Electoral fraud, obstruction of independent observers & massive arbitrary arrests. Welcome to elections in Kazakhstan Kazakhstan fails to meet OSCE standards for democratic elections – in its statement of preliminary findings and conclusions the observation mission points out to: lack of competition, limiting voters’ fundamental rights & freedoms, and the politicized Central Electoral Commission (CEC). […]
- Reforms in Ukraine
- Persecution of lawyers
- "Meal For a Doctor" campaign
- Vlad Plahotniuc
- Freedom of speech
- Nursultan Nazarbayev
- Human rights
- Igor Vinyavskiy
- Humanitarian aid
- Oppression of the opposition
- Vladimir Kozlov
- Bolat Atabayev
- Vadim Kuramshin
- Alexandr Pavlov
- Mukhtar Ablyazov
- Muratbek Ketebayev
- Election observation
- Alma Shalabayeva
- Tatyana Paraskevich
- Zaure Akpenbetova
- Election monitoring
- Ukrainian World
- Oleg Sentsov
- Nadiya Savchenko
- Zinaida Mukhortova
- Rafis Kashapov
- Nadia Savchenko
- Bota Jardemalie
- Rule of law in Poland
- Magnitsky Act
- Polish judiciary
Kazakh regime flexes its muscles in the run-up to the January elections Tightening the authoritarian grip (source: Int. media coverage) Despite the encouraging news of Kazakhstan abolishing the death penalty on Jan 2nd, the wider picture is not all so rosy. With the elections approaching, the authorities put further pressure on the civil society – […]
Please, listen to the citizens of Kazakhstan January 10, 2021, is upon us, and with it comes a critical time for Kazakhstani civil society. With the parliamentary election looming large, the authorities are trying to ruthlessly silence any voice of dissent. Meanwhile, Kazakhstan plays a deceptive game with the international community by inviting – to […]
On 15 December 2020, The Open Dialogue Foundation signed a joint statement together with 10 other NGOs demanding relevant bodies of the EU to examine the current situation in Turkey in the context of the Global Human Rights Sanction regime and to impose sanctions on those who violate human rights in the country. The Arrested Lawyers Initiative, a volunteer organisation defending prosecuted lawyers and human rights defenders, initiated the joint statement.
On 25 November 2020, Italian Senator and Member of the Special Commission on Human Rights, Emma Bonino, submitted a written question (WQ) to Italy’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Luigi di Maio. The WQ is particularly focused on the case of the political killing of Zhanbolat Agadil and the request for individual sanctions on violators of human rights in Kazakhstan.
On 25 November 2020, 6 members of the Italian Parliament addressed President Tokayev with a letter, expressing their deep concern about the worrying state of fundamental freedoms in Kazakhstan; the mass repression puts Kazakhstan’s international credibility and its intention of becoming a ‘listening state’ (i.e. open to dialogue with civil society) at stake right before its parliamentary election.
Over the last 2.5 years, the authorities of Kazakhstan have arbitrarily detained over 7,000 peaceful protesters, which is an unprecedented amount in the history of the country. The police used excessive force, including pain grips and asphyxiating techniques. During interrogations, detainees are asked about their support for the opposition movements “Koshe Partiyasy” and DCK, and asked to publicly refuse to support Mukhtar Ablyazov, leader of DCK, the main opponent of the Kazakhstani regime.
The Open Dialogue Foundation (ODF) and Federazione Italiana Diritti Umani (FIDU) are back on track after the lockdown with a real-life press conference “The Authoritarian Epidemic: Safeguarding Human Rights in Times of COVID-19”. The conference was held on 29 July 2020, at Sala Caduti di Nassirya of the Italian Senate, in Rome, Italy.
Today, Rafał Matouszek, Logistics Coordinator at the Open Dialogue Foundation, visited Silesia – his home region. During the special mission, Rafał met with the management of City Hospital No. 4 in Gliwice in order to sign a donation agreement for the amount of over 58,000 zlotys that remained after settlements with restaurants as part of the #PosiłekDlaLekarza (eng. MealForADoctor) campaign. The campaign was carried out together with the FOR (Civil Development Forum) Foundation and the Niskie Składki (Low Contributions) and Spontaniczny Sztab Obywatelski (Spontaneous Civic Staff) associations.
Upon the initiative of the Italian Senator Roberto Rampi
the Italian Federation for Human Rights (FIDU) and the Open Dialogue Foundation (ODF)
invite you to the press conference “The Authoritarian Epidemic: Safeguarding Human Rights in Times of COVID-19”.
