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Reviving News Media in an Embattled Europe

June 21, 2023

For over a decade, a series of crises have undermined the media's ability to support democracy. Traditional business models have collapsed with the rise of the internet and social media platforms. Hyperpartisan news sites and disinformation have damaged readers' trust in online content. At the same time, illiberal leaders in several democracies have developed sophisticated methods for silencing and co-opting the media.Freedom House conducted in-depth research and interviews with nearly 40 media professionals and experts in six countries: Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, and Poland. The countries vary by market size and by the health of their democracy, but all are part of the European Union (EU), where members are debating important regulatory measures to protect media independence and pluralism under a proposed European Media Freedom Act. Freedom House examined four conditions affecting the playing field for independent news media and their role in democracy: their ability to sustain themselves financially, reach and engage diverse audiences, earn public trust, and play a watchdog role.

Care in Crisis: Failures to guarantee the sexual and reproductive health and rights of refugees from Ukraine in Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia

May 16, 2023

This report from The Center for Reproductive Rights and eight partner organizations documents the gaps and barriers in access to sexual and reproductive healthcare and gender-based violence support services that are faced by refugees from Ukraine in Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. The report found that legal restrictions, burdensome costs, information shortfalls and other barriers, mean that some refugees are facing a harrowing choice between returning to Ukraine to access essential reproductive healthcare, accessing care outside legal pathways in their host countries or going without much-needed care, according to the new report.

“This Is Why We Became Activists”: Violence Against Lesbian, Bisexual, and Queer Women and Non-Binary People

February 14, 2023

According to interviews Human Rights Watch conducted with 66 lesbian, bisexual, and queer (LBQ+) activists, researchers, lawyers, and movement leaders in 26 countries between March and September 2022, forced marriage is one of ten key areas of human rights abuses most affecting LBQ+ women's lives. Human Rights Watch identified the following areas of LBQ+ rights as those in need of immediate investigation, advocacy, and policy reform. This report explores how the denial of LBQ+ people's rights in these ten areas impacts their lives and harms their ability to exercise and enjoy the advancement of more traditionally recognized LGBT rights and women's rights:the right to free and full consent to marriage;land, housing, and property rights;freedom from violence based on gender expression;freedom from violence and discrimination at work;freedom of movement and the right to appear in public without fear of violence;parental rights and the right to create a family;the right to asylum;the right to health, including services for sexual, reproductive, and mental health;protection and recognition as human rights defenders; andaccess to justice.This investigation sought to analyze how and in what circumstances the rights of LBQ+ people are violated, centering LBQ+ identity as the primary modality for inclusion in the report. Gender-nonconforming, non-binary, and transgender people who identify as LBQ+ were naturally included. At the same time, a key finding of the report is that the fixed categories "cisgender" and "transgender" are ill-suited for documenting LBQ+ rights violations, movements, and struggles for justice. As will be seen in this report, people assigned female at birth bear the weight of highly gendered expectations which include marrying and having children with cisgender men, and are punished in a wide range of ways for failing or refusing to meet these expectations. Many LBQ+ people intentionally decenter cisgender men from their personal, romantic, sexual, and economic lives. In this way, the identity LBQ+ itself is a transgression of gendered norms. Whether or not an LBQ+ person identifies as transgender as it is popularly conceptualized, the rigidly binary (and often violently enforced) gender boundaries outside of which LBQ+ people already live, regardless of their gender identity, may help to explain why the allegedly clear division between "cisgender" and "transgender" categories simply does not work for many LBQ+ communities. This report aims to explore and uplift, rather than deny, that reality.

Social Media Seen as Mostly Good for Democracy Across Many Nations, But U.S. is a Major Outlier

December 6, 2022

As people across the globe have increasingly turned to Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and other platforms to get their news and express their opinions, the sphere of social media has become a new public space for discussing – and often arguing bitterly – about political and social issues. And in the mind of many analysts, social media is one of the major reasons for the declining health of democracy in nations around the world.However, as a new Pew Research Center survey of 19 advanced economies shows, ordinary citizens see social media as both a constructive and destructive component of political life, and overall most believe it has actually had a positive impact on democracy. Across the countries polled, a median of 57% say social media has been more of a good thing for their democracy, with 35% saying it has been a bad thing.There are substantial cross-national differences on this question, however, and the United States is a clear outlier: Just 34% of U.S. adults think social media has been good for democracy, while 64% say it has had a bad impact. In fact, the U.S. is an outlier on a number of measures, with larger shares of Americans seeing social media as divisive.

