Posts Tagged ‘human rights’

17
November 2015

Boris Nemtsov Receives 2015 Sergei Magnitsky Award Poshumously


Zhanna Nemtsova receives her father’s award at the ceremony in London

Boris Nemtsov, the Russian politician, assassinated near the Kremlin in late February this year, was posthumously awarded the Sergei Magnitsky 2015 Human Rights Prize for Democracy. The prize was received by his daughter Zhanna.

Winner of 2015 Sergei Magnitsky Award for Campaigning for Democracy: (Posthumously) Boris Nemtsov.

Boris Nemtsov, the Russian opposition leader, winner of the Sergei Magnitsky’s Campaigning for Democracy Award, was a friend of the Justice for Sergei Magnitsky campaign. Boris was one of the strongest voices advocating for the U.S. Magnitsky Act and the implementation of Magnitsky sanctions in Europe, calling them “the most powerful instrument of pressure on killers and cleptocrats.” (see at 27 min of Youtube video of Nemtsov’s interview.

On 27 February 2015, just two days before he was planning to lead on 1 March 2015 the “March Spring,” a large anti-Putin demonstration in Moscow to protest against the Russian war against Ukraine, and three hours after his live appearance at an independent radio station calling for his supporters to join him, Boris Nemtsov was assassinated next to the Kremlin.

In his last live interview, Boris Nemtsov stated his belief that a large showing of people at the demonstration he was planning to lead, could bring a political change in Russia. He said: “If many people come to demonstrate, this will bring change. This march could be a turnaround point. It could make Kremlin sober. And gradually we will be able to achieve a change in the political course.” (see at 44 min. Youtube video).

The Sergei Magnitsky’s Award for Campaigning for Democracy was received by Nemtsov’s daughter, Zhanna, and presented by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, one of the longest serving political prisoners in modern Russia.

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15
November 2015

US Criticizes Russian Justice on Lawyer Death Anniversary

Global Post. Agence France-Presse on Nov 13, 2015 @ 9:24 PM

The United States lamented Russia’s failure Friday to punish those responsible for the death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, on the sixth anniversary of his murky demise in a Moscow jail.

Magnitsky died aged 37 after trying to expose the alleged embezzlement from investment fund Hermitage Capital of $230 million by figures linked to Russian political circles.

He was arrested in 2008 and died in prison in 2009 of an untreated illness that Russia’s own presidential human rights council said was “provoked by beating.”

The wider Hermitage case is now a notorious international scandal, but six years later no-one in Russia has been held to account for Magnitsky’s death.

“The anniversary of Sergei Magnitsky’s death is a reminder of the human cost of injustice,” US State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner said.

“Those responsible for his unjust imprisonment and wrongful death remain free, despite widely publicized and credible evidence of their guilt,” he said.

“We salute Sergei Magnitsky’s memory and those who work to uncover corruption and promote human rights in Russia, despite official intimidation and harassment.

“We will continue to fully support the efforts of those who seek to bring these individuals to justice, including through implementation of the Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act of 2012.”

The Magnitsky Act targets named Russian individuals accused of a role in the Hermitage scandal, prohibiting them from traveling to the United States or using US banks.

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12
November 2015

Launch of Sergei Magnitsky Human Rights Awards

 

On the eve of the 6th anniversary of the murder of Russian anti-corruption lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, the Justice for Sergei Magnitsky campaign is launching the ‘Sergei Magnitsky Human Rights Awards.’

The awards will celebrate international politicians, journalists and civil society activists who have worked in the spirit of Sergei Magnitsky — with faith, strength and integrity, to reinforce and advance his legacy, and bring about significant change in the international justice and human rights field.

The winners of the 2015 Sergei Magnitsky Human Rights Awards will be announced next week, on Monday, 16 November 2015, marking the 6th anniversary of Sergei Magnitsky’s death in Russian police custody at the age of 37.

The organising committee of the Global Sergei Magnitsky Human Rights Awards this year consists of activists from major international organizations, including Transparency International, The Henry Jackson Society, Fair Trials International, the Central and Eastern European Council of Canada, and the British Parliament’s All-Party Group on Anti-Corruption.

