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Voices of Kazakhstan #4: pre-election review of human rights situation

Voices of Kazakhstan #4: pre-election review of human rights situation

Pre-election clampdown on the opposition in numbers & human rights monitoring covering Jan 4-8th Pre-election clampdown on the opposition in numbers: a brief review (2-pages) Fearing mass protests, or, worst still, unfolding of a Belarussian-like scenario, in the months ahead of the Jan 10th parliamentary elections, Kazakhstan’s authorities have been tightening the authoritarian grip – […]

Kazakhstan’s Kafkaesque dictatorship: the authorities “playing rodeo” with its critics

Kazakhstan’s Kafkaesque dictatorship: the authorities “playing rodeo” with its critics

On Dec 21st, armed to teeth Kazakhstani officers stormed the houses and farms of Eric and Kalyk Mendigazievs. As the official line went, they were investigating the theft of 10 horses. In a rush to find them, they checked all the usual places: wardrobes, baths, and sofas – not bothering to visit the stables… This ludicrous operation of the security forces has taken aback even the horses’ owner himself, stunned that the theft was used as a pretext for harassment of his fellow farmers. Yet, this kafkaesque sequence of events has become depressingly familiar to those monitoring the ways and means of pursuing the opponents and critics of the regime. And, although the story sounds all Borat, unlike Borat that is just a comedy, the ongoing situation in the country is a far cry from it. The odd “rodeo” played by the authorities is really just another attempt to silence Eric and Kalyk’s close relative and human rights defender, Barlyk Mendigaziev.

Voices of Kazakhstan #1: pre-election review of human rights situation

Voices of Kazakhstan #1: pre-election review of human rights situation

With the parliamentary election in Kazakhstan looming large, the authorities are trying to ruthlessly silence any voice of dissent. Since June 2020, we have observed a significant deterioration of the human rights situation in the country – the latest figures show at least 28 political prisoners and 95 cases of ongoing political persecutions. Now, just a month before the January 10 elections, the regime is using Chinese technology to attempt to cut the citizens off from the internet and social networks, which provide the only alternate source of reliable information and the only channel through which citizens can report electoral fraud. Simultaneously, the Central Election Commission has just imposed further draconian restrictions on election observers’ rights that amount to a de facto ban on their participation altogether. The authorities also rushed to ban online donations for NGOs. Meanwhile, Kazakhstan plays a deceptive game with the international community by inviting – to only a limited number of polling stations – ODIHR international observers.

Shortcomings in the law enforcement system of Ukraine exemplified by the investigation of attacks on civil activists

Shortcomings in the law enforcement system of Ukraine exemplified by the investigation of attacks on civil activists

On 12 November 2020, the FightBack legal self-help chat-bot was presented in Kyiv, which was designed to provide free assistance to victims of law enforcement agencies’ inaction and to collect information about the cases of inaction. The chat-bot was created as a result of a series of interviews with activists who were victims of violent attacks in different regions of Ukraine after 2014.

38 MEPs support ODF & SAB’s complaint to the European Commission against Ordo Iuris

38 MEPs support ODF & SAB’s complaint to the European Commission against Ordo Iuris

The Ordo Iuris Institute is a fundamentalist organisation, highly active in Poland and the EU. It is linked – according to numerous sources – to both the Kremlin and a dangerous Brasilian sect. They are directly responsible for numerous assaults on EU values, most notably human rights and equality, successfully campaigning i.a. against LGBTI rights (being the architects of the “LGBT-free zones” in Poland), for the EU not to ratify the Council of Europe’s “Convention on combating violence against women and domestic violence” (Instanbul Convention) and most notably against the fundamental rights of women. They are behind the recent, barbaric, total abortion ban in Poland, which led to the largest protests the country has seen since the fall of communism.

ODF’s Appeal to OSCE to stop policing speech in Poland

ODF’s Appeal to OSCE to stop policing speech in Poland

On 9 November 2020, during the Second Supplementary Human Dimension Meeting (SHDM), our advocacy officer, Katarzyna Szczypska, urged the OSCE bodies to pressure the Polish authorities to stop using blasphemy laws to police speech.

Political killings in Kazakhstan and the need to impose personal sanctions. Our intervention at the OSCE meeting

Political killings in Kazakhstan and the need to impose personal sanctions. Our intervention at the OSCE meeting

On 10 November 2020, our advocacy officer Maksym Sytnikov brought attention to the murder of human rights activist and blogger Dulat Agadil in February 2020 during an OSCE meeting. The session was held on the topic: the role of society in advancing the right to freedom of religion or belief for all. In this context, the prosecution of a minimum of 183 people for taking part in the memorial ceremonies in honour of Dulat demonstrates the worsening human rights situation in Kazakhstan.

The Milan Court of Appeal acquits the Ukrainian National Guard’s Vitaly Markiv of all charges!

The Milan Court of Appeal acquits the Ukrainian National Guard’s Vitaly Markiv of all charges!

Yesterday, 3 November 2020, Vitaly Markiv, a Ukrainian former National Guard and holder of an Italian passport, was found “not guilty” of the charge of murder of Italian journalist Andrea Rocchelli. The reporter and his translator, Andrei Mironov, tragically died as a result of a mortar shelling in Sloviansk on 24 May 2014. At that time, the conflict zone was controlled by Russia-backed separatists.