Contested Subjects across Cold War Frontiers: Hungarian Refugees from 1956

July 29, 2022

My project follows Hungarian refugees from the failed Hungarian Revolution of 1956 through the Cold War ideological and institutional structures of the immediate postwar period. To what extent did they adopt a Cold War script, and conversely and to what extent were they conditioned by the constraints of the geopolitical order? Moreover, how did they help constitute the international meaning of the Revolution? This project is motivated by answers to these questions and uses individual Hungarian refugee trajectories to unpack new insights on the Cold War, as well as how the Cold War obscured other concerns at the time – for instance, decolonization and processing the memories of the Second World War.

Waiting for the Sky to Close: The Unprecedented Crisis Facing Women and Girls Fleeing Ukraine - Hungary Assessment Report

May 25, 2022

The global humanitarian community is failing to meet the needs of women and girls displaced by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and adequately support women- and girl-led organizations on the frontlines of the emergency response, according to a new, seven-part regional assessment from VOICE, in partnership with HIAS.The reports were developed by VOICE's 10-member assessment team, who spent four weeks speaking to women's rights organizations, frontline workers, local NGOs, government workers, United Nations agency actors, and internally displaced and refugee populations in Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia. VOICE also conducted virtual interviews with women's rights groups and other local organizations in Ukraine.The reports paint a vivid picture of the challenges faced by women and girls who have been displaced by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, as well as the need to ensure that women's rights organizations and other local actors are integrated into response design and leadership from the beginning.

International Medical Corps Situation Update: Report #5

March 14, 2022

Since February 24, when Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a "special military operation" in Ukraine, at least 1,663 civilian casualties have been reported in the country, including 596 killed— far more than the 353 conflict-related civilian deaths recorded in the six years leading up to the invasion. Even so, UN OHCHR believes these numbers to be much higher, as casualties in some areas remain undercounted.As of March 13, Russian military attacks had moved to western Ukraine, with one airstrike at a military base and another at an airport in a separate oblast. Large scale evacuations continue in eastern and northern Ukraine, but have experienced delays or postponement due to hostility along evacuation routes. More than two weeks since the invasion began, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians remain without basic utilities or needs. Many of these people are trapped due to infrastructure or security risks, preventing movement. According to the Ukrainian Energy Ministry, 264,000 users are without gas supplies and 960,000 are without electricity. The security situation continues to obstruct the delivery of humanitarian aid to affected populations who are in critical need. Despite the challenging context, humanitarian assistance has reached 600,000 people. However, Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) warns that if the security situation continues to prevent access to basic needs, those affected by the crisis will die of starvation, dehydration, and lack of essential medicines and services.Since the invasion, more than 2.8 million people have fled Ukraine. As of March 14, 1,720,227 people had crossed the border from Ukraine into Poland, 84,671 people had entered Romania, 255,291 had entered Hungary, 106,994 had entered Moldova, 204,862 had entered Slovakia, 131,365 had fled to Russia and 304,156 had fled to other European countries.

International Medical Corps Situation Update: Report #4

March 10, 2022

Since February 24, when Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a "special military operation" in Ukraine, at least 1,424 civilian casualties have been reported in the country, including 516 killed—more than the 353 conflict-related civilian deaths recorded in the six years leading up to the invasion. Even so, UN OHCHR believes these numbers to be much higher, as casualties in some areas remain undercounted.Two weeks since the initial attack, shelling and bombing have continued throughout Ukraine, targeting additional cities and moving toward the capital. On March 9, a Russian air strike hit a children's hospital in Mariupol, despite a ceasefire agreement intended to allow civilians in the city, who had been trapped for weeks, to safely evacuate. The Russian Federation and Ukraine have both agreed on a humanitarian corridor to allow for the evacuation of civilians and delivery of humanitarian aid. The corridor is intended to be based out of Sumy in northeastern Ukraine.In the last two weeks, more than 400,000 tons of medical supplies have been delivered to Ukraine to address health needs. With women and children the majority of the fleeing population, protection risks are growing, highlighting the need for gender-based violence (GBV) and child protection services. Destruction of infrastructure has left hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians without water and electricity. Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services will need to be implemented rapidly to avoid sickness and death caused by unsafe water. And because Russia and Ukraine combined supply roughly one-third of global wheat trade, the World Food Programme also anticipates food insecurity throughout Ukraine and the globe.Since the invasion, more than 2.3 million people have fled Ukraine. Last week, Poland received the highest number of Ukrainians, with Romania following behind. As of March 10, more than 1,412,500 people had crossed the border from Ukraine into Poland, more than 84,670 people had entered Romania, 214,160 had entered Hungary, 82,762 had entered Moldova, 165,199 had entered Slovakia, 97,098 had fled to Russia and 258,844 had fled to other European countries.

