Human Rights Defenders Call on the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to Protect the Rights of Demonstrators in Russia

posted 27 May 2011, 14:30 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 27 May 2011, 14:43 ]
27 May 2011
Source: For Human Rights

Today, 27 May 2011, chair of the Moscow Helsinki Group, Ludmila Alekseeva, and executive director of the National Movement For Human Rights, Lev Ponomarev, appealed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia to demand that the Russian authorities protect the rights of Russian demonstrators from police brutality just in the same way as they have called for the rights of Georgian demonstrators to be protected

The text of the appeal follows:

Dear Sirs!

Yesterday, 26 May, a representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation issued a sharp statement concerning violations of the rights of participants in a demonstration on Rustaveli Prospect in Tblisi that took place without official sanction. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation pointed out that it is necessary for States to observe the ‘right of peaceful assembly and the freedom of expression’.

In Novosibirsk demonstrations by pensioners protesting against the acts of the party in power are regularly brutally broken up. As is well-known, on 31 May in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and many other Russian cities, mass demonstrations will take place as part of the Strategy-31 campaign. There is a real threat of the use of brutal measures, detention and other actions being taken against participants to break up these peaceful, nonviolent demonstrations, as this has already been happening for almost the last three years.

Therefore we call on you to appeal immediately to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation, and also to the Mayor of Moscow, the Governor of St Petersburg and the Mayor of Novosibirsk, and remind them of the necessity of strictly complying with the international obligations of the Russian Federation to observe the basic rights and freedoms of a democratic society, and ensure for all citizens the possibility of holding public events, whether to defend Article 31 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation, or to express their civic positions on other issues, and categorically not to allow the use of force against participants in the demonstrations, their detention and prosecution, or the falsification of charges.

Ludmila Alekseeva, Chair, Moscow Helsinki Group
Lev Ponomarev, For Human Rights, Member of the Moscow Helsinki Group
Moscow, 27 May 2011