EU should press Russia to improve human rights problems


(Brussels, 24 May 2006) The EU should remind the Russian Federation of its human rights responsibilities, says Amnesty International on the eve of the EU-Russia Summit.
In a briefing sent to the Austrian Presidency, the human rights organization has presented a list of concerns that should be addressed at the Summit. 

“As the new Chair of the Council of Europe, elected Member of the UN’s Human Rights Council and host of the forthcoming G8 Summit, the Russian Federation has an increased responsibility to improve its human rights record” says Dick Oosting, Director of Amnesty International’s EU Office.
“The EU should push Russia to set a positive example, ignoring the existing problems it will damage rather than enhance the strategic partnership the EU is developing with Russia,” added Oosting.

Among Amnesty International’s concerns are:

  • Reports of arbitrary arrests, torture, “disappearances” and extra-judicial executions in the Northern Caucasus, amidst a climate of impunity.
  • Legal and political threats towards NGO’s and human rights defenders that undermine the development of an independent civil society.

In its recommendations, Amnesty International specifically asks the EU to urge President Putin to:

  • Meet the basic entry criteria of the Council of Europe, of which it now holds the Chair, namely by:
    – Fully cooperating with the Committee for the Prevention of Torture by granting access to places of detention and authorising the publication of its reports. 
    – Reform the Procurator’s office in line with Council of Europe standards.
  • Amend the new NGO law by introducing safeguards to protect civil society from arbitrary convictions and limitations to the freedom of speech.

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