Italian court sentenced all the defendants for the abduction of Alma Shalabayeva and her 6-year-old daughter

Italian court sentenced all the defendants for the abduction of Alma Shalabayeva and her 6-year-old daughter

The criminal court of Perugia, Italy, has just delivered a long-awaited decision on Alma Shalabayeva’s case. On 14 October 2020, the Italian court sentenced to prison six Italian law-enforcement officers on ‘abduction’ charges and one justice of the peace for ‘forgery’. In 2013, Alma Shalabayeva, wife of Kazakhstani opposition leader and political refugee Mukhtar Ablyazov, […]

ODF holds online hearing for MEPs with persecuted Polish judges

ODF holds online hearing for MEPs with persecuted Polish judges

On October 8, 2020 we had the pleasure of organising an online hearing for Members of the European Parliament under the title “How should the EU support the Polish judiciary?”, featuring persecuted Polish judges Beata Morawiec and Dariusz Mazur, with additional expertise provided by Prof. Laurent Pech. The event was co-hosted by MEPs Róza Thun […]

Systemic Misconduct by the European Union Delegation to Kazakhstan on Human Rights Issues

Systemic Misconduct by the European Union Delegation to Kazakhstan on Human Rights Issues

Since 2010, the Open Dialogue Foundation (ODF) has been monitoring the human rights situation in Kazakhstan, partnering up with foreign missions on the ground – including the EU Delegation to Kazakhstan – to ensure a continuous dialogue with civil society on serious human rights concerns in the country. However, in sharp contrast with our experience in reaching out to the EU Delegations to Moldova, Ukraine and Russia, we regret to notice that, starting from 2018, the EU Delegation to Kazakhstan – and particularly Mr Zoltan Szalai, Deputy Head of the EU Delegation – has shown reticence in engaging in high profile cases and as well as cooperation with the Foundation, its partner NGOs and volunteers on the ground. Below we summarise the debunking of the most common arguments which have been used against the Foundation to discredit its human rights work.

Political Killing in Kazakhstan

Political Killing in Kazakhstan

List of persons to be subjected to sanctions regarding the case of Dulat Agadil. 1. Introduction Dulat Agadil is a well-known human rights activist and blogger who lived in the village of Talapker near Nur-Sultan (Astana). Dulat Agadil was one of the most famous leaders of the protest movement in Kazakhstan (especially in the Kazakh-speaking […]

How should the EU support the Polish judiciary? Оn-line hearing invitation

How should the EU support the Polish judiciary? Оn-line hearing invitation

The Open Dialogue Foundation invites you to a Zoom hearing with persecuted Polish judges Beata Morawiec & Dariusz Mazur with additional expertise provided by Prof. Laurent Pech. Who? Judge Beata Morawiec, President of the Themis Judges’ Association. First judge to win a court case against Justice Minister Z. Ziobro for her unlawful removal from office, […]

Osservatorio Diritti: “Kazakhstan: coronavirus is the new instrument of social repression”

Osservatorio Diritti: “Kazakhstan: coronavirus is the new instrument of social repression”

Osservatorio Diritti, an Italian media outlet dedicated to human rights and human rights defenders worldwide, has published an analysis of Kazakhstan’s mismanagement of the pandemic from the perspective of civil society.  The article features interviews with Paola Gaffurini, Advocacy Officer at the Open Dialogue Foundation, Dana Zhanay, Kazakhstani human rights defender and co-founder of Qaharman […]

Financial Summary of the aid action #MealForADoctor conducted from 16 March to 15 May 2020

Financial Summary of the aid action #MealForADoctor conducted from 16 March to 15 May 2020

The action “Meal for a Doctor” (#MealForADoctor) was organised on the initiative of Patryk Wachowiec, legal analyst of the FOR (Civil Development Forum) Foundation and Marcin Mycielski, Member of the Board of Directors of the Open Dialogue Foundation (ODF) on 15 March 2020, in the face of the global COVID-19 pandemic that put, among others, the Polish health service in an unprecedented situation. The so-called lockdown introduced in Poland on the night of 13/14 March 2020 forced the immediate closure of restaurants, which from then on could only operate by delivering ordered meals. In these circumstances, the idea of supporting doctors, nurses, paramedics and all other healthcare professionals by providing them with free meals at the workplace was born. A secondary, yet important intention of the originators was the desire to help the small catering industry survive the crisis.

David and Goliath: The hazards of digital disinformation

David and Goliath: The hazards of digital disinformation

On December 16, 2019, the conference “David and Goliath: The hazards of digital disinformation” took place at the premises of Fabrica. The event was hosted by the Italian Federation for Human Rights in partnership with Fabrica

Has the State Been Captured Yet Again? Corruption and Political Persecutions in Moldova

Has the State Been Captured Yet Again? Corruption and Political Persecutions in Moldova

The Democratic Party of Moldova came to power in the Republic of Moldova for the first time in 2013. Over 6 years, the party and its leader Vladimir Plahotniuc managed to establish control over the key state bodies and to usurp power in the state. On 8 June 2019 a government was formed in Moldova that was headed by Maia Sandu. The objectives of the new government were proclaimed to be deoligarchisation, fighting corruption, and conducting reform of justice.