A delegation with Swedish parliamentarians from the Moderate party and the Social democratic party visited Turkey on February 9, in regards to the country’s work on a new constitution. During the day, a number of meetings with Turkish politicians, scholars and representatives from NGOs were conducted at the Swedish embassy in Ankara. The goal was to exchange ideas and experiences on constitutional issues. The discussions came to focus on, among other things, the country’s election system and the role of minorities in Turkey. The visit was arranged by the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation and the Olof Palme International Center, in cooperation with the Swedish embassy in Ankara.
JHS is publishing a new report in cooperation with the think-tank Freedom Research Association on how the refugee crisis is covered in Turkish media. Read more
The economic problems are so long gone in Venezuela that debts have become a real threat to the country. The value of the currency decreases rapidly and inflation is going up. Foreign imports have ceased, resulting in empty shelves in stores around the country. Read more
The delegation visited the Swedish Parliament, and met with MP:s Gustav Blix, Kristina Hulting and Christian Holm from the Moderate Party, Liselott Hagberg from the Liberal Party and Carin Runeson from the Social Democratic Party. The participants were particularly interested in the structure and the political division of the Swedish Parliament. They were also curious about the different procedures for decision-making.
Moreover, the group was invited to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs where a roundtable discussion was held with well known Swedish Central Asia experts – among them Malena Mård, Head of Department for Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The role of Kirgizstan as a relatively new state, the relationship with EU and the measures taken to fight corruption in order to attract foreign investments in the country were topics brought up.
Croatia’s road to EU-membership – that is supposed to be realized on July 1, 2013 – has been lined with impediments and complex European context: enlargement fatigue within the EU, boarder conflict with Slovenia, a global financial crisis with repercussions to the EU and Croatia, just to mention a few. Still, a clear majority of the Croatians said yes to EU-membership in a referendum on January 22, 2012. “All the hardship makes this success even larger”, said Andrej Plenković, Croatian MP representing Hrvatska demokratska zajednica (HDZ). The HDZ-lead Government concluded Croatia’s accession negotiations in June 2011, at the end of the Hungarian EU Presidency.
On January 27-29, the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation in cooperation with the National Independence Party of Azerbaijan, NIPA, arranged two conferences in the Azeri capital Baku. NIPA is a democratic opposition party against the country’s dictatorship.Friday 27, a conference for female politicians took place and was opened by the Swedish MP Elisabeth Björnsdotter Rahm, who held a speech on “International Cooperation and the Importance of Women in Politics.” Jeyran Ansar, from NIPA’s political council spoke on the future of NIPA’s women’s organization. Gustaf Stenlund and Clara Wahren, both working as press staff at the Swedish Moderate party participated as well.
During the week-end, youth politicians met to discuss forms and methods of youth involvement in Azeri politics. The discussions focused on how to reach out in social media and how to organize a youth organization efficiently. The Azeri participants witnessed on the difficulties and risks that faces many young political activists in their country.
The Kyiv Post is reporting that representatives of the Ukrainian political opposition are planning to stop fighting against one another at the 2012 parliamentary election. According to an agreement on joint actions of the opposition, which was read out at a rally in Kyiv on January 22, it was stated that “only together can we achieve a common goal – to fight dictatorship and build a just and prosperous country!” . (more…)
Freedom House recently released the annual report Freedom in the World – a global survey of political and civil rights. In 2011, the Arab Spring triggered progress in some countries in the Middle East. On the other hand, the uprisings provoked leaders in surrounding countries to suppress real or potential threats to their rule.
In total 12 countries showed overall improvement, while 26 countries registered net decline.
April 18-19 the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Internet Infrastructure Foundation (.SE) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) will host the first Stockholm Forum on Internet Freedom for Global Development. The Stockholm Forum aims to deepen the discussions on how freedom and openness on the Internet promotes economic and social development worldwide. (more…)
The authorities in the city of Viciebsk have taken another repressive action against Vitsebsky Kurier, the oldest and currently only one independent newspaper in Eastern Belarus.
Late at night the Police stopped a car and violently arrested the newspaper’s chief editor and a journalist who had 10 000 copies of the latest edition of the newspaper in the car. (more…)
Today the authorities in the town of Shklou, Belarus, sentenced Mikola Statkevich, former oppositional presidential candidate, to a three-year prison term in “closed regime”. (more…)
On January 6, 2012 a new amendment to a law restricting Internet access in Belarus came into force. According to the Global Legal Monitor (of the Law Library of the US Congress) the law “imposes restrictions on visiting and/or using foreign websites by Belarusian citizens and residents. Violation of these rules is recognized as a misdemeanor and is punished by fines of up to US$125”. (more…)