Amnesty International EU Office Press Release
EU-Russia Summit: Dare the EU speak out against human rights abuses in Russia
(Brussels, 28 May) Amnesty International is challenging the EU to include pressing concerns raised at the EU-Russia Human Rights Consultations during the forthcoming EU-Russia summit on 31 May, in a letter to Herman Van Rompuy and the Spanish Presidency. Amnesty International is urging EU leaders to raise the widespread human rights violations in Northern Caucasus and the deterioration in freedom of expression, in particular regarding human rights defenders, when they meet their Russian counterparts in Rostov-on-Don.
The EU should strengthen the linkage between the EU-Russia Summits and the EU-Russia Human Rights Consultations, which are currently treated as two separate processes. As a consequence, human rights issues are not dealt with in sufficient depth when Russian and European leaders meet.
“It is not acceptable to have two separate processes that relegate human rights issues to an inferior arena. Respect for freedom of expression, the lawful work of human rights defenders, the right to a fair trial and the protection from death threats cannot be compromised and should never be subordinated to any other policy areas,” says Nicolas Beger, the director of Amnesty International’s EU office.
Another main concern that EU leaders should address at the summit are the widespread human rights violations in the North Caucasus. Small-scale counter-terrorism operations continue to be conducted frequently in places like Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan resulting in arbitrary detentions, ill-treatment and unlawful killings. Members of NGOs and journalists working in the region are also facing multiple threats and intimidation.
“Ongoing violations in the North Caucasus show that human rights abuses in Russia must be scrutinized internationally and the European Union must address these abuses in a consistent manner at every opportunity. There are indications that the situation in the country is getting worse rather than better for human rights defenders and civil society activists,” concludes Beger
For further comment/background and interviews:
Amnesty International EU Office (Brussels):
Tel: 32-2-5021499/32 -2 – 548 2773
Email: [email protected]