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Motion for a resolution - B9-0360/2021Motion for a resolution

    MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the listing of German NGOs as 'undesirable organisations' by Russia and the detention of Andrei Pivovarov

    8.6.2021 - (2021/2749(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 144 of the Rules of Procedure

    Željana Zovko, Andrius Kubilius, Michael Gahler, Isabel Wiseler‑Lima, David McAllister, Jerzy Buzek, Antonio López‑Istúriz White, Tom Vandenkendelaere, Gabriel Mato, Sara Skyttedal, Miriam Lexmann, Loránt Vincze, Krzysztof Hetman, Vladimír Bilčík, Róża Thun und Hohenstein, Elżbieta Katarzyna Łukacijewska, Ivan Štefanec, David Lega, Inese Vaidere, Tomáš Zdechovský, Peter Pollák, Christian Sagartz, Adam Jarubas, José Manuel Fernandes, Paulo Rangel, Stanislav Polčák, Loucas Fourlas, Eva Maydell, Michaela Šojdrová, Jiří Pospíšil, Maria Walsh, Helmut Geuking
    on behalf of the PPE Group

    See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B9-0347/2021

    NB: This motion for a resolution is available in the original language only.
    Procedure : 2021/2749(RSP)
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    European Parliament resolution on the listing of German NGOs as 'undesirable organisations' by Russia and the detention of Andrei Pivovarov


    The European Parliament,

     having regard to its previous resolutions on Russia,

     having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

     having regard to the European Convention on Human Rights,

     having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,

     having regard to the Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the EU of 18 April 2021 on the deteriorating health of Alexei Navalny,

     having regard to the Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the EU of 1 May 2021 on the imposition of restrictive measures against eight EU nationals,

     having regard to the Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the EU of 15 May 2021 on the publication of a list of so-called “unfriendly States”,

     having regard to the Statement by the Spokesperson of the European External Action Service (EEAS) of 27 May 2021 on the listing of German NGOs as “undesirable organisations”,

     having regard to the Statement by the Spokesperson of the EEAS of 1 June 2021 on the detention of Andrei Pivovarov,

     having regard to the Statement by the Spokesperson of the EEAS of 4 June 2021on the law on so-called “extremist organisations”,

     having regard to Rule 144 of its Rules of Procedure,

    A. whereas the Russian Federation has recently adopted repressive laws that drastically expanded the scope of individuals and groups that can be designated as ‘foreign agents’ and increased restrictions and requirements imposed on them along with sanctions for their violation;

    B. whereas the Russian Federation by adopting these laws has granted the authorities near total control over independent civil society organisations and empowered Russia’s federal media watchdog (Roskomnadzor) to block online resources; whereas the Russian authorities have banned rallies in public places, curbed the right to participate in single picket protests and imposed additional restrictions on journalists covering these protests;

    C. whereas the latest bill adopted by the State Duma and the Council of Federation in May 2021 drastically restricted rights and liberties in Russia by imposing harsh restrictions on individuals who criticise the government, barring them from participating in public life and running for elections at any level, including the 2021 Parliamentary elections, if they have founded, led, worked for, or otherwise participated in the activities of an organisation which from now on in this bill is designated as ‘extremist’ or ‘terrorist’;

    D. whereas this bill also provides for its retroactive application and is targeted against Aleksei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, which has already been declared a ‘foreign agent’ and now is in the process of being designated as an ‘extremist organisation’;

    E. whereas the Russian Federation has also broadened the scope of the law on ‘Undesirable Organisations’ by introducing a prohibition on participation in their activities abroad and assigning the status of ‘undesirable’ to the organisations that are believed to be intermediaries in financial transactions with those already banned;

    F. whereas the Russian Federation has designated international and foreign NGOs as ‘undesirable’, in particular by the decision of the Russian Prosecutor General on 26 May to list three German NGOs as ‘undesirable’, which include the Forum Russischsprachiger Europaer e.V., Zentrum fur die Liberale Moderne GmbH and Deutsch-Russischer Austausch e.V;

    G. whereas the State Duma, by adopting these bills which include an immediate application of criminal liability, has been targeting the Open Russia civic movement, networked pro-democracy and human rights structure, which in this way was forced to dissolve to protect its activists and supporters from further prosecutions;

