Citizens Watch is a human rights NGO initiated in 1992 by a group of Russian human rights activists, lawyers, journalists, and deputies to the Russian Parliament and to the St. Petersburg City Council. The founders' goals were to assist in establishing parliamentary and civic control over police, security service, and armed forces, and to help prevent violations of constitutional rights by these governmental agencies.
Citizens Watch sees its strategic priority in bringing the Russian legislation related to human rights and the practice of its application closer to international legal standards. We arrange seminars, conferences and study visits for Russian judges, lawyers and law enforcement officers to the countries of traditional democracy. We translate and publish guidelines and international documents on the functioning of courts and police in a democratic society, as well as rights-related literature aimed to raise the legal awareness of Russian citizens.Learn more
Project “NEW CHALLENGES - NEW OPPORTUNITIES: Communication and Fundraising Strategies for Human Rights NGOs and Groups in Russia”
Russian HR organizations face serious threats that may in the nearest future cause them to fold their operations and/or lose their independence. On the one hand, Russian authorities try to marginalize and discredit HR defenders in the public eye by implementing legal amendments and publishing biased information and, on the other hand, financing of Russian NGOs coming from foreign and international organizations is being reduced. At present, Russian citizens do not trust HR defenders just because they do not know much about their activities. Only 16 % of the Russian citizens consider HR NGOs work in Russia to be effective. And nearly 90 % of the population do not know any particular HR NGO or HR defender. Experts state that only 10% of HR NGOs had ever received any private or corporate donations.
The goal of the three-year Project, developed in conjunction with our long-standing partners, the St. Petersburg branch of the Russian Academy of Justice and the Guild of Court Reporters, is to ensure court transparency and access to court information for the public. Objectives: - to design and launch a training program to prepare qualified court press-secretaries, and to assist the formation of press services at all 23 district federal courts of St. Petersburg; - to introduce local court reporters to international standards and practices related to reporting of court activities; - to study the experience of the counties ruled by law as regards solving the contradiction “principles of freedom of speech and transparency of justice versus principles of personal data and privacy protection,” to work out respective recommendations for courts and mass media.
The project "Raising Professional Skills of Defence Lawyers in Business Crime Cases" implemented by Citizens' Watch in 2013/14 was aimed at raising professional skills of young Russian lawyers in preparing cases and litigation. Trainers: Arkady Gutnikov, St.Petersburg Institute of Law named after Prince P.G.Oldenburgsky; Yuri Khapaliuk, Institute for legal Research, Advocacy and Mediation at St. Petersburg Lawyers Chambers; Sergei Krauze, International Bar “St Petersburg”; Robert Brown, Corker Binning; Thomas Price QC, 25 Bedford Row Barristers Chambers. Project Coordinator: Maria Razumovskaya, Citizens’ Watch
Senior officers of the Russian Federal Penitentiary Service, Perm Region, studied the experience of the United Kingdom in probation work.
The final stage of the training course "Working with offenders in the community" took place in Perm from 25 to 28 February 2013 at the Training Centre for Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia.
The project aimed at the development of the probation service in Russia has been implemented by the St. Petersburg human rights organization "Citizens' Watch" in the frames of Bilateral Projects Programme funded by the UK Foreign Office, with the support of Vladimir Lukin, Ombudsman in the Russian Federation, Tatiana Margolina, Ombudswoman in Perm Region, and Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia at the federal and regional levels.
Trainers: Andrew Bernhardt and Keith Davies, UK.
Trainees: 22 correctional officers and psychologists of Russian Federal Penitentiary Service.
On 20-21st January Citizens' Watch held the first event of the bilateral project (Russia - the Netherlands), a two-day seminar "European Standards in Civil and Criminal Proceedings."
The seminar was opened by Mr. Jennes de Mol, Consul-General of the Netherlands in St. Petersburg.