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Thursday, 15 March 2007 - Strasbourg Final edition
Attack on Galina Kozlova
P6_TA(2007)0087B6-0081, 0086 and 0089/2007

European Parliament resolution of 15 March 2007 on Galina Kozlova

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to its previous resolution of 12 May 2005 on violations of human rights and democracy in the Republic of Mari El in the Russian Federation(1) , to its other resolutions on Russia, in particular that of 13 December 2006 on the EU-Russia summit which was held in Helsinki on 24 November 2006(2) and that of 25 October 2006 on EU-Russia relations following the murder of the Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya(3) , and to the resolution on EU-Russia relations adopted on 26 May 2005(4) ,

–   having regard to the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Russian Federation, of the other part, which entered into force on 1 December 1997(5) ,

–   having regard to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, and in particular to Article 10 thereof,

–   having regard to the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages signed by the Russian Federation on 10 May 2001,

–   having regard to the Constitution of the Mari Republic (Mari El), which recognises Mari as one of the State languages, and to the 1995 Act on Linguistic Matters that declares Mari El a multi-ethnic republic and provides for the right of all citizens regardless of their ethnicity to maintain and develop their native language and culture,

–   having regard to the credible reports by Russian and international NGOs of continuing violations of human rights and irregularities in Mari El,

–   having regard to the ongoing EU-Russia consultations on human rights, minorities and fundamental freedoms,

–   having regard to Rule 103(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas Galina Kozlova, a member of the board of the Mari national organisation Mari Ušem, editor of the literary magazine Ontšõko and wife of Vladimir Kozlov, chair of the Mari council, was brutally attacked on 25 January 2007 and suffered head injuries resulting in concussion and severe headaches, dizziness and eyesight problems,

B.   whereas, according to Mari Ušem, the attack could not have been an ordinary robbery attempt,

C.   whereas the attack on Mrs Kozlova followed a series of attacks on activists and journalists in Mari El, including the killing of three journalists in 2001, an attack on Vladimir Kozlov on 4 February 2005 and an attack on the former leader of the Mari movement, Nina Maksimova,

D.   whereas, in October 2006, Vladimir Kozlov was optimistic about the future of his organisation, pointing out that no Mari El ethnic rights activist had been the target of an assault for over a year, but this allegedly less hostile attitude to Mari Ušem has now been brutally reversed,

E.   whereas the local and federal governments have failed to take adequate steps to bring the perpetrators to justice and ensure the safety of journalists and the independence of the media,

F.   whereas opposition media and newsletters face considerable difficulty in operating freely, so that, for example, several opposition newspapers can only be printed outside Mari El,

G.   whereas individuals belonging to the Mari minority face considerable difficulty in obtaining education in their native language, since there is no secondary or higher education in the Mari language,

1.  Strongly condemns the attack on Galina Kozlova, which has so far not led to any convictions or even arrests, and the continuing harassment of, and assaults on, activists, leading cultural figures and independent journalists in Mari El; and calls on the federal and local authorities to bring the perpetrators of these acts to justice and ensure respect for freedom of expression;

2.  Is convinced that the multi-ethnic character of the Russian Federation greatly contributes to the cultural and linguistic diversity of Europe and is a phenomenon of which all citizens of the Russian Federation are justifiably proud and which should be preserved for the benefit of all Europeans;

3.  Calls for a speedy, comprehensive and independent inquiry by federal and local judicial authorities into the attacks on Mrs Kozlova and other similar incidents;

4.  Calls on the Government of Mari El immediately to halt political retribution and intimidation directed at dissenting public servants and to refrain from undue political interference in the affairs of educational and cultural institutions;

5.  Calls on the local and federal authorities to honour their obligations under international law and to take adequate steps to facilitate the practical implementation of the provisions of the Constitution and legislation relating to the maintenance and development of minority languages and cultures, with particular emphasis on providing quality education in a person's native language at all levels, thus ensuring that the Mari language and Russian are placed on the same footing throughout Mari El;

6.  Calls on the Commission to raise the issue of Finno-Ugric minorities in Russia, and concerns regarding the situation in Mari El, during the regular EU-Russia human rights dialogue and at the forthcoming EU-Russia Summit;

7.  Calls on the Commission to include programmes targeting Finno-Ugric and other minorities in the framework of EU-Russia cultural and educational cooperation;

8.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the Governments of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Mari El.

(1) OJ C 92 E, 20.4.2006, p. 409.
(2) Texts Adopted P6_TA(2006)0566.
(3) Texts Adopted P6_TA(2006)0448.
(4) OJ C 117 E, 18.5.2006, p. 235.
(5) OJ L 327, 28.11.1997, p. 1

Last updated: 11 September 2007Legal notice