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MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on Russia, the case of Oyub Titiev and the Human Rights Centre Memorial

6.2.2018 - (2018/2560(RSP))

with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law
pursuant to Rule 135 of the Rules of Procedure

Petras Auštrevičius, Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea, Dita Charanzová, Gérard Deprez, Martina Dlabajová, Nathalie Griesbeck, Marian Harkin, Ivan Jakovčić, Ilhan Kyuchyuk, Louis Michel, Urmas Paet, Maite Pagazaurtundúa Ruiz, Jozo Radoš, Frédérique Ries, Robert Rochefort, Marietje Schaake, Pavel Telička, Ramon Tremosa i Balcells, Johannes Cornelis van Baalen, Hilde Vautmans, Cecilia Wikström on behalf of the ALDE Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0096/2018

Proċedura : 2018/2560(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on Russia, the case of Oyub Titiev and the Human Rights Centre Memorial


The European Parliament,

-having regard to its previous resolutions on Russia, including the resolutions on the implementation of the Council’s LGBTI Guidelines, particularly in relation to the persecution of (perceived) homosexual men in Chechnya of 16 May 2017 and on the closing-down of the NGO ‘Memorial’ (winner of the 2009 Sakharov Prize) in Russia of 23 October 2014;

-having regard to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms;

-having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;

-having regard to the European Convention on Human Rights and the Protocols thereto;

-having regard to the Constitution of the Russian Federation, in particular Chapter 2 on the Rights and Freedoms of Man and Citizen;

-having regard to the EU Council guidelines of 24 June 2013 on the rights of LGBTI persons;

-having regard to the European Union Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders, on Torture and Ill-Treatment, and on Human Rights Defenders;

-having regard to the statement of 13 April 2017 issued by UN human rights experts on the abuse and detention of gay men in Chechnya;

-having regard to the statement of the Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations from 11 January 2018 on the detention of the Director of the Memorial Human Rights Centre in the Chechen Republic;

-having regard to the EU Statement on human rights violations concerning the Memorial Human Rights Centre in Russia on 19 January 2018;

-having regard to its award of the 2009 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to ‘Memorial’, a Russian NGO campaigning, inter alia, for the rights of political prisoners in Russia

-having regard to Rule 135 of its Rules of Procedure;

A.whereas Oyub Titiev, the Chechnya office director at the 2009 Sakharov Prize winning human rights organization, Memorial Human Rights Centre, was arrested on 9 January 2018 by Chechen police and charged with drug possession; whereas these charges have been denied by himself and denounced as fabricated by NGOs and other human rights defenders;

B.whereas on 17 January 2018 the headquarters of the Memorial Human Rights Centre in the neighbouring Republic of Ingushetia was reportedly set on fire and sustained significant damage; whereas on 22 January 2018 the Memorial’s car was torched in neighbouring Republic of Dagestan, followed by direct threats against the organisation’s members; whereas these are the most recent instances in a series of events that include the killing of the former director of Memorial Natalia Estemirova in 2009, repeated death threats to Oyub Titiev, his family, lawyers and activists of the Memorial; whereas the family of Oyub Titiev has fled the Chechen Republic;

C.whereas other activists and human rights defenders have been ill-treated or tortured while in detention; whereas adequate healthcare and legal assistance should be provided to them;

D.whereas Oyub Titiev’s has been a part of extensive reporting about the grave human rights violations taking place in Chechnya including extra-judicial executions, enforced disappearances, torture, and cruel and degrading treatment and the ongoing impunity for these violations; whereas the erosion of the rule of law has been exacerbated by the lack of accountability and trust in domestic and international law has also been reduced among the local population;

E.whereas Memorial has been subjected to a targeted campaign to silence and close the only human rights organization that still maintains a presence in Chechnya; whereas abuses perpetrated by local authorities have the tacit support of the Kremlin as their actions continue with no accountability;

F.whereas in May 2017, Russian Human Rights Ombudsman Tatyana Moskalkova began an investigation into violations of human rights in Chechnya but according to Human Rights Watch, no serious attempts to investigate have occurred yet and no reports been published;

G.whereas the recent and ongoing persecution of gay or perceived gay men is part of a coordinated campaign allegedly organised by the republic’s authorities and security forces on the direct orders of the President of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov; whereas Ramzan Kadyrov has condoned honour killings by family members of perceived gay individuals and suggested that high profile cases were not carried out by the Chechen authorities but by family members;

H.whereas the human rights situation in the whole of Russia has deteriorated in recent years and the Russian authorities have adopted a series of laws containing ambiguous provisions, which are being used to place further restrictions on opposition and civil society actors, and to hinder the freedoms of expression and assembly; whereas the NGO law of 2012 has severely restricted NGOs ability to work independently and operate in an effective way; whereas under this law the Memorial has been designated as a “foreign agent” by the Russian Ministry of Justice;

