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Rights Group of the Week: Public Verdict Foundation

posted 29 May 2017, 04:16 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 29 May 2017, 04:28 ]
On 22 May 2017 the Moscow-based human rights organization Public Verdict Foundation, together with the Methodological Laboratory (a group of researchers led by Dmitry Rogozin of the Sociology Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences), published a report on public perceptions of human rights abuses by the police in Russia. As The Moscow Times reports, citing RBK, according to the study, which questioned 786 people, almost a quarter of Russians have witnessed or experienced beatings carried out by police and medical staff: "Some 22 percent of people said they'd seen police attacks firsthand, while 12.3 percent of respondents said that they had personally fallen victim to police brutality. Another 28.6 percent of Russians had heard of similar cases from family and friends. [...] Just 41 percent of respondents said that officials should be able to carry out 'minor' human rights violations for the greater good, but that figure rose when participants were asked whether a kidnapper should be tortured to give up the location of their underage victims (reaching 63 percent), or whether a doctor should be able to violently restrain a mentally-ill patient in order to administer drugs (73 percent)."

As the website of Public Verdict Foundation states, the organization was set up in February 2004 "as a non-profit, non-partisan organization offering legal assistance to victims of human rights abuse at the hands of law enforcement officers in Russia." The founders of Public Verdict include the International Memorial Society, Moscow Helsinki Group, Open Russia, the Aleksandr N. Yakovlev Democracy Foundation), and the Russian Regions Foundation. 

Natalia Taubina, director of the Public Verdict Foundation, says about the organization (on the group's website): "We work to help people defend their rights, and we wish that the authorities as well as the public abide by the law, so that the term 'arbitrariness' is rarely, if ever, used to characterize life in Russia. How does the Public Verdict Foundation operate? Transparency is the central principle we live by. The Public Verdict Foundation offers legal assistance and disseminates best practices to help individuals and groups restore their rights violated by law enforcement officers. The Foundation assists law enforcement authorities in preventing and suppressing violations of human rights and civil liberties. An important part of our mission is to promote the development of regional human rights groups and to support their work. The Foundation engages in educational and analytical work, and commissions relevant studies from reputable sociological institutions and think-tanks. The Foundation develops recommendations to improve law enforcement practices in Russia, and consults with government and NGOs regarding these recommendations. The Foundation engages in public and media campaigning. The Foundation promotes international standards of human rights and civil liberties in the Russian Federation, and advocates for effective domestic application of international human rights mechanisms. The Foundation offers its assistance to all Russian citizens whose human rights and civil liberties have been violated by unlawful acts of the law enforcement authorities."

For recent interviews with Natalya Taubina by Rights in Russia, see here in English and here in Russian. For more information about Public Verdict Foundation on Rights in Russia, see here, here and here.

'One in Four Russians Witness Police Brutality — Poll,' The Moscow Times , 22 May 2017
'До 73% россиян назвали пытки и насилие приемлемыми в отдельных случаях,' RBK, 22 May 2017
Public Verdict Foundation website