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16 avril 2008 

Valedictory to Anahit Bayandur

It is hard for me to write about it. Never and in no way could I imagine writing about my friend and colleague Anahit Bayandur in the past. Once I could not imagine that I would lose my native sister. But that did happen. Now I have lost my sister in spirit. News of her death is sad and grave...

More info here

SIDU and HCA 20 years anniversary

HCA France is organising in partnership with HCA Turkey and with the HCA international network a SIDU youth meeting in Sile and Istanbul, Turkey in September 2010. Read more here

Then the HCA international network will hold a 20 years anniversary conference in Istanbul, Turkey from 1-3 October 2010.

More info here

Shame on you, Prime Minister

“Look, there are 170,000 Armenians in my country ; 70,000 of them are my citizens. But we are tolerating another 100,000. So, what will I do tomorrow, I will say to those 100,000, it’s time for you to go back to your land ; I will do this. Why ? Because they are not my citizens… I have no obligation to keep them in my country. This is to say that they [the Armenians] take our cordial approach negatively, and they are not aware of it.”

Read full text

STATEMENT 13/08/08 on the current situation in Tskhinvlai Region, by HCA Georgia / For urgent dissemination : People need help.

In Georgian villages of the Tskhinvali region under connivance of the so-called Russian peacekeeper, Ossetian marauders burn houses, bring out belongings of the local population, beat local residents of the elder age who was not able to move from the conflict zone. Currently it happens in Tkviavi, Disevi is burning, Nikozi is destroyed. Paramilitary troops appeared in Gori searching houses for armaments and local population. Red Cross is not allowed to enter villages in order to transport locals and dead bodies. There are no other international organizations in the region. OSCE Mission withdrew its employees during the first days of conflict.


Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Georgian National Committee 13/08/08


We, the undersigned Armenian Non-Governmental Organizations, call upon the deputies of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to adopt a resolution that will contribute to the resolution of the gravest political crisis in the history of modern Armenia. (...)

The response of the international community to the rigged 19 February elections, the 1 March brutal crackdown on peaceful demonstrations, and the unlawful imposition of the state of emergency, as well as modifications in the law on assemblies, which effectively eliminated right of free assembly in Armenia, has been shocking. The unprecedented consolidation of civil society and more than 25 parties in a nation-wide pro-democracy movement was essentially ignored by the democratic community of Europe. (...) Read full text

March 31, 2008 : Our HCA spokeswoman Arzu Abdullayeva starts starvation action in Azerbaidjan

Dear friends,

Public figures join the starvation action started by Eynulla Fatullayev, the editor in chief of the newspapers "Gundalik Azerbaijan" and "Realniy Azerbaijan" who was sentenced for 8 and half years of imprisonment for defamation.

Firstly, today on March 31, 2008, Arzu Abdullayeva, the chair of the Committee on Protection of the Freedom of Speech joined the action.
It must be noted that Arzu Abdullayeva is the co-chair of the International Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly and the chair of the National Committee of the Organization. In 1993 she was awarded with "Olaf Palme" International Peace Prize. Besides, in 1998 she was the laureate of the award of the US Government and European Union for "For Efforts in Building Democracy". Novella Jafaroghlu, the chair of the Women Rights’ Protection Society named after Dilara Jafaroghlu was also awarded with the same prize.

The Committee has also sent the information to civil society and asked public figures to join the action and efforts for the release of the imprisoned journalists who are recognized as prisoners of conscience by international organizations. In the Appeal it is stated that the pressure by the authorities against the freedom of speech has reached the extent of murdering, inflicting wounds with knife, beating, slandering, and imprisoning journalists with injustice sentences. Such situation causes enhancement of the authorities’ conviction of impunity and disgrades the reputation of the state internationally.

Helsinki Citizens Assembly, Azerbaijan National Committee, March 31st, 2008

March 25-31, 2008 : Russian Week against Homophobia (RWAHO)

"It’s been 15 years since criminal prosecution of male homosexuality was finally repealed in Russia. For almost a decade same-sex attraction is no longer considered pathological among mainstream Russian medical specialists. But still Russian society as a whole embodies strong negative attitudes and intolerance towards men and women of homosexual orientation based on prejudice and misinformation. It leads to widespread violation of human rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBT), as well as to hate crimes - physical violence based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Low level of sex education is the ground for promoting fear, hatred and extremely fascist ideas by organizations and public figures of particular kind. That’s why homophobia is dangerous not only for LGBT themselves, but for the entire society, where the tendency for suppressing any individuality is being instilled..."

We publish with much comitment the press release concerning the Russian Week against Homophobia, which some of our Russian partners contribute to. To read.

See also : Struggle for LGBT rights as a part of struggle for Human Rights and against fascism

Kosovo : A country without an economy ?

