Appeal of Human Rights Defenders to EU
Yesterday, Svenska Dagbladet, a daily Swedish newspaper, has published a letter of human rights defenders that demands from European Union (EU) to put a real pressure for Russia.
The appeal was signed by Vissarion Aseyev (North Ossetia, human rights defender), Libkan Bazayev (Chair of Women’s Dignity, Chechnya), Larisa Dorogova (Lawyer, Mothers of Kabardino-Balkaria), Anna Ek (Chair of Swedish Peace), Carl Gershman (President of the National Endowment for Democracy), Neil Hicks (International Policy Advisor of Human Rights First), Robert Hardh (Director, Civil Rights Defenders), Svetlana Isayeva (Chair, Mothers of Dagestan), Ella Kesayeva (Chair, Voice of Beslan), Roemer Lemaitre (General Council, Russian Justice Initiative), Tanya Lokshina (Deputy Director of Human Rights Watch), Madina Magomadova (Chair, Mothers of Chechnya for Peace), Magomed Mutsolgov (Chair, MASHR), Oleg Orlov (Chair, Human Rights Center Memorial), Varvara Pakhomenko (Human Rights Organization Demos), Oleg Panfilov (Director, Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations), Arsen Sakalov (Legal Initiative for Chechnya), Marta Ter (Director, Lliga dels Drets dels Pobles), Oksana Chelysheva (Russian-Chechen Friendship Society), Martin Uggla (Chair, The Swedish Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights) and Leon Willems (Director, Press Now).
“Last spring, Russian authorities annouced that the situation in Chechnya is normal. But in the reality, nothing is normal in North Caucasus. The pressure on the human rights defenders increased. Only during last six months, five of our colleagues have been murdered. Now the question is who will be the next victim? At today’s summit, Sweden and EU must demand from Russia to respect for human rights.
The responsible for what is happening in North Caucasus today, is only Russian federal forces and pro-Moscow local authorities. The crimes aren’t investigating and guilties go on to live in their free life. The mean of impunity is crimes will continue and we, human rights defenders will be the target of the people who seen our work as a threat for them” was written in the appeal.
Human rights defenders called EU to increase pressure for Russia on respect human rights. The defenders point out that Russia has been convicted more than 115 times at European Court for Human Rights on extrajudicial executions, disappearances and torture in the North Caucasus, expecially in Chechnya. They said that Russia violates the international agreements on human rights and human rights defenders don’t have life guarentee in Russian and North Caucasus. They asked the reform at Russia’s security forces, military forces and authorities who is managing them. Also they want to permission for international human rights organizations for access to North Caucasus.
On the other hand, Sweden’s prime minister has expressed disquiet about Russia’s human rights situation after an EU-Russia summit in Stockholm. Fredrik Reinfeldt, whose country holds the EU’s rotating presidency, said: “We exchanged views on human rights, the rule of law in Russia and democracy. This is an increasing cause for concern.”