Amnesty International urges UN Human Rights Council to renew mandate of Special Rapporteur on Belarus

imageMIL OSI – Source: Viasna Belarus Human Rights Center in English –

Headline: Amnesty International urges UN Human Rights Council to renew mandate of Special Rapporteur on Belarus

“The UN Human Rights Council must renew the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation in Belarus,” said Amnesty International in a statement released on June 17.

“The release of several prisoners convicted in politically motivated trials in 2015 and the role of Belarus in hosting mediation talks on the conflict in eastern Ukraine have led to an easing of relations with Belarus and the international community. This included, in October 2015, the EU suspending its longstanding sanctions against senior Belarusian officials, with the exception of four security officers believed to be linked to enforced disappearances of political activists in 1999 and 2000. Such developments must not be allowed to eclipse the dire human rights situation in Belarus where the death penalty is retained and executions are carried out. The rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, association and expression are severely curtailed with legislation still in place to obstruct even the most basic enjoyment of these rights. State surveillance is a critical element in the authorities’ efforts to harass and intimidate civil society and independent media and serves to obstruct them from carrying out their legitimate activities. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people face routine discrimination,” says AI’s press-release.

“Despite a shift from the international community towards Belarus politically, the fact remains that basic human rights and fundamental freedoms are violated systematically by the Belarusian authorities. The human rights community must invest all it can to protect the rights of the Belarusian people. The role of the Special Rapporteur in this regard is critical to secure rigorous monitoring of and reporting on the human rights situation in Belarus which is essential to ensuring accountability for human rights violations,” Amnesty International said.

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Meeting with heads of international news agencies

MIL OSI – Source: President of Russia – The Kremlin – English –

Headline: Meeting with heads of international news agencies

The meeting was attended by representatives
of news agencies from France, Spain, the United States, Great Britain, Canada,
Germany, China, Japan, India and Italy.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen,

I have delivered
so many speeches today that I think I will skip any introductory remarks, as you have likely attended some of the events here and have already heard a great
deal. There is no point in repeating things. If I have missed something and you
have questions or want me to give additional comments or information, it will
be my pleasure.

I just want to say that I’m happy to see so many of you here representing so many international news agencies. I will
not mention how many publications are based on your news feeds every day, you
know that better than myself. The importance of your work does not need
spelling out. I hope you will continue to try to be as unbiased as possible in your Russia reporting.

That is all for the introduction. I will now answer your questions. Please, go ahead.

To be
continued.

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«Северный поток — 2» укрепит позиции Баумгартена как ключевого европейского центра газораспределения

MIL OSI – Source: Gazprom in Russian –

Headline: «Северный поток — 2» укрепит позиции Баумгартена как ключевого европейского центра газораспределения

18 июня 2016, 13:20

Сегодня в рамках Петербургского международного экономического форума — 2016 состоялась рабочая встреча Председателя Правления ПАО «Газпром» Алексея Миллера и Министра финансов Австрийской Республики Ханса-Йорга Шеллинга.

Стороны обменялись мнениями о состоянии рынка газа Европы. Было отмечено, что в ближайшие десятилетия этот энергоноситель будет играть все более существенную роль в ее энергобалансе. При этом в условиях падения собственной добычи продолжится рост спроса на импортный газ.

В этой связи участники встречи отметили важность создания новых прямых газотранспортных маршрутов из России в Европу. Внимание было уделено ходу реализации проекта «Северный поток — 2». Было подчеркнуто, что данный газопровод обеспечит надежные поставки российского газа на европейский рынок, а также позволит укрепить позиции Баумгартена в качестве ключевого европейского центра газораспределения.

Справка

В 2015 году поставки российского газа в Австрию увеличились на 11,5% по сравнению с 2014 годом (с 3,9 до 4,4 млрд куб. м). С 1 января по 15 июня 2016 года — на 19% (с 1,6 до 1,9 млрд куб. м) по сравнению с аналогичным периодом 2015 года.

В 2015 году «Газпром», BASF/Wintershall, ENGIE, OMV, Shell и Uniper подписали Соглашение акционеров по созданию газопроводной системы «Северный поток — 2» мощностью 55 млрд куб. м газа в год из России в Германию по дну Балтийского моря.

Другие новости по теме

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Protectionism in EEU, New Ministry, Organised Crime – State Press Digest

MIL OSI – Source: Belarus Digest –

Headline: Protectionism in EEU, New Ministry, Organised Crime – State Press Digest

In the first half of June, official newspapers in Belarus focused mostly on economic affairs.

Belarus-Russian cooperation within the Eurasian Economic Union continues to suffer from protectionism and exemptions in trade and prices, particularly in hydrocarbons.

