Russia held to account for serious human rights breaches
(Brussels, 3 October 2012) Following yesterday’s adoption by the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly of a resolution urging Russia to honour its obligations and resolving to continue monitoring the country, Amnesty International has urged the Russian Government to fulfill its human rights obligations by implementing the Assembly’s calls. The organisation has also pressed the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers to send Russia an urgent political signal to stop abusing human rights.
“Concern over Russia’s serious human rights breaches is growing in the light of recently adopted legislative, political and judicial decisions. A recent high-profile example was the jailing of the three Pussy Riot protesters. We share the Assembly’s concerns over Russia’s blatant disrespect for basic rights. The Assembly mentions an extensive list of violations”, said Nicolas Beger, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office.
“The Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers ought to apply greater pressure on Russia for systematically failing to observe its obligations including its non-implementation of many of the European Court of Human Rights’ judgments.”
The Parliamentary Assembly called on Russia to tackle the climate of impunity in the North Caucasus, where alleged unlawful killings, abduction and torture by law-enforcement agents are uninvestigated and remain unpunished, as demonstrated by more than 150 judgments by the Strasbourg Court. Amnesty International has called for Russia to bring perpetrators to justice.
The Assembly also urged Russia to address torture and other ill-treatment in detention, which are common throughout the country, and regularly go unpunished. Justice for the killing of journalists and human rights defenders, who include Anna Politkovskaya and Natalia Estemirova, has yet to be done. Critical voices in civil society face smear campaigns in the state-controlled media and draconian limitations on their freedom of expression and assembly. The recent law which portrays foreign-funded independent NGOs as ‘foreign agents’ is symptomatic.
A further call on Russia by the Assembly was to repeal laws which restrict freedom of expression and assembly in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity. It expressed concern over attacks on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-gender people.
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