My favorite photo of Lyudmila was taken in 1973. Lyuda with a group of friends, sitting on a couch, arms around each other, joyful in their camaraderie. A few years later, in 1976, they would form the Moscow Helsinki Group to report on violations of human rights in their country. In doing so, they became victims themselves. Within a short time, most of their members were gone, sentenced to prison or labor camp, followed by internal exile. In 1977, Lyuda was forced into exile; she settled in the United States, where she became the group's official representative abroad.
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Russia’s “Gay Propaganda” Law Imperils LGBT Youth
Violence, Abuse; Denied Opportunity to Apply for Asylum
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In February 2017, parliament decriminalized first instances of battery among family members. Some took this as confirmation that beating their wives is acceptable.
In this special feature, Emina Ćerimović and photographer Zalmaï investigate the mental health crisis facing asylum seekers on the island of Lesbos.
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Lesbos, a postcard-perfect vacation island in the northern Aegean Sea, is a haven for people fleeing war in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. It symbolizes the hope that somewhere in Europe there is refuge. It is also a graveyard for the countless corpses that have washed ashore on its beautiful coastline. And it’s hell for the thousands who are trapped there, victims of the European Union’s determination to stem the tide of asylum seekers and other migrants by sending a message that they are unwelcome. For all of its natural beauty, there is much fear on Lesbos. Fear caused by the traumas of war, violence and displacement and of harsh camp conditions, insecurity and uncertain futures. Fear of rejection, detention, and deportation. Fear of going to the toilet in the dark at night, or not eating after two hours in a food line. Fear of lice and scabies. Fear of winter, cold and damp.
Metal towers of lights reached out of the sea and flames belched into the midnight sky as the Aquarius reached Bouri Field, the largest oilfield in the Mediterranean, about 65 nautical miles north of Libya. I had been sitting cross-legged on deck of this rescue ship, listening to a group of West African men telling unbearable stories of captivity and brutality in Libya, the country they had just fled. Amadou concluded, to earnest nods all around, “God left Libya a long time ago.”
“What will happen to us?” “Will they fingerprint us?” was the constant refrain as we watched a human wave of asylum seekers and migrants from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan crossing the Serbia-Hungary border.