The Sergei Magnitsky Human Rights Awards will be given in 9 categories, including Outstanding Investigative Journalism; Top Campaigning US Politician, Top European Politician; Best Human Rights NGO; Outstanding Contribution to the Global Magnitsky Campaign; Outstanding Coverage of Magnitsky Case in Britain and in Europe; the Best Human Rights Lawyer; and the Top Campaigner for Democracy.

“Sergei Magnitsky’s impact on the world has only gained in significance in the years after his death. We hope that the Sergei Magnitsky Human Rights Awards will serve as a beacon of support for all those who fight injustice around the world,” said Sergei Magnitsky’s mother Nataliya.

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29
May 2013

Human Rights in Russia

The Greens / European Free Alliance

The Human Rights Committee of the European Parliament held a hearing on Russia today with members of the band “Pussy Riot”, William Browder and others. Chair of the Committee, Green MEP Barbara Lochbihler and the vice chair of the Parliamentary Committee on EU-Russia Cooperation, Green MEP Werner Schulz welcomed the speakers and were deeply concerned by their contributions. Commenting after the hearing, they said:

“The hearing revealed the alarming deterioration of the human rights situation in Russia after the retaking of office by Vladimir Putin. Two representatives of Pussy Riot pointed to the increasing number of political prisoners, while the well-respected Russian judge Karinna Moskalenko described the perversion of justice in an increasingly politicaly motivated judicial process. William Browder underlined this with the example death of his assistant and Russian advocate Sergej Magnitsky, the circumstances of which are still not clear.

The European Union may not continue with its strategy of diplomatic reservation and has to assume responsibility. Therefore we demand a clear change of paradigm in European politics. The EU must commit to clear messages and demands at government level and to an active support of Russian civil society.

The political developments and human rights in Russia are on the agenda for discusison at the next EU-Russia-Summit, which will take place at the beginning of June. The dialogue on human rights must not be pushed off to one side. The growing number of political prisoners and politically motivated trials and convictions must be condemned in the strongest terms.

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20
May 2013

The European Union – Russian Federation human rights

European Union

On 17 May 2013, the European Union and the Russian Federation held their seventeenth round of human rights consultations in Brussels, allowing the EU to raise its growing concerns on the developments affecting human rights in the Russian Federation.

Both sides discussed at length the worrying situation of civil society in the Russian Federation, in
particular the wave of restrictive legislation, the recent checks conducted on the basis of the
“foreign agents” law and the ongoing court cases. In that context, the EU confirmed its intention to
continue to follow closely developments affecting NGOs as a whole in the Russian Federation
and expressed among others its concerns at the fining of election monitoring organisation GOLOS
and at the charges brought against ADC Memorial in St Petersburg. Russia expressed openness in
providing detailed clarification as to the implementation of that law and to pursue this dialogue in
more depth on the basis of specific EU observations with the Ministry of Justice in Moscow.

The EU raised a number of specific human rights issues in the Russian Federation, enquired about
the impact of Russia’s efforts to fight against torture and to foster the independence of the
judiciary in light of the recent visit of the UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges
and lawyers. The EU asked Russia to ensure that defence lawyers are able to work freely, in
particular in the Northern Caucasus. The EU also called on Russia to refrain from adopting a federal
legislation on “homosexual propaganda”, which it believed could increase discrimination and
violence against LGBTI individuals. Russia shared its concerns on the situation of non-citizens in
the European Union and on the legislation regulating the use of minority languages in education
systems.

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27
June 2012

The FCO’s human rights work in 2011

The FCO’s human rights work in 2011

Written evidence from Hermitage Capital Management

May 2012

Specifically addressing the cross-Government strategy on business and human rights, expected to be published later in 2012, and how it should define the relationship between the FCO’s human rights work and the promotion of UK economic and commercial interests in UK foreign policy.

Short summary:

· British businesses should be able to invest in all countries knowing that they are fully supported by the UK government should they experience business and human rights problems.

