People in Need launches a campaign on human right abuses in Russia

Published: Jan 26, 2014 Reading time: 3 minutes
People in Need launches a campaign on human right abuses in Russia

Prague, January 27 2014 - People in Need, a leading Czech non-governmental organization in the area of human rights protection, launched a public campaign with a focus on the state of human rights in Russia. A new website, presenting numerous examples of human rights violations in today’s Russia, is a key component of the campaign (

While the website’s audience is primarily Czech journalists and general public, an English version presents key information and links to other English language sources. Assaults on civil liberties in Russia are also the subject of a short video, commissioned specifically for the campaign. The video follows a symbolic human rights torch as it casts light on what is currently happening in Russia, until it gets blown out by president Putin. The video, depicting some of the human rights violations covered by the campaign, has been produced by a group of artists from Družina, a creative studio that specialises on public benefit campaigns.


"We are following the deterioration of human rights protection in Russia with concern. The return of Vladimir Putin to presidency in 2012 was followed by the adoption of restrictive laws that introduce, among other things, high fines for people engaged in protests, elements of censorship on the internet and discriminatory measures against the LGBT community. Newly introduced legislation complicates the work of non-profit organizations as well. To give just one example, NGOs that receive foreign funding now have to register as "foreign agents," says Rostislav Valvoda, director of the Eastern European programme of People in Need. The newly launched website addresses these and other topics.

"The approaching Winter Olympic Games place Russia at the spotlight of global attention. This explains our choice of timing to publish information on what is going on in Russia, information that Russian authorities routinely try to conceal. In no way do we wish to discredit the Olympic Games, its spectators or the contestants," says Valvoda while emphasizing the campaign’s focus on providing information. "At the same time, it is hard to overlook that Russia violates Olympic ideals as well. As a hosting country, it is required to uphold the Olympic Charter. In article 6, for instance, the Charter states that any discrimination of a person or a country on the base of race, religion, political opinions, sex, or for any other reason is incompatible with membership in the Olympic community. Presently, however, discrimination against migrants and homosexuals is an everyday reality for many in Russia."

The campaign’s ambition is also to encourage political and public representatives to bring up the topic of human rights violations in negotiations with their Russian counterparts and to make efforts to meet those who are targeted by the discriminatory measures.

International visitors of the website,, will appreciate the provided suggestions for further reading, redirecting them mainly to the reports of Human Rights Watch, The Sochi Project website and Russian non-profit organizations, such as the Caucasian Knot or the Memorial Centre Against Discrimination.

Družina, which produced the campaign’s video, is an association of professionals who decided to promote only things they believe in. "It was a challenge to create a video that would bring the attention of thousands of people worldwide to these issues. We used the symbol of Olympic torch as a means of casting light on the variety of abuses, accompanied by emotionally charged images and president Putin to wrap up the message. Let’s see whether the number of views will correspond to the impact we were hoping for," commented Jan Látal, a film maker and author of the piece.


For further information please contact:

Adéla Pospíchalová, Centrum pro lidská práva a demokracii společnosti Člověk v tísni
tel.: +420777787968