integrated into normal Slovak life. However, in conversations with BHHRG, some Roma estimated that barely 10% of their population was, in fact, living what might be called a ‘normal’ life. Many Roma families have upward of four children and BHHRG met people with as many as eight young mouths to feed. Nowadays, all these children are likely to live into adulthood – unlike in the past - as the Slovak authorities operate a full vaccination programme within the Roma communities.[2] However, BHHRG noted several examples of children and young people with severe birth defects while the toil associated with endless childbirth and rampant poverty means that Roma women do not live to a great age. BHHRG saw no elderly women – though many who were prematurely aged - during their visits to the Roma settlements in Eastern Slovakia.

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Prostitution, Child Abuse and Trafficking in Estonia
HITS: 1900 | 3-04-2003, 16:23 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Estonia , World health

In April 2003 a 56-year-old Swedish woman went on trial for procuring and trafficking more than two dozen Estonian women as part of a prostitution ring operating from Stockholm. The proximity of the Scandinavian countries has exacerbated the sex trade in all the Baltic States – the short ferry journey from Finland is the means whereby much of the business is conducted. There are also growing numbers of young men from Western Europe going to cities like Tallinn for stag parties which amounts to a weekend of cheap booze and commercial sex.
There are also fears that the procurement of children for sex is widespread in the Baltics. In many poverty-stricken post-Communist countries (Ukraine is another example), people of working age have gone abroad to seek jobs, leaving their children behind to roam the streets. The same problem seems to have arisen in the Baltics. There are numerous ‘modeling agencies’ in the Baltic States with connections in Scandinavia.

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Kaliningrad: Black hole or black propaganda?
HITS: 30301 | 18-02-2003, 23:27 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Russia , PR and human rights, World health

The Baltic port city of Kaliningrad is the former capital of East Prussia, Königsberg; the surrounding territory is the northern half of that historic German province. In 1945, Königsberg was captured by the Soviet army and subsequently incorporated into the Soviet Union as part of the Russian Federation of the USSR and Kaliningrad became the headquarters of the USSR’s Baltic fleet. However, the United States and some legal scholars in the West have, thus far, refused to accept its de jure incorporation into either the USSR or Russia, leaving open a possible change in its future status.

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Roma refugees from Kosovo
HITS: 2188 | 17-01-2003, 02:00 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Albania, World health, War and peace

Bari: centro a prima acollienzo Bari Palese

One group of asylum-seekers in the reception centers visited by the BHHRG in southern Italy seemed to take the issue of refugee status very seriously and all had stories of persecution: the Roma or gypsies from Kosovo. Unlike other asylum-seekers who tend to enter Italy from Albania, in August hundreds of Roma refugees fled Kosovo through Montenegrin ports to Bari. The largest group arrived on 19th August. Roma refugees from Kosovo in southern Serbia had told representatives of the BHHRG in July that they wanted to go to Italy.

By 1st September, the influx stalled perhaps the drowning of up to 100 gypsies during the crossing from Montenegro in small fishing boats had acted as a disincentive to leave, for the moment at least. The cost to each person for the journey - 1000 to 2500 marks - amust also deter such large families.

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Euthanasia in the Netherlands: Deficiencies in palliative care
HITS: 9857 | 20-02-2002, 04:03 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Netherlands , PR and human rights, World health

It is often claimed, especially by opponents of euthanasia, that one of the reasons why euthanasia is practiced so widely in the Netherlands is that palliative medicine is underdeveloped there. Palliative medicine is medical treatment whose purpose is to cure symptoms where there is no hope of curing the underlying illness. This was developed, especially in England, after the Second World War.
A leading opponent of euthanasia in the Netherlands is Dr. Karel Gunning. He presides a Dutch and an international organization of anti-euthanasia doctors. He is highly critical of the present arrangements, and says, "The whole law is complete nonsense because doctors know in advance that they cannot be punished. If they fill in the forms wrongly (explaining why they put an end to their patients’ life) they will simply be asked to fill them in again."

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Euthanasia in the Netherlands: The proposed reform in the Netherlands
HITS: 1943 | 20-02-2002, 03:58 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Netherlands , PR and human rights, World health

The proposed new law has been introduced into the lower house of the Dutch parliament by the Minister of Justice, Bank Korthals, and the Minister of Health, Dr. Els Borst. A provision is to be included in the Netherlands Criminal Code which would provide for the termination of life on request and assistance with suicide would not be punishable if certain criteria were fulfilled. The bill is a consequence of the coalition accord which led to the present coalition government, involving the Labour party and two Liberal parties.
The two conditions under which a physician will not be subject to prosecution are:
The physician must have fulfilled the requirements on due care, as laid down in a separate act, namely the Termination of Life and Request and Assistance with Suicide (Review) Act.

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Euthanasia in the Netherlands: Comparison with Britain
HITS: 1888 | 20-02-2002, 03:54 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Netherlands , Analyzing, World health

In dealing with this exceedingly difficult area of medical ethics, it is illustrative to compare the difference in philosophical approach between Dutch doctors and their colleagues in other countries.
As a matter of moral principle, the British Medical Association makes a distinction between, on the one hand, breaking off or withholding treatment which is artificially prolonging the dying process or which is counter-productive, and, on the other, measures taken with the intention of ending a person’s life. In other words, it draws a distinction between allowing death to occur and causing it. Its guidelines say that doctors should never withhold treatment with the intention of hastening death.

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Human Rights and the practice of euthanasia in the Netherlands
HITS: 1989 | 20-02-2002, 03:30 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Netherlands , PR and human rights, World health

The extent to which the practices of euthanasia, assisted suicide and other forms of doctor-assisted death have flourished in the Netherlands are relatively well understood, thanks to two surveys conducted confidentially in 1990 and 1995 by the Dutch government. They came to the following findings:

 

    1990
% of all deaths/number of cases
1995
% of deaths/number of cases
Euthanasia 2.4% / 3,256 cases

1.8% / 2,319 cases

Assisted suicide 0.3% / 386 cases 0.3% / 407 cases
Cases in which a patient's life was deliberately ended by a doctor without the patient's request 0.8% / 1,031 cases 0.7% / 950 cases
Intensified pain treatment, partly intended to hasten death 3.89% / 4,895 cases 2.9% / 3,935 cases
Withdrawal of treatment or decision not to administer treatment, with the explicit intention of hastening death 8.7% / 11,208 cases 13.3% / 18,045 cases

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Euthanasia in the Netherlands: The present legal position
HITS: 2116 | 20-02-2002, 03:20 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Netherlands , Politics, World health

The present legal position, like the present Dutch practices, is ambiguous. From the purely legal point of view, both euthanasia and assisted suicide are illegal. However, even the law recognizes euthanasia and assisted suicide as lesser crimes than murder, which is not the case in most other countries or in international human rights law. The sentences which apply to euthanasia and assisted suicide in the Netherlands are markedly lower than those which apply to murder, for the simple reason that Dutch law does not consider these acts to be murder. Adherents of the argument that even partially permitting euthanasia leads down a "slippery slope" to uncontrollable abuses might well locate here, in the Dutch criminal code itself, the beginning of that slippery slope.

Article 293 of the Dutch penal code states, "He who, on the explicit and serious desire of another person, deprives him of his life, will be punished with an imprisonment of up to 12 years or a fine in the 5th category (100,000 guilders)." Article 294 states, "He who deliberately incites another person to commit suicide, renders assistance in doing so or provides him with the means to do so, will, in case suicide follows, be punished with an imprisonment of up to 3 years or a fine in the 4th category (10,000 guilders)."

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