BHHRG

About BHHRG

The British Helsinki Human Rights Group monitors human rights and democracy in the 57 OSCE member states from the United States to Central Asia.
* Monitoring the conduct of elections in OSCE member states.
* Examining issues relating to press freedom and freedom of speech
* Reporting on conditions in prisons and psychiatric institutions

Size of text
  • Decrease font size
  • Default font size
  • Increase font size
Prostitution, Child Abuse and Trafficking in Estonia
HITS: 1900 | 3-04-2003, 16:23 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Estonia , World health

In April 2003 a 56-year-old Swedish woman went on trial for procuring and trafficking more than two dozen Estonian women as part of a prostitution ring operating from Stockholm. The proximity of the Scandinavian countries has exacerbated the sex trade in all the Baltic States – the short ferry journey from Finland is the means whereby much of the business is conducted. There are also growing numbers of young men from Western Europe going to cities like Tallinn for stag parties which amounts to a weekend of cheap booze and commercial sex.
There are also fears that the procurement of children for sex is widespread in the Baltics. In many poverty-stricken post-Communist countries (Ukraine is another example), people of working age have gone abroad to seek jobs, leaving their children behind to roam the streets. The same problem seems to have arisen in the Baltics. There are numerous ‘modeling agencies’ in the Baltic States with connections in Scandinavia.

Read more
 
Estonia parliamentary elections 2003: Is small beautiful?
HITS: 2015 | 3-04-2003, 16:10 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Estonia , PR and human rights, Elections

Estonia is hailed as one of post-Communism's success stories but is this correct? BHHRG went to see and monitored the parliamentary election held in the republic on 2nd March 2003.
Introduction
The small Baltic republic of Estonia has been hailed as a bastion of democracy and one of the economic success stories of post-communism. In the present year, 2003, the Heritage Foundation concluded that it has the sixth freest economy in the world, thus putting it ahead of France and Germany! Such fulsome approval has, no doubt, contributed to the fact that the country is now poised to enter both NATO and the EU. In November 2002, Estonia became one of seven new ex-Communist countries to be invited to join the alliance, along with Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Romania and Bulgaria. Estonia is also among the top contenders for membership in the European Union. Referendums to endorse membership of both organizations will be held later in 2003.

Read more
 
Kaliningrad: Black hole or black propaganda?
HITS: 30301 | 18-02-2003, 23:27 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Russia , PR and human rights, World health

The Baltic port city of Kaliningrad is the former capital of East Prussia, Königsberg; the surrounding territory is the northern half of that historic German province. In 1945, Königsberg was captured by the Soviet army and subsequently incorporated into the Soviet Union as part of the Russian Federation of the USSR and Kaliningrad became the headquarters of the USSR’s Baltic fleet. However, the United States and some legal scholars in the West have, thus far, refused to accept its de jure incorporation into either the USSR or Russia, leaving open a possible change in its future status.

Read more
 
Strategy for the endgame for Kaliningrad
HITS: 1950 | 18-02-2003, 22:12 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Russia , PR and human rights

It is for these reasons that the EU proposed the new visa regime. Lithuania did not demand it, and Lithuania was not even a signatory to the agreement on Kaliningrad between the EU and Russia. [1] (The Lithuanians, bizarrely, still claim that this agreement is designed to protect their sovereignty!) Europe alleges that the new regime is necessary to conform with the EU’s laws; but Lithuanian will not join until May 2004, while the new visa regime applies already, and it will not join the Schengen agreement (which abolishes all border controls between member states) until 2006 or 2007. In any case, it would be possible for Lithuania not to join Schengen, as the United Kingdom, Ireland and Denmark are not members of it.

Read more
 
Russia's policy towards Kaliningrad
HITS: 2470 | 18-02-2003, 21:28 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Russia , Political science, Political leaders

The official view is that Russia has ‘fought all the way’ to preserve its sovereignty and protect the rights of Kaliningrad’s inhabitants. As negotiations between Russia and the EU over the transit issue dragged on during 2002 the rhetoric coming from Moscow was uncompromising. The EU’s visa plans for Kaliningrad were “worse than the Cold War” and would “divide the sovereignty of Russia”. Mr. Putin, whose in-laws come from Kaliningrad oblast, “flatly rejected the visa plan” and Russia “will do its utmost to guarantee totally the rights of its citizens living in Kaliningrad”.[1]

Read more
 
The post-Kosovo Refugee Crisis: Italy - the Problem
HITS: 2444 | 17-01-2003, 05:28 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Albania, Global Events, War and peace

The majority of illegal immigrants enter Western Europe through the south-eastern Puglia region of Italy. The area is poor but it has two important ports, Bari and Brindisi, which connect Italy with the Balkans, Greece and Albania with regular ferry services used by many freight vehicles. A flat, scrubby coastline dotted with abandoned buildings makes clandestine landings from the small craft _ mainly fast rubber boats with outboard motors _ used by the Italian and Albanian smugglers (known as Scafisti) and the dispersal of their cargo of asylum seekers relatively easy.

It is general knowledge that most of the smuggling operates from southern Albania, from the port of Vlora (Italian Valona) from where high - powered speed boats that carry around 40 passengers usually evade the Italian coastguard patrols to reach the coast. Although the trade in refugees has been publicized widely since the Kosovo crisis _ many Kosovan refugees paid middlemen to arrange their departure from camps in Albania _ it has been going on for some time. In January 1998 BHHRG representatives saw groups of mainly young men making their way in broad daylight towards boats waiting along beach of the bay in Vlora. Police stood nearby doing nothing even though the new Albanian government (elected in summer 1997) had assured European governments of its commitment to stamp out the trade.