    H. whereas on 31 May 2021 the former leader of the Open Russia movement, Andrei Pivovarov was taken off a flight in Saint Petersburg, arbitrarily detained and two days later placed in pre-trial detention for two months under charges of ‘carrying out activities of an undesirable organisation’; whereas the activist from Nizhny Novgorod, Mikhail Iosilevich is also among those, who are currently criminally prosecuted and detained under the same charges;

    I. whereas on 1 June 2021, ahead of the upcoming 2021 Parliamentary elections in Russia, the Russian authorities have arrested Russian politician and leading opposition activist Dmitry Gudkov on charges of causing property damage to the state by a company associated with him, which has been conducting no activity for more than five years, and later released him after intimidating his relatives with more than ten searches;

    J. whereas the Russian Federation under the ‘Foreign Agents’ law Russia has listed independent media in Russia, such as Meduza, VTimes (legally based in the Netherlands) and individual journalists and activists Denis Kamalyagin, Sergei Markelov, Liudmila Savitskya, Lev Ponomarev and Darya Apakhonchich and other as ‘media - foreign agents’;

    K. whereas these actions add to a plethora of politically motivated criminal prosecutions launched by the Russian Federation against individuals who express dissenting views or announce their ambitions to run for the 2021 September Parliamentary elections in Russia, such as the jailing of anti-corruption campaigner and opposition politician Aleksei Navalny or a suspended five-year sentence to a left-wing opposition blogger and politician Nikolai Platoshkin;

    L. whereas in May 2021, the young activist Olga Misik, who is known for reading the Constitution to riot police, in her last statement in the court case she and other activists Ivan Vorobievsky and Igor Basharimov have been sentenced, said that: ‘the fascist regime eventually fell, just as the fascist regime in Russia will fall too. I do not know when it will happen — in a week, a year, or a decade. But I know that one day we will win because love and youth always wins[1]’.

    M. whereas the Russian authorities have severely clamped down on peaceful protesters who took to the streets across the country to support Aleksei Navalny and protest against corruption and injustice and according to the Russian monitoring organisation OVD-Info, over 11,000 protesters were arrested during three days of protests in January and February, including dozens of independent journalists and human rights defenders who were covering or monitoring the protests; whereas thousands of administrative prosecutions and more than 100 criminal cases were initiated across the country, and further arrests and detentions on spurious charges are ongoing;

    N. whereas, according to the Memorial Human Rights Centre, the Russian authorities currently hold nearly 400 political prisoners in violation of the Russian Federation’s obligations under Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights, Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and Article 23 of the Concluding Document of the Vienna Meeting of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe;

    O. whereas according to numerous reports, peaceful protesters sentenced to ‘administrative detention’ were subjected to ill-treatment, including inter alia being placed in severely overcrowded detention facilities, denied food and water for several hours, and had to spend lengthy (several hours at a time, often at night time) periods of time in police vans during transfer; people who participated in the protests have also reported that they were threatened with or were expelled from universities or colleges or have lost their jobs; peaceful protesters, including older people and children, were also subjected to excessive use of force by the riot police;

    P. whereas the authorities have also waged a campaign targeting Aleksei Navalny’s supporters and colleagues from the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK), including FBK’s head of staff, Leonid Volkov, Aleksei Navalny’s spokesperson Kira Yarmysh, FBK lawyer Lyubov Sobol and Navalny’s brother Oleg, who are facing spurious criminal charges;

    Q. whereas on 14 April 2021, four journalists of the student online magazine DOXA, in Moscow, were charged under this case and put under house arrest for publishing a video appeal where they protested against intimidation of students and called on the youth to defend the right to freedom of peaceful assembly;

    R. whereas it is crucial to ensure in a comprehensive EU strategy towards Russia, that engagement with Russia does not become an end in itself but is rather used to address democracy values and protection of human rights;

    S. whereas the Kremlin regime does everything possible to isolate the people of Russia from the international community and to steal their hope for a democratic future, including in various ways prohibiting opposition candidates to participate in the 2021 Parliamentary elections in Russia;