The case of Daria El Zhed, a Russian opposition activist, has become one more example of political persecution against members and leaders of the Open Russia opposition movement. This movement was founded by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a long-time opponent of the Russian authoritarian regime. Daria El Zhed asked for political asylum in Austria. Now she may have to face extradition from Austria to Russia, where she will be tortured and subject to unfair investigation and trial.
This report includes, among else, direct observations made during a human rights monitoring mission to Ukraine in the period between 16–19 March 2019. The mission was held at the invitation of representatives of Ukrainian civil society. The mission visited Odessa and Kyiv, where a number of meetings were held with civil society activists, human rights activists, experts, relatives of Ukrainian political prisoners in Russia, political refugees, Ukrainian officials, and diplomats accredited in the country. In addition to the meetings, the mission participants monitored a peaceful protest in Odessa on 16 March, 2019 and attended a round table in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on 18 March 2019.
We have always strived to fight against mis- and disinformation and thus counter threats to the proper functioning of democracies, including the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary. For this reason we have supported the making of “The Wrong Place”, a documentary on the so-called Markiv Case, in which two journalists were killed in Donbas in 2014.
The coronavirus infection COVID-19 has become a challenge not only for healthcare systems, economics, social policy and public administration in most countries of the world, but also to human rights. Human rights have been especially threatened in authoritarian states, including Kazakhstan.
ODF joined the appeal of other 23 leading international NGOs to U.S. Secretary of State, Michael R. Pompeo, and Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Terner Mnuchin, addressing human rights and corruption concerns in times of COVID-19 in authoritarian governments.
he Open Dialogue Foundation, headed by Lyudmyla Kozlovska, received PLN 71,000 from the U.S. Department of State for the promotion of the rule of law in Poland. – at the same time, the Onet.pl news site pointed out that the President herself, who is a Ukrainian citizen, cannot come to Poland as her name is on the national list of undesirable persons.
On the 8th of July 2020, Forsal reported that the Open Dialogue Foundation received a grant from the U.S. Department of State for the promotion of rule of law in Poland.
The Open Dialogue Foundation will educate secondary school students in Poland in the rule of law, including the separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary. It’s a new idea that was funded by the U.S. State Department through the U.S. Embassy.
On 8 July 2020, Dziennik.pl published information that the Open Dialogue Foundation received funds from the U.S. Department of State to promote the idea of the rule of law in Poland
Our new project, “Democracy fitness: transforming citizens into active stakeholders via exercising democracy”, financed by the State Department through the US Embassy in Warsaw, is aimed at secondary school students in Poland. The aim of the project is to strengthen the understanding of democratic values and processes as well as foster civic participation. Emphasis will be placed on educational activities in the area of the rule of law, including the separation of powers and independence of the judiciary. It is planned to start in September 2020.
This morning, 4 July 2020, Iskander Yerimbetov, Kazakhstani political prisoner released on 30 December of last year, arrived at the Geneva Airport, Switzerland, after he was granted a humanitarian visa. ODF, the Italian Federation for Human Rights (FIDU) and his family warmly welcomed him at the airport, congratulating Iskander for this long-awaited day. This is […]
The coronavirus outbreak was labelled a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 11 March 2020. As of 22 June 2020, the WHO had reported cases of COVID-19 in more than 216 countries and more than 8,844,171 people infected worldwide.
The coronavirus outbreak has been labelled a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 11 March 2020. As of 22 June 2020, the WHO had reported cases of COVID-19 in more than 216 countries and more than 8,844,171 people infected worldwide. The scale and severity of the COVID-19 pandemic clearly rises to the level […]
On June 22-23th, our Maksym Sytnikov addressed the issue of violations of freedom of expression and media in Kazakhstan, calling the OSCE bodies to respond to cases of censorship. The intervention took place during the second Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting (SHDM).
Since the Law and Justice party (PiS) came to power in 2015, the Polish authorities purposefully obstruct access to information – either by refusing to provide information, delays in responding or delivering incomplete information. This both unconstitutional and undemocratic practice is yet another example of Poland going rogue under the PiS leadership, stated our advocacy officer, Katarzyna Szczypska, at the Second Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting (SHDM), and urged the OSCE bodies to take a firm stance and discipline the Polish authorities to comply with the organisation’s principles.
