EU-Russia Summit must defend protesters’ rights
(Brussels, 15 December 2011) Amnesty International has called on the EU to raise the issue of human rights with the Russian Federation at today’s EU-Russia Summit. The summit is being held days after Russia’s legislative elections, following which more than 1,000 people, including journalists, were reportedly detained after demonstrations against the manipulation of votes. Amnesty International has received many reports of mistreatment of detainees, beatings of peaceful protesters by the police, denial of medical treatment, and closed court hearings.
“The EU-Russia relationship must be based on more than just questions of trade and energy. This is an opportunity for the EU to remind Russia that peaceful spontaneous protests in response to political developments are covered by international human rights law’’, said Nicolas Beger, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office. ‘’These detainees are prisoners of conscience and must be released immediately.’’
Amnesty International sees the recent developments as emblematic of a wider disregard for human rights in Russia, as demonstrated by the continued difficulties faced by human rights defenders there. Amnesty International’s recent report, Beaten up for Speaking out: Attacks on human rights defenders and journalists in the Russian Federation, demonstrates how human rights defenders, journalists and civil society activists continue to face threats and harassment for revealing human rights abuse and corruption across Russia. In most cases, attacks are not fully and impartially investigated and perpetrators are not being brought to justice.
‘’The EU must use this summit as an opportunity to encourage the Russian authorities to fully, promptly and independently investigate attacks on human rights defenders and bring their perpetrators to justice’’ said Beger. “Strong EU support for civil society is vital if Russia’s current climate of impunity is to change.”
For interviews or further comment, please contact:-
Media & Communications Officer
European Institutions Office, Amnesty International
Tel: +32 (0)2 548 2773