August 2022 Newsletter Newsletter

Good and Bad News in Europe – August 2022 Update

Good News Europe

  • At the beginning of the war in Ukraine, the staff at TV Rain in Russia resigned on air and fled the country. They are now relaunching the channel and its immediate priority is to challenge official propaganda on Ukraine.
  • Germany has agreed to return sculptures known as the Benin Bronzes to Nigeria. They were looted by British troops from the royal palace of Benin in 1897. Germany also plans to return looted items to Cameroon and Namibia. The British Museum has resisted calls to return objects in their collections. 
  • Slovenia’s Constitutional Court has ruled that bans on same-sex couples marrying and adopting children are unconstitutional, breaking ground for LGBTQ+ rights in Central Europe.
  • The EU has taken Hungary to the European Court of Justice over a restrictive law on LGBT+ issues and media freedom.
  • Spain’s parliament has approved a new historical memory law that declares the regime of former dictator General Franco to be illegal and makes central government responsible for the recovery of tens of thousands of ‘missing’ people from the Spanish Civil War and the dictatorship.

Bad News Europe

  • Yulia Tsvetkova, charged with disseminating pornography after she shared online her artwork depicting female bodies, was acquitted by the court in Russia, but the prosecution have now appealed.
  • Little is known about the conditions in which Russia is holding Ukrainians. More than 7,000 Ukrainian military personnel and 1,500 civilians are currently in captivity there, according to Ukrainian officials. Russian authorities deny that they have forcefully deported and imprisoned Ukrainian civilians. Two Ukrainian prisoners of war who were released from Russian jails in April have told openDemocracy about the conditions they faced, including systematic torture and other violations of their human rights
  • A recent report by Humanitarian Outcomes said that international NGOs had yet to spend the majority of the public money they had received to address the Ukraine crisis.
  • At least 23 asylum seekers died in July trying to reach the Spanish enclave of Melilla from Morocco. Some organisations working on the ground have put the death toll at 37.
  • Turkey’s Council of State, its highest administrative court, ruled that the President’s decision to pull Turkey out of the Council of Europe’s Convention on Preventing and Combatting Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, also known as the Istanbul Convention, was lawful.
  • Humanitarian workers on board rescue boats in the Mediterranean estimate that about 50 per cent of all women rescued on each patrol have been raped or forced to exchange sex for goods or travel.