On Monday, June 22nd, less than a week before the first round of the Polish presidential election, our colleague Martin Mycielski was a guest on a special edition of the Europa United Eurochat podcast. The episode was entirely focused on the upcoming election, so after a few questions about ODF and our work Martin dove into the history of the office of the President and its former holders, to then give an overview of the current candidates, their views and chances.
Polish President Andrzej Duda’s focus on the “LGBT threat” is a retreat to a well-used trope ahead of the presidential elections. But will it work, asks Martin Mycielski.
In an interview for the NewsMaker documentary “Moldova 2.0. One year without Plahotniuk”, Head of the Open Dialogue Foundation, Lyudmyla Kozlovska, told her story of becoming a subject of a criminal case in Moldova, spoke her views on the flee of Vladimir Plahotniuk in June 2019, and explained why she considers the changes that have occurred in Moldova over the past year, insufficient.
Today, on June 9, 2020, the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court is holding a closed hearing regarding lifting the immunity of judge Igor Tuleya. This and other glaring violations of ECJ judgements and EU law have compelled the world’s leading legal scholars to sign a follow-up letter by ODF and Prof. Laurent Pech to the European Commission regarding the deterioration of the rule of law in Poland.
The last five years have been a period of rapid changes on the political scene in Poland – in 2015, presidential and parliamentary elections were held, and the election campaigns often referred to the dangers of immigration, aroused fears of refugees or Islamists, and appealed to anti-Semitic and anti-Ukrainian sentiments. At the same time, Europe faced the challenge of receiving and integrating large groups of immigrants and refugees from Africa and the Middle East. Although this process was not visible in Poland, it became a subject of lively public debate, accompanied by real government action in this field.
Over 70 instances of hate crimes on racist, homophobic, anti-semitic, xenophobicand other grounds. This grim record is a result of Open Dialogue’s latest investigation into hate crimes in Poland. The report covers the period stretching from January to December 2019, and complements the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) annual reporting on “hate incidents” across the OSCE area. Most alarmingly, the report reveals a hate crime-conducive environment with the authorities turning a blind eye, or – worst still – being complicit in endorsing and spreading intolerance, stigmatisation, discrimination or even incitement to violence.
On May 25-26th, our Maksym Sytnikov and Katarzyna Szczypska, addressed the issues of ethnic tensions and ethnic discrimination in Kazakhstan and state-sponsored hatred by the public media in Poland at the Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting (SHDM).
On May 26, 2020, seven MEPs addressed Ukrainian President Zelensky, Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova and the Head of the State Migration Service Maksym Sokoliuk with an appeal demanding the reevaluation of Zhanara Akhmetova’s asylum application and halting her extradition. Ms Akhmetova – a Kazakhstani journalist and oppositionist – and her 12-year-old son risk deportation from Ukraine as a consequence of the Supreme Court’s decision on May 14, 2020, which overturned its previous instance and rejected her asylum application.
A prominent Kazakhstani journalist and opposition activist Zhanara Akhmetova could be illegally extradited from Ukraine to Kazakhstan at any time. According to our sources, the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine is already preparing to place her under extradition arrest. On 19 May 2020, Akhmetova got a decision by the Supreme Court of Ukraine depriving her of the chance to be granted asylum. The decision was adopted in haste during the quarantine. It was also adopted without taking into account the arguments of Akhmetova’s lawyers.
On May 14, 2020, the decision to grant asylum to a prominent Kazakhstani journalist and oppositionist, Zhanara Akhmetova, and her 12-year-old son, was reversed by the Supreme Court of Ukraine, acting as a last instance court. Akhmetova is one of the leaders of the country’s biggest opposition movement “Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan”.
In an interview with Emerging Europe, ODF representatives Katarzyna Szczypska and Martin Mycielski spoke about the strengths and weaknesses of the delayed start of the opposition candidate Rafał Trzaskowski in Polish presidential election, his chances of defeating the current President and also why these elections may be the last fight for the Polish democracy.
On May 14, 2020, the Supreme Court of Ukraine, acting as a last instance court, reversed the decision of the previous instance and declined to grant asylum to a prominent Kazakhstani journalist and oppositionist, Zhanara Akhmetova. The hearing was held without the presence of Akhmetova’s attorney. Akhmetova can be extradited to Kazakhstan anytime. If extradited, she faces torture and unfair trial. With all avenues for appeal having been formally exhausted, it is only the international community that can block the unlawful expulsion.
