14 June 2021
Source: Moscow Helsinki Group
On May 12th we celebrated an important event for us – the 45th anniversary of the Moscow Helsinki Group. Over the course of four decades, we have followed our mission, promoting adherence to human rights and building a legal, democratic state in Russia, in which human life, dignity, and personal freedom are the highest values. Our history has been full of difficulties and defiance, misfortunes and victories. We are thankful to all who have been and remain with us on this path.
We are proud of our history and simultaneously understand that we still have a long way ahead of us. Perhaps we will all need to put in another 45 years of consistent, laborious work to see the results of the effort put in by the human rights movement, so that the highest value of human rights becomes a part of the culture and politics of our country, is protected by laws and institutions, and becomes an intrinsic part of our everyday lives.
Over the past year with you we have done a great deal.
We continued to develop our activities in important strategic directions:
- tracking dangerous changes in laws and the practice of their application, to inform society and authorities about risks and dangers in our role as “human rights watchdog”
- human rights education, preservation and transfer of knowledge and experience to a new generation of human rights defenders
- protection and support for participants in the human rights movement, including through presentation of the yearly MHG prize in the field of human rights and freedoms
- international solidarity and promotion of human rights at a global level and in the post-Soviet region
- organization of a system of work with victims for restitution for their violated rights
We observed compliance with the right to assembly and we monitored deaths caused by the state within the “No Losses” project. We launched an internship program for students and young professionals who want to protect human rights. We gathered information about the work of courts during the pandemic and supported the “Grey Zone” coalition project, monitoring the spread of respiratory illness within penitentiary institutions. We held press conferences, lectures, expert discussions, held the yearly interregional human rights conference and presented the annual awards in the field of protection of human rights to outstanding individuals.
As previously, we strove to actively participate in the formation of the country’s human rights agenda, to be a starting point for new ideas and initiatives and to support colleagues in various regions.
For more details on the work we did in 2020 you can look at our annual report.
Today MHG needs your support.
Unfortunately, current legislation does not permit us to receive foreign aid without suffering a restriction of our rights and the threat of closure. At the same time, the grant programmes created by the Russian authorities to support civil society organizations have been refusing to support us for several years now. In these circumstances our ability to continue and expand our activities depends on private donations from Russian citizens!
[We have cut out the information provided here on making donations, since Moscow Helsinki Group cannot receive donations from foreign citizens or entities – ed.]
The corridor of freedom narrows each year, but your support will help us to continue the defence of human rights.
Translated by Alyssa Rider