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

Size of text
  • Decrease font size
  • Default font size
  • Increase font size
The Referendum in Montenegro and its Aftermath
HITS: 2579 | 12-01-2007, 16:56 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Montenegro , Elections, Analyzing

The BHHRG observers visited 7 polling stations in Virpazar, Bar, Sveti Stefan and Kotor. The atmosphere between the evenly-balanced memberships of the individual election commissions was relaxed. Everywhere three pro- and three anti-independence commissioners were present. Queues were witnessed early in the day but by late afternoon the flow of voters had become a trickle. Although the members of the electoral commissions expressed no doubts about the proper conduct of the poll in their own stations, unionist members made complaints about the one-sided nature of the referendum campaign and the local media coverage of it.
Shortly after voting ended at 21.00 exit polls were read out on TVCG giving victory to the ‘yes’ campaign. Leaving aside the fact that BHHRG had seen no evidence of any exit polls during 21st May, it seemed out-of-order for the Montenegrin public to receive the projected results from two NGOs – Cesid and CTD rather than from the Republican Referendum Commission. Appropriately, a list of their foreign ‘donors’ appeared on a screen behind the presenters. Immediately, the ‘Yes’ campaign started to celebrate its anticipated victory.

Read more
 
Independence in Montenegro: For and Against
HITS: 2208 | 12-01-2007, 16:43 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Montenegro , Politics, Political science

Montenegrin independence is supported by the leading political party, the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) and its allies the Social Democrats, although traditionally the issue was always associated with the small Liberal Party that has been in and out of coalition with the DPS over the past eight years. The minorities – Albanians in the south and Bosnians along the border with Bosnia Herzogovina – have also propped up Mr. Djukanovic’s governments. They, too, support independence. BHHRG visited the Albanian village of Tuzi which lies on the main highway to Albania, south of Podgorica. The road is known as a conduit for stolen cars and a steady stream of expensive Western models passed through that day. Some Montenegrins cynically point out that the Albanian and Bosnian communities which live mainly in the border areas would benefit from the smuggling opportunities resulting from internationally recognised borders with their own customs arrangements.

Read more
 
The Referendum Campaign in Montenegro
HITS: 3475 | 12-01-2007, 16:36 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Montenegro , Politics, Elections

BHHRG visited Montenegro in the pre-referendum period to observe the conduct of the campaign. Large billboards urging people to vote ‘Da’ (Yes) were plastered all over the scruffy capital, Podgorica. It took some time to find any ‘No’ posters although there were many more in coastal areas, for example, and the north of the country. The ‘Yes’ campaign concentrated on Montenegro’s historical past and harking back to the republic’s noble ancestry, the authorities have erected large statues of the country’s last monarch, King Nikola, astride his horse - one stands in Podgorica while another was delivered to the depressed industrial town of Nikšić shortly before the poll.
Apart from the daily Dan[1], all newspapers in Montenegro (e.g. Pobeda, Vijesti and Republika) were vocally pro-independence. Television coverage was even less diverse although the authorities claimed that independently owned Montana and Elbig TV were somehow immune from bias. The most egregious propaganda vehicle was Montenegrin state television, Television Crna Gora (TVCG). It took many forms, mostly directed to Montenegro’s brief period of independence: grainy black and white film of King Nikola, his courtiers and family was played and replayed; the new/old crimson Montengrin flag embossed with the Njegoš coat of arms fluttered above rallies of enthusiastic citizens and, members of the Academy of Sciences solemnly took possession of sets of leather bound tomes containing a recently completed history of Montenegro.

Read more
 
Montenegro: the past ten years
HITS: 2630 | 12-01-2007, 16:09 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Montenegro , PR and human rights, Politics

After the Dayton Peace Conference ended the Bosnian war in 1995, the Western powers turned their attention to the political situation in Belgrade in the hope of toppling the Milosevic regime. A coalition of Serbian opposition forces known as Zajedno (Together) led street demonstrations for several months following disputed local elections held in November, 1996. However, by summer 1997 the chances that this group of people would overthrow the government and Milosevic, now President of Yugoslavia, evaporated in internal squabbles.

