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Amnesty Masterclass ‘Human rights in Russia’

Wednesday November 6th 2019 | 19:00 – 22:00 | Amnesty International office, Keizersgracht 177, Amsterdam |

This summer, thousands of people (among them – many students and other young people) have taken to the streets of Moscow and other large cities to demand their rights. Hundreds have been arrested, many fined, a smaller group ended up in prison. Just for protesting. While the space for freedom of expression, association and assembly in Russia has been shrinking and many have been prosecuted, attacked fined or jailed for expressing their opinion, civil society activists and human rights defenders have been finding ways to express solidarity, promote human rights and advocate for justice. Is there a way to support those efforts? And what is relevant to other parts of Europe?  

Human rights are not only a theoretical construct but also a practical instrument to react to public problems. Human rights optics are based on values but also on norms and standards, agreed by the States in the conventions that give leverage to act even in complicated environments. Yet, human rights are not only for lawyers, experts or state officials – as an idea, they are to be shared and defended by people of different backgrounds and occupations, across different borderlines.

During the Masterclass, human rights defenders from Russia will give examples of fruitful actions despite government pressure and discuss what makes the idea of human rights relevant and inspiring. This Amnesty Masterclass aims to stir critical thinking and motivate students towards further engagement both in Dutch and international human rights initiatives. Building on the civic diplomacy, legal action and citizen oversight trainings that the speakers conduct in Russia, we will discuss how we can use human rights and international solidarity as practical instruments to respond to current challenges.

Speakers:

  • Dmitri Makarov, co-chair of the Coordinating council of the international Youth Human Rights Movement, a network with a mission to bring about a new generation of human rights activists in the post-Soviet space, co-chair of Moscow Helsinki group, the eldest acting human rights organization in Russia. Lawyer by training with experience of working with the ECHR and the UN bodies.  
  • Alexandra Pintelina, participant of the international Youth Human Rights Movement, graduate of the Moscow Open School of Human Rights and of masterclasses on citizen oversight and international solidarity. One of the coordinators of the citizen oversight initiative “United Group of Public Observers” (ogonwatch.org), where she coordinates assembly and court monitoring. Student of philosophy and conflict studies.