EHF EURO 2020: “To be or not to be” in Norway until November 17

first_imgShareTweetShareShareEmailCommentsFollowing the discussions in Norway between the Norwegian Handball Federation and the relevant governmental authorities in the sports and health sector regarding the hygiene concept for the Women’s EHF EURO 2020 in Norway and Denmark, the European Handball Federation issues the following statement:The EHF is fully aware of the situation in Norway, the measures that are in place to contain the spread of Covid-19 and the challenges this poses for the conduct of the Women’s EHF EURO 2020 in Norway and Denmark.However, clarity needs to be sought, in particular for the teams that are scheduled to play in groups C and D, namely Netherlands, Hungary, Serbia and Croatia as well as Romania, Norway, Germany and Poland, currently set in Trondheim.The EHF took note of the Norwegian government’s decision to ask for a refinement of the existing hygiene concept and the announcement not to make a final decision on the concept as such by late this week or even early next week.In order to safeguard the conduct of the Women’s EHF EURO 2020, the European Handball Federation expects a confirmation by the Norwegian Handball Federation, as part of the overall organising committee of Women’s EHF EURO 2020, that matches can be played in Trondheim by Tuesday morning next week (17 November 2020).The teams in question have been informed about the situation and a final decision by the OCs early next week. Nevertheless, the EHF remains optimistic that, with the shared interest of the motivated OCs, it can be managed to have the top level event in the two countries. Leave a Reply Cancel replyYour email address will not be published.Comment Name Email Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Related Items: Click to comment ShareTweetShareShareEmaillast_img read more

Blind to the ‘Butcher of Andijan’

first_imgOn 14 November, the Council issued travel bans on 12 Uzbek officials “directly responsible for the indiscriminate and disproportionate use of force” in the massacre of hundreds of unarmed protesters in the east Uzbekistan city of Andijan on 13 May, 2005. The name Zakirjon Almatov tops the EU’s travel blacklist.The German Foreign Ministry defends its decision to allow Almatov to stay in the country despite the visa ban against him, saying it is acting “on humanitarian grounds”, because he is receiving medical treatment at a clinic in Hanover. That must seem a cruel joke to the victims of the Andijan massacre. They know Almatov as ‘The Butcher of Andijan’, a man who showed little humanity as he told protesters there would be no negotiations just before government troops started firing into the crowd.The Andijan massacre’s victims include not only those murdered in May but also witnesses and their families, who continue to face harassment from the Uzbek authorities anxious to silence them and, as documented in September reports by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, enforce their version of history. The Uzbek government would like the world to believe Andijan was the start of an attempted “Islamist insurgency” and they’ve been going through a lot of trouble trying to get that point across. Running propaganda films at their embassies worldwide has been the least of it. The authorities have tortured confessions out of supposed insurgents as part of a completely choreographed Stalinist-style show trial that concluded this week with, to no one’s surprise, fifteen out of fifteen convictions and the government’s version of events fully upheld. In an apparent prelude to a second show-trial, they have also denounced a number of domestic and foreign journalists on national television for their part in the grand plot to overthrow the state. The Uzbek security services have continued to pursue and harass refugees who were forced to leave the country after Andijan. A few hundred are now safe in camps in Romania, but as many as 2,000 more remain at risk just across the Uzbek border in Kyrgyzstan.Perhaps the new German government will take into account some of these victims and consider dealing with them on humanitarian grounds rather than favouring their oppressors. The whole point of visa bans, after all, is to punish elites by denying them the sort of luxuries they enjoy. This sort of high-quality healthcare in particular is something they cannot get in their own countries and exempting it utterly defeats the point of sanctions.The Council’s decree was an admirable move. Along with the visa ban, it declared an embargo on “arms, military equipment and other equipment that might be used for internal repression”. The travel and trade restrictions will be in place for one year, when the Council will look at Tashkent’s progress on several human rights issues, including the outcome of an independent, international inquiry into the events in Andijan – an idea Uzbekistan has consistently rejected. Yes, the EU decree came embarrassingly late and the list of twelve officials rather oddly omits the authoritarian regime’s ruler, President Islam Karimov, but generally it represented a positive step.However, what good is Europe’s principled decree if it is openly flouted from the very day it is made? Germany has a military base in Termez, Uzbekistan, but while that might have been an excuse to avoid agreement on European measures in the first place, surely it cannot be used to justify the hypocrisy of announcing restrictions and contravening them at the same time. If Germany has sacrificed its principles to maintain Termez, it hardly seems worth it: to support German troops in Afghanistan, they could easily operate through Manas, Kyrgyzstan, or indeed Bagram, Afghanistan. A spokesperson for EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana has said of Germany’s decision to let Almatov stay: “We don’t see a problem.” If they truly fail to see the problem with breaking rules as they are making them, then Berlin and Brussels must be blind. Andrew Stroehlein, the International Crisis Group’s director of media, previously ran journalism training programmes in Uzbekistan.last_img read more