Media coverage of Kosovo’s recent Unilateral Declaration of Independence has focused on the risk of conflict with Serbia, and the broader geopolitical risks for unresolved separatist struggles in Bosnia and the former Soviet Union. Many in the international peace movement blame the western powers for the violent break-up of former Yugoslavia. But Kosovo’s independence reveals another dimension of the west’s criminal responsibility in the destruction and re-colonisation of Eastern Europe since 1989. The newly independent state of Kosovo has no economy to speak of, and its poor and undereducated population are dependent on remittances from family abroad, smuggling, and foreign aid.

By Adam Novak Read the article

March 2nd, 2008. Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly-Vanadzor condemns the violence used against peaceful strikers.

HCA Vanadzor expects support from international civil power and human rights organizations to resist establishment of totalitarianism in Armenia. Press release.

WHOLE STORY, by HCA-Vanadzor : Our Struggle is the Justice, Our Struggle is the Victory” - the Rally Participants Shouted (29/02/2008)

Pushing Missile Defense in Europe

Joanne Landy is a cofounder of HCA. Together with Thomas Harrison, she has published this text on February 22, 2008 in Foreign Policy In Focus :

With the occupation of Iraq soon to enter its sixth year and the looming possibility of war against Iran, it’s easy for Americans not to notice the Bush administration’s attempt to expand the U.S. military presence in Europe. A new Cold War between the United States and Russia threatens. And the U.S. media is paying little attention.

Even many in the peace movement don’t know that Washington has proposed to install 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar military base in the Czech Republic. The missiles and radar taken together constitute an anti-missile system purportedly meant to defend against Iran and other “rogue” states. In fact, they represent a new expansion of U.S. global military power and an escalation of the arms race with Russia. Opposition to the proposed U.S. installations, however, is gathering force within Poland and the Czech Republic. And even the U.S. Congress has shown a measure of skepticism. The expansion of U.S. military presence in Eastern Europe is far from a done deal.

Click here.

Letter from Bernard Dreano, February 2008

Dear friends,

You remember that, in September 2006, we had to face an astonishing hostility when we had organized our Armenian-Turkish dialogue meeting in Lyon, before our Sidu meting in Die. Because of Armenian nationalist pressure, the meeting was banned by the social-democrat
mayor of Lyon and finally took place in the neighbouring city of Villeurbanne.

This year precisely in this very city of Villeurbanne, Sirma Oran-Martz was expelled form the Socialist-Green platform for the next municipal election by the social-democrat mayor Jean-Paul Bret. The reason ? Sirma was accused of "negation of the Armenian genocide" by
Armenian nationalist because of what she had declared during ... our HCA meeting in 2006 !

Those who were present at this meeting certainly do not remember Sirma as a Turkish nationalist denying the event of 1915 ! But during the meeting, an Armenian participant (arrived at the very end of it) had violently polimized with her as if she was a representative of MHP (Turkish ultra nationalist) !

The eviction of Sirma became immediately a major case because she is the daughter of Baskin Oran, the well known Turkish democrat, and because it was used by some Armenian nationalist to attack Baskin as a "negationist" himself and an agent of the Turkish state. Among these
is Ara Toranian, the chief editor of Armen-news, a former ASALA member and a figure of the Armenian Diaspora in France (ASALA, the Armenian secret army, was a radical armed group in the 70s).

Much more than Sirma herself, these attacks are targeting the process of Armenian-Turkish dialogue taking place in France, as well as in Turkey and Armenia (see below the Armenian Turkish joint celebration of Hrant Dink in Paris).

Of course the Turkish nationalist are also using the event to spread their anti-Armenian propaganda, through their organisations in France as well as in Turkey, where the case had a great coverage in the press.

We (French HCA) are also in the turmoil, because we know Sirma, because we work with French Turkish and Armenian organisations, etc. I wrote a text on the case and I am now involved in a public polemic with Ara Toranian. But may be it will be positive in the end because it could be a way to speak openly about the Armenian-Turkish dialogue, the memory of the genocide and the prospect for peace and reconciliation.

Bernard Dreano, February 9th, 2008

Commemoration of Hrant Dink & Turkish-Armenian dialogue in Paris, Saturday 26th of January 2008

On Saturday 26th of January 2008, 600 persons were gathered in the town hall of the Xth district of Paris to commemorate Hrant Dink together half of them from Turkish origin and half from Armenian Diaspora. Organisers were ACORT (Association of the Citizens of Turkish origin in France), ELELE (Turkish Association for Migration and Culture in France), CRDA (Research Center for the Armenian Diaspora in France), AAA (Armenian Audiovisual
de> Association) and the group Hos and Shimdi (here and now). Of course AEC (HCA-France) was supporting this initiative.

The audience was deeply moved when looking at an interview with Hrant by the French channel TV5 and participating in a debate on a Turkish television... Fethiye Çetin explained the fight for a fair and transparent criminal trial of the killers and the prosecution of the real responsible persons of the crime. Aris Nalci explained the legacy of Hrant and the fight of the Armenian Turkish newspaper Agos and professor Baskin ORAN who made a general survey of the situation of Turkey one year after the assassination.

