Ludmila Alekseeva on the meeting of the Human Rights Council with the President of Russia (Ezhednevnyi zhurnal)

posted 19 Oct 2014, 09:11 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 19 Oct 2014, 09:13 ]
14 October 2014

By Ludmila Alekseeva, human rights defender and chair of the Moscow Helsinki Group

Source: Moscow Helsinki Group

Originally published by ‘Pryamaya rech,’ Ezhednevnyi zhurnal, 14 October 2014

Generally, the success of this sort of meeting depends upon the attitudes of both sides. More than a year ago, while I was in the Presidential Council for Human Rights, such meetings made sense. We presented the problems pertaining to our particular fields that were worrying us - mine in the area of human rights and ecology - and so on. Each shed light on that area of social life in which he or she was involved. Of course, not all of our proposals met with sympathy, but some of the problems raised in this manner were resolved. Traditionally in our country there is a gulf between the authorities and society - the authorities hear no signals whatsoever, but are only concerned with putting out their own. Thus direct contact with the head of state, to whom it was possible to speak frankly and hear his reaction, was important.

Is it like that now? Recently, the gulf between the authorities and society has assumed catastrophic dimensions, and the authorities are deliberately not listening to our signals. For example, the indignation at the bill, dubbed the ‘Rothenberg Law’, was universal, but I do not get the impression that the authorities are paying any attention to it.

Putin also stated that international human rights organisations are not devoting attention to the Ukrainian conflict. Obviously, to speak about all organisations is difficult, but the Russian branch of Amnesty International is now in my opinion involved exclusively with the conflict in South East Ukraine. And the Russian office of Human Rights Watch is also actively working in this area, writing reports and offering its opinion. So I don’t think that they are not devoting attention to this issue.

Translated by Nathalie Corbett