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Rights Group of the Week: Agora International

posted 20 Mar 2017, 09:33 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 20 Mar 2017, 09:37 ]
On 11 March 2017 Agora International was presented with the Lindebrekke Prize for human rights activism by the Norwegian Prime Minister, Erna Solberg. The prize, named after Sjur Lindebrekke, founder of the Norwegian conservative party, was accepted by Pavel Chikov, founding head of Agora International. 

Agora International was set up following the closure of the Kazan-based Agora Human Rights Association, subsequent to the latter's designation as a 'foreign agent' NGO. In his acceptance speech for the award, Pavel Chikov spoke of "a complicated time for democratic values and human rights all around the world," in which "a new agenda" is facing human rights defenders, not least because "we see how authoritarian governments export hostile policies and try to use this moment in time to further undermine democratic values." He said Agora's lawyers are working on all the emerging issues, "not because we go looking for them" but "because this intimidation affects everyone; everyone will feel insecure until there are places where things will be OK. In our tiny world, we are all closely interrelated."

According to its website, Agora International "is an association of more than 50 lawyers working on landmark human rights cases" that is currently conducting more than 300 lawsuits across Russia. Agora International has legal teams based in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Nizhniy Novgorod, Stavropol, Yekaterinburg, Chelyabinsk, Lipetsk, Chita, Helsinki, Sofia and London. Agora International runs a "response unit that handles incidents involving human rights violations operates across the entire European part of Russia. Such incidents may involve torture and murder by the police authorities, the death of individuals in prisons and penal colonies, and the criminal prosecution and attacks against civil rights activists, journalists and bloggers." In 2014, Agora and Pavel Chikov received the Thorolf Rafto Memorial Prize.

For more information about Agora on Rights in Russia, see HERE.

Sources:
'Agora International Awarded Prestigious Lindebrekke Prize in Norway,' Rights in Russia, 11 March 2017
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