EU Leaders: speak with one voice to confront Russia’s defiance on human rights

As EU leaders meet today in Lahti, Finland, all eyes will be on their confrontation with Russian President, Vladimir Putin, in light of the onslaught on freedom of expression and association in Russia.

Joining Mr. Barroso’s appeal that EU leaders speak with a common voice, Amnesty International asks for a strong and unequivocal condemnation. This is particularly important at a time of on-going negotiations shaping the future EU-Russia Strategic Partnership.

“Energy issues are important but Europe will be doing no one a favour, least of all ordinary Russians, if this is allowed to override all others. It is crucial that the EU does not limit its protest to words only”, says Dick Oosting, Director of Amnesty International’s EU Office.

In a letter and a briefing paper (available below) Amnesty International urged EU leaders to ask Mr. Putin to:

  1. Cease pressure on NGOs and all infringements on freedom of association;
  2. Restore freedom of expression through concrete steps such as opening an independent investigation into the assassination of Anna Politkovskaya and lifting the recent conviction of fellow journalist Mr. Stanislav Dmitrievskii;
  3. Investigate mounting reports of arbitrary detention and torture of people detained in connection with terrorism-related cases.

Links to documents:

For further comment/background and interviews:
Amnesty International EU Office (Brussels)
Tel: +32-2-5021499
Fax: +32-2-5025686
[email protected]