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 case of Sulkhan Molashvili
HITS: 3263 | 21-12-2005, 23:40 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Georgia , Political leaders

BHHRG interviewed Sulkhan Molashvili in the Deputy-Governor’s office in the hospital wing of Prison No. 5 (formerly No1) c. 5.00 - 6.45 pm, 29th July, 2005.

The facts surrounding the trial of Sulkhan Molashvili are a perfect illustration of the ‘black hole’ that is Georgia’s legal and penitentiary system today. Only the tenacity and perseverance of Mr. Molashvili’s lawyers and the work of one local NGO, “Former Political Prisoners for Human Rights”, have brought the abuses into the open. When BHHRG’s representatives asked to see Mr. Molashvili while visiting Prison No. 1. in April 2005 they were told that “he didn’t want to see them”. The following chronology contains facts generally agreed by all parties, Mr. Molashvili’s lawyers’ account of events leading up to his trial and Mr. Molashvili’s own version of events described to BHHRG during an interview conducted on 29th July, 2005 in the prison hospital. The Group wishes to thank the trial judge who granted permission for the interview and the prison authorities who vacated their offices and who did not impose restraints or a time limit on the meeting.

Read more
 
The Baltic States, Russia and the West
HITS: 2013 | 11-11-2005, 21:46 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Latvia , Analyzing, Global Events

There seems little doubt that Latvia is pursuing a nationalities policy which, if adopted anywhere else, would be the object of universal condemnation. There is effectively no criticism at all of this full-frontal assault on the established rights of a sizeable and historic population. Instead, Latvia continues to receive support for its policies. Estonia is in a similar position. There, a similar version of the same law is being introduced, albeit with a longer transitional period. BHHRG interviewed a former director of the Russian Cultural Centre in Tallinn, Arkady Prisjazny. Married to an Estonian, Prisjazny said that there was simply no dialogue between the Estonians and the Russians in Estonia. He quoted examples of aggressive anti-Russian sentiment being expressed by government officials, such as when on 29th January 2002 the new head of the secret police said that the country’s primary goal was to get rid of the “Russian spectre”.

Read more
 
Latvian minorities: The educational reform
HITS: 2440 | 10-11-2005, 21:38 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Latvia , Political leaders

The determination to cling to the fiction of “occupation” has led to permanent friction with the Russian minority ever since 1991. This friction has got worse over time, even though Latvia has been incorporated into the main Western institutions. This is in spite of the size of the non-Latvian population in Latvia, a fact with which any wise government would surely try to find a civilised accommodation. According to the census carried out in 2000, there were 2,375,339 people in Latvia: 57.6% of them are ethnic Latvians; 29.6% ethnic Russians; 4.1% Belarussians; 2.7% Ukrainians; 2.5% Poles; 1.4% Lithuanians; 0.4% Jews. This means that at least 36.4% of the population is Russophone: someone who is, to all intents and purposes, Russian can be categorised as “Ukrainian” if his family came from there, or as a “Jew”, rather as a purely Anglophone Briton can be “Welsh”, “Scottish” or “Irish” The true percentage of Russophones may well be higher than this census: because hundreds of thousands of Russians in Latvia are stateless (see below) they cannot emigrate as easily as Latvians.

Read more
 
Happy Havel has his day
HITS: 2050 | 14-04-2005, 05:24 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Czech Republic , Elections, Political science

The Financial Times on 17th June described Václav Havel as the “happiest Czech” after the election results came in. One month later, on 17th July 2002, he appointed a new cabinet led by new prime minister, Vladimír Špidla. There are 17 members of the government: 11 ministers are from the CSSD, 3 from the KDU-CSL and 3 from the US-DEU. Stanislav Gross continues in his post as minister of the interior. Also continuing with their previous portfolios are Culture Minister, Pavel Dostál, Defence Minister, Jaroslav Tvrdík, Pavel Rychetský (justice) and Jiří Rusnok (industry). Petra Buzková becomes minister of education. The leader of the Christian Democrats, Cyril Svoboda is the new Foreign Minister with the ministries of transport and environment also going to the KDU, while the US’s Petr Mareš becomes minister for science as well as being one of 4 deputy prime ministers.

Read more
 
Triumph of the elites in the Czech Republic..?
HITS: 2129 | 14-04-2005, 04:46 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Czech Republic , Political science

Since the so-called ‘velvet revolution’ in 1989, politics in the Czech Republic has been governed – some would say overshadowed – by two competing and, ultimately, incompatible interests. On one side are formal political parties, while on the other stand proponents of a system of anti-politics which advocates something called ‘civil society’ where policy emanates, almost mysteriously, from citizens’ groups and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). While masquerading as a form of benevolent populism, critics view these ideas as akin to the classic Gramscian notion of ‘hegemony’ whereby society is governed by powerful elites - the opposite, in fact, of people power.

