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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Kaliningrad: Black hole or black propaganda?
HITS: 30302 | 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.
HITS: 1950 | 18-02-2003, 22:12 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Russia , PR and human rights
It is for these reasons that the EU proposed the new visa regime. Lithuania did not demand it, and Lithuania was not even a signatory to the agreement on Kaliningrad between the EU and Russia.  (The Lithuanians, bizarrely, still claim that this agreement is designed to protect their sovereignty!) Europe alleges that the new regime is necessary to conform with the EU’s laws; but Lithuanian will not join until May 2004, while the new visa regime applies already, and it will not join the Schengen agreement (which abolishes all border controls between member states) until 2006 or 2007. In any case, it would be possible for Lithuania not to join Schengen, as the United Kingdom, Ireland and Denmark are not members of it.
HITS: 2470 | 18-02-2003, 21:28 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Russia , Political science, Political leaders
The official view is that Russia has ‘fought all the way’ to preserve its sovereignty and protect the rights of Kaliningrad’s inhabitants. As negotiations between Russia and the EU over the transit issue dragged on during 2002 the rhetoric coming from Moscow was uncompromising. The EU’s visa plans for Kaliningrad were “worse than the Cold War” and would “divide the sovereignty of Russia”. Mr. Putin, whose in-laws come from Kaliningrad oblast, “flatly rejected the visa plan” and Russia “will do its utmost to guarantee totally the rights of its citizens living in Kaliningrad”.