OUR PURPOSE-SOLVING ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS. PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS IN RUSSIA. OUR MISSION- CINSTRUCTION OF THE DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY IN RUSSIA, THE ERADICATION OF CORRUPTION.
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HUMAN RIGHTS IN RUSSIA, R.I.P.« Назад
When the AI's Moscow staff arrived to their office in the morning on Nov 2, they have found the doors sealed, the locks changed, with no prior notice, one of the AI employees Ivan Kondratenko informed. He said the staff had failed to reach Moscow officials by phone that day. The officials preferred to give explanations to the media, sending out a press release which said that the AI occupied the city's "non-contracted" property and so no third party has a legal right to occupy it.
The officials also claimed the AI had "gravely violated the renting terms and conditions" and that the tenants had been informed about eviction three months before. Director of the AI Russia, Sergei Nikitin, insisted the bureau has not received any warning and it has paid the rent until October.
The November payment was also due soon. The further fate of the AI Russia remains uncertain so far but its employees have already said their eviction aimed at "suffocation of society and human rights activists independent from Russia's domestic financing". The Amnesty International is a non-government organization established in 1961 in the UK with the aim of prevention of people's rights for physical and psychological immunity, freedom of conscious, self-expression and non-discrimination. In the Soviet Union, the AI bureau had existed in 1974-1983 with many prominent opponents of the regime took part in its work. In February 2016, the AI published a report slamming human rights situation in Russia, citing restrictions of freedom of speech, meetings and unions. It also highlighted pressure on the NGOs and LGBT community.
The AI criticized Russian military operations in Syria for bombing civilians there. The AI said it had been conducting its own investigations, informing the citizens about human rights situation, making demands of the authorities, negotiating with the officials, conducting public and educational events, cooperating with the public organizations and supporting civil activists.
In February 2016, the Supreme Court of Tatarstan republic disbanded one of the most active human rights organizations in Russia - Agora. The organization specialized at defending the political-criminal defendants. The Justice Ministry found the Agora had violated the law about foreign agents as it refused to register as such and attempted to influence the state policy and public opinion.
The "influence", in the Ministry opinion, consisted of the Agora's head giving interviews to the local media. The Agora's lawyer Ramil Ahmetgaliev claims his clients have never organized public events, nor supported political parties or politicians, nor participated in elections in any form. Moreover, the Supreme Court of Arbitration ruled in 2011 that providing judicial assistance to the citizens has been a kind of socially valuable activity. The Agora had not received foreign financing for 1.5 years prior to its closure. Its head Pavel Chikov said the organization had not received any financing at all and so was economically dormant.
In 2009, the Tatarstan Justice Ministry had already inspected the Agora, and so did prosecutors, tax inspection, Interior Ministry and Russian financial watchdog Rosfinmonitoring. In 2013-2014 the Tatarstan Prosecutor's Office conducted five inspections.
The Agora's lawyers participated in court hearings over the "Bolotnaya case" (of anti-Puting violent rallies in 2012), represented the front persons of the Pussy Riot punk group (sentenced for staging a performance in the Orthodox Church's main cathedral), defended a Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov (convicted for act of terrorism) and an artist Petr Pavlensky (who had set on fire the FSB headquarter's entrance).
SHIELD & SWORD
This year in Chuvash republic another organization was closed. The Shield-and-Sword used to be the Agora founder. In 2012, it voluntarily registered as a foreign agent and disbanded themselves.
"The Russian legislation has clearly repressive nature regarding NCOs", the S&S head Alexei Glukhov said. "The risk to be accused of political activity and face severe administrative punishment was too high. As I couldn't committee judicial suicide, I asked the Justice Ministry to euthanize our organization".
The S&S has worked for 12 years, providing judicial assistance in the courts, including several ECHR hearings.
UN HUMAN RIGHTS OFFICE
UNHR was closed in March 2016.
"This was the unique situation among the UNSC member states that such an official was stationed in the country. His mandate included mostly technical assistance for the human rights educational institutions. Currently, these institutions have been established and function successfully. This is why the decision to close the mission was made," Russia's permanent representative in UN Geneva headquarters Alexei Borodavkin said.
COMMITTEE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS
The Committee is not been closed yet but its normal functioning has been disrupted. In October, the Committee's head Andrei Babushkin said the organization had been at the brink of bankruptcy after 20 years in business.
The Committee monitors human rights in Russia, stands for the rights of convicts, homeless people, teenagers and clients of healthcare system.
"The Committee lacks money but possesses arrears in salaries to its staff of over $25 000. Some workers haven't been paid since April. Also, we owe Moscow city rent payments of $5800. The city property department sues us demanding eviction from our premises", - he told a local newspaper.
In Sept 2015, the committee's vice president Andrei Mayzkov was arrested and charged with fraud: he had allegedly promised a Moscow resident to facilitate in closing a criminal case for a fee of $15 000. Mayakov was sentenced to six months in prison. During the investigation, the committe's papers were removed and the organization could not publish a report about grants for four months as a result. The report was ready in February but in March the sponsor demanded in court to return 30% of the grant.
In 2016, the similar problems occurred over the $50,000 grant from the Civil Dignity organization. The sponsor refused to provide the 30% of the money because of the errors in the report.