Pushkin House, 5a Bloomsbury Square, London WC1A 2TA
To mark International Human Rights Day 2015, and the 21st anniversary of the beginning of the first Chechen war, the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre at Middlesex University and Pushkin House present a screening of Barzakh, a documentary by Lithuanian director Mantas Kvedaravicius.
In Chechnya, many men have disappeared from their towns – arrested, abducted, killed – and nothing has been heard of them since. In the Chechen language, Barzakh is the land between the living and the dead, a kind of purgatory; the film shows how families cope with living a half-life, doubtful about the survival of their disappeared loved ones, but never fully reconciled to their deaths.
After the screening, we will be holding a panel discussion with experts on the region, who will examine in turn the human cost of the long-standing tensions in Chechnya. Joining Mantas is Ahmed Gisayev, a human rights lawyer who has taken cases from the North Caucasus to the European Court, and whom EHRAC represented in his own case against the Russian State. We have also invited Mariat Imaeva, a PhD candidate at Dublin City University researching enforced disappearances in Chechnya, and Jessica Gavron, EHRAC's Legal Director who has litigated many such cases at the European Court. The discussion will be chaired by Masha Karp, a journalist and former Features Editor for the BBC Russian Service.
6.00pm: Doors open
6.30pm: Introduction by film director Mantas Kvedaravicius
6.45pm: Screening of film Barzakh
7.45pm: Panel discussion and Q&A
8.15pm: Drinks reception
Chair: Masha Karp, Journalist
Mantas Kvedaravicius, Director of Barzakh
Akhmed Gisayev, Human Rights Lawyer, Oslo
Mariat Imaeva, PhD candidate on Enforced Disappearances, Dublin City University
Jessica Gavron, Legal Director, EHRAC, London
EHRAC and the North Caucasus
EHRAC was set up in 2003 to litigate cases of human rights violations arising as a result of the conflict in the North Caucasus at the European Court of Human Rights. In the last ten years the Court has delivered judgments in over 200 cases from Chechnya, each one contributing the growing body of case law challenging Russia to give families access to justice and redress, and to ensure that such practices do not occur again. Yet there is much more to be done, as many of the Court's judgments have not been fully implemented by the Russian State. Twenty one years after the first Chechen war began, it is still as important as ever to raise awareness of the gross human rights violations taking place in the region.