Brief information about the
All-Russian Public Movement “For Human Rights” activities
The All-Russian Public Movement “For Human Rights” (FHR) is a non-governmental human rights organization which provides direct human rights and development assistance, while working to defend civil rights and fundamental freedoms of Russian citizens regardless of their social and material positions, gender, age, nationality, religion, place of residence, and profession. The statutory goal of the Movement is to support the development of the rule of law and civil society in the Russian Federation.
Established in 1997 by famous human rights and public activists, FHR is today one of the oldest and largest organizations of its kind in Russia. It has 57 regional offices in different Russian regions, including the North Caucasus Federal District. More than 100 local and regional human rights organizations, civil associations, independent trade unions, and individual civil activists are members of the Movement. The Central Office of the Movement is situated in Moscow.
Currently FHR operates as a so-called “Resource center” for NGOs, civil associations and other initiatives, as well as for individual activists. The Movement’s capabilities allow it to support them in the form of providing information, experts, office (for meetings), and other services free of charge.
The Movement has close ties with local, regional and federal state authorities, as well as with state human rights institutions (the Ombudsman in the Russian Federation, Ombudsman for the rights of children in the Russian Federation, regional Ombudsmen, the Public Chamber, the Presidential Council for the development of civil society and human rights). It interacts with them during its standard activities and during providing assistance to small and young NGOs in solving of their problems, and it frequently achieves success.
FHR is engaged in the following types of activities:
1. Providing direct human rights assistance to the following categories of citizens:
· Prison inmates and persons in custody;
· Orphans and children without parental care;
· Military men;
· People suffered from the housing reform;
· Politically persecuted individuals (especially human rights, civil activists, journalists) and their families (advocacy, legal aid);
· Individual activists and human rights organizations operating in challenging environments (the republics of Dagestan, Chechnya, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria) (material and technical aid, capacity building and training).
The Movement has the Central and Regional public receptions, which daily receive citizens’ complaints in the form of letters, telephone calls, e-mail and private visits. Within its standard work on such complaints it uses the following methods:
1) Consideration of appeals and immediate response on them. Providing fee legal advice to victims of human rights violations;
2) Preparation of necessary documents to be submitted to Russian state and state human rights institutions and, when required, to inter-state human rights institutions.
3) Involvement of lawyers and Bar Associations in protecting the rights of citizen, including issues of human rights defenders. In case of need (massive citizens’ rights violations or insufficient competence of local human rights activists) lawyers and legal experts Movement will be dispatched to regions, where they are needed.
4) Holding public inquiries into flagrant violations human rights violations – involving citizens, civil activists, lawyers, state and state human rights institutions, and mass media.
5) Raising public and media awareness about human rights issues; holding ”round tables”, press conferences, and public hearings on concrete cases of human rights violations;
6) Advocacy of initiating with local, regional and federal authorities, as well as international institutions, in order to accept and introduce necessary reforms in social work with the most unprotected categories of citizens, and to comply with the Convention of the UN and European Council.
7) Publication of the implementation and results of the Project in publications like “For Human Rights” newspaper, as well as the website of the Movement, and readily accessible media.
8) Distribution of information gathered through project activities to international fora, in particular UN, the Council of Europe and Advocacy activities.
Hereby, the All-Russian Public Movement “For Human Rights” has provided human rights assistance to hundred of thousands of citizens on the whole territory of the country.
2. Strengthening of civil society’s role in public life of the country and increasing of its influence on state policy formation in the field of guarantees of the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The Movement supports NGOs, civil associations, and different civil initiatives aimed at human rights protection, developing of the rule of law and democratic society. It contributes to unite such organizations in Networks in order to provide mutual assistance during their work on concrete problems, to strengthen horizontal links, to exchange experience and information, to share experience with young organizations and civil activists.
Hereby, the Movement initiated the establishment of such networks as:
· Network of NGOs and voluntary organizations for defense of the rights of orphans and children without parental care;
· The Moscow Movement “Housing Solidarity” aimed at the protection of housing rights in Moscow and Moscow Region;
· “Parents for defense of the rights of prisoners” association;
· The association of former prisoners;
· The Movement for defense of the rights of military men;
· The Public Committee “For a radical reform of the police”.
3. Work on the modernization of State institutions of the Russian Federation (Ministry of Internal Affaires (MIA), Federal Penitentiary System (FPS), and State institutions which work on the problems of orphans and children without parental care).
Within these activities the Movement consolidated efforts of public organizations and individual experts, and established “working groups” for the preparation of proposals and draft laws to improve these state Authorities.
FHR closely interacts with State institutions, as well as with State Human Rights institutions (the Public Chamber, the Ombudsman in the Russian Federation, regional Ombudsmen, the Presidential Council for the development of civil society and human rights), so it constantly consults with them during the preparation of proposals to reform these institutions, and submits complete package of proposals for their consideration.
Besides, the Movement interacts with the US NGOs for the protection of the rights of prison inmates. It held the conference of NGOs for the protection of the rights of prisoners in the context of the MacFaul-Surkov meeting on May 2010. The second meeting will take place in Washington DC on November 2010.
Some of our proposals (for instance: the establishment of independent public monitoring committees for the exercise of public control over correctional facilities and places of detention; the establishment of similar committees for the exercise of public control over child care facilities; decrease of a number of employees of the MIA, establishment of the video monitoring in militia stations, etc) were approved by the Presidential Administration.
Currently the Movement is working on the preparation of members of these monitoring committees: (publishing study materials, holding trainings and workshops, etc), and monitors the respect for these laws.
4. Work on ecological problems
The Movement has begun to work on ecological problems in 2009. Within its activities It took active part in the protection of Khimki forest and especially the editor of the “Khimki truth” (Khimkinskaya pravda) magazine Mikhail Beketov. Currently the Movement protects the ecological organization “Baikal ecological wave” from a political persecution. The Movement intends to develop its work on this direction.
Lev Ponomarev is a head of the All-Russian Public Movement “For Human Rights”.
Lev Ponomarev was born on September 2, 1941 in the city of Tomsk. He received a Ph.D. from the Moscow Physics and Technology Institute in 1965. In 1988 he was the initiator and one of the founders of the All-Russian society for the perpetuation of the memory of victims of political repression “Memorial”. In 1989, Lev Ponomarev was a trusted aide to Andrey Sakharov during the elections for People’s Deputies of the USSR. In 1989–1990, he actively participated in pre-election addresses and large scale peaceful democratic demonstrations. He is a joint founder of the All-Russia political movement ‘Democratic Russia’. Between 1990–1995 he served as a State Duma Deputy. In 1997 he was a key founded of the Regional organization for human rights protection “Hot Line” and the All-Russian Public Movement “For Human Rights”.
Lev Ponomarev is the initiator and one of the most active members of the ‘Common Action’ initiative group, which unites high-profile representatives of the Russian human rights community. He was one of the main organizers of the All-Russia Emergency Congress for the Defence of Human Rights, in January 2001. He is one of the founders of the Russian National Committee ‘For the end of the war and the establishing of peace in the Chechen Republic’.
Lev Ponomarev is a co-chairman of the All-Russian association of the Public Control association of independent observers of the Russian Federation, which was organized in 2008.