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The UHHRU has become a full member of the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights

At the annual general meeting of the IHF which took place in Sofia (Bulgaria) from 16 to 19 November this year, the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union was unanimously given status as a full member of this important international human rights organization.

Until now the UHHR had had the status of a cooperating committee, which it received in autumn 2004. The International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights is an international human rights organization created in 1982 on the initiative of the Helsinki Committees of Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the USA. There are at present 44 organizations from different countries in the Federation.

During this year’s IHF annual meeting, human rights defenders discussed human rights issues in OSCE countries, issues of human rights violations in the fight against terrorism and other important questions.

Plans were also discussed for joint actions by the Federation. Particular attention will be paid during the next year to the issue of protection of human rights defenders in CIS countries. This is an especially acute issue in Belarus, Russia, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and in other countries where human rights organizations are on the verge of closure, and where their employees are systematically subjected to pressure from the law enforcement agencies.

Within the framework of this international project, UHHRU will during the next year begin monitoring violations of the rights of human rights defenders in Ukraine.

The conference also discussed where the next IHF Conference would be held. At the moment two cities are competing and having virtually equal chances: Helsinki and Kyiv. The final decision for where human rights defenders from OSCE will next meet will be made in February – March 2007 at the session of the IHF Executive Committee.

Volodymyr Yavorsky

UHHRU

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