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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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.

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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.

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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 

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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.

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Foreign Policy: turning up the heat on several fronts
HITS: 5649 | 10-01-2006, 02:06 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Poland , Political science, Political leaders, Analyzing

Perhaps the PiS government’s most significant appointment so far is that of Radek Sikorski as Minister of Defence. Sikorski has been based in the UK and US almost continually since 1982 although he was, briefly, a deputy foreign minister and deputy defence minister between 1992-3 in the first post-Solidarity government. Although he bought a country house in Poland in the last years of Communism[1], Sikorski’s journalistic and think-tank career was primarily British and then Washington-based. However, he returned to contest a seat in the Senate in the 2005 elections which he won with over 76,0000 votes, a significant level of support even though he must be something of an unknown quantity at local level in Poland.
Mr. Sikorski is, however, no stranger to the power elite in Washington, where he was Executive - Director of the New Atlantic Initiative, an arm of the neo-con American Enterprise Institute, (AEI) from 2002 until the eve of the polls in 2005. During that time he has chaired numerous appearances by and conferences with some of the United States closest allies and supporters. Many ex- Communist turncoats who have found it highly profitable to switch their allegiance from Big Brother in the Kremlin to pay obeisance to an even more powerful and wealthy patron in Washington have been hosted at the AEI, where naïve (or cynical)?

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