    1. Calls on the Russian authorities to:

    a) release immediately Andrei Pivovarov and drop all charges against him and others prosecuted under the ‘Undesirable Organizations’ law;

    b) end all reprisals against political opponents and other critical voices in the country;

    c)  end criminal prosecutions against human rights defenders and activists, under the law on ‘foreign agents’ and the law on ‘undesirable organisations’ and revoke this discriminatory legislation, and reverse the decision of the Russian Prosecutor General to list three German NGOs as ‘undesirable’;

    d) repeal the recently adopted legislation which introduces sweeping new restrictions on independent civil society, the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, and access to online information, and review and bring its legislation in line with its international obligations, international human rights law and its own Constitution;

    e) review and bring in line with international human rights law, other legislation that is used to restrict freedom of expression, including Russia’s ‘fake news’, counter-extremism and counter-terrorism legislation;

    f) release immediately and unconditionally Aleksei Navalny and open a criminal investigation into his poisoning, ensuring that all those responsible are brought to justice in fair trial proceedings;

    g) release immediately and unconditionally all peaceful protesters and other civil society activists who have been arrested and detained for spurious administrative “offences” or prosecuted on spurious criminal charges solely for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, which includes journalists, lawyers, opposition activists and other civil society actors, including the staff members and associates of Aleksei Navalny and his Anti-Corruption Foundation;

    h) release immediately and unconditionally all other prisoners of conscience detained solely for exercising their rights, including in previous years;

    2. Calls upon the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the Commission in their preparation of the comprehensive EU strategy towards Russia to focus on the protection of democracy and human rights in Russia, in particular on:

    a) bringing forward a new conditionality, and if this situation is not addressed new EU sanctions, into EU-Russia relations aimed to end internal repressions in Russia of political and civil society activists, human rights defenders and lawyers, politicians, journalists, independent media, trade unions, and NGOs;

    b) taking actions in EU-Russia relations and in any dialogue with Russia to address human rights in order to accurately reflect the gravity of the human rights crackdown in Russia in particular over the period since January 2021;

    c) taking coordinated action to push back against and limit the negative impact of recently adopted restrictive laws in Russia and to prioritise strategic engagement with democracy and human rights activists in Russia, in particular by mainstreaming human rights and civil society consultation across all dialogues and areas of EU-Russia cooperation, including  through cooperation around digitalisation, climate change as well as any educational and cultural cooperation programmes while regularly undertaking human rights impact assessments to review this cooperation;

    d) outlining concrete actions the EU and Member States will take to fulfil their commitment to step up support to human rights defenders, civil society and those defending political and civil freedoms in Russia, such as a more sustained and high-level engagement on key individual cases of concern, taking full advantage of visits by ambassadors and other officials to the regions to raise human rights concerns and meeting with human rights defenders and civil society, and strategically using social media, op-eds and press interventions to articulate support for Human rights defenders, including in Russian and through independent Russian channels, and supporting independent journalists in Russia with diplomatic/consular actions when they are at risk, including a flexible visa policy;

    e) taking into account the experience of the Western community in defending human rights against repressions of the Soviet Union, in particular, the US experience of the Jackson-Vanik amendment, which has included human rights provisions into the trade agreements;

    f) that the EU and its Member States should urgently raise at the Council of Europe the issues of the adoption of recent authoritarian legislative acts by the Russian Federation in the light of fulfilling its international obligations to the Council of Europe and taking into account a historical precedent of taking an action by a group of Member States at the Council of Europe to defend democracy values against autocracy as was the case of Greece in 1967;

    3. Stresses that the EU and its Member States, in the context of building a comprehensive EU strategy towards Russia, as a matter of urgency, should:

    a) take coordinated action with the like-minded international partners, including G7 countries, urging the Russian authorities to end domestic repression against democracy and civil society activists and human rights defenders, which should also include high-level and public interventions, coordinated demarches and sustained scrutiny at international and regional human rights fora, such as the Council of Europe, the OSCE and the UN Human Rights Council;

    b) undertake regular human rights impact assessments to ensure that engagement with the Russian authorities do not undermine human rights objectives and do not directly or indirectly contribute to human rights violations;

    c) avoid lending legitimacy to officials who are responsible for human rights violations and repression, for example, ambassadors and high-level visitors should avoid discretionary meetings with officials involved in repression,  for example, with members of the State Duma involved in drafting the ‘foreign agents’ law like Andrei Klimov;

    d) organise high level diplomatic visits to regions of concern, such as Krasnodar, Nizhny Novgorod, North Caucasus and other regions that do not receive much international attention, and use these visits to meet publicly and officially with human rights defenders and to raise the cases of political repressions with local authorities.

    4.  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, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the Council of Europe, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, and the President, Government and the State Duma of the Russian Federation.



    Last updated: 8 June 2021
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