Read more
 
The post-Kosovo European Refugee Crisis
HITS: 2019 | 17-01-2003, 05:13 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Albania, Global Events, War and peace

With the end of the 78 day war between NATO and Yugoslavia, hundreds of thousands of Kosovar Albanians may have returned home, but a new refugee crisis has followed. During the summer, the British Helsinki Human Rights Group conducted several on-the-spot observation missions in Dover, Calais and south-eastern Italy to analyze the complex and controversial issues of political asylum, migration, and the role of the mafia in people smuggling.
Real Refugees, the Abuse of Asylum and Organized Crime
With the end of the 78 day war between NATO and Yugoslavia, hundreds of thousands of Kosovar Albanians may have returned home, but a new refugee has crisis followed. The flow of would-be asylum seekers claiming to be from Kosovo and trying to enter EU states has not stopped. During the summer several European countries reported an upsurge in the number of refugees arriving and seeking asylum, notably Great Britain, Germany, France and Italy. During the summer, the British Helsinki Human Rights Group conducted several on-the-spot observation missions in Dover, Calais and south-eastern Italy to analyze the complex and controversial issues of political asylum, migration, and the role of the mafia in people smuggling.

Read more
 
The post-Kosovo European Refugee Crisis: the final part
HITS: 1945 | 17-01-2003, 03:35 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Albania, Global Events, War and peace

The sight of hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing their homeland was the defining spectacle of the Kosovo crisis. However, like previous post-Cold War crises such as the Kurdish exodus in 1991 following the end of the Gulf War, Allied victory has not resolved the problem of displacement, just altered the parameters. The return of so many refugees to Kosovo has not stemmed the flow of would-be migrants, some from Kosovo others claiming to be from the province. They have joined the existing tide from other places.

Despite the existence of dictatorships and persecuting regimes, few of the arrivals in southern Italy, let alone those who make their way through safe countries like France to Britain, have serious claims for asylum. Only the Roma refugees from Kosovo formed a clearly persecuted group in the observers’ opinion. In practice it is those with the money to pay people-smugglers and with the daring to take the risks involved primarily young men who make up the bulk of asylum-seekers.

Read more
 
Roma refugees from Kosovo
HITS: 2188 | 17-01-2003, 02:00 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Albania, World health, War and peace

Bari: centro a prima acollienzo Bari Palese

One group of asylum-seekers in the reception centers visited by the BHHRG in southern Italy seemed to take the issue of refugee status very seriously and all had stories of persecution: the Roma or gypsies from Kosovo. Unlike other asylum-seekers who tend to enter Italy from Albania, in August hundreds of Roma refugees fled Kosovo through Montenegrin ports to Bari. The largest group arrived on 19th August. Roma refugees from Kosovo in southern Serbia had told representatives of the BHHRG in July that they wanted to go to Italy.

By 1st September, the influx stalled perhaps the drowning of up to 100 gypsies during the crossing from Montenegro in small fishing boats had acted as a disincentive to leave, for the moment at least. The cost to each person for the journey - 1000 to 2500 marks - amust also deter such large families.

Read more
 
The rule of law in Kosovo
HITS: 2082 | 7-01-2003, 18:06 | Comments: (0) | Categories: Serbia , PR and human rights, Political leaders

The situation in the international protectorate of Kosovo then is far removed from the success story described by spokesmen for both Kfor and UNMiK. This is in large part because of the distorting effect of the international presence, which stymies self-generated improvements in infrastructure and economic conditions. However the international community’s commitment to proper governance and the rule of law is nowhere more questionable than in the way it deals with suspected criminals - as the events which took place in Kosovo on 14th December 2001 demonstrate.
Around 1.30 pm that day, the last day of Ramadan, a unit of Italian carabinieri (military police) and other Kfor troops surrounded the offices in Djakova of two humanitarian organisations. They arrived with tanks and were surveyed by helicopters whirring above. The Director of one of the charities, the Global Relief Foundation, was in his office and he bid the soldiers and the police welcome. They responded by telling him to get out. He was threatened with beating and told to come with them. He was made to stand spread-eagled against a wall and his cap was violently pulled over his eyes so that he could not see. He was taken to the main military base in Djakova, where he was brutally pulled out of the vehicle by the face. He stumbled to the ground and the soldiers started to beat him. They pulled his up, causing him great pain in the process.

 

Read more
 

Human Rights TV

Loading...

Other sites

News

Egypt condemned over human rights record in northern Sinai - The Guardian
The Guardian Egypt condemned over human rights record in northern Sinai The Guardian Egypt's military campaign against insurgents in northern Sinai is harming thousands of civilians and risks ...

Human Rights on Agenda During Xi's US Visit - Voice of America
Voice of America Human Rights on Agenda During Xi's US Visit Voice of America China's human rights record will be one of the key issues discussed during a meeting between the U.S. and Chinese ...

George Osborne downplays China's human rights abuses as a 'different political ... - The Independent
The Independent George Osborne downplays China's human rights abuses as a 'different political ... The Independent �This is primarily an economic and financial dialogue, but of course we are ...



COUNTRIES


Albania

Armenia

Azerbaijan

Belarus

Bosnia Hercegovina

Bulgaria

Croatia

Czech Republic

France

Georgia

Great Britain

Hungary

Italy

Latvia

Macedonia

Moldova

Montenegro

Netherlands

Poland

Serbia

Slovakia

Ukraine

Uzbekistan

Yugoslavia

Cyprus

Estonia

Germany

Ireland

Romania

Russia

Sweden

United States

Lithuania

EU