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The International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF) talked about offences against human rights in the CIS.

Vienna, 4 October 2004 - The International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF) today published a set of interventions on human rights violations in the participating States of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which are submitted to the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meeting to be held on 4 to 15 October 2004 in Warsaw.

The IHF is concerned, for example, about:
  - Many recent elections in the OSCE region have been riddled with irregularities. In addition, there are serious concerns about the upcoming elections in Ukraine, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan: it appears that in all these countries the elections will fall short of international standards for democratic, free and fair elections.
  - The presidential election campaign in Ukraine has been biased due to government support to one candidate and the use of public funds to promote him. Supporters of opposition candidates have been intimidated and threatened.
  - In Turkmenistan, the official policy appears to gradually but forcefully assimilate the minorities. Only ethnic Turkmens are hired in the public sector.
  - In Russia, those perceived Caucasian or “Gypsy” background, face daily threats as potential terrorists.
  - In the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Roma women have reportedly been sterilized without full and informed consent. The governments have failed to deal adequately with the problem.
  - In Russia, Central Asian OSCE states and Croatia, among other countries, outspoken journalists are attacked and even killed. At least 15 journalists have been killed in Russia since 2000 in connection with their work.
  - In Russia, scientists and journalists reporting on sensitive issues face “spy charges” and long prison terms. During the Beslan tragedy, Russian authorities attempted to curtail all independent reporting about it.
  - Human rights defenders are being harassed, ill-treated and arrested in many countries. In Chechnya, 13 activists have been killed in the past four years and 141 ill-treated.
  - Following the Beslan tragedy, there have been voices demanding lifting of the moratorium on the death penalty as an anti-terrorism measure in Russia. In any case, the moratorium can be lifted as soon as jury courts are introduced throughout Russia. This would mean that people could be sentenced to death by a criminal justice system that is still far from meeting the minimal international standards.
  - Numerous violations on internationally accepted human rights standards and humanitarian law continue in Chechnya, including arbitrary arrests and unlawful detentions, torture, “disappearances,” and extra judicial killings of civilians. The perpetrators have been the military, the FSB or other Russian law enforcement agencies, all with impunity. Russian military have also bombed civilian objects. Chechen fighters have killed “collaborators,” taken civilians’ hostage, and used “suicide bombers” against innocent people. One of the few Russian Federation officials, who attempted to take measures to put an end to impunity for atrocities, was Rashid Ozdoev, a deputy prosecutor of Ingushetia. In March 2004, he was arrested by the FSB and “disappeared.” Violence has increasingly spilled over to Ingushetia.
  - In Belarus, new regulations and practices have dramatically restricted the operation of organizations linked to the political opposition and independent NGOs, the formation of independent trade unions, and the right to peaceful assembly. The wave of threats to and liquidations of NGOs affects the whole of Belarusian civil society.

For more information see: http://www.ihf-hr.org/

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