In times of crisis, people often understandably turn to governments for help. And yet while there is an important and crucial role for governments to play during a pandemic, we shouldn’t forget the vital part played by the free market. If both the government and the market are allowed to perform the right functions, together they can help get us out of this extraordinary time.
On 11 May 2020, the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Moldova announced the discontinuation of the investigation against the head of the Open Dialogue Foundation, Lyudmyla Kozlovska.
A prosecutor from Gagauzia with a colourful curriculum vitae closed the investigation against the head of ODF.
The Prosecutor’s Office for Combating Organized Crime and Special Cases (PCCOCS) has stopped prosecuting the Head of the Open Dialogue Foundation, Lyudmyla Kozlovska. The information was confirmed by the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Moldova, Alexandr Stoianoglo, in an interview with NewsMaker.
The Prosecutor’s Office for Combating Organised Crime and Special Cases has closed the investigation against the President of the Open Dialogue Foundation Lyudmyla Kozlovska. The information was confirmed by Alexandr Stoianoglo, in an interview with NewsMaker.
Due to the decision issued by the District Court in Warsaw on March 13, 2020, state broadcaster Polskie Radio S.A. secured a claim on personal rights protection of ODF, Lyudmyla Kozlovska and Bartosz Kramek. As a result, Polskie Radio updated multiple articles in three language versions (Polish, Russian and Ukrainian) with information regarding pending lawsuits, […]
The Open Dialogue Foundation continues to reiterate its support in advancing the implementation and enforcement of Global Magnitsky sanctions in Europe and overseas. Therefore, together with other 50 leading human rights organisations, ODF has signed a series of letters addressed to the U.S. House and Senate Appropriations Committees in support of continued congressional funding for this powerful foreign policy tool.
The Open Dialogue Foundation provided inputs to the first annual Rule of Law Report, the European Commission’s latest oversight mechanism and a part of its wider rule of law toolbox. Together with experts and practitioners from Poland – judges Dariusz Mazur and Agnieszka Niklas-Bibik, as well as former public media employee, Piotr Owczarski – we submitted our feedback on the worrisome developments in the Polish justice system and media sector in 2019 and the first half of 2020. The European Commission’s initiative will result in the “Rule of Law Report”, expected to be published in September 2020.
As the government of Kazakhstan prepares to receive US$800,000 of additional assistance from the U.S. to cope with the COVID-19 crisis, President Tokayev continues to repress fundamental freedoms unabated.
As the COVID-19 outbreak started to spread in the Republic of Moldova, the Parliament declared the state of emergency on March 17, 2020. Yet, the provided rules, sanctions and restrictions are often unclear and limited.
The next few days and weeks will determine the fate of the Supreme Court, a key institution in the Polish legal system that is currently upholding the independence of the judiciary. In 2018 the Supreme Court was attacked by two foreign bodies, the so-called Disciplinary Chamber (ID) and the Chamber of Extraordinary Control and Public Affairs (IKNiSP). Contrary to their names, they do not consist of independent judges, but of party nominees loyal to the current parliamentary majority and the Law and Justice government.
ODF is a long-standing promoter and advocate of the Global Magnitsky Act. Hence, as a response to the inquiry into whether Australia should examine the use of targeted sanctions to address human rights abuses, ODF submitted its recommendations with the aim of encouraging the adoption of Magnitsky-style sanctions in the national legislation. Our submission, authored by ODF’s team, is available on the Parliament’s website, after becoming an official document of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade – Human Rights sub-committee.
The two biggest campaigns providing meals free-of-charge to health service workers fighting the coronavirus epidemic – our #MealForDoctor and #SustenanceCalling initiatives – are joining forces!
As part of the #PosiłekDlaLekarza (Eng. #MealForADoctor) campaign, we are raising funds to deliver meals to healthcare workers. However, we are only one of the many support initiatives that emerged spontaneously a month ago in Poland, after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in Europe and in response to the associated restrictions.
In response to the arrival of (inappropriate) medical supplies from Moscow to the Pratica di Mare military airport, Italy, as well as of military means and high-ranking officers affiliated to the Russian Ministry of Defence to cope with the #COVID19 pandemic (March 22, 2020), ODF, together with other fifteen non-governmental organisations, promoted a letter of appeal addressed to Italy’s PM Giuseppe Conte.
The Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies, the think tank of the EPP, has just published a new research paper entitled “EU Human Rights Promotion in Central Asia – Between the Dragon and the Bear”, written by ODF’s analysts Igor Savchenko, Kateryna Savchenko and Andriy Osavoliuk. The research paper consists of six sections, tackling a wide range of topics, from the promotion of human rights in Central Asia from the EU’s security perspective, to China and Russia’s influence in the region, including an analysis of how Central Asian regimes have progressively adopted human rights violations from Russia and China.
We, human rights and civic organizations, urge the Ukrainian Parliament to restrain from providing police powers to the National Guard of Ukraine by adopting the bill # 3105. We call the Parliament to reject it.
The #MealForADoctor campaign has succeeded beyond our expectations. A spontaneous idea two weeks ago has gained unexpected popularity and resulted in over 500 catering establishments from all over Poland volunteering to participate. We also almost immediately reached several hundred thousand zlotys in donations and have so far raised almost 600,000 zlotys. As a result, meals have been delivered to over a hundred hospitals across the country. These are huge numbers! Your solidarity is fantastic, but it also raises some organisational challenges.
We encourage you to read the detailed infographic summarising our activities from the very beginning of the action until 1 April.
Before the announced presidential election on May 10 in Poland, the Director of Public Affairs of the Open Dialogue Foundation Martin Mycielski gave an interview to the Finnish magazine Suomen Kuvalehti, in which he assessed the real chances of conducting safe and constitutional elections.
As incredible as it may seem in the current climate, with most of Europe on lockdown and national elections cancelled in Serbia and North Macedonia, Poland appears determined to go ahead with its presidential vote, set to be held on May 10. A second round, if needed, would take place two weeks later
Some 25 countries have decided to postpone their upcoming elections, with the last few – mostly regional or in tiny states – being held in early March.
We, human rights organisations, call upon law enforcement authorities to investigate fairly the circumstances of attacks on Serhiy Sternenko. We would also ask politicians, officials and other parties not involved in the proceedings to refrain from interfering in the investigation.
A few days ago, we wrote that the #MealForDoctor campaign had surpassed the organisers’ wildest expectations. The success of the fundraiser was also reflected in the Polish media, including online healthcare portals.
The Open Dialogue Foundation is one of eight European organisations whose comments and report on the state of the judiciary in EU Member States in the framework of the EU Justice Scoreboard 2020 initiative have been adopted and published by the European Commission. Our study was prepared together with the ‘Themis’ Association of Judges and concerned the state of the Polish justice system.
Statement on the COVID-19 in closed prisons in the occupied Crimea and Donbas which is under Russia’s effective control. An immediate response from international organizations is required.
The #MealForDoctor campaign is proving the great power that lies in spontaneous initiatives and the generosity of the Polish people. Even in our most optimistic scenarios, we did not expect that, in less than a week, we would collect more than PLN 500,000 and provide support to almost 500 restaurants – and, as a consequence, the same help to medical doctors themselves. Your participation in the campaign and the trust you have placed in our team – which gave you no guarantees that the initiative would succeed – are extremely encouraging.
There has been great success for the action organised by the Open Dialogue Foundation and Niskie Składki (Low Contributions) and Spontaniczny Sztab Obywatelski (Spontaneous Civic Staff) associations with the support of Patryk Wachowiec from the FOR (Civil Development Forum) Foundation. In the face of the epidemic in Poland, we have raised PLN 500,763 for meals for the health care workers who are tirelessly fighting the spread of coronavirus and helping those infected.
On March 19th 2020 a Kazakhstani political prisoner and a torture victim, Mukhtar Dzhakishev, has been released from prison. On March 3th, 2020, a court in Semey (Kazakhstan) ruled to free him on parole and under probation supervision. The decision came as a surprise since all previous release requests were rejected. During the past decade, Dzhakishev was denied the right to a fair and public trial, the right to defence, and the right to humane treatment, while the deterioration of his health was reported by international observers.
Although most of the COVID-19 cases in Poland have been recorded in Warsaw, restaurateurs from all over the country have decided to join the #MealForDoctor campaign and support local hospital workers with meals.
Famous Kazakhstani film director and public figure Bolat Atabayev is in serious condition at a clinic in Munich. For many years, Bolat Atabayev has been suffering from diabetes, and his kidney failure has worsened recently. Last week, the director went through several expensive surgeries. His condition is still severe and financial support is required to cover expensive treatment and rehabilitation.
The Open Dialogue Foundation, the Low Contributions Association, Spontaneous Civic Campaign Headquarters and Civil Development Forum have launched an online fundraiser for meals for Polish healthcare workers, who are now spending even more time at work due to the coronavirus epidemic, leading Polish media reported.
