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New Fines, Instructions Send Chilling Messages

As Russia reports record numbers of Covid-19 cases and deaths, authorities seem paradoxically concerned with preventing health workers from talking about the crisis, hospital overcrowding, and shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE).…
A medical specialist wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) takes a break at the City Clinical Hospital Number 15 which delivers treatment to COVID-19 patients in Moscow, Russia May 25, 2020.
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Ensure Transparency, End Institutional Care

Serbia has taken a positive step to better protect people from Covid-19 by agreeing to release data on the total number of Covid-19 infections and deaths inside social care institutions. People inside institutions are some of the most at-risk during…
A room in the Veternik Institution for children and adults with disabilities where 540 persons, including children with disabilities live. Up to eight people live in one room. © 2015 Emina Ćerimović for Human Rights Watch
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Russia Should Support Medical Aid via Syria-Iraq Border to Prevent Covid-19 Spread

The UN Security Council – including Russia – needs to act quickly to reauthorize medical aid deliveries from Iraq to Syria’s northeast to prevent further spread of Covid-19 that could devastate the region.    The council needs to move…
A medic checks the temperature of a man inside a health isolation centre which has been established on the Syrian-Turkish borders in order to place people coming from Turkey to Idlib as a preventive measure against the spread of COVID-19.
News

Civilians Need to be Protected as Coronavirus Cases Spread in Syria

After almost a decade of conflict, and with new cases of Covid-19 recorded across the country, at least four million people, a quarter of whom are displaced in camps, await the next disaster in northwest Syria. While much of the world was…
A surgical operation room is damaged after an airstrike hit a hospital in the town of Ariha, in Idlib province, Syria, January 30, 2020.
News

When Feeding, Protecting the Homeless from Covid-19 Becomes an Offense

While “Safe at Home” becomes a global motto, those without a home find themselves particularly vulnerable. In Moscow,  which now has  14,776 of Russia’s 24,490 officially registered Covid-19 cases, the homeless population, numbering…
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News

Reported Project Would Create Online Pass System

Moscow is considering a highly intrusive, online regime for enforcing the lockdown imposed this week to prevent the spread of COVID-19. As of April 1, Russia had recorded more than 2,300 cases, 1,630 of them in Moscow. According to one media…
A man wearing a protective face mask rides an empty train on the Moscow Metro, Russia, March 30, 2020.
News

COVID-19 Provides Excuse to Extend; New Monitoring Technology

Moscow’s officials are forging ahead with installing one of the world’s biggest surveillance camera systems equipped with facial recognition technology, despite protests from activists. The system is ostensibly to help in the fight against…
Two surveillance camera are seen in a street in Moscow, Russia
News

Overcrowding Conditions in Detention Facilities Leave Prison Population at Serious Risk

Some of the world’s top human rights bodies are issuing guidelines for how governments should deal with preventing and fighting the COVID-19 pandemic in prisons, and with good reason. People in custody do not enjoy the same hygiene and sanitation…
A view of Butyrka, one of Moscow’s pretrial detention facilities, 2020.
News

UN Committee Finds New Evidence of Violence in Institutions

A recent review of Serbia finds that the government is failing to protect women with disabilities in institutions from violence. In its report, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee) also…
A room in the Veternik Institution for children and adults with disabilities where 540 persons, including children with disabilities live. Up to eight people live in one room. © 2015 Emina Ćerimović for Human Rights Watch
News

Independent Group Closes, One of Several Slapped with Crippling Fines

Last week, a Russian group in Saratov, that for three decades has helped people living with diabetes, announced it was shutting down. According to the group’s leader, Larisa Saygina, its board members are “no longer willing to be…
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News

Government, Media Should Support Inclusion, not Fiction

A new Russian film, “Temporary Difficulties,” features a character named Sasha, born with cerebral palsy. A doctor tells his parents, “You can give him away and no one will judge you for it.” Although the film takes place during the…
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News

Shutdown of HIV Site the Latest Attack on Freedom of Expression

Earlier this week, Roskomnadzor, Russia’s federal agency responsible for overseeing online and media content, took steps to shutter ParniPlus, a website raising awareness about the exploding HIV epidemic among men who have…
An anti-gay rights activist shows a badge during a flash mob organized by gay rights protesters in St. Petersburg May 17, 2012.
News

Discriminatory Ruling Breaks Up Family

A Russian court ruled earlier this month that 40-year-old Yulia Savinovskikh is unfit to foster two children with disabilities, claiming that because she allegedly exudes a “style of male behavior,” she violated Russian family legislation as well…
“Sometime and somewhere there used to be summer,” Yulia Savinovskikh posted to Facebook in November 2017 after guardianship agency officials removed two foster children from her care.
News

Discriminatory Assumptions Land Children in Orphanage

When Yulia Savinovskikh had a double mastectomy in July, she was aware of the likely physical side effects of the surgery. But she felt the procedure was worth it; after three pregnancies, her breasts were causing her pain and other…
Two boys who were under the care of foster parent Yulia Savinovskikh until August 2017.
News

Investigate Abuse Allegations at the ‘Mercy’ Wing

One day in mid-July Alexander Kupriyanov, a psychiatrist from the Russian city of Briansk, opened his email to find several video clips, sent to him anonymously. The grainy videos, with time stamps ranging from May to June 2017, show several residents in…
Screenshot of a resident in the Trubchevsk psycho-neurological institution in the Briansk region chained to a metal frame.
News

Roma Afflicted with Lead Poisoning in UN-Run Camps

The United Nations may be undermining its own efforts to promote human rights, at a time when rights are under threat worldwide. That’s the view of a UN panel of experts, which investigated complaints of human rights violations by…
Roma children play in the Cesmin Lug Camp outside Trepca mine, on the outskirts of Mitrovica, June 22, 2009.
News

Russian Lawmakers Put Children at Risk

If hitting an adult is considered assault, should it be permissible to hit children? More and more countries recognize that the answer is “no.” Since 2001, the number of countries that have banned all corporal punishment of children has more than…
Russian activist protesting decriminalization of domestic violence in front of Russia’s state parliament building.
News

Government Should Implement Law Providing for Inclusive Education

Today, September 1st, will be an exciting first day of school for most Serbian children. But for many children with disabilities, it will be just one more day without a chance to learn, make friends, and interact with peers and teachers. Take for…
A living room in Veternik Institution where children and adults with disabilities spend most of their days. There are no toys, education materials, or carpets on the floor. The only available source of stimulation is a TV attached to the wall.
News
The day Julija was born should have been a day of celebration for Jasmina and Ivica Čuković, a Serbian couple, who had tried for years to have a baby. But the events following their daughter’s birth in a public hospital in Belgrade, Serbia’s capital, left…
Julija Čuković, who spent ten months of her life in an institution, at home in Kragujevac with her parents, where she enjoys to play with her younger sister, also in the photo. © 2016 Zoran Stamenković