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today 25.10.2014 11:42
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Dangerous war heroes on Ukraine’s political scene

24.10.14 | Halya Coynash
A number of candidates are likely to enter parliament because of their role in defending Ukraine against Russian aggression. Unfortunately there are some whose political background makes their possible victory on a wave of support for war heroes of serious concern
Deported peoples

Crimean Tatar activist arrested

Crimean police have arrested Tahir Smedlyaev, the brother of the head of the Central Election Commission of the Qurultay, or Crimean Tatar National Congress
Children’s rights

Crimean orphans lose chances for adoption under Russian occupation

Crimean orphans are being forced to take Russian citizenship. Many have lost the chance to be adopted or to live in a more family-pitched environment with the system of adoption built over many years being destroyed
Human rights protection

Whose “widespread use of cluster munitions”?

23.10.14 | Halya Coynash
Human Rights Watch’s allegations of widespread use by the Ukrainian government of cluster bombs have been widely reported, unlike the OSCE’s denial of any evidence of this and other serious grounds for concern about the report
News from the CIS countries

Russian antagonism and suspicion of USA and EU at all time high

A recent Levada Centre survey found 79% convinced that western countries, by criticizing Russian policy in relation to Ukraine are trying to weaken Russia. 55% however do not believe that Russia should interfere in the internal affairs of its neighbours.

45% in Donetsk oblast will not vote

According to the Committee of Voters of Ukraine [CVU] 1.5 million people in the Donetsk oblast (45%) will not take part in the parliamentary elections on Oct 26. In the Luhansk oblast people in the territory bordering on the zone of fighting are frightened to vote.
Privacy, Politics and human rights

A Lustration Law for the Record – and the Elections

22.10.14 | Halya Coynash
The farcical nature of Ukraine’s new Law on Cleaning up the Government was seen within hours of the law coming into force. The list made public of the first 36 heads to roll was like a modern public execution – of suspected witches rather than of known criminals.
Elections, Army

Thousands of soldiers prevented from voting

Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada has failed to introduce amendments to electoral legislation which would have enabled military servicemen from the ATO zone to vote in the elections
Deported peoples

Crimean Tatar Mejlis will not register as a ‘civic organization’

Attempts to pressurize the representative-executive body of the Crimean Tatar people into registering as some kind of ‘civic organization’ are unacceptable, the deputy head of the Mejlis, Akhtem Chyyhoz says
Politics and human rights

Legislating murder, abduction and land-grabs in the Crimea

21.10.14 | Halya Coynash
Russia may soon adopt a law which would waive any liability by the armed paramilitaries in the Crimea who have murdered, abducted and beaten up opponents of Russian occupation, as well as seizing land and assets. Or who will, since the impunity would be till Jan 2015
News from the CIS countries

“They torture POWs here” Moscow voices in defence of Nadiya Savchenko

On Monday people in Moscow held single-person pickets outside the notorious Serbski Institute where Ukrainian officer Nadiya Savchenko is undergoing a forced ‘psychiatric examination’. Their banners included: “They torture POWs here”; and “Back to punitive psychiatry? Pilot Nadiya Savchenko, abducted from Ukraine, is being held here”.
News from the CIS countries

Persecution of elderly activist exposing Russian soldiers’ deaths in Ukraine continues

21.10.14 | Halya Coynash
73-year-old Ludmila Bogatenkova was released only because her state of health was near critical. Please help circulate information about this case and about the investigations into the deaths of Russian soldiers that Moscow is so clearly trying to silence
The right to liberty and security

Abducted street artist Serhiy Zakharov tells of detention and torture

Tracked down and captured by the Kremlin-backed militants his street installations mocked in early August, Zakharov says that his captors fractured his left and right ribs and threatened him with execution three times
On refugees

Finally! Law on Displaced Persons adopted

On Monday, Oct 20, the Verkhovna Rada passed a long-needed law on internally displaced persons. The bill was drawn up in cooperation with NGOs directly working with people forced to flee the Crimea or Donbas.
News from the CIS countries

Nadiya Savchenko’s treatment amounts to torture, lawyers say

20.10.14 | Halya Coynash
The Ukrainian officer captured by Kremlin-backed militants and now facing ’charges’ in Russia is being deprived of sleep, is watched 24 hours a day, and not allowed to speak in private to her lawyer. She also reports that the Russian prosecution is trying to foist their own lawyer on her.



Targeting the Crimean Tatar Mejlis as pro-Russian euphoria fades in Crimea

Halya Coynash
Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov recently asserted that the Crimean Tatar people have received what they couldn’t have dreamt of within Ukraine”. Lavrov was unusually close to the truth since in their worst nightmares Crimean Tatars could not have imagined the violations of their rights seen since Russia annexed their homeland.

Tortured by Kremlin-backed militants

Halya Coynash
Assertions that the men whose bodies have been brought to a Zaporizhya morgue suffered horrific torture are corroborated not only by the harrowing photos, but by tales of soldiers or civilians held captive by militants from the self-proclaimed Donetsk people’s republic..

If Russia is not at war, then who is in those freshly-dug graves?

Halya Coynash
Russians are also now asking hard-hitting questions as macabre efforts continue in Pskov and other parts of Russia to conceal the death or injury of a large number of soldiers sent to fight Russia’s undeclared war against Ukraine

Invasion by any other name

Halya Coynash
The suspicion that Russia’s ‘humanitarian convoy’ was being used to divert attention from other activities was probably confirmed on Aug 23. Western leaders concentrated only on that undoubted violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty while ignoring NATO reports of direct Russian military incursions

Serious failings seen in new ‘lustration’ bill

Volodymyr Yavorsky, lawyer and human rights specialist, has subjected the latest draft law on lustration to close analysis and his verdict is not good. Instead of defending democracy, lustration as per this bill would be more likely to turn into a mechanism of selective political persecution of officials and would destroy independent institutions.

Odessa "Massacre" Propaganda vs. the Facts

Halya Coynash
The tragic events in Odessa on May 2, 2014, are rapidly being transformed into a propaganda campaign for Moscow. The facts are now available and need to be widely known. By allowing outrageous claims of a fascist ‘massacre’ to go unrefuted, we risk proving yet again how very little human beings learn from history.

Whose war?

Halya Coynash
The shooting down of MH17 has led to harsh words used about Moscow’s very major role in providing the arms and military technology, men and training for artificially manufactured unrest (and bitterly real bloodshed), but left terminology, like ‘civil war’ and ‘separatist’ largely intact