Human Rights House Foundation

Russia

HRH Moscow Projects

The organizations at the Russian Research Center for Human Rights (RRCHR), Moscow, work in different areas within the human rights field, carrying out practical activities on protection of rights of various groups of citizens: prisoners, soldiers, the disabled, mentally ill, and others.

The RRCHR participates in numerous human rights projects on the international level. Its work with the Human Rights House Network is potentially the strongest example of this. Working on an international scale strengthens the Centre`s position in the country and opens up new possibilities for action, e.g., the arrangement of joint projects, conferences, and the preparation of special reports concerning the human rights situation in the Russian Federation. Being an umbrella organization, the Center provides organizational and financial support to its members.

In 2006 the RRCHR conducted 2 interesting projects:

- "Getting the younger generation involved  in the protection of human rights: developing a volunteer movement". This project received financial support from the European Commision. It was designed to get high school and college students involved in the promotion of human rights through a series of interactive exhibitions titled “Human rights Protection is our Common Goal!”. The exhibitions were held in Moscow, as well as in four other regions (Krasnodar Territory, Stavropol Krai, Smolensk and Voronezh Regions). The exhibitions contained materials related to the mechanisms available for the protection of human and civil rights, locally as well as internationally, acquainting visitors with the work of human rights organizations and describing some cases of successful protection by such work;

- "Social control of closed institutions in Russia" (prisons, mental hospitals, orphanages, etc.). The  project was supported by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The participants published collected articles, in which they shared their progress and failures. They also offered a new strategy of work in closed institutions for human rights defenders.  

In 2010 the RRCHR started realization of a huge joint project “Prevention of torture and violent treatment in closed establishments of Russia”

Tortures and other violent humiliating human dignity treatment or punishment are the most dangerous form of human rights violations. Norms on prohibition of tortures are included into Universal Declaration of Human Rights (article 5), Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966 (article 7), covenant on war victims protection, covenant on struggle against genocide, apartheid, slavery and etc. The basic European document, joining forces of European states in tortures prevention is Convention against tortures and other violent humiliating human right dignity treatment and punishment. the Russian Federation joined the Convention in 1994 and in line with Russian Constitution (article 21) tortures and other humiliating human right dignity treatment is prohibited: “Nobody can be subjected to tortures, violence, other humiliating human right dignity treatment or punishment.”

Using of tortures is an urgent problem among the top of high priority in the field of human rights protection in the Russian Federation. Despite permanent effort in this direction, tortures and violent humiliating human dignity treatment or punishment are still wide spread in closed establishments of the Russian Federation. These facts are proved by the reports of international (Committee against tortures of Council of Europe, visiting the Russian Federation on a regular basis) and of national human rights organizations, decisions of European Court and also representatives of the powers.

The object of the project is to develop and test a system of tools on prevention of tortures in the closed establishments of the Russian Federation using new opportunities of control over human rights in closed establishments. Main efforts are to be focused on prevention of tortures, training of staff, cooperation with the direction, and development of joint action on prevention of tortures and humiliating

The project is being realized by joint efforts of Human Rights House Foundation and 10 non-government organizations- memebers of Russian Research Center for Human Rights:

-Human Rights Network Group

-Independent Psychiatric Association of the Russian Federation

-Moscow Center for Prison Reform

-Moscow Helsinki Group

-Mother`s Right Foundation

-Non-Violence International

-Right of the Child

-Right to Live and have Civil Dignity

-Social Partnership Foundation

-Union of the Committees of Soldiers`s Mothers of the Russian Federation

The project was supported by the Norwegian MFA.

he main efforts are to be focused on the prevention of torture, training of staff, cooperation with the management of closed institutions, and development of a joint action plan on the prevention of torture and ill treatment by means of:

- regular visits to penal closed establishements, military units, child care institutions, psychiatric closed establishments by the member organizations  of the RRCHR in cooperation with the public Councils in Moscow and the regions. Closed establishments will be identified on the basis of analysis of the complaints recieved by RRCHR's members and the Federal Ombudsman and by monitoring the media;

-Seminars/training on international standards of treatment for the public inspectors, military leadership, training of regional activists, parents, teachers and tutors as well as the staff of psychiatric hospitals and psycho-neurological hostels on prevention of physical punishment;

-Publications about the use of torture, the training and results of the project on the website www.hro.org and www.humanrightshouse.org and distribution of information leaflets and public hearings on violent treatment prevention;

-Writing and publishing of a report of recommendations on prevention of torture and ill treatment. The report will be sent to the UN Committee and the Council of Europe's Committee Against Torture, Russian public authorities and international bodies for human rights;

-conference with representatives from state institutions (Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Justice,Ministry of Education, Ministry of Public Health and Social Development, General Prosecutor), the closed establishements, which have been trained, NGOs, Omdusmen (both Federal and regional) and torture victims in May, 2010.

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