27 October 2016
Statement by the Council of Human Rights Defenders of Russia has been issued on the latest round of appointments to the Public Oversight Commissions in 43 regions of Russia
On 21 October 2016 the board of the Public Chamber of Russia published an updated list of members of the Public Oversight Commissions for places of enforced detention (POCs) in 43 regions of our country.
Most of the candidates recommended by human rights organizations have not been included in the new membership of the POCs, including those who showed themselves in a positive light in their work in the previous membership of POCs.
This is despite the fact that Article 12, Section 1, of Federal Law 76 lays down the requirements for members of a POC: ‘A member of a Public Oversight Commission can be a citizen of the Russian Federation of at least 25 years of age and with experience of work in the area of human rights’.
The candidates presented all the necessary documents, as laid down by the law. All the candidates recommended by human rights defenders were presented at a session of the working group before the vote took place (the working group of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation ‘on membership and effectiveness of the work of the Public Oversight Commissions of the Russian regions’).
The Public Chamber promised that voting would be done in a transparent manner.
Instead of this, the number of places in the POCs in 43 regions was arbitrarily reduced on the invented pretext of ‘a small number of applications.’
The lists of candidates presented to members of the working group of the Public Chamber for voting were drawn up in violation of the regulations, something which made manipulations possible.
Аnd then the Public Chamber, either without giving reasons or providing false motives, rejected a large number of the candidates put forward by reputable human rights organizations.
The reason why candidates put forward by human rights defenders were removed from the lists is clear.
Over eight years the POCs became effective mechanisms of oversight by society over state structures otherwise closed to the public.
That is the reason why, in carrying out instructions from those who oppose this public oversight, the Public Chamber tried to sharply reduce the numbers of those members of the POCs who had already showed their commitment to the principles of human rights protection.
The Public Chamber by its actions is destroying a unique mechanism for the oversight of law enforcement agencies and penitentiary institutions that has worked well for many years in advancing the protection of human rights.
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We believe that the Public Chamber must:
1. Quash the results of the voting.
The working group of the Public Chamber must:
2. Draw up and confirm a new list for voting.
3. Return the membership of the Public Oversight Commissions at the least to their former numbers.
The board of the Public Chamber must:
4. Follow the recommendations on the organization of voting of the Human Rights Council and the Human Rights Ombudsman, as bodies empowered by the state to support human rights activities in this country.
We ask the Human Rights Ombudsman of the Russian Federation, T. N. Moskalkova, and the Human Rights Council to support our statement.
Members of the Council of Human Rights Defenders:
HRO.org in English >