“Poland is fighting the coronavirus pandemic. The number of people who have been confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 is growing rapidly. There are also fatalities. An epidemic emergency has broken out across the country, and medical personnel are working tirelessly. It turns out that Poles want to support the people fighting for our lives and taking care of us.” Onet.pl announced the launch of the fundraising campaign #MealForADoctor (Pol. #PosiłekDlaLekarza), whose originators want to help doctors, nurses and ambulance crews by offering them free meals from local catering outlets.
“‘Meal for a Doctor’ is one of the campaigns aiming to support healthcare workers in hospitals and health centres,” Radio Zet reports.“Restaurants and catering establishments from all over the country have already declared that they will provide meals to medical staff for free. Each of us can support them in implementing this idea. We look at what the ‘Meal for a Doctor’ campaign is about, who is taking part in it and how you can join in.”
“‘Due to the coronavirus epidemic, health professionals have a lot of work to do. Let’s help them by paying for meals that they can order for free,’ the organisers of the action ‘Meal for the Doctor’ said in an appeal,”we read on Interia.pl.
Less than a day after the launch of the spontaneous action aimed at supporting Polish healthcare workers during the coronavirus epidemic. Rzeczpospolita has already covered this topic. The daily magazine reported that 45,000 zlotys have already been collected for meals for doctors.
“Doctors, nurses, ambulance crews. During the epidemic, all healthcare workers can count on a free meal from restaurants taking part in the actions #MealForADoctor (Pol. #PosiłekDlaLekarza) and #GastronomyIsHelping (Pol. #GastroPomaga),” reports TVN24, pointing out that although the two initiatives are organised by different people, their goal is the same – to help those “at the forefront of the fight against the disease”.
The coronavirus epidemic is affecting all areas of our lives. However, it is most affecting health care, which is at the forefront of the fight against the disease. Doctors and medical staff are currently working at their best, often at the expense of their families and friends. It is primarily on their commitment that our ability to quickly suppress the epidemic will depend. Those hospitalised, and their loved ones, are also in a difficult situation, and are putting their hopes in the health service.
In its letter to Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, the Open Dialogue Foundation, along with other civil society organisations, appeals to the Polish authorities for aid for refugees and, thus, fulfil their international obligations.
On the 20th February 2020, on the occasion of the 19th Winter Meeting of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, together with the members of the Dutch Delegation, Farah Karimi and Boris Dittrich, we had the pleasure of hosting the side-event “New and Old Ways of Suppressing Dissent in the OSCE Area: Protecting Political Refugees from Legal and Technological Abuse”.
On 17 February 2020, we arranged a visit of Kazakhstani human rights defenders, Bota Jardemalie and Dana Zhanay, to the European Parliament in order to attend an exchange of views with DCAS members on the situation of human rights in Kazakhstan prior to the 17th EU – Kazakhstan Parliamentary Cooperation Committee (PCC) meeting in Nur-Sultan on 25-27 February. The roundtable discussion provided a rich exchange of views between the MEPs and members of civil society and NGOs.
This report provides an analysis of Kazakhstan’s implementation of the European Parliament Resolution of 14 March 2019 on the human rights situation in the country (2019/2610(RSP).
On February 6-7, 2020, a delegation of the Open Dialogue Foundation went on a two-days mission to Rome with the aim to relaunch the draft bill for an Italian Magnitsky Law, following a series of events in the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate on the matter
We have recently learned of an event held in the European Parliament on January 23rd, 2020, organised by the “EU Today” website. The event’s title, “NGOs: between public good and bad governance”, would suggest the event covered an interesting and important topic, the functioning of NGOs in the EU. Unfortunately, as we’ve learned from one of the unlucky participants of the event, this title was just disguise for another action by “EU Today” founder, former UKIP employee, far-right racist and Holocaust denier, Gary Cartwright, aiming to discredit ODF and our work, specifically in Kazakhstan.
The 2020 Winter Session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), held on 27-31 January 2020 in Strasbourg, was dominated by two topics: the returning of voting rights to Russia (which ODF strongly campaigned against), which was suspended following its annexation of Crimea and invasion of Ukraine, and the worsening situation in regard to the rule of law in Poland.
