Our Focus

Since the early 1990s, the CEE region (Central and Eastern Europe, South Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia) has witnessed the fall of communist regimes and the widespread emergence of democratic states and countries in transition. Yet, serious human rights violations still occur across the region. Although the nature and extent of these violations vary, some patterns may nevertheless be traced. Namely:

Oppressive means

Human rights activists, journalists and other supporters of politically sensitive causes may be denied the right to expression and assembly in countries of the CEE region. Certain regimes may go as far as resorting to violent means to silence dissenters. Such means include the use of excessive force during peaceful protests, arbitrary detentions, threats and/or other types of intimidation forms. The impunity of those responsible for the violence oftentimes reinforces the brutality.

Violations in weak democracies and countries in transition

In fragile democracies across the CEE region, public authorities are often either unwilling or incapable of protecting citizens from systematic abuses of state officials, organised crime groups and/or armed groups of non-state actors. The dividing line between the three might often be blurred.

Crimes during armed conflicts

Whether culminating in armed conflicts or not, recurrent internal and regional tensions keep hindering and threatening the establishment of lasting peace and stability in the CEE region. Some events in and around Abkhazia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Nagorno-Karabakh, North Ossetia, Macedonia, South Ossetia, Tajikistan and Transnistria are examples thereof.
The resulting human rights violations and even breaches of international criminal and humanitarian law, which devastate the lives of hundreds if not thousands, are not always redressed. Ending impunity could effectively contribute to deterring such further breaches of human dignity and basic human rights not only in the afflicted states but also in the region at large.
In this region in which different ethnicities, nationalities, languages and religions are known to co-exist, containing and mitigating the risks of conflict and widespread violence is crucial.

Misconducts in military and peace enforcement operations

Some states of the CEE region deploy their armed forces as a part of military coalitions engaged against non-state armed actors believed to be involved in terrorist activities. Some may also take part in peace enforcement operations aimed at protecting civilian populations from oppressive regimes. 
Operations such as those in Afghanistan and Iraq or the peacekeeping in the Balkans require enhanced capacity to fully comply with the established standards of International Human Rights, Criminal and Humanitarian Law.

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