· At present there is an apparent conflict between the British government’s promotion of business and its professed support for human rights. Based on our experience, the desire to promote British business takes precedence at the expense of any serious practical promotion of human rights. While this may appear to be the rational strategy at a time of economic recession, upholding human rights actually protects British businesses operating abroad as the Hermitage Capital case demonstrates.

There are a number of measures which the British government could take which would give it the leverage to protect international commerce and at the same time promote human rights:

· The British government should impose visa bans and asset freezes on all individuals involved in human rights abuses and high level corruption affecting British businesses.

· It should conspicuously publish a list ‘naming and shaming’ those individuals banned from entering the UK based on their involvement in such activities.

· UK businesses should be warned against investing in countries with dubious human rights records and with a history of economic aggression – such as Russia – in the same way that the FCO offers travel warnings to British tourists.

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29
May 2012

The legacy of Sergei Magnitsky

United Explanations

(This is a translation of a blog written in Spanish).

The story of Sergei

It is said that in Russia the authorities can complicate your life (and even put at risk) if you are a human rights defender, oligarch or Chechen. However, Sergei Magnistky was none of these three things and, despite this, the Russian authorities made his life an ordeal.

Sergei Magnitsky died in November 2009 in a Moscow prison for lack of medical care. His body showed further signs of having been tortured. A year earlier, had made a fatal mistake: report tax fraud scheme splashed several government officials.

However, you may Sergei’s suffering not be in vain. His death has created an ambitious bill that aims to prevent people involved in his death to travel to the United States, Canada or the European Union. Here is the story of Sergei and the bill that bears his name.

230 million stolen from the Russian tax authorities …

Sergei Magnitsky was a lawyer who worked for 37 years Hermitage Fund Management , a financial company specializing in emerging markets operating in Russia. The president of this company, the American William Browder, had supported Vladimir Putin after coming to power in 2000, but still had publicly denounced cases of corruption involving the government . In 2006, he was denied entry into the country after returning from a trip. He was accused of being a “threat to national security.” Some time later, police entered the company headquarters in Moscow, taking large amounts of documents.

Sergei began an inquiry into what had happened. After months of research, discovered that the company was no longer the name of William Browder but belonged to a convicted murderer . Soon after, Sergei uncovered a huge Russian tax fraud : the new owner of the company, in collusion with senior Russian Interior Ministry had used the name of Hermitage to the Russian state to request reimbursement of $ 230 million that the company had previously paid as taxes.

The arrest and imprisonment of Sergei

Shortly after reporting to the responsible and express their intention to bring to trial, Sergei was arrested and imprisoned on charges of tax evasion . According to Amnesty International, during the 11 months he was imprisoned without trial, Sergei was subjected to degrading treatment and several different human rights violations . In particular, repeatedly denied access to medical care sought for the treatment of pancreatitis and suffering it caused him intense pain. Finally, died after months of agony and with clear signs of having been tortured.

His death triggered a wave of national indignation. As a result, a week after his death, President Dmitri Medvedev promised that it would conduct an inquiry into what happened. However, so far corrupt government officials involved in the death of Sergei have not been brought to justice. By contrast, many of them have been promoted and hold important positions in the administration.

Justice for Sergei: The Movie

“Justice for Sergei” is a documentary that tells the story of Sergei Magnitsky. In this documentary, interview several Magnitsky involved in the case, including several prison officials confirming the responsibility of the Russian authorities in the death of Sergei. So far, he has been viewing in different countries and has toured several film festivals around the world, which has won several awards. The film was screened at the Film Festival and Human Rights in Barcelona and can be viewed online.

International campaign for a law “Magnistsky”

Unable to those responsible for the death of Sergei were tried in their country, are trying to attack them where it hurts: in their pockets. To do this, William Browder began a campaign in the U.S. to get Congress to pass a law that prevents those responsible for the death of Sergei have accounts or spend their money in the U.S., the so-called “Law Magnistsky”.