Despite the fact that we do not deal directly with issues related to religious freedom, we consider it to be one of the fundamental human rights. That is why we supported activists from non-governmental organisations, associated in the American group called International Religious Freedom (IRF) Roundtable, which sent a letter to the Australian Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade on the adoption of legislation comparable to the Global Magnitsky Act.
As is by now tradition for us, we were proud to be present during the 2020 Winter Session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, held on 27-31 January 2020 in Strasbourg, France. Our delegation consisted of ODF President Lyudmyla Kozlovska, Kazakhstani activist from the ‘Qaharman’ human rights movement Dana Zhanay and Polish persecuted judge Dominik Czeszkiewicz from the Suwałki District Court.
This report examines the cases of 56 victims of politically motivated criminal prosecutions in Kazakhstan. Among them, at least 16 are political prisoners who remain in prisons or pre-trial detention facilities.
We have learned with great relief of the release of Kazakhstani political prisoner Iskander Yerimbetov.
In case of the extradition of Akhmetova, Ukraine would violate several ratified international conventions. For the new government, this case would become one of the first serious exams in the observation of the rights of refugees and extradition procedures. Will the new authorities of Ukraine pass the test in the cooperation with dictatorial regimes?
On December 18-19, 2019, the Open Dialogue Foundation’s team, together with human rights defenders from Moldova, conducted very constructive meetings in the European Parliament in plenary session in Strasbourg. The delegation consisted of Ana Ursachi, attorney prosecuted for political reasons, Stefan Gligor, co-founder and Justice and Advocacy Program Director at the Center for Policies and Reforms, Stella Juntuan, activist and former member of the Moldovan parliament, Grigore Petrenco, political refugee in Germany and leader of the Red Bloc opposition party, and was led by our colleague Martin Mycielski, Public Affairs Director at ODF.
In light of the ongoing assault on the independence of the judiciary in Poland by the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party – and especially the recently-exposed hate campaign against judges and prosecutors, orchestrated by the justice ministry itself – the Renew Europe group and the Open Dialogue Foundation have organised on December 12th, 2019, a European Parliament lunch debate with prosecutors and judges persecuted in Poland.
Non-governmental organisations (including the Open Dialogue Foundation) and academics specialising in issues related to the rule of law and the protection of human rights, sent an open letter to the President of the European Commission, in which they call for immediate steps to stop the rapidly growing legal chaos in Poland, including prompt submission in the European Court of Justice, of an application for interim measures in Case C-791/19 Commission v Poland, pending before the Court of Justice. The full content of the letter is presented below.
ODF is proud to have organised a high-level mission to Brussels of the most famous “disobedient” Polish judges & prosecutors – the leading victims of the systemic persecution & defamation of the independent judiciary in the country: judges Waldemar Żurek & Dariusz Mazur and prosecutors Krzysztof Parchimowicz & Ewa Wrzosek.
On Thursday, 12 December 2019, the European Parliament held a conference entitled „The Law and Justice Campaign against the Polish Judiciary”, organised by the Renew Europe group and the Open Dialogue Foundation. The event found reverberation in the Polish media, both pro-government and independent.
On 11 December 2019 in Kyiv, within the framework of the IV National Human Rights Non-Conference, a discussion was held on the topic: “Are there any threats to Ukraine from China and how can they be minimised?”. The event was organised by the Open Dialogue Foundation in collaboration with the Ukrainian Free Hong Kong Centre, the Qaharman Human Rights Initiative (Kazakhstan) and the Human Rights Agenda. The discussion was moderated by human rights defender Maksym Sytnikov (Open Dialogue Foundation).
On 10 December 2019, in Kyiv, a discussion was held on the topic: “How to protect political refugees from illegal extraditions and misuse of interstate legal assistance?”. The event was held as part of the 4th National Human Rights Non-Conference. The Open Dialogue Foundation, the Right to Protection Charitable Foundation, the Kharkov Institute of Social Studies, and the Human Rights Agenda Coalition were among the organisers of the event.
On 26 November 2019, the Open Dialogue Foundation (ODF) and the Center for Civil Liberties (CCL) hosted a European Parliament breakfast under the title “Ukrainian Hostages of the Kremlin: How to Release Them All?”. The event was organised upon the initiative of the MEPs Petras Auštrevičius (Renew Europe; Lithuania), Viola von Cramon-Taubadel (Greens/EFA, Germany) and Julie Ward (S&D; UK).