Belarus will establish the Ministry of Antitrust Regulation and Trade to manage the growing liberalisation of the national economy. Belarus presents its armoured vehicle at the international arms exhibition.

Belarusian schoolchildren will be offered extracurricular programming courses, introduced to enhance national potential in the IT sector. Organised crime groups become more active as the region experiences instability. This and more in the new edition of State Press Digest.

Eurasian Economic Union suffers from protectionism. Minsk hosted the Third Forum of Belarusian and Russian Regions under the auspices of Aliaksandr Lukashenka and Vladimir Putin. As Belarus Segodnya noted, despite the social and humanitarian theme of the forum the presidents talked mostly about economic matters.

Lukashenka emphasised that the countries need to develop a single industrial policy and remove all barriers in bilateral trade; at the moment the EEU states often employ protectionism as anti-crisis strategy. In response Putin only answered that “Russia is interested in increasing food imports from Belarus”.

Russia is reluctant to cut gas price for Belarus. The newspaper Respublika criticises the Russian gas monopoly Gazprom for its persistent reluctance to reduce current gas prices. A previous attempt by Belarus to negotiate the issue with Gazprom at a recent EEU summit failed. Despite the common EEU market, trade within the union involves a number of exemptions.

Trade in hydrocarbons remains most sensitive for Belarus, which remains heavily dependent on Russian energy resources. The newspaper claims that in this way Gazprom is trying to raise funds for its major project – a gas pipe to China, as Europe increasingly diversifies its supplies to avoid dependence on Russia.

Belarus will establish a Ministry of Antitrust Regulation and Trade. The main reason for this change is liberalisation of economy, according to Minister of Trade Uladzimir Kaltovič, quoted in Zviazda. He specifically mentions the removal of price regulation implemented this January. As free competition on the market increases, the risk of emerging trusts grows.

The current governmental body in this area, as well as its policies, lags behind Belarus’s partners in the Eurasian Economic Union. The Ministry will be restructured according to new functions, and local trade inspections will be united with antitrust agencies. Moreover, the Ministry plans to update and specify the antitrust law.

Switzerland will invest in Belarusian agriculture. Head of Hrodna region Uladzimir Kraŭcoŭ and Head of Embassy Subdivision of the Swiss Confederation in Minsk Pascal Aebischer met to discuss cooperation between the region and Switzerland, Hrodzienskaja Praŭda reports.

Swiss investors will allocate $4m to a farm with 12,000 pigs in Ščučyn district and $7m to a dairy farm in Smarhoń district. Pascal Ebischer has been visiting Belarusian regions this year to study their business potential. In an overview of bilateral cooperation, the diplomat mentioned that at the moment around 30 Swiss companies operate in Belarus, and trade turnover reached $3m in 2015. 20 Swiss citizens live in Belarus and a few hundred Belarusians study in Switzerland.

Belarus presents its own light-armoured vehicle V-1. Two Belarusian enterprises took part it the international exhibition of arms Eurosatory-2016 with 1,500 defenсe companies from 57 countries participating, writes Belarus SegodniaFor the first time, the Minsk Wheel Tractor Plant publicly presented a model of light-armoured vehicle V-1 (Volat).

It is designed for transportation of troops as well as fighting in urban and rural areas and mountainous and impassable territories. The manufacturers took into account the experience of recent local conflicts and anti-terrorist operations, where mines and improvised explosive devices posed particular danger. Therefore, V-1 is heavily mine-protected and has a V-shaped bottom which allows it to dissipate the energy of explosions.

Schoolchildren in Belarus will be offered extracurricular programming courses. In the new school year Belarusian schools will introduce Scratch – an object-oriented visual programming language, designed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology to teach children programming and algorithmic thinking. Schoolchildren will have the opportunity to study physics, mathematics, geography, biology, and even literature with the help of Scratch, writes Znamia Yunosti.

To date, Belarusians are learning the basics of programming later than their European peers, but now the situation is changing. The project will be jointly implemented by the Ministry of Education and High Technologies Park. Six IT companies have already tested it on their employees’ children and achieved good results, the newspaper reports.

Helpline for children stopped work due to financial reasons. The national helpline for children and teenagers has not been operating for a few months now, Belarus Segodnia reports. In 2011 the international NGO ‘Understanding’ purchased equipment and established a helpline in the National Centre for Mental Health. The line received around 3,660 calls since its installation and succeeded in preventing 8 suicide attempts and dozens of violent acts annually.

The line stopped because of lack of funds to pay full-time staff, as the doctors of the Centre had to reply to calls during their working hours. The project needs $30,000 a year and ‘Understanding’ leader Andrej Machańko hopes that soon it will resume its work with the help of private charity donations.