The Law Magnistsky

Currently, the U.S. Congress is discussing the so-called Justice for Sergei Magnitsky Act . This Act seeks to prohibit the issuance of visas and freezing assets of those involved in killing of Sergei and their families, until the Russian Federation has investigated to fund his death and is judged responsible.

Similarly, the European Parliament adopted a resolution in December 2011 to recommend to member countries to impose travel ban throughout the EU, and the freezing of assets of officials in the death of Sergei Magnitsky. Also, so far such laws have been discussed in Sweden, Holland, Canada and the United Kingdom.

So far, Russian officials have expressed strong opposition to these laws as collects the Russian news agency Ria Novosti. these bills accused of being “anti-Russian.” However, the explicit support they have shown opposition figures like Garry Kasparov, the news Web The Other Russia and Russian human rights activists show that more than against Russia, the proposal aims to certain very specific strata of Russian society . Thus, as stated in the video Sergei’s Law , the idea that people involved in serious cases of corruption or human rights violations can not maintain accounts or send their children to study in the West, causes severe psychological impact the Russian upper classes.

However, many countries are reluctant to implement such measures, since it could set dangerous precedent and would, at last, after all, deny access to people with money to spend on their economies. Therefore, the site change.org has set up a petition for citizens to lobby their countries and pass laws inspired Magnitsky Act. The proposal is in the air and the importance that the Russian government has demonstrated that its implementation would have a strong impact on the country. Also, give hope to the millions of Russians who watch every day the impunity with which the government acts.

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15
May 2012

Russia Tries to Turn Tables on Human Right

The Moscow Times

In an attempt to deflect criticism against crackdowns on political protests at home, senior Russian officials on Monday shot back at Western critics, lambasting racism and xenophobia in Europe.

Foreign Ministry and State Duma officials joined researchers and members of nongovernmental organizations in urging representatives of the European Union present at a round-table discussion not to use Russia’s human rights record as a political tool.

“The West doesn’t tolerate criticism of its own human rights violations,” said Vasily Nebenzya, head of the Foreign Ministry’s department for humanitarian cooperation and human rights.

“Human rights have become a weapon,” he said, adding that Russia would treat its critics “with mistrust when they try to teach us [to observe] human rights … as long as our concern [about human rights violations in Europe] is ignored.”

The speeches presented few figures and were very heavy with emotion and personal opinion.

Vladimir Chizhov, Russia’s permanent representative to the European Union, suggested that the EU was guilty of hypocrisy for having not yet joined the 1953 Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which Russia partially ratified in 1998.

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08
May 2012

Rep. James McGovern to Join the Bipartisan Policy Center For Policy Discussion on U.S. – Russia Trade Relations and Human Rights

Bipartisan Policy Centre

7 May 2012, 13:15 GMT, PR Newswire (U.S.) [337 Words]

WASHINGTON, May 7, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — With Russia’s entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO), the U.S. could be at a commercial and political disadvantage if it does not graduate Russia from the Jackson-Vanik amendment and grant it permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) status. At the same time, many policymakers and experts have serious concerns about shortcomings on human rights and the rule of law in Russia, and favor an approach to Russia that addresses those concerns.

Following its recent analysis on the subject, the Bipartisan Policy Center’s (BPC) Foreign Policy Project (FPP) will hold a policy discussion on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 to discuss the future of U.S.-Russian relations. The event will focus on building a more constructive bilateral relationship with Russia, including promoting Russian human rights, rule of law, democracy, transparency, civil society and commercial engagements.

WHO: Representative James McGovern (D-MA), Co-Chairman, Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission Bill Browder, CEO, Hermitage Capital Management Celeste Drake, Trade Policy Specialist, AFL-CIO David Kramer, President, Freedom House Dr. Michael Makovsky, Director, BPC Foreign Policy Project Christopher Wenk, Senior Director of International Policy, Chamber of Commerce Jackson Diehl, Moderator; Deputy Editorial Page Editor, The Washington Post WHAT: BPC Policy Discussion on the Future of U.S. – Russian Relations

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