On November 29, 2019, the Standing Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) met in Strasbourg to discuss, among other items, the INTERPOL reform and extradition proceedings. A delegation of ODF, represented by Lyudmyla Kozlovska and Ana Ursachi, Moldovan lawyer and human rights defender, arrived at Palais de l’Europe to support the debate.
On 22 November 2019, Foundation representatives took part in the workshop ‘Addressing Intolerant Discourse, Hate Speech and Hate Crimes in the Visegrád Group’ in Prague. The aim of the meeting was to exchange experiences and views regarding combating hate speech in the countries of the Visegrád Group.
Over the past years, China has increased its presence in Kazakhstan, thus making their economic and political relations more robust. Importantly, human rights and the survival of civil society are at stake, as Kazakhstani activists are afraid of the growing dependence onChina, a country which has been often perceived as a bearer of abuse and […]
With the utmost concern we learned about the decision of the President of the Kraków District Court, Dagmara Pawełczyk-Woicka, dated 14 November 2019, who refused Judge Dariusz Mazur to conduct training for attorneys and undertake any additional activities until the end of 2019.
On 6 November 2019, Members of the Federal Parliament of Belgium’s asked questions to the Minister of Justice Koen Geens, during a Justice Committee hearing. Five parliamentarians asked questions regarding the controversial judicial cooperation between Belgium and Kazakhstan.
On October 1, 2019, at Kazakhstan’s mutual assistance request, Belgian police conducted a warrantless search (sic!) of Kazakh political refugee and lawyer, Botagoz Jardemalie’s apartment in Brussels. The officials seized numerous electronic devices and documents, which included privileged and confidential work relating to her advocacy as a human rights lawyer. One of the most worrying […]
During the last PACE Autumn session (30-4 October), together with the Center for Civil Liberties (CCL) and the Italian Federation for Human Rights (FIDU) we had the pleasure to host: Oleg Sentsov, Ukrainian filmmaker recently released from Russian custody; Kazakhstani human rights defenders Bota Jar
On 1 October, Oleg Sentsov, Lyudmyla Kozlovska, President of the Open Dialog Foundation and Oleksandra Romantsova from the Centre for Civil Liberties (CCL) met President Emmanuel Macron at the seat of the Permanent Representation of France to the Council of Europe. The event itself has been broadly discussed by both French and international media.
The Open Dialogue Foundation has managed to gather the names of 136 police officers, investigators, security officers, prosecutors and judges who participated in politically motivated prosecutions of peaceful protesters.
On 6 July 2019, rallies were planned in various cities of Kazakhstan to demand that the results of the presidential election be cancelled and Nazarbayev be deprived of power, as well as against Chinese expansion. Law enforcement agencies detained about 700 peaceful protesters in different places.
Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party doesn’t shy away from the authoritarian playbook to secure their power. While the battle with the European Commission over the rule of law rages on, PiS is discreetly trying to tweak electoral law in their favour.
Arbitrary application of anti-terrorism laws and criminalization of using an i-message application (Bylock).
According to the analysis of the Ministry of Justice, in the first half of 2018, 890 cases of hate crimes were reported to Polish law enforcement agencies. Unfortunately, not all criminal acts motivated by racial, xenophobic, homophobic hatred, etc., are reported to law enforcement authorities.
Last week – not for the first time, and probably not the last – I have been met by a wave of hatred from the right-wing community. All because we decided, together with the delegation of the Open Dialogue Foundation, to hold a series of meetings in Washington, which, by accident, overlapped with the visit of President Duda.
Nazarbayev’s protege Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev expectedly won the presidential elections in Kazakhstan. The elections were fully controlled and constituted merely an imitation of the electoral process. A lack of trust in the election results is not only due to the lack of legislative conditions for fair
The European Parliament’s Human Rights Subcommittee has recently released a report it has commissioned, entitled “Misuse of Interpol’s Red Notices and impact on human rights – recent developments”. Yesterday, the study was officially presented at the subcommittee’s meeting.
On 21 November 2018, at the 87th session of the General Assembly of INTERPOL, a new INTERPOL president was to be elected. According to the report of reputable mass media, the representative of the Russian Federation, Major General of Police, Vice-President of INTERPOL Oleksandr Prokopchuk had the greatest chances to be elected for this post.
Agnieszka Piasecka, who on a daily basis monitors the implementation of the lustration reform, including the verification of the justice system, participated in a seminar entitled ‘Lustration of Judiciary: Ukrainian and International Practices’. EU experts, including Professor Lorena Bachmaier Winter, an expert from the Council of Europe and a professor of law from the University […]