July 2022 Newsletter Newsletter

Good News and Bad News in Europe – July Update

Good News Europe

  • The Nobel Peace Prize auctioned off by Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov to raise money for Ukrainian child refugees was sold for £84.4mn.
  • Bomb-disposal experts are clearing landmines from farms in Ukraine and the Halo Trust is training more women detectors to replace the men in Ukraine who have been conscripted.
  • Belgium is preparing to remove most of its colonial monuments and its parliament has set up a truth and reconciliation commission to examine the country’s colonial history.
  • The European Court of Human Rights held that the head of the Turkish branch of Amnesty International, Taner Kilic, was unlawfully detained for 14 months. It ruled that his detention on terrorism-related charges was ‘directly linked to his activity as a human rights defender’ and interfered with his freedom of expression. Turkey was ordered to pay 24,500 euros in damages and 10,000 euros in costs.
  • After 9 years of campaigning, the Slovak government has agreed to pay damages to the Roma victims of the Moldava Nad Bodvu Police raid where 30 Roma men, women and children, some disabled, were indiscriminately beaten by 60 police officers on 19 June 2013.  
  • The tide is turning in Italy in favour of protecting women in the sex trade. A new bill has been drafted following the Nordic model which, if approved by parliament, would criminalise the buying of sex and decriminalise those in prostitution. 
  • German authorities have returned to Nigeria the first two of more than 1,100 priceless sculptures known as the Benin Bronzes – intricate sculptures and plaques dating back to the 13th century onwards – that were looted by British soldiers when they invaded the Kingdom of Benin, in what is now southwestern Nigeria, in 1897.

Bad News Europe

  • Pro-Russian separatists in the Donbas region of Ukraine have said that they plan to try Ukraine’s president as a war criminal if he is captured.
  • According to Professor Christopher Bluth the actions of both Russia and Ukraine with respect to prisoners of war amount to violations of the Geneva Conventions.
  • Dozens were detained in Istanbul after the authorities banned a Pride march. It has been banned since 2015 but crowds still gather every year.
  • On 3 July tens of thousands of Georgians rallied on the streets of Tbilisi in protest at the government’s failure to make progress on reforms that might boost the country’s hopes of joining the European Union, and in support of Ukraine in its war against Russia. 
  • Tahir Minnebayev, a well-known Bashkir activist who fled Russia in 2014 over his activities raising awareness about persecution faced by fellow minority Turkic Muslims in the country, has been held in a deportation centre in Greece for almost two months facing deportation back to Russia.