A network of such elites including journalists, academics and businessmen has grown ever more powerful in the Czech Republic over the past ten years, their centre of gravity being the internationally revered Czech president, Václav Havel. Havel has long been  the leading exponent of ‘civic society’, regularly criticizing politicians for their venality and corruption. The Czech president is the most visible example of the Communist-era dissident turned politician.

Read more
 
Parliamentary elections in Czech in 2002: Economic Climate
HITS: 1956 | 14-04-2005, 04:41 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Czech Republic , Political science

Over the previous 4 years foreign investment in the Czech economy grew as large firms including breweries and utilities such as gas distribution companies were sold abroad. Large hypermarkets were appearing, although they have not yet proliferated to the same level as in Poland. But, as foreign supermarket chains are offered tax breaks (similar to those in Poland) to enter the Czech market their presence can only increase. By the end of 2001 there was no major bank in the Czech Republic not controlled by a large Western banking group.

Read more
 
Czech Republic: parliamentary elections 2002
HITS: 2145 | 14-04-2005, 03:40 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Czech Republic , Elections, Political science

The June 2002 elections have returned a government coalition of left and right that has something for everyone, from President Havel to the EU. But, the better-than-expected Communist vote threatens to spoil the party.

Introduction

Parliamentary elections were held in the Czech Republic on 14th/15th June, 2002. Since the last poll in 1998 the country had been ruled by a minority Social Democrat (ČSSD) government tolerated by the second largest party, the centre-right Civic Democratic Party (ODS) in what became known as the ‘opposition agreement’.

This arrangement has been subject to furious criticism from certain quarters within the political elite of the Czech Republic and attempts have been made on several occasions to bring it to an end. However, defying nay-sayers, the government survived its 4 year mandate.

Read more
 
European Values versus Euro-Atlantic power structures
HITS: 2437 | 7-01-2005, 20:56 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Macedonia , PR and human rights

The intervention of the Euro-Atlantic power structures on the side of the SDSM and DUI was hardly surprising since NATO and the EU had acted as godfathers to the political alliance between the two parties eighteen months earlier. However, critics of the re-districting plan could call European values in support of their stance. After all, had not the constitutional expert, Robert Badinter, who had endorsed Macedonia’s constitutional order as worthy of EU recognition thereby ratified the legitimacy of the referendum provisions contained in it. Why had the power-brokers in Brussels reneged on the constitutional order which had been worthy of independence from Yugoslavia then. Another problem was that as far back as 1985, the EU’s then member states had adopted a Charter on Local Government which explicitly endorsed referendums as one way in which ordinary people could express their views on proposed changes to administration in their regions. For instance, the Charter states,
“Local self-government… shall be exercised by councils or assemblies composed of members freely elected by secret ballot on the basis of direct, equal, universal suffrage, and which may possess executive organs responsible to them. This provision shall in no way affect recourse to assemblies of citizens, referendums or any other form of direct citizen participation where it is permitted by statute.” [emphasis added][1]

Read more
 
Macedonia: Re-districting or partition?
HITS: 1992 | 7-01-2005, 20:48 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Macedonia , PR and human rights

Macedonia’s current local government legislation dates back to 1996 when the current president Branko Crvenkovski was prime minister of an SDSM-led government. Then the current main opposition party, VMRO-DPME, opposed the changes. Each big Macedonian party has reversed its position on local government and this, no doubt, contributes to cynicism among ordinary Macedonian citizens of all ethnicities.
The Ohrid Agreement and Euro-Atlantic integration are invariably cited as the main reason for changing the 1996 arrangements with subsidiary emphasis on the changes alleged benefits to local people and local government finances and services.
Although re-districting had been an issue hovering in the background of post-Ohrid Macedonian politics it only really took off as an issue from early 2004. By mid-summer widespread protests and referendums in 41 localities (not all ethnically mixed) had expressed opposition to proposed changes.

Read more
 
Macedonia Referendum: Block the Vote
HITS: 3240 | 7-01-2005, 03:14 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Macedonia , Politics

Referendum on the proposed re-districting of local government units 7th November 2004

Macedonia, the missing jigsaw piece of the European superstate. A poster on display in the weeks leading up to the referendum

On 7th November 2004, fewer than 30% of eligible voters turned out in Macedonia’s referendum on local government re-organisation which required a minimum 50% participation. Hardly a subject to disturb the headline-writers, one might have thought. Yet Washington and Brussels worked overtime to achieve that level of apathy. The low turnout was hailed as a triumph for Euro-Atlantic values. Perhaps an invalid Balkan referendum on an obscure local issue tells us more about the New World Order than anyone might have expected.

Read more
 
« Back 1 2 Forward »

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