Kazan Human Rights CenterKazan, Russian Federation
Published April 10, 2008
Defending the Rule of Law in Russia
In 2006, the Kazan Human Rights Center signed a joint declaration with the police ministry of Tatarstan on the application of human rights in police work, and an agreement with the Tatarstan Prosecutor’s Office that allowed the Center to provide legal representation to victims of police torture.
These landmark documents were the fruit of five years’ determined advocacy by the Center in its mission to strengthen the rule of law, combat human rights violations, raise rights awareness, and strengthen civil society.
Using a strategy of targeted litigation, the Center has brought the issue of police abuse to wide attention. Through scrupulously detailed investigations and the pursuit of compensation in the civil courts, the Center has created important legal precedents and compelled Russian authorities to comply with international standards for the treatment of detainees and prisoners. Each year, the Center helps set up to 15 precedents and takes two or three cases to the European Court of Human Rights.
Recently, the Center has taken up a wider range of rights violations, including administrative injustices and poor conditions in Tatarstan’s prisons, and abuses in orphanages, special schools, psychiatric hospitals, and the military.
The Center’s influence is felt throughout the region, where it has built constructive relations with local and federal bodies, including the regional president’s administration; police, prison, and military officials; the ombuds office; and collaborative links with other human rights organizations.
Its methods have been widely imitated by other Russian NGOs, including Public Verdict in Moscow and groups in Chita, Chuvashia, Marii El, and Samara.
The Kazan Human Rights Center calls the Russian legal system to observe the spirit of the law, defends the vulnerable, and is helping to build civil society as Russia undergoes an historic transition.
The Center will use their $350,000 grant to purchase property that will provide office space and facilities for training and outreach.
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