Action needed! Voronezh Human Rights House is under the threat of closure

Human Rights House – Voronezh is asking for public support as it faces closure.

The office of HRH is located in premises owned by local authorities. It is rented by two organizations, Youth Human Rights Movement (YHRM) and the Trade Union Centre "Confederation of Free Labor". On 17 May the Confederation of Free Labor received a letter which says they have to leave the building within three days. A similar letter was sent to YHRM. Losing an office for an NGO means nothing but extinction.

Over the previous few days the internet campaign was launched in support of HRH. The goal of the campaign is to persuade Voronezh city authorities to make the rent free for HRH or to offer favorable renting conditions. It is possible to join the campaign on its website  (Russian version available here) Support can be expressed by writing a letter to the local authorities in Voronezh, by providing financial, informational support, by extending the information, as well as signing a petition.

Attempts to evict HRH were previously taken in 2009 and 2010. At the same time, human rights activists sent to the local authorities of Voronezh the packages of documents and asked them to provide discounts for the rental of premises or to provide the free use of building. These documents are kept by the local authorities, but the request remains unanswered.

Unfortunately, the situation with HRH is in line with recent developments in Russia. If HRH is evicted, it could mean a collapse for the whole civil society sector in Voronezh.

“It will mean the closure of a Public Reception Room that has a long history and reputation. Losing the office puts functioning of a number of youth organizations at risk” the statement of human girths activists says.

Human Rights House – Voronezh is known both in Russia and abroad as a center for civic engagement, civic education and youth initiatives. During last 20 years lots of civil and human rights organizations were located here. Since 1995 the HRH Public Advocacy Reception Room works here. It receives more than 1,000 people a year. Public Advocacy Reception won a record number of complaints in the European Court of Human Rights from the Voronezh region.