Organised criminal groups become more active in environment of regional instability. Chief of the Department of Combating Organised Crime and Corruption of the Interior Ministry, Mikalaj Karpiankoŭ, revealed to Specnaz certain trends of organised crime development in the post-Soviet space and Belarus.

Organised criminal groups unite to become transnational, while professional thieves engage in business and some businessmen become closer to criminals. Some wealthy bosses use money and connexions to try to secure protection within the government. What’s more, in recent years Russian gangs have become more active in attempts to increase influence on Belarusian criminal affairs. So far Belarus has been famous as a country with a highly repressive approach towards the so-called thieves in law – the higher strata of criminal bosses in the former USSR space.

The State Press Digest is based on review of state-controlled publications in Belarus. Freedom of the press in Belarus remains restricted and state media convey primarily the point of view of the Belarusian authorities. This review attempts to give the English-speaking audience a better understanding of how Belarusian state media shape public opinion in the country.

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A criminal case on the fact of illegal catching of aquatic biological resources was initiated in Naryan-Mar

MIL OSI – Source: Russian Federation Ministry of Internal Affairs in English –

Headline: A criminal case on the fact of illegal catching of aquatic biological resources was initiated in Naryan-Mar

At the scene, the police confiscated about 400 kg of fish of various species (grayling, vendace, ide, perch, and pike), as well as fishing nets and a motor boat.

In June 2016, policemen of the Division for Economic Security and Combating the Corruption of the Russian MIA Administration for the Nenets Autonomous Okrug carried out a raid aimed to detect and suppress crimes and administrative offenses involving illegal catch of aquatic biological resources in the water area of the Pechora River of the Nenets Autonomous Okrug.

In the course of the raid, the police established that a resident of Vorkuta born in 1971 had been illegally catching aquatic biological resources on the Seyto Lake in the area of the Vashutkin Lakes of the Nenets Autonomous Okrug since early May, 2016 through June 4, 2016. At the scene, the police confiscated about 400 kg of fish of various species (grayling, vendace, ide, perch, and pike), as well as fishing nets and a motor boat.

By now, a criminal case has been initiated on that fact.

Dear residents of the Nenets Autonomous Okrug! The Russian MIA General Administration for the Nenets Autonomous Okrug reminds you that the sanction under Part 1 Article 256 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation “Illegal harvesting (catching) of aquatic biological resources” provides for a penalty from one hundred thousand up to three hundred thousand rubles, or in the amount of a salary or another income of a convict for a period from one year to two years, or compulsory community service for up to 480 hours, or correctional work for up to two years, or arrest for up to six months.

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Criminal cases were initiated in the Republic of Bashkortostan against directors of two commercial entities engaged in construction of a multifamily residential building

MIL OSI – Source: Russian Federation Ministry of Internal Affairs in English –

Headline: Criminal cases were initiated in the Republic of Bashkortostan against directors of two commercial entities engaged in construction of a multifamily residential building

“The criminal case was initiated based on the materials of the check performed by the General Administration for Economic Security and Combating the Corruption of the Russian MIA,” said Russian MIA official representative Irina Volk.

As was established, in March 2013, executives of a construction company had concluded preliminary contracts with several residents of Sterlitamak, according to which the parties were to sign main purchase and sale contracts or agreements of participation in shared construction of a residential building.

After having received the funds from the victims in the amount exceeding 20 million rubles, the construction company’s executives refused to sign the certificate of settlement in violation of the terms of the deals, as well as of the civil legislation standards, for which reason main contracts have not been concluded until now, and neither the apartments have been transferred, nor the money has been refunded to the buyers.

The Investigation Administration of the Russian MIA Administration for Sterlitamak initiated a number of criminal cases on those facts according to Part 4 Article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation “Fraud in an especially large amount”.

The police searched the suspects’ places of residence and offices, and seized items and documents relevant for the investigation.

The police currently continue implementing the package plan of investigation and search operations aiming to establish all circumstances of that illicit activity.

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Drugs, weapons and ammunition were seized by policemen from a resident of Ivanteevka

MIL OSI – Source: Russian Federation Ministry of Internal Affairs in English –

Headline: Drugs, weapons and ammunition were seized by policemen from a resident of Ivanteevka

“On June 16, 2016 in the course of investigation and search operations, policemen of the General Administration of Criminal Investigation of the Russian MIA, the General Administration of Internal Security of the Russian MIA, the Center for Combating Extremism of the Russian MIA General Administration for the Moscow Region, and of Municipal Administration “Pushkinskoye” of the Russian MIA together with Special Squadron “Bulat” of the Federal Service of National Guard Troops detected and confiscated narcotic drugs, weapons and ammunition from a resident of Ivanteevka,” said Russian MIA official representative Irina Volk.

