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Letter to President of PACE

Submitted by on Wednesday, 15 December 2010.    978 views No Comment
Letter to President of PACE

On December 13, 2010 a letter which was composed and signed by numerous international human rights organizations and addressed to the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), was sent.

The letter was composed during the Conference on the condition of human rights in the North Caucasus that took place in Stockholm (Sweden) on November 23-24. The authors of the letter draw the attention of PACE’s President Mr Mevlut Cavusoglu to the lack of effective implementation of the Assembly’s Resolution 1738 (2010): “Legal remedies for human rights violations in the North Caucasus region,” which was based on the June 1 report by the Committee’s rapporteur, Dick Marty.

“Unfortunately, in the six months following the adoption of Resolution 1738, the human rights situation in the region has not improved and there has been no tangible progress in investigations into concrete cases of human rights violations in Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia documented in Mr. Marty’s report,” the letter reads.

The signatories to the letter call upon the President of PACE to resume the mandate under which Mr. Marty undertook his work on the North Caucasus. Also the authors of the letter offer the Committee to request information from the Russian government regarding the course of investigation into the cases documented in the June 2010 report. Moreover, the signatories hope to see the Committee appoint a rapporteur to carry out a follow-up mission to the region with the objective of reporting to the Assembly on the degree of progress achieved in the investigation of the cases detailed in his report and more broadly the dynamics of the human rights situation in the region.

Here is the letter:

Stockholm, December 9, 2010

To the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

Dear Mr. President,

We, the undersigned Russian and international human rights organizations, which gathered in Stockholm on 23-24 November 2010 to discuss the continuing human rights crisis in the North Caucasus, would like to draw your attention to the lack of effective implementation of the Assembly’s Resolution 1738 (2010) “Legal remedies for human rights violations in the North Caucasus region,” which was based on the June 1 report by the Committee’s rapporteur, Dick Marty.

In June of this year, we welcomed Mr. Marty’s report, which included detailed descriptions of specific cases of violations, and demanded the effective prosecution of such cases as an important step toward ending impunity and re-establishing the rule of law in the North Caucasus. We fully support Resolution 1738 (2010), particularly the following steps the Assembly recommended the Russian government to take:

13.1.2. Bring to trial in accordance with the law all culprits of human rights violations, including members of the security forces, and to clear up the many crimes which have gone unpunished…;
13.1.3. provide the necessary conditions to ensure that victims of human rights abuses have access to justice and are free to exercise their rights to an effective remedy before the judicial authorities and enjoy adequate protection;
13.1.4. intensify co-operation with the Council of Europe in enforcing the judgments of the Court, especially where they concern reinforcement of the individual measures to clear up the cases of, in particular, abduction, murder and torture in which the Court has ascertained a lack of proper investigation;
13.1.6. co-operate more closely with the organizations working on the ground in defense of human rights and of civil society as a whole, and protect their staff members effectively against possible reprisals;

We especially note that the Russian delegation to the Assembly and high-level Russian officials endorsed Resolution 1738, giving an important indication of their commitment to ensure its implementation.

Unfortunately, in the six months following the adoption of Resolution 1738, the human rights situation in the region has not improved and there has been no tangible progress in investigations into concrete cases of human rights violations in Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia documented in Mr. Marty’s report.

We therefore respectfully urge resumption of the mandate under which Mr. Marty undertook his work on the North Caucasus. It is crucial that the momentum created by Mr. Marty’s report not get lost and that the Legal Affairs and Human Rights Committee be empowered to follow up in a sustained manner on this work. As a first step, the Committee should, at the earliest opportunity, request information from the Russian government regarding the course of investigation into the cases documented in the June 2010 report. We further hope to see the Committee appoint a rapporteur to carry out a follow-up mission to the region with the objective of reporting to the Assembly on the degree of progress achieved in the investigation of the cases detailed in his report and more broadly the dynamics of the human rights situation in the region. We are prepared to offer our expertise in supporting this mission, including by providing our own findings and facilitating meetings with victims and witnesses of violations.

Russian Assembly members’ endorsement of Resolution 1738 was a significant step, and gives reason for hope that the Russian authorities will meet this initiative in the spirit of cooperation and genuine interest in improving the human rights situation in North Caucasus region.

Thank you for your urgent attention to this pressing matter.

Sincerely,

Civil Rights Defenders
Human Rights Watch
Amnesty International
Memorial
Carl Gershman, President, the National Endowment for Democracy, USA
Russian Justice Initiative
Committee against Torture
Civil Society and Freedom of Speech Initiative Center for the Caucasus
Voice of Beslan
Mothers of Dagestan
Pravozashita
Mothers of Kabardino-Balkaria for Democracy and Peace
MASHR
Norwegian Helsinki Committee
Chechen Committee for National Salvation
Israpil Shovkhalov, Editor-in-Chief, Journal Dosh
Varvara Pakhomenko, Consultant on the North and South Caucasus
Östgruppen – Swedish Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights
Status Quo

*Text was translated by Waynakh Online and edited by Michael Capobianco

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