After field visit, parliamentarians act toward Russia

In the beginning of May, Civil Rights Defenders brought two members of the Swedish Parliament, Marietta de Pourbaix-Lundin and Björn von Sydow, to North Caucasus. Via the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly they have now asked about Russia’s responsibilites for people who have disappeared and the lack of protection of human rights defenders.

They met some of the regions most prominent human rights defenders, representatives from the authorities and civilians that have been afflicted by the violence. Joanna Kurosz, programme officer for East Europe and Central Asia at Civil Rights Defenders says:

”One of those we met was a young woman in Ingushetia. In February her husband had been due to travel to Europe to work. But he did not get further than to a train station in Mineralnyje Vody where he was abducted by people from the Russian security services. Since then, he is gone without a trace and the young woman is alone with a small child.”

It is not uncommon that people disappears even though they have never been activists or taken a stand against the authorities in any way. In many instances this is about the Security services needing to present results, that they have managed to rid of terrorists and then anybody can suddenly become a terrorist.

After their visit to the North Caucasus, both Marietta de Pourbaix-Lundin and Björn von Sydow have posed questions via the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers in which Russia is a member. The questions concerns disppeared individuals, among others the man who was abducted i Minralnyje Vody, what the Council of Europe is doing to guarantee the security of human rights defenders and what the Council of Europe intends to do in order to make Russia fullfil its human rights commitments as a member of the Council. Reply by the Committee of Ministers

”Protection of those who work with human rights in this region is a very urgent issue. By being a member of both the European Council and the OECD, Russia is committed to offer such protection”, said Björn von Sydow.

He continued:

”During the visit we met a wide range of people, in Groznyj and other places, who testified about how their close ones have disappeared. Many human rights activists told us about the threats they experience. It was horrible but very important to see this with my own eyes.

Categories: News.
Tags: Björn von Sydow, Marietta de Pourbaix-Lundin, and Violence against human rights defenders.
Regions: The North Caucasus.