“It was established that the previously convicted man born in 1980 had stored in his apartment over 21 kilograms of spice, 400 cartridges of various calibers, an AKSU assault rifle, a 9 mm Stechkin pistol, a Nagan revolver, as well as literature included into the list of extremist materials. All confiscated items were sent for examination at the Forensic Center,” Irina Volk said.

The Investigation Administration of Municipal Administration “Pushkinskoye” of the Russian MIA initiated criminal cases based on essential elements of a crime stipulated by Part 3 Article 228 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation “Illegal purchase, storage, carriage, production, processing of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances or their analogues in an especially large amount”, as well as based on essential elements of a crime stipulated by Part 1 Article 222 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation “Illegal acquisition, transfer, sale, storage, transportation, or bearing of firearms, its basic parts, and ammunition”.

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Extremism crime was detected in the Stavropol Territory

MIL OSI – Source: Russian Federation Ministry of Internal Affairs in English –

Headline: Extremism crime was detected in the Stavropol Territory

“Policemen of the General Administration for Combating Extremism of the Russian MIA for the Stavropol Territory together with colleagues from the Russian MIA and the regional FSB Administration detected a fact of citizens’ involvement in an extremist community’s activity,” said Russian MIA official representative Irina Volk.

The investigation established that a member of an interregional association recognized by the Krasnoyarsk Territorial Court as extremist had been distributing ideas of hatred and enmity based on religious and national signs.

Acting that way, the young man attempted to involve several persons into activities of the prohibited extremist organization.

Based on the materials collected by the law enforcement bodies, the Unit for Nevinnomyssk of the Investigation Administration of the Investigation Committee of the Russian Federation for the Stavropol Territory rendered a procedural ruling.

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Russian MIA athletes continue to successfully compete at the VI European Police and Fire Games in Huelva, Spain

MIL OSI – Source: Russian Federation Ministry of Internal Affairs in English –

Headline: Russian MIA athletes continue to successfully compete at the VI European Police and Fire Games in Huelva, Spain

On another day of the sports forum, Russian policemen distinguished themselves in duathlon, combat shooting, and weightlifting having lifted the 320 kg bar.

The European Police and Fire Games continue in Huelva (Spain). On another day of the sports forum, Russian representatives distinguished themselves in duathlon. Captain of Internal Service Viktoriya Zhuravel from the Astrakhan Region and Colonel of Internal Service Artem Sobolev from the Novosibirsk Region won the first place in the team duathlon. As to the individual competition, Viktoriya and Artem added gold and bronze medals respectively to the collection of the Russian team.

Kirill Sarychev and policeman from Sverdlovsk Denis Udilov became champions in the weightlifting competition (deadlift). Moreover, Kirill Sarychev set the Games record having lifted a bar weighing 320 kg.

Besides, Russian policemen successfully competed in combat shooting. Employees of the Russian MIA for the Tyumen Region representing Russia in this sport received silver and bronze in the team event. Police Captain Andrey Sopin won bronze in the individual competition.

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Policemen of the GAES&CC of the Russian MIA searched offices of one of the largest Forex dealers in Russia

MIL OSI – Source: Russian Federation Ministry of Internal Affairs in English –

Headline: Policemen of the GAES&CC of the Russian MIA searched offices of one of the largest Forex dealers in Russia

“Policemen of the General Administration for Economic Security and Combating the Corruption of the Russian MIA together with the Administration for Economic Security and Combating the Corruption of the Russian MIA for Moscow, territorial divisions of the Russian MIA for the Udmurt Republic and the Novosibirsk and Samara Regions, as well as the Russian FSB Administration for the Central Administrative District of Moscow carried out a joint operation to document unlawful activities of executives of a Russian Forex dealer – affiliate of an international group of companies,” said Russian MIA official representative Irina Volk.

According to the information available, the malefactors had attracted citizens’ funds for several years under the guise of speculating on the Forex stock exchange, as well as rendering consulting services on stock market transactions. After having obtained financial assets in that way, the malefactors then withdrew them from the customers’ control and stole. According to the preliminary information, several thousand Russians became victims, and the damage caused to them exceeded hundreds of millions rubles.

Criminal cases under Article 159 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation “Fraud in an especially large amount” were initiated in several regions of Russia.

“Policemen together with the Special Purpose Police Unit of the Federal Service of National Guard Troops of the Russian Federation searched the offices of the entities of the said Forex dealer’s group of companies, seized items and documents relevant for the criminal case investigation, including computer equipment with signs of subjective intervention in the software enabling foreign currency trading on the Forex market. The confiscated equipment will be forwarded for special technical examination,” Irina Volk said.

Investigation and search measures continue.

Download the official comment given by Russian MIA official representative Irina Volk

Download the video about the operations

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