Information and Resources for People Fleeing the Conflict in Ukraine

March 8, 2022

This guide is for people of all nationalities who have fled the war in Ukraine. If you are a citizen of Ukraine, you can enter countries in the Schengen area, or Romania or Moldova, without a visa. You can stay in these countries for up to 90 days. Information about entering these countries is below. If you are in a country in the European Union, you will be able to apply for temporary protection status, which will allow you to stay longer in that country. More information about this status is below.If you are not a Ukrainian citizen but are fleeing the conflict in Ukraine, you can also enter the below countries that neighbor Ukraine. This admission may be temporary (for example, to allow you to arrange to return to your home country). You may also be able to apply for a longer-term status, like temporary protection or asylum, if you had residency in Ukraine or are unable to return to your home country. This depends on what your legal status was in Ukraine and whether you are able to return to your home country. More information about temporary protection status is below. If you do not want to return to your home country, you may want to seek legal advice from one of the organizations below.

International Medical Corps Situation Update: Report #3

March 7, 2022

On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a "special military operation" in Ukraine, invading the neighboring nation in an attack that has been condemned by world leaders. Missile attacks and explosions have been reported throughout Ukraine, with military troops invading from three sides of the country. Since the start of the invasion, at least 364 civilians have been killed, including 14 children, and 1,684 people have been wounded, including 116 children. However, UN OHCHR believes these numbers to be much higher, as casualties in some areas remain undercounted.According to UN OCHA, the attempted evacuation of civilians from the southeast regions of Mariupol and Volnovaka was postponed after being scheduled for March 5. The attempted safe passage of those who remain trapped was thwarted by increasing attacks along the evacuation route, despite assurances of cooperation with a ceasefire. A second humanitarian corridor was planned for March 6, but did not materialize due to similar circumstances. Additional evacuation routes are being urgently explored, along with a possible humanitarian corridor out of Kharkiv in northern Ukraine. Though more than 1.7 million Ukrainians have fled the country, many remain and are in desperate need of food, water and medicine. Affected populations have been unable to receive relief due to the military attacks in and around various cities. Thirty trucks with humanitarian relief supplies remain unable to deliver provisions, as there is no way to safely reach people.

Sister, brother- or just someone who cares. How Giving Circles celebrate the power of giving and reclaim what it means to be a donor.

December 1, 2021

This study explores how a simple idea, which involves bringing people together with the sole purpose of giving – and giving together – has been shaped and adapted to fit in differentcountries and cultures. It draws on a series of conversations with Giving Circle organizers and practitioners from across the GFCF's global network and beyond, and includes perspectives from Belgium, Brazil, Hungary, Palestine, Russia, Romania, South Africa, United States and Vietnam. Some of these Giving Circles have emerged organically, while others have benefited from external mentorship and support.

Radar alatt – A transz emberek elleni erőszak dokumentálása

April 19, 2021

A transz emberek előítéletek által motivált diszkriminációval szembesülnek az élet minden területén, beleértve az oktatást, a munkát, az egészségügyet, a lakhatást és más szolgáltatásokat. Míg néhány nyugat-európai ország javított a transz emberek jogi helyzetén az elmúlt évtizedben, és átültették az önrendelkezés jogi elvét a nem jogi elismerésre irányuló folyamatokban, addig Közép-Kelet-Európában és Közép-Ázsiában (a továbbiakban: CEECA, angolul: Central-Eastern Europe and Central Asia) csak marginális jelentőségű pozitív jogi változások történtek a transz közösségek tekintetében.A Transgender Europe (TGEU) 2008 óta működik együtt aktivistákkal a Trans Murder Monitoring (TMM, magyarul Transz Gyilkosság Megfigyelés) program keretében a transz emberek által megélt erőszak kutatása kapcsán.1 2014-ben a TGEU elindította a ProTrans projektet,2 amely a transz emberek elleni erőszakra fókuszál a CEECA régióban. Ekkortól kezdve a projekt bizonyítékokat gyűjtött a transz emberek áldozattá válásával kapcsolatban, valamint forrást nyújtott az aktivistáknak, hogy érdekképviselői legyenek a jobb szabályzatok kialakításának, amelyek javítanák a transz emberek élethelyzetét.A jelen jelentés összefoglalja a ProTrans projekt kulcseredményeit 2015 és 2020 között. Az ebben az időszakban öt országból (Magyarország, Moldávia, Kirgizisztán, Szerbia és Törökország) származó projektpartnerek erőszakos eseteket gyűjtöttek a saját kontextusukban. Az adatok szomorú képet festenek a transz emberek elleni, állam által finanszírozott és nem állami erőszakos cselekményekről