 

A list of international donors
Western leaders had more success in changing the regime in the small neighbouring republic of Montenegro, by 1997 the only other entity in what remained of the Yugoslav Federation. The country’s prime minister since 1990, Milo Djukanovic, led a putsch in the governing Social Democratic Party (the successor party to the League of Yugoslav Communists and sister party of the Serbian Socialists) taking over the leadership and expelling the republic’s president, Momir Bulatovic, and his minority supporters from the party headquarters. Presidential elections were brought forward to October 1997 and Djukanovic won in the second round of voting narrowly beating Bulatovic who went on to form his own party, the Socialist People’s Party (SNP).

Read more
 
Independent Montenegro: Liberation or Balkanization
HITS: 2241 | 12-01-2007, 15:57 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Montenegro , Elections, Political science

Montenegro's example could have far reaching consequences if others seek to emulate its successful drive to independence.


A pro-independence poster displayed in an empty shop window in Cetinje: its message is that a 'Da' (Yes) vote is a vote for Europe

On 21st May, the people of Montenegro voted for independence by the narrow margin of 2009 votes (55.5%) in a referendum which puts the final nail in the coffin of what was Yugoslavia. Since 2003 Montenegro and Serbia have been joined in a loose federation established with the assistance of the EU and which demanded a three year moratorium before either side could choose to opt out. However, Montenegro a small country of c.620,000 has operated as a de facto independent state since the late 1990s when it broke most of its ties with and economic dependency on Serbia, even adopting the DM in 1999 and, later, the Euro in 2002. It also developed its own diplomatic relations and quasi-embassies in important foreign capitals like Brussels and Washington.

Read more
 
The Election Campaign in Belarus (Continuation)
HITS: 2256 | 10-02-2006, 18:08 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Belarus, Foreign media, Politics

The Group’s six different observers who visited Belarus during the campaign were struck by its quietness. Apart from the large posters and electronic screens urging people to vote (when they weren’t showing adverts for commercial products), there was no evidence of an election campaign.
Occasionally, a handbill or small opposition sticker was sighted but nothing of significance. At opposition rallies handbills, stickers and newspapers were handed out to participants and observers alike.
Alexander Lukashenko chose not to campaign. He did not use the television and radio time allocated to him nor the official newspaper campaigning slots. He offered them to his opponents.
The opposition candidates refused that offer but did get their time on television and radio plus the publication of their programmes in the state-run media. Dr. Kozulin chose to use one of television slots to make allegations about the President’s private life. (It is well known that he is separated from his wife.) He also ripped up a photograph of the President on camera. Whether Belarussian voters appreciated these personal jibes and gestures is open to doubt. Certainly when Mr. Lukashenko was asked at his post-election press conference if he intended to sue Kozulin for libel, he remarked, “Isn’t getting 2% of the vote punishment enough?” and added that he had no powers of prosecution, only the power of pardon.

Read more
 
The Election Campaign in Belarus (Continuation)
HITS: 2002 | 10-02-2006, 18:08 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Belarus, Foreign media, Politics

The Group’s six different observers who visited Belarus during the campaign were struck by its quietness. Apart from the large posters and electronic screens urging people to vote (when they weren’t showing adverts for commercial products), there was no evidence of an election campaign.
Occasionally, a handbill or small opposition sticker was sighted but nothing of significance. At opposition rallies handbills, stickers and newspapers were handed out to participants and observers alike.
Alexander Lukashenko chose not to campaign. He did not use the television and radio time allocated to him nor the official newspaper campaigning slots. He offered them to his opponents.
The opposition candidates refused that offer but did get their time on television and radio plus the publication of their programmes in the state-run media. Dr. Kozulin chose to use one of television slots to make allegations about the President’s private life. (It is well known that he is separated from his wife.) He also ripped up a photograph of the President on camera. Whether Belarussian voters appreciated these personal jibes and gestures is open to doubt. Certainly when Mr. Lukashenko was asked at his post-election press conference if he intended to sue Kozulin for libel, he remarked, “Isn’t getting 2% of the vote punishment enough?” and added that he had no powers of prosecution, only the power of pardon.

Read more
 
Belarus: Brokeback Revolution - the Candidates (Continuation)
HITS: 2193 | 10-02-2006, 17:56 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Belarus, Political leaders, Analyzing

Three candidates challenged the incumbent, Alexander Lukashenko, for the presidency. Sergei Gaidukevich (who had stood previously in 2001), former Minsk University rector Alexander Kozulin and Alexander Milinkevich. However, local oppositionists and the Western media gave the impression that Milinkevich was the only opposition candidate always dubbing him the ‘united’ opposition candidate. Therefore, is was perplexing to many people who told BHHRG that they had never heard of Mr. Milinkevich before he put forward his candidacy for the top job.

