Statement by Members of the Presidential Human Rights Council on Forthcoming Demonstrations on 10 December

posted 9 Dec 2011, 15:23 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 9 Dec 2011, 15:45 ]
Russia does not have the right to repeat the mistakes that have been made at other decisive moments in its history

"We, members of the Council, today experience feelings of alarm and hope. In recent days, before our eyes, in response to numerous reports of falsifications of the elections, the population of Russia is being transformed into a real civil society. Tomorrow it will undergo a test. 

We are extremely concerned by the reports of violations of the rights of citizens to the expression of their choice in free and fair elections. Each report must be carefully checked. Those responsible for election fraud must be brought to court, the forged electoral commission protocols of election results must be recognized as void, and the ballot papers that have been the means of fraud must be recounted. 

If the violations that have been committed do not allow an accurate determination of the electorate’s choices, fresh elections are necessary. This is what people are demanding, and this is what the law demands. 

We condemn the unjustified use of force against peaceful citizens who are defending their electoral rights in accordance with the law. We insist that the numerous court judgments sentencing people to prison be reviewed. 

The forces of law and order must understand that they are called upon to protect the rights of people, including their rights to freedom of assembly and freedom of expression. Not only is the use of force impermissible. Intimidation, threats to expel students from their colleges, or to draft young men into the army for taking part in peaceful protests are also impermissible. 

At the same time we call on the participants in rallies not to give in to provocations, not to use force themselves, not to violate the law. It is important to refrain from giving the opponents of freedom yet one more excuse to act against us. 

Our country has a unique chance to acquire a civil society that is not indifferent and a state that is law abiding. We support the desire of citizens to achieve the rule of law, and their demands that the laws be observed. 

The state must give people the opportunity to freely express their views on the fundamental issue of the development of the country. The state must hear the voice of civil society. 

Russia does not have the right to repeat the mistakes that have been made at other decisive moments in its history." 

Members of the Council: Svetlana Aivazova, Ludmila Alekseeva, Lev Ambinder, Aleksandr Auzan, Sergie Vorobiev, Svetlana Gannushkina, Valentin Gefter, Aleksei Golovan, Yury Dzhibladze, Daniil Dondurei, Kirill Kabanov, Sergei Karaganov, Sergei Krivenko, Ida Kuklina, Fedor Lukianov, Tatiana Maleva, Tamara Morshchakova, Dmitrii Oreshkin, Emil Pain, Elena Panfilova, Mara Poliakova, Boris Pustyntsev, Aleksei Simonov, Sergei Tsyplenkov, Igor Iurgens 


Ludmila Alekseeva, Svetlana Gannushkina, Yury Dzhibladze and Aleksei Simonov are members of the Advisory Council of Rights in Russia.

Ludmila Alekseeva lives in Moscow and is chair of the Moscow Helsinki Group
Svetlana Gannushkina lives in Moscow. A member of the board of the Memorial Human Rights Centre. She heads the Civic Assistance Committee for refugees and IDPs and Memorial's Migration Rights Network.
Aleksei Simonov lives in Moscow and is president of the Glasnost Defence Foundation.