I.whereas after years of threats and repression in the North Caucasus, almost no independent journalists or human rights activists are able to work in the region;

J.whereas the Russian Federation is a signatory to several international human rights treaties and, as a member of the Council of Europe and to the European Convention on Human Rights, it has the duty to ensure the safety of all people who may be at risk, including on account of their sexual orientation; whereas Russia has the obligation and means to investigate crimes carried out by the Chechen authorities; whereas homosexuality was decriminalised in the Russian Federation in 1993;

K.whereas the attacks on Memorial and apathetic response of Russian and Chechen authorities inhibits progress towards a society that protects freedom of association, freedom of expression, and democratic principles; whereas a vibrant civil society and pluralistic media play a vital role in promoting an open and pluralistic society, public participation in the democratic process, and strengthening the accountability of governments; whereas NGOs and human rights defenders should be allowed to work without fear of violence being committed against them;

1.is deeply concerned by the arrest and detention of Oyub Titiev, urges the Chechen authorities to immediately release him and drop the charges against him; urges the Russian authorities to ensure full respect for Oyub Titiev’s legal rights, including access to a lawyer and medical care, to physical integrity and dignity, and to protection from judicial harassment, criminalisation and arbitrary arrest;

2.condemns the subsequent arson attack on Memorial’s office in Ingushetia and urges the Russian authorities to effectively investigate this and other cases against the Memorial’s property and the threats against its staff and to ensure that those responsible are held to account; notes that this latest instance is just the most recent in a worrying trend of arrests, as well as attacks, intimidations and discrediting of independent journalists and human rights defenders who work in Russia, particularly in Chechnya as well as Ingushetia and Dagestan;

3.reiterates that the predecessor of Oyub Titiev, Natalia Estemirova, was killed in 2009 and no one has yet been brought to justice for this crime and urges authorities to pursue genuine investigations in this regard;

4.condemns the verbal attacks and threats by Chechen high level officials, including the president Ramzan Kadyrov and the speaker Magomed Daudov, against human rights defenders as “enemies”;

5.deplores the ongoing attacks on civil society and the repression of voices of opposition in Russia; calls on the Russian authorities to put an end to all acts of harassment against the Memorial Society, the Memorial Human Rights Centre, their members, and all human rights defenders in the Russia and to ensure that they are able to carry out their legitimate activities in all circumstances without any interference; notes with concern the shutdown of at least 30 Russian NGOs in order to avoid the “foreign agent” stigma and legal persecution;

6.denounces the ongoing persecution of the LGBTI community in Chechnya and throughout the Russian Federation and condemns all statements by the Chechen authorities that condone and incite violence against LGBTI people, including the statement by the Chechen Government spokesperson denying the existence of homosexuals in Chechnya and discrediting the report as ‘lies and absolute disinformation’; further condemns the killing of individuals by family members in so called ‘honour killings’ and deplores Chechen authorities support and encouragement of these crimes;

7.calls for local authorities to investigate and prosecute the serious violations directed specifically at individuals based on their sexual orientation, and reminds the authorities that the rights to freedom of assembly, association and expression are universal rights and apply to all;

8.deplores the region’s widespread human rights violations and climate of impunity which enables acts such as these to take place; calls for the development of legal and other measures to prevent such violence and monitor and effectively prosecute the perpetrators in cooperation with civil society; underlines that Russia and its government carry the ultimate responsibility for investigating these acts, bringing perpetrators to justice and protecting all Russian citizens from unlawful abuse;

9.reminds the Russian and Chechen authorities that regional, cultural and religious value systems should not be used as an excuse to condone or engage in the discrimination, violence, torture, and/or detention of individuals or groups, including on the grounds of sexuality or gender identity;

10.calls on the Commission to engage with international human rights organisations and Russian civil society, despite the Russian legislation on ‘foreign agents’, and continue to offer support to Memorial and other human rights and civil society organisations;

11.calls in addition on the Commission and on the Member States to assist those who have fled Chechnya and to bring this campaign of abuse into the open; furthermore, calls on the Member States to offer protection for such victims, journalists and human rights defenders in accordance with European and national law; encourages European LGBTI organisations to actively support Russian counterparts, for example by publishing content online in Russian, so as to convey a positive message on sexual orientation and gender identity, in light of the Russian law on ‘homosexual propaganda’;

12.instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Council and Commission, the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Government and Parliament of the Russian Federation, and the Chechen authorities.


Aġġornata l-aħħar: 6 ta' Frar 2018
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