A Woman of the Don

<< Rights in Russia – Events (2017) >>

♦  Valentina CHEREVATENKO speaks in London  ♦

Pushkin Club, Rights in Russia and RAW in WAR proudly invite you to meet a remarkable human rights veteran – Thursday, 9 March, 7.30pm

On 11 March, at the “Women of the World” Festival on the Southbank,  Valentina CHEREVATENKO will receive the Anna Politkovskaya Award from RAW in WAR. The prize is awarded annually to an outstanding woman from a conflict zone: past laureates include Malalai JOYA-YOUSAFZAI ( Afghanistan, 2013), Marie COLVIN (USA, 2012) and, in 2007, the late Natalya ESTEMIROVA  (Chechnya / Russia, 1955-2009).

The evening event at PUSHKIN HOUSE on Thursday, 9 March  2017, offers a rare chance to meet and talk to Mrs Cherevatenko in a less formal setting. Come and listen to what she has to say about her activities since the early 1990s and the conditions under which the WOMEN OF THE DON have to work today. (The event will be in Russian with interpretation.)



Women of the Don (1993)

VALENTINA CHEREVATENKO is the founding chairwoman of the “Women of the Don”. Established in Novocherkassk (Rostov Region) in the early 1990s, the NGO has  worked for more than twenty years in different fields of human rights.

“WOMEN OF THE DON” [url] has a special emphasis on the rights of women and focus, in particular, on issues of gender discrimination, violence against women, and peace-building initiatives in conflict zones. In the 1990s and early 2000s the NGO worked in the  Caucasus to ease the conflicts in the region — Georgia-Abkhazia, Armenia-Azerbaijan and, naturally, in Chechnya — by appealing to the women on both sides. More recently it has concentrated on building bridges across the Ukraine-Russia divide (the town of Novocherkassk and its people have many ties, traditionally, with Ukraine).

“WOMEN OF THE DON” has always provided free legal advice to the public; it promotes dialogue and tolerance; and it pursues a mission to improve mutual understanding and relations between the police and members of society.

In 2014, however, the Russian Justice Ministry designated the “Women of the Don” a “foreign agent” NGO. In February 2016 the Ministry withdrew this denigrating label only to accuse its founding chairperson, a few months later, of offences under the 2012 law. Charged with “malicious evasion” of duties imposed on “NGOs that perform the functions of a foreign agent”, CHEREVATENKO is the first person to face criminal prosecution under the new law in Russia.

In Russia and abroad this decision was greeted with concern and dismay. It has been widely condemned by organisations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Frontline Defenders.

[For more about Valentina’s current situation in Russian]

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