Members of the NGOs organising the meeting underlined the importance of listening to each other between Turks and Armenians including both diasporas. Proposal of a common action was presented, calling for a collaboration on
memories in order to contribute for peace and reconciliation between both peoples. There were a lot of questions from the audience in an atmosphere of mutual respect. It was not the first Armenian-Turkish meeting of that kind (French HCA, ACORT, CRDA had already organised some in 2006 and 2007) : it was the first of this scale in an official building of the French republic. An historical event. At the end participants shared himrik - irmik halva together... Bernard Dreano

Европейская неделя против расизма в футболе (17-30 октября 2007)

By Never Again (Poland). Click here.

Call for support from Youth Human Rights Movement (Russia, August 2007)

Dear friends and colleagues !

In early August 2007 we learned that the International Youth Human Rights Movement (YHRM) had been declared "inactive" and has been deprived of its status as a legal entity by a court decision in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia on the demand of the Federal Registration Service. The decision was taken on June 13, yet the Coordination Council of YHRM learned abut it only by accident, almost a month and a half later, since the court nor the registration service had notified us.

We would like to state that we definitely are not going to stop our work. At the same time any kind of support from our partners and friends would be appreciated. Read More...

See also the interview conducted with ANDREY YUROV. (YHRM honorary president)

This is the Press Release issued 23/08/07 in Geneva by the OBSERVATORY FOR THE PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS (OMCT-FIDH), entitled : "RUSSIAN FEDERATION : Federal Law on NGOs has led to serious violations of freedom of association". This press release notably mentions our HCA member Youth Human Rights Movement (YHRM).

And here in German, the supporting press release of YHRM-Berlin.


HCA-Vanadzor (Armenia). A light appearing in the dark (04/07/2007)

Organization of visits of the Armenian and Azeri intelligentsia to Armenia, Azerbaijan and Nagorno Karabakh, which was initiated by the Armenian and Azeri Ambassadors in the Russian Federation, their meeting in the highest levels had an impact of a light “appearing” in the dark. It strengthened the hope that peace-building activity still has a big unused potential in its depth. The most important thing was that the visit of intelligentsia took place not through a third country but crossing the Armenian-Azeri border. Read More...

From one presidential election to another : Scapegoats, the Bosphorus and the river Maroni... About France, Turkey and doubtless about the future. By Bernard Dreano, HCA co-chair of Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly (June 2007)

One presidential election has just taken place in France while another in Turkey has not taken place at all. Are they two completely separate events or does one reflect the other ? Read More...

German Version : "Von einer Präsidentschaftswahl zur nächsten : Sündenbockdenken, der Bosporus und der Maroni... Über Frankreich, die Türkei und sicherlich die Zukunft." Click here...

Portuguese Version : "De uma presidencial à outra : Bode expiatório, Bósforo e Maroni. A propósito da França, da Turquia e certamente do futuro." Click here...

French Version : "D’une présidentielle l’autre. Tête de Turc, Bosphore et Maroni... A propos de la France, de la Turquie et sans doute de l’avenir." Click here...

Statement by Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly International To Council of Europe regarding the freedom of speech and freedom of press in Azerbaijan (25/06/07)

Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly expresses its concern concerning the developed complicated situation in Azerbaijan regarding the freedom of speech and persecution of journalists which are accompanied with beatings and arrests. It is unacceptable that such a situation occurs in a country which has joined European Convention on Human Rights and is a member of European Organizations such as Council of Europe and OSCE. Read More...

Bernard Dreano, Arzu Abdullayeva, Co-chairs of Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly International, 25.06.07


The press release which has been issued on the web site of the Office of the Chief of General Staff on June 8, 2007 is an unacceptable statement in terms of democracy, rule of law, and human rights.

In the concerned statement :

a) Peace, freedoms and democracy defenders are directly TARGETED through being defined as “individuals and organizations using these concepts AS A SCREEN FOR THE TERRORIST ORGANIZATION .” Read More...

From HCA-Turkey 08 June 2007 : Another ultimatum from the Turkish military

A little over than a month ago, about midnight of April 27, the General Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces had issued out an ultimatum, which emphasized the critical threats to the Republic : the dictated & undisputable form of secularism threatened by participation of islam-oriented actors in civil, political and social life ; and by the upcoming elections. The announcement also highlighted that the military was against any debates (and thus those who debate) about the fundamental values of the Republic, that is the status quo.
Last midnight, June 7, The Chief of General Staff of the Turkish Military Forces made another official statement, which is posted on the official web site of the General Staff in Turkish. This one focuses on the Kurdish issue, on the grounds of separatist terrorist acts. Read more...


From Youth Human Rights Movement : Russian-Georgian Youth Civic Dialogue

Youth of Georgia and Russia !

Today we apply to you, apply to each other, because we are ashamed. We are ashamed that political ambitions, poor judgment and aggression of our state leaderships might lead to our miscommunication and estrangement. We are ashamed that after wine, “Borjomi” and possibility to visit each other without visas, we may loose our associates. We do not want rising generations to forget enduring friendship of the Russian and Georgian peoples and remember only confrontation and conflicts. Read More...

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