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Voronezh Human Rights House at Risk of ClosureLetter by William Gomes Salem-News.com
The intention to close Voronezh Human Rights House is linked to the peaceful and legitimate human rights work of the organisations it houses.
(YORK, UK) - On 22 May 2013, the charitable foundation "International Project - Youth Human Rights Movement" (YHRM), whose office is located in Voronezh Human Rights House, received a letter from the Department of Property and Estate Relations of Voronezh City Administration that breaks their lease and enjoins YHRM to leave the premises. A similar letter was received on 17 May 2013 by the Confederation of Free Labour, an interregional trade union, whose offices are also located in Voronezh Human Rights House.
Voronezh Human Rights House is a community of human rights and civil society organisations, all located in the same building on 34, Tsyurupy street, in Voronezh. In 1995, the Public Human Rights Reception was created by the Confederation of Free Labour and the Interregional Human Rights Group. The Reception receives around 1000 visitors per year and provides free legal aid to people of modest origin including elderly people, refugees, single mothers, students and migrant workers. Voronezh Human Rights House has since become one of the biggest centres working on human rights in the Russian Federation.
Two organisations, the YHRM and the Confederation of Free Labour, rent offices in the Voronezh Human Rights House from the City Administration. The letters from the City Administration received on 17 and 22 May 2013 break the lease signed by the organisations and enjoin them to leave the premises. The official reason, and that being discussed in local media, is that the building is to be used as a municipal youth centre. It is believed that the new centre would implement state, rather than independent, youth policy.
Previously, the authorities have tried to close down Voronezh Human Rights House on two occasions, in 2009 and in 2010, and both times solidarity campaigns prevented these closures. In 2010, the Confederation of Free Labour signed a contract for free rent until 2013, which was extended to 2017 with preferential rent. In spring of 2013, the Confederation of Free Labour and YHRM submitted a set of documents to the City administration asking for free rent of the building.
William Nicholas Gomes, Salem-news.com Human Rights Ambassador believes that the intention to close Voronezh Human Rights House is linked to the peaceful and legitimate human rights work of the organisations it houses.
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Salem-News.com Human Rights Ambassador William Nicholas Gomes is a Bangladeshi journalist, human rights activist and author was born on 25 December, 1985 in Dhaka. As an investigative journalist he wrote widely for leading European and Asian media outlets.
He is also active in advocating for free and independent media and journalists’ rights, and is part of the free media movement, Global Independent Media Center – an activist media network for the creation of radical, accurate, and passionate telling of the truth. He worked for Italian news agency Asianews.it from year 2009 to 2011, on that time he was accredited as a free lance journalist by the press information department of Bangladesh. During this time he has reported a notable numbers of reports for the news agency which were translated into Chinese and Italian and quoted by notable number of new outlets all over the world.He, ideologically, identifies himself deeply attached with anarchism. His political views are often characterized as “leftist” or “left-wing,” and he has described himself as an individualist anarchist.
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