The Stockholm Process – strengthening human rights defenders in the North Caucasus

The Stockholm Process aims to increase awareness among decision makers about the continuing human rights violations in the North Caucasus, and to empower the brave human rights defenders in the region who are under constant pressure because of the work that they do.

On 19-24 of November 2010 a large group of human rights defenders from the region gathered in Stockholm to discuss concrete measures in order to strengthen the rule of law and improve the human rights situation in the North Caucasus. The participants attended a training in digital media and communication, organised by Civil Rights Defenders and the Swedish Institute. And on the 24 of November an open seminar about Dagestan took place in the Civil Rights Defenders premises.

We sent a letter to the president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). We wanted to draw his and the other member’s attention to the lack of effective implementation of the Assembly’s Resolution 1738 (2010) “Legal remedies for human rights violations in the North Caucasus region,” which was based on the June 1 report by the Committee’s rapporteur, Dick Marty.

Despite Russia’s declaration in April 2009 that the nearly decade-long counter terrorism operation against the separatists in Chechnya is over, the situation in the entire North Caucasus is still far from stable. After a decrease in enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions in 2007 and 2008, the violence in the region has been rising again. Dagestan has now taken over Chechnya’s position as the most violent region in the North Caucasus and the lives of human rights defenders are threatened on a daily basis.

Supporting and coordinating these activists’ work, and increasing their safety, is a prerequisite for improving the observance of human rights in the North Caucasus in general.

To book interviews with our participants, please contact Natasha Jevtic Esbjörnson, Head of Communications at Civil Rights Defenders, 0709-14 63 43.

List of participants available for interviews: Participants at conference: Stockholm Process

Brief background

Human rights defenders in the North Caucasus live under constant threat. They fear for their lives and the lives and health of their families. To support them, so that they can continue their important work, Civil Rights Defenders initiated the Stockholm Process during a conference for human rights defenders in November 2009 in Stockholm.

Just before the EU-summit with Russia last year, Civil Rights Defenders gathered a large group of human rights defenders from the North Caucasus to discuss concrete recommendations to improve the human rights situation in the region, which we then presented to Swedish and European decision makers before the summit with Russia.

The conference offered the human rights defenders a rare opportunity to meet and talk in a peaceful setting. We succeeded in putting the human rights abuses in the region on the agenda of the EU-summit, which then took place in Stockholm, just after the conference. Our recommendations to the EU eventually also contributed to the Russian Federation ratifying Protocol 14 to the European Convention on Human Rights, which makes it possible to reform the European Court of Human Rights to make its work more efficient.

Read more about last year’s event

Recommendations 2009:

NORTH CAUCASUS-Recommendations (English)

NORTH CAUCASUS-Recommendations (Russian)

Categories: Achievements.
Tags: European Court of Human Rights, Memorial, Natalia Estemirova, and Stockholm process.
Regions: The North Caucasus.