Milinkevich: The Jack-in-a-box Candidate?

Visiting the headquarters of the Belarussian Popular Front three weeks before the poll this Group’s observers found the activists busy preparing to distribute campaign literature and free newspapers (like Narodnaya Volya) on behalf of Alexander Milinkevich remarkably ill-informed about his past and personality. Repeatedly, they replied to questions about what they knew about Dr. Milinkevich with stock replies like “He is the candidate of the unified opposition” and could not explain what personal qualities or aspects of his career had led the “unified opposition” to choose him.

Read more
 
Belarus Today: Evolution versus Market-Fundamentalism (Continuation)
HITS: 2545 | 10-02-2006, 17:21 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Belarus, Politics, Analyzing

“The rule is, jam tomorrow and jam yesterday – but never jam to-day.”

Lewis Carroll[1]

Shock therapy has produced the greatest peacetime man-made social and economic disaster since Stalin’s collectivisation of agriculture in those ex-Communist countries which adopted the siren schemes proposed by Jeffrey Sachs et al. of the Harvard school. Yet, instead of rewarding Alexander Lukashenko’s instinctive revulsion for inflicting penury on his people to benefit a small class of nouveaux riches emerging from the Communist nomenklatura and their Western partners, the West has poured forth venom on the regime in Belarus which refused to rob its own pensioners and sell its daughters into prostitution or send its graduates to be plumbers in the West.

A lady stall holder shows here wares in the Zhdanovichi market outside Minsk 

Read more
 
Why did voters in Belarus reject the "Denim Revolution"?
HITS: 2080 | 10-02-2006, 17:11 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Belarus, Elections

In the presidential election held in Belarus on 19th March 2006 the incumbent Alexander Lukashenko won a convincing 82% victory. This result had been widely predicted as had the international community’s hostile response – in the weeks leading up to the election the main observer mission, the OSCE, prejudged both the conduct and result of the poll, deeming it to be neither free nor fair before a vote was cast.

Keeping in with the sponsor: Belarussian opposition activists rally before the poll

At first sight, the proportions of Mr Lukashenko’s victory seem barely less grotesque than the stratospherical electoral triumphs of the West’s favourites. Over the last 15 years, the Western-controlled OSCE observer missions have swallowed without demur a 97% victory for the “rose revolutionary” Mikheil Saakashvili in Georgia in 2004 or a modest 89% from Kyrgyzstan’s “tulip revolutionary” Kurmanbek Bakiev, or 92% for Georgia’s Eduard Shevardnadze back in 1992 when he was still Washington’s favourite reformer, or even Heydar Aliev’s 93% in Azerbaijan in 1993. Yet the same team which never raised an eyebrow about elections where one regime insider was endorsed as the successor of a predecessor whom the West had tired of could not conceive that 82% of Belarussians voted for Alexander Lukashenko.

Read more
 

Human Rights TV

Loading...

Google




Login




Other sites

News

Egypt condemned over human rights record in northern Sinai - The Guardian
The Guardian Egypt condemned over human rights record in northern Sinai The Guardian Egypt's military campaign against insurgents in northern Sinai is harming thousands of civilians and risks ...

Human Rights on Agenda During Xi's US Visit - Voice of America
Voice of America Human Rights on Agenda During Xi's US Visit Voice of America China's human rights record will be one of the key issues discussed during a meeting between the U.S. and Chinese ...

George Osborne downplays China's human rights abuses as a 'different political ... - The Independent
The Independent George Osborne downplays China's human rights abuses as a 'different political ... The Independent УThis is primarily an economic and financial dialogue, but of course we are ...



COUNTRIES


Albania

Armenia

Azerbaijan

Belarus

Bosnia Hercegovina

Bulgaria

Croatia

Czech Republic

France

Georgia

Great Britain

Hungary

Italy

Latvia

Macedonia

Moldova

Montenegro

Netherlands

Poland

Serbia

Slovakia

Ukraine

Uzbekistan

Yugoslavia

Cyprus

Estonia

Germany

Ireland

Romania

Russia

Sweden

United States

Lithuania

EU